By now you may have heard of the “pleasure gap” or the “orgasm gap” in news articles, magazine editorials, health and educational material, and online and on television. But maybe not.
What Is the Orgasm Gap?
The orgasm gap is the discrepancy between heterosexual men’s and heterosexual women’s frequency of orgasm during sexual encounters.
According to various studies in past years, a gap exists between men and women and orgasm. The studies showed different gaps and different numbers for how often men and women climax, and in what circumstances, but every study showed that men have more orgasms, more often, in sexual encounters than women do.
Women having sex with women had more frequent orgasms during sexual encounters than heterosexual women, but all men—gay, straight, and bisexual—had more orgasms during sex than all women.
Historically, such an orgasm gap is not surprising at all. We knew woefully little about women’s anatomy and pleasure. At times, in some places, the existence of a female orgasm was denied outright.
Later, with Freudian psychology and bollocks biology lessons, “vaginal” orgasms were considered “mature” and clitoral orgasms were considered “childish.” In fact, both vaginal and clitoral—and any other orgasms a female has—are all part of the same complex nervous network.
Misogynist religious indoctrination has historically and today clouded access to female pleasure. Only wanton, slutty harlots experienced pleasure during sex. This was often “just” social pressure, but has taken much darker forms. Millions of women are still “cut” today, an ancient practice of removing the clitoris to “tidy up” female genitalia and behavior.
Closer to home, young girls were “treated” genitally with carbolic acid to deter masturbation. This was the ”natural hygiene” movement closely linked to extreme Protestant sects. But the hatred of sex was not for women alone—young boys were fed cereal diets to try to deter lust, and even male babies had their penises pinned to their diaper to punish them for naturally occurring erections.
In any event, the orgasm gap was once upon a time blamed on women. We were frigid, had immature clitorises, or else sluts. Today the orgasm gap is more often blamed on men. Many, but not all, of the studies imply that toxic masculinity, men in general, patriarchy, or male partners are the reason women have less frequent orgasms than men do.
Full disclosure: I am thrilled that women’s sexual pleasure is getting the equal platform and priority it deserves. But I don’t blame men. I think there are biological and personal factors, as well as social ones. I also don’t think orgasm is the only way to measure sexual pleasure or satisfaction. It can be tricky to relax enough to orgasm with a new partner, for women, and it’s a lot of pressure to be expected to orgasm. This is from a woman who is totally comfortable naked and in various woman-on-woman, woman on top, and group scenarios, as well as kinks.
Not All Women Orgasm
It’s also true that anywhere from 4-20% of women have NEVER had an orgasm- masturbation, kink, porn, great lovers, shower nozzles, or not. How can you bridge the orgasm gap if some women simply don’t or can’t have them?
I personally feel that hostility and gender wars are dividing men and women at a time we have the best platform for unity, mutual pleasure, and equality, and that is not going to help women get more orgasms! Some men already have a complex about not doing it right, not doing it perfectly, and not knowing everything.
I do think there are some men who don’t care about their partners—just as there are some women who don’t. Some men are clueless and some are selfish. But most are totally in to my pleasure and get greater pleasure from my satisfaction.
I know YOU are one of those dudes who cares about our orgasms and pleasures. You don’t blindly assume mainstream porn is true—you know it’s fantasy, and you also watch female-driven porn often enough. What more can you do to make sure she’s having as many and as often orgasms as possible?
How to Close the Orgasm Gap
Balance the scales with these five tips for orgasm-giving pleasure.
1. Prioritize Female Pleasure
I find it extremely pressurizing when my lover is waiting for my orgasm. It’s one thing to take things slowly and not rush, but goal-oriented orgasm sex seldom yields gold. I’m not a wind-up toy. These studies are often well-meaning, but the drawback is that both of us are expecting my orgasm and that’s a lot of pressure for both teams.
Sometimes I dread the words “I want to make you come” because I don’t want the pressure or the work, I just want to enjoy myself.
Instead of focusing just on her orgasm, simply prioritize female pleasure. If you are a generous unselfish lover who caters to my fantasies, desires, needs, and kinks, who is unrushed and loving, and everything is consensual, I am likely to feel comfortable and safe and relaxed—the potential to orgasm is high, but if not, to feel sexually satisfied nonetheless.
2. Take All the Time She Needs
Many women like myself can masturbate quickly but take much longer with a partner to climax. Even with familiar partners or when highly aroused!
Other women take a long time to masturbate as well. Many women report needing fifteen to sixty minutes to orgasm solo.
Quickies and hookups can be hot regardless, but won’t result in orgasm for many women.
Always let your partner know you have all the time in the world for her pleasure, so she can relax.
3. Empower Your Lovers to Communicate Openly
One way to make intimate communication easier for your lovers is to communicate your willingness and openness first.
Don’t say anything that might come across as patronizing or condescending. Just let her know that her pleasure matters and you want her to feel open to showing you what works best for her.
4. Understand that Every Woman is Different
Men are expected to “know” what makes us tick and how to make us orgasm, or else they are the subject of talks and movies on the orgasm gap. Nothing makes a dick shrivel up faster than hearing how crap you are as a lover. But the reality is that women’s bodies are mysterious and complicated. Whether you’ve been with a million lovers or one, the next naked woman is not going to work the same way. You can be the best lover to all these women by understanding this.
Being willing to “retrain” each and every time you make love, to enjoy the journey, to explore her as a unique being – that is how you can prioritize her pleasure.
Read: Tips for Better Orgasms
5. Be Willing to Talk about Her Orgasm
You can’t read her mind. Her body can be hard to read, too.
Best to cut to the chase. “I want you to orgasm, but I understand that not all women orgasm in all situations. Please show me what you need to get there… or why it’s difficult for you.” Something like this invites her to share where she’s at, wherever it is.
Does the orgasm gap exist in your relationship? How do you work to close it?