Would you be surprised to learn that cisgender men have 20% to 50% more orgasms during sex than cisgender women? What if you learned that straight women have fewer orgasms than lesbians and bisexual women? In fact, only 65% of straight women report having an orgasm every time they have sex, compared with 95% of straight men, a trend that's existed for decades. This is known as the pleasure gap.
Women are all too aware of the pleasure gap, but their partners may not be. The US National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior from 2009 revealed another gap: 85% of men reported that their partners have orgasms. Clearly, we have a problem.
You might have heard of the similar "orgasm gap." However, those who refer to the "pleasure gap" instead do so because they recognize that an orgasm is not the only or even the best measure of pleasure. You can have amazing sex without having an orgasm at all! And orgasms can sometimes be disappointing, almost not worth the effort required to have one. Of course, if someone isn't experiencing much pleasure, it usually makes it that much harder to have an orgasm!
What Causes the Pleasure Gap?
The pleasure gap stems from the fact that most women prefer, if not require, clitoral stimulation to orgasm. Intercourse alone isn't enough. This wouldn't be an issue if so many people didn't view intercourse as the preferred or even the only way to have sex. The result? Little to no attention is given to the most sensitive part of a woman's anatomy. After all, if you have a penis, you're sure to get yours. Some people may even do a bad job at manual or oral stimulation, secretly hoping their partners will never again ask for it.
Of course, focusing on a man's orgasm does make sense in certain situations. After all, a woman doesn't have to orgasm to get pregnant. But we can't pretend that getting pregnant is the only--or even the main reason--why people have sex in 2021. If pleasure is the point, then everyone should have a chance to experience it!
Closing the Pleasure Gap Requires Sex Education
If we want to close the pleasure gap, we need to start by educating people. For many, understanding the importance of the clitoris and its 9,000 nerve endings might be enough to pay more attending to the powerful sexual orgasm. We've got to squash myths that women don't want or like sex. They just need to have better sex. Women need to learn about their bodies, which may mean encouraging solo exploration to learn what works for them and what doesn't.
With proper sex education, people will understand that the clitoris is much larger than the visible shaft and foreskin. It extends within the body, surrounding the vagina. In fact, the clitoris is even responsible for G-spot orgasms! Research can even tell us the activities most likely to give a woman an orgasm: deep kissing, manual clitoral stimulation, and oral sex. Researchers call this the golden trio.
This extra attention to a woman's body allows her to relax and become more aroused, increasing natural lubrication and vaginal elasticity. Without this, sex can be painful. Considering that women are five times more likely to report pain during sex than men and that micro-tears caused by penetration can increase infections, it's an important issue to tackle. Understanding how important lubrication is might be just what some people need to grab a bottle of lube. It's time for the mistaken belief that all women should naturally be "wet" enough for sex to go.
Similarly, when women understand that their natural odors and flavors are nothing to be ashamed of and may even be turn-ons for their partners, they might be more likely to receive the oral sex that can close the pleasure gap. Of course, education doesn't magically erase self-consciousness. That's where Sweetums, a feminine wipe that leaves a hint of flavor, comes in. Flavored lube is another great option, although an intimate wipe is sometimes more convenient. When it comes to helping people have better sex, we should use every tool at our disposal. This product is just one tool to add to our arsenals.
Talking About Sex Is Hard--and Necessary
Communication is essential if we want the pleasure gap to be a thing of the past. Some men might be more likely to focus on their partner's pleasure if they know their partners aren't enjoying themselves or having as many orgasms as men mistakenly think. Building communication skills will help women describe what they want in bed.
If you think encouraging people to talk about sex will help men too, you're right on the money. It's just one of the unexpected benefits of closing the orgasm gap.