A study in 2015 found that while 91% of males experienced orgasm during partnered sex, only 39% of females did.
Why do you think this is?
Before we get into why there’s a giant orgasm gap, let me ask you — do you orgasm when you have sexual interactions with your partner(s)? Whether you’ve been married for 25 years, are single or somewhere in between — do you?
Have you ever experienced an orgasm?
In my line of work, I get to talk about sex a lot. Sometimes this is really fun and sometimes it’s honestly really sad. I can’t tell you how many women I’ve talked to that are in their 30s and 40s, even 50s, who have never experienced an orgasm. Or, if they have, they’re not sure how to replicate the experience — it just kind of happened.
We’re in charge of our bodies in all ways — including our pleasure. It’s not your partner’s responsibility to learn how to give you an orgasm. It’s your responsibility to communicate with your partner how to give you an orgasm because every single women is different.
In 2015, the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported that 30% of women report pain during vaginal intercourse and yet most of them aren’t telling their partners about it. And I can tell you based on my experience in practice and working with our WWC clients, most women feel incredibly awkward and uncomfortable talking to their partner(s) about sex — whether it’s about pain or pleasure.
It’s actually why we created How to Tell Your Partner What You Want + Need in the Bedroom, a free handout that will help you communicate about sex.
Now, let’s talk about why there’s a giant orgasm gap between genders.
Lack of Knowledge of Anatomy
Sex education sucks in most countries. Not only do most states in the U.S. still get taught abstinence rather than comprehensive sex education — there isn’t a focus on what pleasure is. It’s all about what not to do, how not to get a STI, how not to get pregnant, why sex is scary and bad… you know the drill. Masturbation is NOT taught in any sex education program for boys or girls and yet the average age kids start masturbating is 19.5 months.
I’m by no means saying that in 5th grade we need to talk to kids about orgasms. But, to never address this, ever, leaves our youth struggling to understand what a healthy sex life is supposed to look like. So, they turn to porn and other things that are meant for entertainment, not education, to learn.
Jokes about men not knowing where the clitoris is or how it works — well, how are they supposed to know? Porn often shows them that just penetrating a woman vaginally is the most pleasurable thing she’s ever experienced… (ya, not so much). Most women don’t understand their own anatomy, so why in the world would men know it better?
Lori Knott and I recently taught Orgasms 101 in our Inner Circle and when we surveyed our attendees about their biggest takeaways, they almost all said, “the clitoris is a horseshoe shape!” I had no idea!” Things like this are so important to know for maximum pleasure and yet, we’re just not teaching it.
Negative Beliefs About Sex + Pleasure
So many of the women I speak to share stories of sex being presented to them in a way that was shameful or something to be uncomfortable about. If you type into Google “masturbation” one of the first few suggestions that come up are “masturbation causes prostate cancer,” “masturbation causing blindness,” “masturbation hairy palms,” which are all obviously false.
Not only are they all false, but there isn’t anything that applies to women! Most discussion about masturbation, if there’s any discussion at all, has to do with men/boys. It’s still a taboo topic in our culture — to the point that when the movie Black Swan came out in 2010, people could not stop talking about the scene where Natalie Portman is masturbating. “How can they put that in a movie?” I heard from multiple people. But yet, when American Pie came out in 1999, everyone just laughed and asked their friends.. “Have you seen it? He sticks his dick in a pie!!”
All of this, the negative beliefs around masturbation, the media depictions of sex and sexuality, the way our friends and family talk about it… it all creeps into our brains and creates the lenses that we see the world through. The way we see the world then impacts our thoughts and feelings which in turn affect our behavior.
A General Inability to Communicate
Can we keep blaming society for the orgasm gap? Yes, we can. Until we can’t and need to take some personal responsibility.
Here’s the deal. We didn’t get taught how to communicate. In fact, most of the classes in school on “communication” are all about argumentation, debate, public speaking — basically how to be “right,” rather than communication as a whole, which is two parts: listening + talking. And even when we get taught the listening piece (which most don’t)– we’re taught how to listen to respond, rather than listening to understand.
Because of all of this, we are paralyzed around communication – especially around things like sex that we already don’t know a lot about. No one wants to admit that they don’t know a lot about something. How can you take personal responsibility? Well, you’re starting to do that just by reading this blog. Wright Wellness Center is all about giving you the tools and knowledge needed to have a healthy relationship, sex life, and well… life in general. When you can communicate about sex, you can communicate about most other things.
Remember that free handout I mentioned earlier? How to Tell Your Partner What You Want + Need in the Bedroom? It will help with communication — and when you grab it, you’ll also get access to some other tools around communication — whether that’s with your partner, mom, friends, or co-workers.
Did that cover all of the reasons there’s an orgasm gap?
No. Absolutely not.
But, I truly hope that this helps bring some light to this sensitive (hehe) topic and that you download our free handout, How to Tell Your Partner What You Want + Need in the Bedroom. If you have any questions, leave a comment below or DM me on Instagram. I’m excited to connect and answer your questions!