Let’s Talk About Sex: The Reality of the Sexual Pleasure Disparity by Grace Wetzel (Transcript)

The myth that the female orgasm is naturally less easy to achieve can be proven false with two very simple statistics. The first is that according to research done by Alfred Kinsey, the average time that it takes women to orgasm from masturbation is the same as the average time that it takes men, which is about four minutes. So this means that if you know what you’re doing as in doing it to yourself, then sex differences in the time it takes to orgasm literally disappear.

Additionally, women who have sex with other women have orgasm rates that are much higher than straight women, orgasm rates that are almost as high as straight men. This research was conducted at the Kinsey Institute by Dr. Justin Garcia and colleagues.

The idea that the female orgasm is just as easy to achieve as the male orgasm can be a tough one for us to wrap our heads around, because we’ve been so conditioned to think of the male orgasm as the natural result of sex and a female orgasm as something extra. The problem does not lie in the nature of the female orgasm.

When women are put in a situation where the penis is not involved as in the situations I described before, then sex differences disappear. This means that it can’t just be biology. Societal and gender dynamics must be at play here. But the problem is not men’s alone. The problem lies in the way that all of us are approaching, viewing and participating in heterosexual sex.

Given the statistic I stated before that only about a quarter of women report regular vaginal orgasm, it shouldn’t even be expected that women orgasm this way but it is. There is a huge pressure put on women to orgasm vaginally and when they don’t, or can’t have an orgasm this way, there’s a stigma and a sense of shame.

Statistically speaking, the shame simply should not exist because it should be common sense that women typically need clitoral stimulation in order to reach orgasm. This expectation for vaginal orgasm is one of the reasons why women are orgasming less. And this pressure to do so is one of the reasons why, according to Brianne Fosse’s surveys, over 50% of women report having faked an orgasm before. That’s the majority of women have faked an orgasm.

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Women are so trained to put men’s pleasure first that it’s almost as if they would rather please their partner by giving the appearance of an orgasm than actually have one themselves. By believing whether consciously or subconsciously that their orgasm is less important, women accept and reproduce subordinate sexual status.

Sexual inequality can also be observed through the prevalence of certain sexual activity like oral sex. According to Wendy Chambers study on the sexual behaviors of college students, she found that women reported giving oral sex more and men reported receiving oral sex more.

So why are men giving oral sex less than women are? An easy way for women to help fix this problem is to ask for oral sex or to ask for orgasm or for clitoral stimulation or for whatever it is that they want. The problem is asking for pleasure as a woman is a lot easier said than done.

First of all, asking for pleasure comes with the assumption that you deserve it. Women always deserve it, but they often feel like they don’t. It can be hard to ask for something from your partner when that person is making that act feel like an inconvenience or a chore.

Second of all, women shouldn’t have to be asking. Men should be making woman’s pleasure and orgasm an equal priority to theirs. Period.

And third, women often feel like they can’t ask. I’ve known women who have asked for things that focus on their pleasure and been straight-up told no and or treated like it was inconvenience or told that sex was over now because the man had had an orgasm. A lot of times women don’t feel like they can ask or they just don’t but. That doesn’t mean that they don’t want oral sex, or that they don’t want an orgasm.

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And when we’re talking about sexual inequality, the differences skyrocket when it comes to casual, uncommitted sexual encounters or hookups. Sociologists Armstrong, England and Fogarty found in their study on college students that women were 56% less likely to have an orgasm in a first hookup than in a committed relationship. Women in this study reported their partners’ complete disregard for their pleasure. And men in the study also reported being sexually inconsiderate. However this does not mean that the orgasm gap doesn’t exist for many committed women because it really really does.

There are also a lot of women who have never had an orgasm from a partner. The reality of the situation is that women’s pleasure and orgasm consistently becomes secondary, less important, less prevalent and sometimes ignored altogether or even disrespected. Women internalize this belief that they don’t deserve the same sexual experience as men, or that it’s just not a physical possibility, although I’d like to argue that the possibilities for women’s pleasure are limitless.

Women actually have a huge varying capacity for orgasm. We’re just not exploring it. I like to specify at this point that I don’t want men’s pleasure to go down. I don’t want orgasm rates for men to decrease, and I don’t want to diminish the importance of penetrative sex, because penetrative sex is really important. All I’m asking for is equality.

I’m asking everyone who’s listening, all genders, to open your minds and just consider that the way you’re currently viewing sex might be oppressive. The experience of pleasure is different for every single person, but as long as our interactions have consent, respect, and a goal of equality, then we will have more pleasurable sexual experiences.

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