How to close the orgasm gap this Valentine’s Day 0 2394

Closing the Gap on Orgasms | Rose & Water | Ella Paradis

Oh, Valentine’s Day—-the holiday chock-full of roses, chocolate, and great sexpectations. If you celebrate the holiday and its grand gestures of romance and intimacy, you might be flocking to the bedroom. You’re well-equipped with candy in a heart-shaped box and wine, and you’re prepared to make the most of the holiday and prioritize your boo’s pleasure. You wouldn’t dare end the day without toe-curling orgasms all around, right? Today we’re talking about the orgasm gap and how to close it. 

What is the orgasm gap?

What’s the orgasm gap, you ask? To simplify, it’s the rate that cisgender (a person whose gender identity is the same as the gender they were assigned at birth) straight men have orgasms during sex versus straight cisgender women. 

A study found that for people who have sex with a familiar partner, 62% of women achieve orgasm during sex compared to 85% of men. The study found that cis-women have less frequent and less predictable orgasms. Lesbian and bisexual women, however, have more orgasms than heterosexual women. 

Why does the orgasm gap exist?

So, what’s the deal? Why does the orgasm gap exist? For starters, if you received any comprehensive sex education at all (only 29 states in the U.S. mandate sex ed), chances are you probably were not taught about female pleasure or the structure of the clitoris. Many diagrams of reproductive organs don’t, in fact, show the structure of the clitoris but focus instead on the internal reproductive organs. Traditional sex-ed is heteronormative and over-emphasizes penetrative sex as the one way that people do it. 

News flash: there are infinite ways to have sex! Relying on penetrative sex as the only way to get pleasure doesn’t always work for cis-women and people with vulvas, as evidenced by our aforementioned stats about who is and is not reaching the big O.

In reality, 75% of women do not orgasm from penetrative sex alone, and this means that women require direct clitoral stimulation by way of fingers, a sex toy, or a tongue to orgasm. 

Unfortunately, many grow up conditioned not to prioritize female pleasure or to advocate for themselves in bed. We’re taking a stance against all of that conditioning and saying it’s about time that everyone reaps the benefits of sex and pleasure!

Closing the orgasm gap, once and for all!

Now that we know that there’s a disparity in most heterosexual encounters about who is coming and who is not, we can work to close the gap. How? Closing the orgasm gap requires a multipronged approach.

For starters, you can start with an honest conversation about how pleasure is working out. Because societal conditioning is part of the reason for the orgasm gap, it’s likely that you and your partners are not having conversations that can help. Just as it’s important to normalize talking about safe sex, it’s important to normalize talking about pleasure! And, communicating about what is and is not working can change your sex life. 

We’ve listed a few prompts that can help facilitate conversations about your pleasure. It’s best to have check-ins about sex frequently, which helps to normalize the content matter. You can talk about pleasure on a walk, at the kitchen table, or as part of post-sex pillow talk. Be as specific as possible!

Conversation starters to close the orgasm gap:

  • How was that for you? 
  • What was your favorite part of our sex?
  • Which moment, touch, or activity felt the best for you?
  • How was your orgasm?
  • What (if anything) can I do differently? This could be pressure, using a sex toy, slowing down, speeding up, more foreplay, or more prolonged clitoral stimulation. 

Frequent conversations about pleasure can help all partners, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, have better sex that’s more aligned with their desires. Learning about your partner’s experience of pleasure can inch you closer to that O, each time. 

How to have and give more orgasms

Having more orgasms (and giving them) requires revisiting sex ed, and righting some wrongs. Remember how we talked about old school sex ed diagrams, and how they probably were sure to pinpoint the vagina and uterus, but never the clitoris? It’s time to change that! The clitoris is located above the vaginal opening, and though it may look like a small nub, it is mighty! The clitoris contains 8000 nerve endings. The majority of the clit is internal. 

If you’re re-introducing yourself to your partner’s clit, take your time! There are endless ways to stimulate a clitoris, either with your mouth, fingers, a vibrator, or a penis. As always, check in with your partner about what feels good by verbally asking and also listening to their cues, like breathing and body language. 

If you find that either you or your partner are not achieving orgasm as frequently, there’s another pleasure-oriented exercise you can try, called body mapping. Body mapping is the sexually exploratory practice of investigating different erogenous zones and seeing where and what kind of touch offers the most pleasure. You can body map with any set of genitals—it may be a helpful practice for people with vulvas to better chart their pleasure zones. You can body map with a partner or alone with a handheld mirror. Figuring out the kind of touch you like and where it feels the best, can be life-changing in helping communicate that info to a partner. 

Remember, there is NO shame in advocating for your own pleasure. Asking about your partner’s pleasure shows you prioritize their experience; there’s nothing to be embarrassed about! Communicating about pleasure can make sex that much better. Experiment with staying curious about what makes your partner’s mouth drop, even if you’ve been together for a while and you think you know everything there is to know. This Valentine’s Day, we hope you’ll join us in closing the orgasm gap!

May your orgasms abound. 

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