Men still need to learn about the orgasm gap

DJ Khaled, Oral Sex, And The Orgasm Gap by Samantha Mann. BUST Magazine

America has made some progress in our public view of women. Generally, as a people, we now believe women are capable of working outside the home, we believe they deserve the right the vote, and we’re starting to believe that women deserve to be paid as much as men for equal work. Our country cares about the wage gap, at least during televised conferences and in op-ed pieces. While you might be hard pressed to find a man willing to go on record saying women deserve to make less money than men for the same job, men still seem comfortable believing women coming out of the same sexual experience sans orgasm is acceptable. We’ve managed to wrap our heads around the pay gap, but there is still a mental discrepancy with the orgasm gap. Modern sex is primarily a vehicle of pleasure, not procreation, so shouldn’t everyone engaging in it come away with an orgasm, or at least a solid attempt at one?

In 2015, a study in Great Britain showed disparities among gender and oral sex while also providing a broader cultural understanding of why this occurs. The study was one of the first to show (which won’t be groundbreaking news to any woman) that we’re socialized to value’s men sexual pleasure over women’s, and that we’re socialized to believe female genitalia is “gross” and “dirty.” For many women, we’ve long been told that keeping a man sexually fulfilled is the best way to keep him around. For centuries, women have worried about men looking elsewhere for sex and stressed over keeping their boyfriends and husbands sexually satisfied. Furthermore, we’ve been conditioned to believe it’s normal for men to feel justified cheating if women don’t provide them with enough sex.

It hasn’t helped women that the fields of medicine and psychology have long devalued women’s pleasure. Freud famously stated that clitoral orgasms were “adolescent,” and as women mature, so should their orgasms (meaning that once women start having sex with me, they should orgasm through penetration). However, in 2017 one of the most comprehensive studies about female orgasms was published in The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy. The study found that a mere 18% of women could achieve orgasm through vaginal penetration alone. Almost half of women in the study reported that they need clitoral stimulation in order to achieve orgasm.