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When was the last time you had an orgasm? It might sound like a shrewd question, but it’s anything but. Orgasms are great, and can really keep the doctor away, but it appears that as great as reaching orgasms are, fewer and fewer women seem to be hitting this peak.

Referred to as “the orgasm gap”, it appears that if you are a woman in a heterosexual relationship, you’re better off having an orgasm on your own.

Straight Women Are Rarely Having Orgasms

What has research found?

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  • 2017 study shared that heterosexual men and gay men both experience orgasm about 85 percent of the time, and lesbian women orgasm nearly 75% of the time.
    For bisexual people, the rate was 78% for women and 58% for men. Lastly, the study found that heterosexual women reach orgasms at a rate of almost 62%.
  • 2012 study found that, during their last hookup, around 40% of women reached orgasm compared to 80% of men.
  • A study from condom company Durex found that 20% of women said they don’t orgasm, compared to 2% of men.
  • One study with 800 college women revealed that 39% of them always orgasm when they masturbate, but only 6% of them orgasm during sex.

Why does the orgasm gap exist?

Limited sexual activity

It’s easy for men to orgasm. All they need to do is ejaculate, and they’re done. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy for straight women, yet many of them are in sexual relationships that emphasize penetrative sex. In fact, one study found that only 18% of women are able to achieve orgasm through direct penetration.

Additionally, one reason why lesbian orgasm rates are higher than those for heterosexual women may be because more attention is paid to different forms of sexual pleasure.

Poor and inaccurate depictions of sex

The media has a lot to answer to when it comes to depictions of women, most notably sex and especially pornography. For one, there seems to be an over-depiction of male pleasure and less of female pleasure.

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What’s more, there are also continuous depictions of women reaching orgasm from penetrative sex alone, and we know that that is rarely the case.

If that’s not enough, the most popular type of pornography amongst heterosexual women is lesbian pornography, and that may be because there is more emphasis on female pleasure.

Lack of sexual education

Understanding a woman’s body – truly understanding it is fundamental to help her achieve pleasure, and unfortunately, some men aren’t as knowledgeable about female anatomy.

Female pleasure doesn’t matter

Due to the patriarchal culture that we live in, male sexual pleasure is often prioritized over female pleasure, with many men being taught that the purpose of sex is for them to have an orgasm and once they do, their job is done.

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How can straight women get off?

Play with foreplay

Foreplay is great because women need to be aroused to make penetrative sex enjoyable.

Every woman likes different things, but activities like kissing, rubbing, using one’s fingers as well as oral sex can help women become aroused, and it can also help her get off.

Mix it up

According to a report from Statista, the sex toy industry is booming, so why not help it grow by introducing sex toys into the bedroom? It’s a great way to mix things up, and you’ll more likely achieve orgasm.

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Indulge in solo play

If you’re not looking to enjoy sex toys with your partner, might we recommend that you use them on your own?

Not only will it teach you more about your body, particularly your wants and needs, but you’re more likely to get an orgasm out of it.

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Communicate

Communication is key for every relationship, especially in the bedroom. If, as a heterosexual woman, you are having trouble orgasming, it’s important to let your partner know, as opposed to faking it.

Additionally, as a heterosexual man, it’s important to let your sexual partner feel comfortable enough to share their thoughts and don’t shy away from asking them what they want and what they enjoy.

References

Frederick, D.A., John, H.K.S., Garcia, J.R. et al. Differences in Orgasm Frequency Among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Heterosexual Men and Women in a U.S. National Sample. Arch Sex Behav 47, 273–288 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-017-0939-z

Herbenick, D., Fu, T. J., Arter, J., Sanders, S. A., & Dodge, B. (2018). Women’s Experiences With Genital Touching, Sexual Pleasure, and Orgasm: Results From a U.S. Probability Sample of Women Ages 18 to 94. Journal of sex & marital therapy, 44(2), 201–212. https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2017.1346530

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba is a beauty and wellness writer who has a passion for poetry, equality, natural hair, and skin-care. With a journalism degree from Pearson's Institute of Higher Education, and identifiable by either her large afro or colorful locks, Pie aspires to continuously provide the latest information, be it beauty or wellness, on how one can adopt a healthy lifestyle on a day-to-day basis.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.