Heterosexual women are the most orgasm-deprived people in the United States. This unfortunate disparity, known as the “orgasm gap,” is well documented but not well understood. A new study, however, brings further clarity to this imbalance as well as some good news: While it’s true that heterosexual women don’t have as many orgasms, the study’s results suggest that they’re fully capable of having a hell of a lot more — and they show us exactly how to make that happen.

In the new study, a team of American researchers explains in the Archives of Sexual Behavior that there’s a holy trinity of sexual experiences that most often lead to female orgasms — regardless of the women’s sexual preferences. These are “deep kissing, manual genital stimulation, and/or oral sex in addition to vaginal intercourse.” Women who orgasm more frequently, they found, commonly experience satisfaction with a relationship, trying new positions, and having longer sexual experiences compared to those who don’t reach climax as often.

This information was gathered from a poll of 52,588 American adults who completed a survey posted on the NBC News website. After indicating their gender and sexual preference, participants were asked a variety of questions: How satisfied were they in their relationship? What different sexual activities and types of communication could be found in the bedroom? How often did they orgasm? How often did they think their partner orgasmed?

When it came to self-reported orgasm frequency, heterosexual men were the most likely to say they “usually-always” orgasmed when they were “sexually intimate.” Of the 26,032 men surveyed, 95 percent reported reaching orgasm. Meanwhile, 89 percent of gay men and 88 percent of bisexual men frequently achieved orgasm. Female data showed that lesbian women orgasmed the most, clocking in at 86 percent. Women who dealt sexually with men, however, were not so successful: 66 percent of bisexual women reported “usually-always” reaching orgasm, while 65 percent of heterosexual women said the same.

Heterosexual women were the least likely to frequently orgasm.
Heterosexual women were the least likely to frequently orgasm.

By looking at the common sexual activities of people who “usually-always” orgasmed, the researchers quantified which sexual activities were most frequently tied to orgasms. The dominant sexual experience that led to orgasm was oral sex: Regression analyses showed that heterosexual women, lesbian women, bisexual women, gay men, and bisexual men who received oral sex more frequently also had orgasms more frequently. The only group that didn’t report this was heterosexual men.

advertisement

Speaking of heterosexual men: The data revealed that they didn’t have a perfect sense of when their female partners actually achieved orgasm. The researchers write:

“One interesting finding of note was that 41 percent of heterosexual men reported that their partner orgasms usually-always compared to 33 percent of heterosexual women reported that they usually-always orgasm. Part of this difference in perception could be due to women ‘faking’ orgasms, which research has suggested women will do for a variety of reasons, including out of love for their partner, to protect their partner’s self-esteem, intoxication, or to bring the sexual encounter to an end.”

Why heterosexual women orgasm less than heterosexual men has been widely debated. Some experts argue that the explanation is biological. Others think the discrepancy is the product of a social environment that says women should be less demanding about sexual satisfaction. This paper argues that the situation is likely a combination of the two — but arguing that heterosexual women are wired to enjoy less pleasure couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Lesbian women had three times greater odds than heterosexual women of always experiencing orgasm,” the researchers write. “The fact that lesbian women orgasm more often than heterosexual women indicates that many heterosexual women could experience higher rates of orgasm.”

Photos via Giphy, Public Domain Pictures