Sex columnist and Youtuber Nadia Bokody discusses the orgasm gap, and what we can do to close it.
I often joke there are two types of women...
Those of us who fake orgasms, and liars.
In all seriousness, research shows a significant portion of women aren’t actually having genuinely pleasurable sex.
According to the biggest study ever conducted into the orgasm gap, heterosexual men climax roughly 95 per cent of the time when they get it on. For their female counterparts, that figure is just 65 per cent.
What’s particularly striking about this, is the same study found lesbian women climax almost as reliably and frequently as straight men, coming in (no pun intended) at 88 per cent of the time.
More notably, when women masturbate, we generally get to The Big Oh just as efficiently as men, in around four minutes, according to research conducted by biologist Alfred Kinsey.
It would seem then, that there’s no physiological defect in women thwarting us from having routinely orgasmic sex, nor that our bodies are simply “too complicated”.
The problem is, we don’t teach men about the mechanics of female pleasure.
While we’re busy illuminating boys on the joys of ejaculation, boners, and wet dreams, we warn girls to ready themselves for the painful rigours of childbirth and menstruation, telling them in hushed tones that losing their virginity will probably hurt.
Toxic masculinity conditions those same boys to grow into men who see women’s bodies as conduits for their pleasure. Guys converse about sexual intimacy with women using terms that would be fitting for a construction site. They “nail”, “bang” and “smash” their way through sexual partners, and in each acknowledgement of doing so, are awarded another notch on the belt of their manhood.
When sex education leaves them with more questions than it does answers, they turn to porn – where women climax spontaneously, without lubrication, foreplay, or discussion around consent – to fill in the gaps.
It’s little wonder then, we find ourselves here: with so many women having sex that not only fails to result in their orgasm, but all too often leaves them feeling smaller and less human than they went into it.
If we want to close the orgasm gap (and I wholeheartedly believe most men do), it needs to start with creating safe spaces for women to talk about sex and pleasure. We need to normalise women enjoying and pursuing pleasure in the same way we’ve rewarded men for doing throughout history.
Until we treat female pleasure as significant and meaningful, I fear many women will continue to view sex as an exchange they make with men to glean validation and commitment, not as an act in which they’re equal participants who are worthy of speaking up and asking for what they want.
Not me though, I’m a lesbian.