The orgasm gap between men and women

Hannah Seligson at The Daily Beast on the orgasm gap:

Their research confirms that the orgasm gap is widespread among young people in both casual hookups and relationships. Surveying 12,925 undergraduates from 17 universities, researchers examined four sexual contexts—a first hookup, one to two previous hookups, three or more previous hookups, and a relationship—and found that in all cases, men were twice as likely to orgasm. That gap is far wider in hookup situations than in relationships. In the context of relationships, women orgasm about 80% as often as men.

It’s not just sexual neophytes on college campuses that are having trouble. After looking at 32 studies that included mostly married women and spanned the past 90 years, Dr. Elisabeth Lloyd, author of The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution and a professor of history and philosophy of science at Indiana University, found that a third of women never had an orgasm during intercourse.

Where does this orgasm gap come from, and why is it so much more pronounced in instances of casual sex than in relationships? Analyzing data from the survey, the researchers found a few possible explanations, one of which has to do with the amount of effort expended in bed—and who’s expending it.

England’s study found that women give oral sex to their male partners in all contexts—from casual hookups to relationships—at higher rates than men do, sometimes dramatically higher. The study’s anecdotal evidence backs this up. “The ratio of oral sex was 4-to-1 in his favor,” says writer Kimberlee Auerbach, 36, of her last long-term relationship. (She adds that despite the lopsided ration, he still was still invested in her orgasm.)


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