Beautiful Black Woman

The Orgasm Gap and What it Means for Women

Everyone with a vulva and having sex without an orgasm should continue to read on. Some women say they are unsure if they had an orgasm. Well, if you are not sure, you probably have not had one. Dr. David Schnarch says, “For many people, orgasm is the goal and measure of sexual fulfillment.” Although a lack of orgasms does not mean you did not have good or great sex, it could mean you are deprived of another level of eroticism.

What is an Orgasm?

Young Black Couple

According to the National Health Service (NHS), “An orgasm is a feeling of intense sexual pleasure that happens during sexual activity.”

What is the Orgasm Gap?

Dr. Laurie Mintz coined the term Orgasm Gap to identify the fact that heterosexual men have many more orgasms than heterosexual women. What’s up with that? The female clitoris has twice as many nerve endings as the male penis. Women have 8,000 nerve endings in the clitoris, and men have 4,000 in the head of their penis.

One Study shows that 95% of heterosexual men reported they usually or always orgasm during sex, compared to 65% of heterosexual women. Lesbians also have more orgasms than heterosexual women, reporting 86% always orgasm during sex. The study shows that 10% had never had an orgasm.

What are the Major Reasons for the Pleasure Gap with Women?

  • Lack of sexual education – for most women, the primary source of pleasure is the clitoris.
  • Lack of adequate foreplay – meaningful and pleasurable foreplay
  • Mindfulness – relax and be present, letting go of the daily stress that hinders orgasms

Human Sexual Response Cycle

The human sexual response cycle theory is credited to William Masters and Virginia Johnson, who theorized what happens in a four-stage model.

Phase 1: Excitement or (Arousal Phase) – is the state of desire or arousal by physical or mental erotic stimuli such as kissing, fantasizing, watching porn, or stimulating genitals. The excitement and arousal cause the heart, blood pressure, and breathing rate to increase.

Phase 2: Plateau – sexual pleasure increases from phase 1. Blood flows to the genitals more, making them super sensitive right before orgasm occurs. If there is a prolonged plateau phase without orgasm, it could cause sexual frustration.

Phase 3: The orgasm or climax phase is the quickest and most intense of the four stages lasting a few seconds and resulting in the release of sexual tension.

Phase 4: The resolution phase or refractory (for males) comes after the orgasm, allowing the blood pressure and breathing to decrease and the muscles to relax. It is a downward shift from all other stages.

Note: Refractory is the period when males cannot experience orgasms. It is typical for males, but some women also experience a refractory period.

Do Men Know What Women Need?

The Kinsey Institute found that during masturbation, both women and men reach orgasm in about the same amount of time. If women are not achieving orgasm with a partner, it could mean that some men misunderstand what their female partners need to orgasm. Most heterosexual men believe their partner did have an orgasm. The statistics show that either the partner was faking, or the men could not tell.

Young Couple in Bed

Orgasms in Women

Dr. Beverly Whipple, former president of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT), said that the clitoris is a wonderful thing, “but there’s more to women’s sexuality.”

The female orgasm continues to be the subject of scientific curiosity. Doctors are uncertain about the various ways women achieve orgasms and the things that can prevent orgasms in women. An article published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy found that 36.6 percent of women absolutely needed clitoral stimulation during sex, while about half that, 18.4 percent, prefer vaginal penetration alone.

Ways to Bridge the Gap

  1. Genuinely find interest in what your partner wants; her needs are important.
  2. Explore the vulva, which includes the clitoris, the opening of the vagina, inner and outer lips
  3. Explore combining clitoris stimulation with vaginal penetration
  4. Because women want sex to last longer than men (5.4 minutes), try more foreplay that is satisfying to the female.
  5. Have more meaningful conversations before, during, and after sex
  6. Explore ways for her to orgasm after he has ejaculated. Clitoral stimulation with a vibrator, your mouth, and your hands is an option.

In efforts to bridge the orgasm gap, the couple could do a few things to promote the female’s orgasm. Males asking their female partner what they like can help with preventing sexual dissatisfaction; if you do not know what satisfies her, just ask her. If the couple finds communication about sex difficult, talking to a therapist could improve sexual understanding to close the orgasm gap.

Chantail Green
Chantail Green, Resident Therapist

Chantail Green, Resident Therapist

Licensed Professional Counselor Associate

Under Supervision of Amy Fuller PhD, LMFT-S, LPC-S, CST

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