Reality of Sexual Pleasure Disparity, Grace Wetzel

By

So, let’s get into it and talk about Sex. We’ll be talking about Clitoris, Orgasm, and Oral Sex. Now, we all know what we are going to talk about in this curated article here. Sex is a tabu topic about which majority of us don’t talk about to anyone. There is a problem with how we take it and that is the reason a lot of straight women have a lot of different experiences than straight men do. Because, as per “most of the people”, we live in a world that revolves around the pleasure of the penis.

Here we are going to talk about the ways we define sex. We’ll be talking about the differences between orgasm rate and pleasure distribution for men and women. In the final, we’ll be moving towards how we can make it an equal sexual experience.

How we Define Sex?

According to the Cambridge dictionary, Sex is listed as the activity of sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse is defined by Merriam-Webster as the heterosexual intercourse involving the penetration of the vagina by the penis.

So, essentially, the definition of sex is just the definition of penetrative, heterosexual sex. Wait, what does this mean? Did you get it? Let’s see.

Why does it matter how we define sex in the dictionary? For instance, think about it for yourselves. What do you count as sex? When you’re thinking to yourself about the people that you’ve had sex with, what acts are you thinking of? Well, for a lot of people this thing centers around the penetration. Centering sex around the penis is problematic and not only for any sex that doesn’t involve a penis but also for a straight woman’s experience. Because if you are in the 3/4 of women who don’t experience regular vaginal orgasm, a statistic found by Harvard professor Elisabeth Lloyd’s analysis of 33 studies regarding human sexuality. So, if you’re in the 3/4 of women who don’t vaginally orgasm then your orgasm is already considered extra.

Your orgasm isn’t even the part of those dictionaries definition of what is real sex is. The significance of the clitoris as the main and the most consistent form of female pleasure and orgasm has been proven time and time again from researchers like Alfred Kinsey to the survey studies of Breanne Fahs. So, essentially, the pleasure that stimulates women’s main sexual organ which is sometimes hard to accept to people is the clitoris, not the vagina is not even considered real sex but something else, foreplay.

Here is the reality of Sexual Pleasure Disparity

According to a large scale survey of American adults conducted by Laumann and colleagues, women are having, one average, one orgasm for every three that men have during heterosexual encounters. There are women who think that this number sounds pretty accurate, but there are a lot of women who say that as per their experience this gap is a hell lot larger.

So, why are men having so many more orgasms than women? There are two common explanations for this orgasm inequality.

The first one is, Sex is a means for reproduction. If this were the purpose of sex, then female orgasm may be unnecessary, because the male orgasm is the way that reproduction would be achieved. Fair enough. Though this is an outdated argument and completely irrelevant. Because reproduction is clearly not the purpose of sex in the majority of the cases today, as you can see through the presence of the birth control methods. So, then why people are having sex? For pleasure, right? Because it’s fun, it feels good. So, if the purpose if pleasure but not reproduction then this argument doesn’t even apply.

In a mutual, pleasure-based encounter, theoretically, both parties should be benefiting equally from that encounter. This idea of male orgasm as the means for reproduction represents an excuse for this orgasm to retain privilege, and nothing more.

The second explanation is, It’s just more difficult for women to orgasm. There is an idea about women’s bodies are somehow naturally just less capable of orgasm and that the clitoris is elusive and difficult to operate. Well, this so-called “SCIENTIFIC” explanation of sexual difference ignores crucial social factors that play a huge in how we experience our sexuality, like hook-up culture, anatomical misunderstanding, gender roles, and power dynamics.

The myth that the female orgasm is naturally less easy to achieve can be proven false with two very simple statistics. The first is that according to research done by Alfred Kinsey, the average time that it takes women to orgasm from masturbation is the same as the average time that it takes a man to do the same, which is about 4 minutes. So, this means that if you know what you’re doing, as in doing it to yourself, then sex differences in the time it takes to orgasm literally disappear.

Additionally, women who have sex with other women have orgasm rates that are much higher as compared to straight women’s, orgasm rates that are almost as high as straight men’s. This research was conducted at the Kinsey Institute by Dr. Justin Garcia and colleagues.

The idea that the female orgasm is just as easy to achieve as the male orgasm can be a tough one to wrap our heads around because we’ve been conditioned to think of the male orgasm as the natural result of sex and the female orgasm as something extra. The problem does not lie in the nature of the female orgasm. When women are put in a situation where the penis is not envolved, as in the situations described before, then sex differences disappear. This means that is can’t just be biology, societal and gender dynamics must be at play here.

But the problem is not men’s alone, the problem lies in the way that all of us are approching, viewing, and participating in heterosexual sex. Given the statistic stated bfore that only 1/4 of women report regular vaginal orgasm, it shouldn’t even be expected that women orgasm this way, but it is. There is a huge pressure put on women to orgasm vaginally, and when they don’t or can’t have an orgasm this way, there’s an strigma and a sense of shame.

Statistically speaking, this shame simply should’nt exist because it should be common sense that women need clitoral stimulation in order to reach orgasm. This expectation of vaginal orgasm is one of the reasons why women are orgasming less, and the pressure to do so is one of the reasons why according to Breanne Fahs’s surveys, over 50% women reported having faked an orgasm before.

That’s the majority of women have faked an orgasm. Women are so trained to put men’s pleasure first that it’s almost as if they would rather please their partner by giving the appearance of an orgasm than actually have one themselves.

By believing, whether consciously or subconsciously, that their orgasm is less important, women accept and reproduce subordinate sexual status. Sexual inequality can also be observed through the prevelance of certain sexual activities, like oral sex.

According to Wendy Chambers’ study on the sexual behaviour of college students, she found that women reported giviing oral sex more, and men reported receiving oral sex more. So, why are ment giving oral sex less that women are? An easy way for women to help fix this problem is to ask for oral sex, or to ask for orgasm, or to ask for clitorial stimulation or for whatever it is that they want.

The problem is, asking for pleasure, as a woman is a lot easier than done. First of all, asking for pleasure comes with the assumption that you deserve it. Women always deserve it but they often feell like they don’t. It can be hard to ask for something from your partner when that person is making that act feel like an invonvenience or a chore. Second of all, women should’t have to be asking. Men should be making women’s pleasure and orgasm in equal priority to theirs, period. And third, women often feel like they can’t ask. There are women who have asked for things that are focused on theri pleasure and have been straight-up told “no”, or treated like it was an inconvenience, or told that sex was over now because the man had an orgasm.

A lot of times, women don’t feel like they can ask or they just don’t, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t want oral sex, or that they don’t want an orgasm. When we are talking about sexual inequality, the differences skyrocket, when it comes to casual, uncommitted sexual encounters, or “hook-ups”. Sociologist Armstrong, England, Fogarty, found in their study of college students that women were 56% less likely to have an orgasm in a first hook-up than in a committed relationship. Women in this study, reported their partners’ complete disregard for their pleasure, and men also reported being sexually inconsiderate.

However, this doesn’t mean that the orgasm gap doesn’t exisit for many committed women, because it really does. There are also a lot of women who have never had an orgasm from a partner. The reality of this situation is that women’s pleasure and orgasm consistently become secondary, less important, less prevalent, and sometimes ignored altogetherd or even disrespected. Women internalize this belief that they don’t deserver the same sexual experience as men do, or its just not a physical possibility. Although, there is an argument that the possibilities for women’s pleasure are limiteless.

Women actually have a huge, varying capacity for orgasm, we are not just exploring it. Clearifying, don’t want men’s pleasure to go down, don’t want orgasm rates for men to decrease, and don’t want to diminish the importance of penetrative sex because penetrative sex is really important. All, we are talking here is about sexual equality. Just open your mind and consider that they way you’re currently viewing sex might be oppressive. The experience of pleasure is different for every single person, but as long as interactions have consent, respect and a goal of equaltiy, then we will have more pleasureable sexual experiences.

It can be hard to stop viewing sex as penile-vaginal penetration only, and it can be hard to start viewing the female orgasm as just as expected and as important as the male orgasm. It’s hard to accept these things at first, but once you do, the reality of sexual equality becomes really easy. It’s really all in the hands of the individuals participating. How long is it going to take for women to realize what they deserve, demand better, and not accepting anythign less? And when are men going to start treating their partners as equal participants in sex? And when are we all going to realize that the way we are viewing sex is centered around penetration, and centered around the orgasm of the penis, and it’s a good thing to question the validity of that.

The trend of less pleasureable and less fulfilling sex lives for women limits the sexual power of a women as a whole. If we could create a movement to abolish the sexual inequality and pleasure gap, if we could start viewing sex in more equal and postivie light overall, then we would be one big step closer to the reality of gender equality.

Picture Credits: https://hbr.org/2018/10/fixing-the-gender-imbalance-in-health-care-leadership

Leave a Comment