Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus - it’s a hotly debated topic. Some argue that our differences are based on human, rather than gender characteristics.
But when it comes to orgasms, it seems that we truly are from different planets.
Let's take a look at the facts.
What percentage of women orgasm during sex?
Data on the female orgasm should be taken with a pinch of salt as it's difficult to draw reliable conclusions when participants have self-reported. There are many reasons why a woman might report having an orgasm when she hasn't, including pressure to please a partner or confusion about what an orgasm is. That said, studies on orgasms do lend insight into the realities of the orgasm gap.
So, what percentage of women orgasm during sex?
A large study found that 95% of heterosexual men usually achieve orgasm, dropping to 86% for lesbian women. The figure drops again to 65% for heterosexual women.
And there are several explanations as to why.
But first, let’s get to grips with what an orgasm actually is.
What is an orgasm?
An orgasm is an intense feeling of pleasure that comes from sexual stimulation. Scientifically, it’s the release of neurohormones (oxytocin and prolactin) and endorphins in the brain. Orgasms are a natural part of sexual pleasure and can even reduce stress.
There’s no universal way to reach orgasm, and the same can be said for the way that it feels - but the chemical reaction in the brain is triggered whether you’re male or female.
Sounds simple enough… Right?
Actually, when you get to grips with the stimulation and biology of an orgasm, men are playing a completely different ball game to women (quite literally).
One of the greatest differences: ejaculation.
When a man orgasms, he ejaculates - that’s the biology of a man’s sexual function. Male ejaculation is the release of sperm cells and seminal plasma from the testes. It’s easier said than done, and sexual dysfunctions such as premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction are extremely common. Less frequently, a man might experience retrograde ejaculation, where the sperm travels back into the bladder (this can sometimes be the reason for a ‘dry orgasm’).
You might have heard of female ejaculation. There’s a lot of speculation around what this actually is but the fact that it’s substantially less common and doesn’t have to coincide with an orgasm suggests that it’s not analogous with male ejaculation.
It’s clear that men and women have biological differences when it comes to sex, but the question remains…
Why do men find it easier to orgasm than women?
Centuries ago, enjoying too much sex was seen as a sin of which women were the enticers. It’s pathed the way for a male-orientated approach to the pleasure of sex.
Although progress has been made when it comes to understanding female sexual pleasure, echoes of a male-dominated mentality remain. This may explain - at least in part - the orgasm gap.
We still don’t have answers, but we do have some clues as to why men reach orgasm easier than women.
The following 3 points lend insight into the phenomenon:
Extortionate amounts of money and time have been pumped into finding cures and treatments for common male sexual health problems. This has brought us revolutionary medications, including, but not limited, to:
Erectile dysfunction treatments
Premature ejaculation treatments
Despite 40% of women experiencing some sort of sexual dysfunction, the amount of money and research that’s gone into finding treatment is minute in comparison.
One of the most commonly reported sexual dysfunctions in women? Inability to reach orgasm.
With more research and treatment options on the market, the gender orgasm gap would most likely narrow.
Libido varies no matter what gender you are. A reduced libido in men can sometimes indicate low levels of testosterone, which can lead to erectile dysfunction. You can easily take a blood test to find out if this is the cause of your erectile dysfunction.
For women, it’s more complex. Research into gender and sex drive repeatedly finds that men are more sexually motivated than women. This may be because women are particularly influenced by sociocultural conditions when it comes to getting aroused. For men, arousal is much more straightforward.
A more complex path for sexual stimulation means greater hurdles for women and an increased likelihood that they won’t reach destination O.
One theory is that some women are anatomically more inclined to orgasm than others. This is based on an analysis of two studies that demonstrate women who have a shorter distance between their clitoris and their urinary opening are more likely to have an orgasm during intercourse.
The importance of the clitoris has gained traction when it comes to the female orgasm, which lends explanation as to why this might occur. A study on 833 undergraduate students found that clitoral knowledge was significantly correlated with the frequency of orgasm during masturbation, highlighting the role the clitoris has to play in sexual stimulation. So, if you're wondering how to make a woman orgasm, the key is in the clit.
Although these theories don’t give us solid answers as to why men find it easier to achieve orgasm than women, they’re all underpinned by one common fact - every woman is different. So, getting to know your partner is the best way to achieve a mutual orgasm.
The bottom line
The reason why men reach orgasm easier than women is complex. The biological reaction that men have to sexual stimulation is different to women, with ejaculation accompanying an orgasm. Research into sexual dysfunction in women is limited, meaning there are fewer options for women to address and solve issues in the bedroom. Libido and the anatomy of a woman are also plausible explanations for why so many women are struggling to reach orgasm during sexual intercourse. The best way to close the orgasm gap is to get to know what your partner needs to achieve the elusive big O.
- Are blue balls real? We asked an expert
- The 3 types of ejaculation (yes, 3!)
- 5 reasons you might not be able to get an erection
- The 4 different types of erectile dysfunction