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The Orgasm Gap: The Real Reason Women Get Off Less Often Than Men and How to Fix It

The gap between men’s and women’s frequency of orgasm is impacted by social forces that privilege male pleasure.

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In sum, it’s high time we stop pretending that women are just bad at orgasms. The gap between men’s and women’s frequency of orgasm is strongly impacted by social forces that privilege men’s pleasure over women’s. Both men and women tend to buy into these messages, naturalizing and justifying the orgasm gap.

While college students reproduce these dynamics, there is also much room for optimism. The size of the orgasm gap between men and women in relationships is much smaller than that in the population overall. This is promising. And, while we should push back against the idea that hookups are opportunities for women to sexually service their male peers, the fact that men are showing concern for the pleasure of their girlfriends is a step in the right direction. The feminists of the sexual revolution are likely disappointed that it’s taking this long, and that we still see a version of the Madonna/whore-now-hookup/girlfriend dichotomy, but there is some indication that women’s pleasure is on the agenda and the orgasm gap is shrinking.

Lisa Wade holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an M.A. in human sexuality from New York University. She is an associate professor at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter or visit her website.

 
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