BEAT THE ORGASM GAP
Women only orgasm a third of the time men do – because we’re “complicated” and “take longer”. But what if that just wasn’t true? This story could change the way you have sex forever ...
Say it with us: ‘Satyromaniac’. Not sure what it means? Then you’re in good company with spellcheck and Google. It’s actually the male version of ‘nymphomaniac’ – the derogatory term for a woman with a high sex drive, which we bet you probably knew. We bet you also know ‘frigid’ – the degrading term for low sexual desire in, yes, you guessed it, women. A male version doesn’t seem to exist. So, in two incredibly common words (neither with a commonly heard-of male counterpart) we’re told women are too sexual or not sexual enough. If movie sex scenes are anything to go by, the right amount of sexual is about five thrusts. And if the misogynistic terms and two minutes of actual intercourse aren’t enough to make you orgasm, it’s because you’re “complicated down there” or “enjoy cuddling afterwards anyway”. “Men have had the privilege of controlling the public discussion about female orgasm for centuries,” explains Trisha Borowicz, a molecular biologist. She directed the award-winning indie film Science, Sex, And The Ladies to debunk the “sh*t tonne of confusion” about the female orgasm. “We’re bombarded with depictions, jokes and discussion of the female orgasm that are simply not realistic. The more we ladies talk honestly with each other, the better this will get,” she adds. Consider this your equal opportunity contract for pleasure.
But first, let’s just recap the OQ (Orgasm IQ)
We learnt the ‘O word’ during high school, but beyond vagueness about waves and a peak, most of us would flunk a biology exam. “Dictionaries declare, ‘Orgasm is the climax of sexual excitement.’ Does that make you any the wiser? I doubt it,” says Dr Vivienne Cass, adjunct associate professor at Curtin University and author of The Elusive Orgasm. But trying to reach that orgasm without ever truly knowing what your body’s trying to tell you can be more frustrating than trying to remember your Apple ID. You just won’t get far.
“A person first needs to be aroused,” says Borowicz. Turn-ons (smell, touch, sound, sight) are incredibly individual, “but once arousal happens, our bodies react similarly”. Blood flows down to your genitals, tensing the muscles in that area. Keep stimulating your clitoris, and an orgasm is when the tense muscles in your pelvis suddenly relax. Involuntary contractions come every 0.8 seconds, with three to 12 likely in total.
Err, so why haven’t we even mentioned the vagina yet?
The thing is, vaginas have kind of been exaggerating the pleasure-giving section of their CVs. No vaginal orgasms have ever been recorded by lab equipment – and not because of the tech. The only proof is people’s claims;
in one instance, a doctor touched women internally until they said they had a vaginal orgasm – though even he admitted he didn’t feel any muscular signs of it. So why do we consider penis-in-vagina the way to win at sex? Blame Sigmund Freud. Based on zero evidence, he said clitoral orgasms were “immature” and after puberty, women should then advance to vaginal ones.
Of course, vaginal contact can still feel great. “There are women who find stimulation of the G-spot pleasurable; stimulating that area can cause arousal,” says Borowicz. However, what we know for a fact is manual stimulation of the clitoris gives us the strongest orgasm. “The vagina is not the female pleasure organ,” Borowicz adds. William Masters and Virginia Johnson proved this – in a lab! – in 1966. We knew it 50 years ago.
whole ‘women take ages’ thing? Let’s assess …
“These are the stories we tell ourselves: That women’s bodies are simply more difficult or the clitoris is hard to find and complicated to operate,” says sociologist Dr Lisa Wade, author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. What we rarely hear is this statistic: That, when touching ourselves, the average time it takes us to orgasm is four minutes. Yep, exactly the same as a man. Sex researcher Alfred Kinsey spoke to 6,000 women to suss this out. In 1953. Go figure.
normal to have ghost-gasms
You’ve most-likely experienced this annoying feeling before. One minute you’re teetering so close to the edge that you need a handrail, and the next, it’s vanished. But this poltergeist pleasure – what Dr Cass calls a ‘plateau’ – is completely normal. “Depending on our mood, what’s happening around us, and so on, arousal may decrease or level out,” she explains, noting that it’s particularly common just before an orgasm, or to happen several times. “Many women and just stop all sexual activity when they start losing the ‘feeling’. If they’d known that it’s perfectly normal for their sexual arousal to go up and down, they might have enjoyed the moment until their arousal built towards a climax.” Patience, ladies!
Know your orgasm entitlements
A recent US study found a way to crack the gender gap: Turning a ratio of three male orgasms for every one female into (practically equal) 1.04:1 odds. How? Increase the number of times a couple sleeps together (relationships give seven times more orgasms than hookups) and the number of activities per session (combining oral sex, intercourse and clitoral self-stimulation had up to a 92 per cent orgasm success rate). The reason that hook-ups fared so badly was that women didn’t really feel entitled to come. One woman, interviewed by sociologist Elizabeth Armstrong, admitted, “I’ll do everything in my power, to get [him] off.” But on the likelihood of bringing a women to orgasm, a man replied, “In a hook-up, I don’t give a sh*t.”
So, do you still think your “difficult” genitals are to blame?
Oh, yes, just right there ...