A woman’s body is like a violin and all, and that it takes a terrific musician to play it right.― JD Salinger
Good sex when complemented with a satisfying orgasm, or two can be pure bliss, the proof of the two being connected on a cosmic level. It can be just an everyday magical instance that reminds you that life is good as long as it can reward you with such moments, or it can be an earth-shattering, mind-blowing experience that makes you laugh or cry, leaving you breathless, making you ache for more and more, or putting you to a dreamless sleep as a final resort from all the pain and ugliness from this world.
But does one really need an orgasm or two or more to call sex good sex?
The orgasm gap
The orgasm gap is a term coined only recently, referring to the disparity of orgasms within a heterosexual relationship. It became an issue when women started to claim their right to have just as many orgasms as men. A national survey conducted in The US reported one female orgasm for every three male orgasms. In heterosexual relationships, men reported that they orgasm usually or always during sexual intimacy, 95 per cent of the time.
The gap is reportedly narrower among homosexual and bisexual people, where 89 per cent of gay males, 88 per cent bisexual males, 86 per cent lesbian women, and 66 per cent of bisexual women orgasm during sexual interactions.
What can be the reasons for the orgasm gap?
It is considered a lower priority.
First, too often female pleasure is seen as just a bonus, evolutionarily not a necessity for sexual activity. If it happens, good, but if it doesn’t, well, still good. We are raised within the belief system, aided by sex ed, where sex begins with an erection and ends in ejaculation — male focus only. This is how men and women think, and it explains a great deal about the female orgasm being shrugged off, or considered unimportant — important to say: by both men and women. This in itself leaves little or no room for female pleasure.
Female pleasure is difficult to achieve.
Ask any man if male or female orgasm is easier to achieve and you will find that it is a male orgasm. But ask any woman, they will say the same. While for men an orgasm is a natural, granted phenomenon, in most cases defining a sexual act; for women it might be a source of frustration, and feeling pressured to achieve it, as a proof of both their pleasure and the capabilities of their partner, can be the very reason why it is not happening. This frustration can lead to faking it or giving up on it completely.
Heterosexual men don’t know how to give women orgasms.
I’m not saying it’s all men, thankfully there are quite a few who I know, who are quite capable and skilled in that area. But coming from sex ed, men growing up have a limited idea about women’s pleasure. The illustration of the female reproductive system is focusing on internal parts, like ovaries and uterus and maybe fallopian tubes, but it is not focusing on external genitals, like the clitoris, clitoral hood or labia.
Women don’t know how to ask for orgasms.
And here, we are talking about heterosexual women. I have to admit I am guilty of that one. Sometimes we assume that men should already know the way around and their education is not our job. Other times it feels embarrassing to speak up and demand what we want. It comes down both to communication, but also to the shared intimacy within a relationship. In an established relationship, it is easier, while when it comes to casual sex it seems to further widen the gap — even if we have nothing to lose asking for what we want.
The orgasm gap is real. But should we care that much?
On the one hand, we can be certain that there is an orgasm gap, and we can definitely speculate on the reasons; and promoting the idea that women are just as entitled to their orgasms as men is the right way to do.
We need to have better sex ed, we need to stop assuming, we need to start to demand it and men need to start to consider it just as important as their own — to fight objectification and reach a mutually pleasant experience that leaves no bitter taste in anyone’s mouth.
But on the other hand, when it comes to measuring sexual satisfaction within a heterosexual relationship, there is so much more than exclusively the orgasm.
This goes to both sexes, both men and women.
Pleasure comes in different forms and on different levels. Being intimate with your partner, enjoying their company, enjoying their body, finding satisfaction in the connection itself, enjoying giving just as much as receiving can be just as satisfactory without an orgasm.
On both a physiological level and a psychological and emotional level, the arousal, the stimulation, the process of getting there can be in some cases more and better than the relief provided by the orgasm. The pleasure is not limited to the genitalia and the touch, it involves all other senses, the sight, the smell, the sounds and the taste of the other. These are proven to start to release the feel-good hormones even before the touch comes on. This is how foreplay doesn’t definitely need even physical presence and how some well-placed words can already be a huge turn on, and this is how women can orgasm even without being touched.
So how many is enough?
The multi-orgasmic woman is not a myth. It is possible and it is brilliant — this is how women are compensated for their orgasms not being a necessity. Being able to enjoy elongated pleasure or separate orgasms in rapid succession without needing any recovery time is a great way to make up for the orgasm gap.
It is not a competition, though, but it does give a huge boost to both parties, and the release of dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin is just out of this world. Although, multiple orgasms can be reached with a skilled lover, and with no connection, it’s still just okay sex, not definitely good.
Less is sometimes more. Not digging deep into the different orgasm types that women can experience, from very mild to mindblowing, sometimes one single orgasm is all that is needed. It can be so earth-shattering that going for another one seems impossible at best or torture at worst anyway.
No orgasm sounds like a failure, right? But it isn’t. As said before, orgasm is not the only proof for pleasurable sex. While the lack of it can leave you frustrated for sure, it is possible to have meaningful connectedness without experiencing the big O.
I was writing before about a perfect one night stand, with incredible chemistry and unexpected connectedness. The smell, the taste, the touch, everything was just magical. We shared a cosmic experience, in a way neither of us experienced before, leaving us breathless, craving for more and more, not sleeping at all — that would have been just impossible. What? Should I miss a second of touching him and feeling him on me and in me? No way!
I left out one tiny detail. We made love three times that lasted 6 hours. He had one orgasm. And I had none. I left this out because it was unimportant. There was an orgasm gap. One to zero. I left it out because what we had was more than an orgasm competition. It was better and more than anything I have ever experienced with anyone. Would I have wanted an orgasm? Maybe. I’m not sure it would have been better by that.
For me, the formula for good sex:
- mutual pleasure (not orgasm but pleasure),
- connection on some (or more) level,
- and being present together.
I’m not even mentioning consent and respect here. Without those it’s not even sex, it’s assault or rape.
The increasing number of female orgasms can start to close the orgasm gap, but just the quantity itself is not compensating for quality, chemistry or connection.
And I, personally, would go for quality, chemistry and connection over quantity anytime, without a second thought.
Thanks for reading.