When it comes to heterosexual relationships, we’re facing a huge issue of orgasm inequality.
I’m not just going off my own unsatisfactory experiences – a U.S study which surveyed over 52,500 heterosexual, bisexual and gay adults found that over 95% of heterosexual men reported they usually or always orgasmed during sex, compared to just 65% of heterosexual women.
Anyone who’s experienced an orgasm, whether thanks to another or themselves, knows this is a serious injustice which must be stopped.
In the latest episode of our H R U ? podcast with Kids Helpline and yourtown, presenter Marty Smiley discusses what is known as “the orgasm gap” with Sex and Relationship therapist Aleks Trkulja, who gives some context to the imbalance and what can be done to help.
“The orgasm gap is this phenomenon, like the equal pay gap. Essentially men have more orgasms than women, and that gap is that women are not really getting to orgasm as much,” Aleks explains.
This being said, it’s important not to assume any kind of deficiency in women and their sexual capacities. “It’s not about women,” Aleks explains. “Women who have sex with women are coming all the time, so it’s not women, let me just put it that way.”
It may also be unsurprising that orgasm inadequacy is more prevalent in casual sex, but that’s not to say there’s not also a discrepancy in relationships – there absolutely is. So what can others do to assist the gap behind the flap?
“Have the awareness that your functioning is not the same as someone else’s,” Aleks suggests.
“Sexual response for men and women is really different. In heterosexual encounters, and why the orgasm gap happens, is because men are ready within a few minutes while women are still warming up. We need a bit of warming up before we can get to the place where orgasms can happen.”
Along with awareness comes patience. Aleks explains, “There’s also an expectation – which might come from porn, it might come from elsewhere – that women should be able to come as quickly as men. Even vice versa – some men don’t come as quickly and that’s OK, but even just having the patience for the process.”
Removing pressure can also go a long way, Aleks suggests, saying that, “trying not to make it super goal-orientated” can “sometimes be an issue”. Like many things in this life, once you remove the overwhelming pressure of an end goal, things can really have the opportunity to thrive. You know what they say: it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.
As much as orgasm equality is sexy, so is being open and honest about sexual health in relationships. In this episode, Smiley also leans upon registered nurse Robbie Bedbrook for information around the clinical side of sex: sexual health.
“It’s really important to bust the myth that talking about sexual health is unsexy and will kill a mood. I would find it much more sexy to be with someone who could bring that conversation up in a really casual, mature way, because I’d look at them and think, ‘Wow, this is someone who knows how to take care of themselves, but also cares about me, which I think should be a really sexy thing.”
To close out the episode, Smiley speaks to Kids Helpline specialist Josie about the types of calls she receives in her position, which she explains can be calls of panic as a result of the stigma attached to talking about these topics. “We don’t have enough conversations about this,” she says.
Be sure to catch the episode in full above and tune in for our next topic: finances.Image: When Harry Met Sally