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The Orgasm Gap

July 28 2022 | Written by Rheanna Summers (She/Her)

Ah orgasms… there’s nothing quite like them. Some say it’s like a sneeze, but better. Others say it’s like that first morning stretch, but better. While there can be many different ways to describe what an orgasm feels like, the general consensus remains the same. Which is that there is just nothing quite like it. However, it should also be noted that not all people can achieve orgasm. Or maybe an orgasm is just dependent on many different factors and circumstances. Totally cool, nothing wrong with that. But best to speak to a medical professional if you’re concerned about your ability to achieve orgasm.

Given that orgasms have become a significant part of life, it should come as no surprise that there is actually a National Orgasm Day. That’s right folks, on July 31st, you too can celebrate orgasms! But honestly, don’t let that stop you from celebrating every other day too. Given the fact that National Orgasm Day is only a few sleeps away, I figured why not dedicate this Marlow blog to discussing the Orgasm Gap, or also known as: the O-Gap.

What is the O-Gap?

Disclaimer: This blog will be referring to studies that use gendered language. Therefore, in accordance with these studies, this blog will also be using gendered language to remain consistent with any mentioned studies. 

Chances are, at some point you may have experienced the orgasm gap. Or maybe not, in which case that’s awesome! Perhaps too, you just weren’t aware of the actual lingo and what the orgasm gap meant. Either way, let’s take a deeper dive into what the orgasm gap is and who is primarily affected. 

In essence, the orgasm gap is when a person is engaging in sexual activities with another person, and one consistently achieves an orgasm more than the other. It is to the point where there is an imbalance or inequality between the two parties’ orgasms. 

While it can be argued that the orgasm gap spans to many different types of relationships, one study concluded that the orgasm gap predominantly affects heterosexual women when compared to not only heterosexual men but also lesbian, gay, and bisexual people too. The study found that heterosexual men were more likely to always have an orgasm, when compared to heterosexual women. Heterosexual men reported that 95% of the time when being “sexually intimate” they would “usually-always” reach climax. This is in comparison to heterosexual women who reported that they would orgasm only 65% of the time while being intimate with another. These percentages point to a broader picture of the orgasm gap and an inequality occurring within the bedroom

Why Does an Orgasm Gap Exist in the First Place?

In order to address and improve the orgasm gap, it is first important to understand where this inequality stems from and what we can do to make it better for all parties. One study in particular presents a compelling argument which states that within heteronormative sex, there is a general understanding that sexual norms and gendered labor contribute to greater orgasm gaps. Men’s orgasms are often viewed as the “finale” or the “end goal” while engaging in sexual activity. This assumption often translates to a male’s orgasm being more naturally occurring, whereas women’s orgasms are more “mythical” and if they’re going to happen then it needs to be prior to a male’s climax. Simultaneously, there is a common misconception that most people with clitorises can reach orgasm with only penetration and no stimulation. In actuality, both oral sex as well as clitoral stimulation are ways in which the orgasm gap can be improved. 

It is also important to note that the goal of intimacy doesn’t have to always be orgasming. And either party having an orgasm does not signal the end of sexual activity, especially if only one person has reached climax and not the other. Intimacy with others is so much more than sexual gratification. It also means exploring yourself and determining what works for you and what doesn’t. At the end of the day, sexual activity should be fun and exciting, as opposed to pressure for one party to orgasm before the other does. Someone very wise once said that “it’s not about the destination but rather the journey”! And while this quote can relate to many different aspects of life, the same can be said about orgasms too.

What Can You Do About the Orgasm Gap?

First and foremost, there is power in taking control of your orgasms. If you are with a partner who doesn’t prioritize your orgasms as much as their own, perhaps take some time to communicate with them and discuss how you feel. It can be intimidating to stand up for yourself, but at the end of the day, everyone deserves equally satisfying orgasms. Educating one another about the importance of clitoral stimulation and the anatomy of one another’s genitalia is equally as significant. If someone doesn’t value your orgasms, then are they worth your energy and time? Those are questions that only you know the answer to, but with National Orgasm Day approaching (July 31st!), maybe this could be an opportunity to start the conversation. 

And last but definitely not least, do not downplay the significance of feeling comfortable with a partner in order to orgasm with them. Everyone has different pleasures and ways of reaching orgasm, so it can take a while to figure someone new out. The key is to try not to feel pressure to orgasm. Engaging in sexual activities should be fun and exciting, not anxiety inducing and filled with pressure. So, take your time and enjoy!