The orgasm gap may actually be wider than you previouly thought. A recent survey by Astroglide found that the orgasm gap is wider than the wage gap, which just shows that sex is one area where we still have a lot of work to do toward gender equality.
Astroglide asked 7,535 people about how often they orgasmed, whether they faked orgasms, and other questions about their sex lives. They found that 89 percent of men usually orgasm when they have intercourse, compared to 47 percent of women. This isn't necessarily a problem, as there are many ways to orgasm besides intercourse. Most women require clitoral stimulation to orgasm, so it's possible that the remaining 53 percent of women are orgasming in other ways. If you're one of those women, don't worry that this makes you abnormal or disempowered — it could just make you a woman who orgasms through clitoral stimulation, and that's great, as long as you're getting that.
The wording of the question hopefully explains some of the male-female discrepancy that was found, but it probably doesn't explain it all. A 2018 Chapman University study found that 65 percent of straight women, 86 percent of lesbians, and 66 percent of bisexual women orgasmed during every or almost every sexual encounter (not just intercourse) over the past month. That's better than Astroglide's findings, but still not as high as straight men's 95 percent orgasm rate.
Here are some other findings of Astroglide's survey that illuminate the orgasm gap.
1. More Women Than Men Have Faked An Orgasm During Intercourse
Faking orgasms isn't just for women, but it is more common among women, at least during intercourse. 75 percent of women, compared to 37 percent of men, said they'd done as much. This may be because women are less likely to orgasm during intercourse in the first place, yet they often feel pressure to do so. It's important for women to know that their orgasms are not for their partners' egos. They're for your own pleasure, so it's worth it to be honest and advocate for real ones.
2. Men And Women Feel Differently About Faking Orgasms
Even though men fake orgasms less often, they have less guilt about it. Men were twice as likely to say they felt "just fine" about faking orgasms, while women were more likely to say they felt "frustrated" or "conflicted."
3. Men And Women Fake Orgasms For The Same Reasons
Male and female respondents' motivations weren't that different, though. The number one reason for both was "I didn't want my partner to feel bad," which makes sense when being a good lover is often conflated with making a partner orgasm. The second most common reason was that they “wanted sex to end faster," which is also not surprising when communicating about sex is still considered taboo.
However, it's always OK to give your partner feedback, whether it's that you need them to switch up their technique or that you're finished for the night (even if you didn't "finish" in the other sense).
4. Women Who Use Lube Are Less Likely To Fake An Orgasm
Women in the survey who used lube were more likely to say they'd never faked an orgasm, though that doesn't necessarily mean lube makes you less likely to fake orgasms. It could be that these women are more comfortable using lube because they're more confident in the bedroom and willing to ask for what they want, or it could be that lube increases pleasure.
5. Many Women Never Orgasm During Intercourse
The survey found that two percent of men, compared to 19 percent of women, never orgasmed during intercourse. Again, this probably isn't as bad as it sounds because it doesn't take other acts into account. If you're among the many women who don't orgasm through intercourse alone, make sure your partner is on board with providing clitoral stimulation (or whatever else you need to orgasm) via oral sex, manual sex, sex toys, or whatever works for you.
6. Men And Women React Differently If They Don't Orgasm
Perhaps the most revealing finding of the study was that when women don't orgasm during intercourse, they're far less likely than men to do something about it. In the 18-24 age range, for example, 74 percent of men would either tell their partner to finish the job or masturbate themselves, while only 56 percent of women would do the same. The rest would "stay silent and frustrated." This illustrates one major reason the orgasm gap exists: Women don't always feel entitled to orgasms.
So, when it comes (no pun intended) to equality in the bedroom, it looks like we have a problem — but it's not one that can't be solved. On a societal level, the key to closing the orgasm gap is more accessible and accurate information about sex. But there's also a lot we can do on an individual level: pay more attention to women's pleasure, communicate openly and honestly, and remember the clitoris.