How Gender Inequality Shows Up In The Bedroom

Ashley Batz for Bustle

If you want proof that gender inequality still exists, just look at the inequalities in people's sex lives. The way we're treated in bed reflects the way we're viewed and treated elsewhere — which means it reveals that right now, women are put below men. The numbers suggest that women are getting the short end of the stick in bed, just as they are in the workplace, political representation, and nearly every area of life.

Fortunately, though, things are changing. For example, the 2015 SKYN Condoms Millennial Sex Survey found that 89 percent of women usually orgasm with their partners, which means the "orgasm gap" — the difference in orgasm rate between men and women — is closing.

The fact that this number has increased in recent years (a 2013 study found that only 40 percent of women orgasmed during their last hookup) also suggests that the gender differences we're observing aren't biological or natural. They're rectifiable, and if we want healthy relationships where both partners are treated as equals, we should be rectifying them. Chalking problems up to "biology" is just another way to justify and maintain the status quo.

"We will not have true gender equality until we have pleasure equality,” Alex Fine, Co-Founder and CEO of Dame Products, tells Bustle. “Everyone has the right to sexual pleasure.”

Here are some ways gender inequality still shows up in our bedrooms that need fixing ASAP.


Straight Men Have The Most Orgasms

A recent study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that of all people, straight men were most likely to say they orgasmed every time they were sexually intimate over the past month, while straight women were the least likely. Lesbians orgasmed much more than straight women, which the authors think could be because they put less focus on penetration and more on activities like digital and oral sex that work better for women.


More Women Perform Oral Sex On Men Than The Other Way Around

College women in one 2015 study in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality were twice as likely as men to have given oral sex during their last hookup. It's no wonder women are having fewer orgasms.


People Think Of Oral Sex Performed On A Woman As A Bigger Deal

A study published in the Journal of Sex Research found that teen boys and girls considered cunnilingus a bigger deal than fellatio and thought vaginas were disgusting. When straight women found oral sex unappealing, they put up with it. When men did, they refused to do it.


Young People Think Pressuring Girls Into Sex Is Normal

A quarter of young people in a 2016 Our Watch study agreed with the statement, "it is normal for guys to put some pressure on girls to do sexual things." This is disturbing because pressuring someone into sex is verbal coercion, which is a form of sexual assault.

We all have the right to fulfilling sex lives regardless of our gender, but this is about more than just sex. When women are taught that pleasing men is their job in bed, they learn that this is their job in relationships and in life. When they're taught not to voice their sexual desires, they learn that their desires in general don't really matter. And when they learn that their boundaries don't have to be respected, they learn that they are less than human.

But the good news is that, the same way we can promote inequality during sex, we can also promote equality from the comfort of our own bedrooms by valuing everyone's desires and boundaries equally.