Orgasm is a natural fount of pleasure; it is a birthright and a necessary ingredient to a healthy lifestyle. This powerful pleasure eludes many women because stubborn cultural barriers persist that make female orgasm more difficult and rare than it needs to be.
As a health coach, I partner with women to help them find greater health and happiness. One secret to improving health, I have found, is to simply focus on bodily pleasure. By attending to pleasure, a woman can set off a domino effect that leads to better health overall. When women prioritize pleasure in sex, i.e., orgasm, a similar cascade effect can occur. As a woman discovers the pleasure potential in her own body, food cravings decline and a negative body image falls away. For this reason, I believe the orgasm and pleasure gap are missing conversations in the women's health movement. Accordingly, I've taken a deep interest in examining the reasons behind the persistent female orgasm gap. In my research, I’ve found some fascinating (and often disturbing) statistics. At the same time, I’ve also come across several compelling ways women can expand sexual pleasure.
Research shows that 95 percent of men nearly always orgasm from intercourse while only about 25 percent of women do (statistic from Indiana University Professor of History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine Dr. Elisabeth Lloyd). This is a staggering gap! For too long, many women have internalized this discrepancy, worrying that perhaps they are deficient or that something is lacking in their anatomical make-up. Yet, from a biological perspective women are exquisitely built for orgasm. The clitoris boasts 8000 nerve endings whose exclusive function is pleasure. Women also have the unique ability to have multiple orgasms with no refractory period. The truth is that our cultural construct of sexual norms were simply not built with female anatomy and pleasure in mind.
For several reasons, this blog series will focus on cispeople having heterosexual penis-in-vagina intercourse (PVI). Firstly, I work primarily with ciswomen. Secondly, the available research is mostly about cispeople engaging in this type of sex. Thirdly, of the available research, it is clear the biggest orgasm gap occurs with this demographic. The pleasure and sexual experiences of trans and queer women is an even less discussed topic facing similar cultural barriers of patriarchy and secrecy. An excellent perspective on this can be found here
Over the next month, I’ll post a series of articles exploring the key barriers that allow the orgasm gap to persist, followed by proposed solutions. My hope is that we can finally shift some of the cultural norms around sex that do not provide a supportive context for female pleasure.