In heterosexual relationships, men overwhelmingly get off during sex more than women. This difference is known as the orgasm gap.
Why does this happen? Movies and TV make it seem like women always orgasm during penetration. Too many people don’t see foreplay as a crucial part of sex. The serious lack of sex education doesn’t help either.
The orgasm gap is very real, but it’s not an inevitability. Ultimately, sex is about pleasure and connection, and it’s what we should want for ourselves and each other. When you remember that, it becomes easier to figure out how to close the orgasm gap.
Jack and Jill Adult spoke with experts to get their advice on how to close the gap.
How to Close the Gap in Your Relationship
There are several things we can do as individuals and with our partners to close the gap.
Women, Masturbate More Often
“It is important that women self-pleasure so that they can really know their bodies and how they like to experience touch,” says sex coach Tiffany Yelverton. “Most women self-pleasure only with clitoral stimulation and then wonder why they don’t orgasm during penetration. It is vital to self-pleasure with internal stimulation as well as clitoral so that the body is able to react to penetrative sex. This creates muscle memory.”
Masturbation gives you knowledge about your body and what gets you off. When you know what you need to orgasm, you can share that information with your partner. But until you know for yourself, you’re both just guessing.
Men, Get to Know Your Partner’s Clitoris
“The pleasure gap is almost always caused by a man’s illiteracy of his partner’s body, especially the clitoris,” says Chris Pleines, a dating expert with DatingScout.com. “Stop with all the rubbing that gets you both nowhere and causes frustration. Figure out what your partner wants and the key is to ask—Where does it feel best? Slower? Faster? With tongue?”
Pay attention to the responses you get and follow accordingly. Do more of what works and stop doing what she doesn’t like. When in doubt ask, but also listen to what she says. And if she struggles to communicate that information, be patient. Talk about it outside of the bedroom, too.
Women, Stop Faking Orgasms
“Women need to stop faking orgasms,” states Yelverton. “I believe faking it fosters poor behavior. Which isn’t fair to ourselves or our partners. They think they are getting you there with what they are doing. In reality, they’re not and you miss out on that experience and connection with your partner.”
When you fake an orgasm with a partner, you tell them, “Keep doing this thing because it’s working.” Except, it’s not working at all. You’re not getting off, and you’re not communicating your needs accurately. How can your partner get better at giving you pleasure if they don’t know what you need? There are plenty of reasons why you might fake an orgasm. Figure out your reason and talk about it honestly with your partner.
Normalize Sex and Pleasure For Yourself and Each Other
We can only do so much as individual partners. Ultimately, society and culture around us need to change, too.
“Sex and pleasure must be normalized,” says Yelverton. “Pleasure is a birthright and should not be taboo. Social media needs to stop censoring the female body and sex. The stigma of female pleasure needs to be eradicated. Photoshopping women into unattainable beauty standards in media creates shame and self-loathing. More research needs to be done on the female body and pleasure, so that correct viable information is available.”
She continues. “Conflicting views on sex, body confidence, cultural taboos, and lack of communication of needs all are detrimental to women, and the ability to orgasm. As women, we worry that we aren’t pretty enough, that our thighs are too big (or our tummy), that we are taking too long. In fact, one-third of women feel guilty for not getting there faster. Focusing on our bodies, instead of the pleasure, distracts from the magic of the experience.”
Use Sex Toys to Close the Orgasm Gap
One way to close the orgasm gap is by using sex toys — alone or together — so both partners get the pleasure they crave.
“Sex toys are awesome!” enthuses Yelverton. “They are an accessory to improve pleasure and to close the orgasm gap. Sex toys help to close that gap. They can also take the pressure off a man to perform and can continue pleasure after one partner has climaxed and the other has not.”
On sex toys, Pleines reminds us all to communicate first. “Talk about it and come up with a plan on how to enjoy sex toys during sex together.”
Use Sex Toys Alone
If sex toys aren’t your usual go-to for sexual pleasure and masturbation, now is a good time to add them in. Think about what kind of stimulation you enjoy — many women prefer clitoral stimulation more than penetration. A bullet vibrator, body massager, or rabbit vibrator could give you the pleasure you crave.
Masturbating alone is one way to achieve more orgasms. You’re exploring your body and learning what really turns you on and gets you off. Adding a sex toy provides more sensations and excitement than your hand can do on its own.
Play with Sex Toys Together
Using sex toys with a partner does a few things.
- You show your partner what kind of stimulation you really enjoy.
- Sex slows down and becomes less about penetration and more about pleasure and fun.
- You get the pleasure you crave while you’re with your partner — instead of masturbating alone.
Too many heterosexual men believe that sex toys replace them or “prove” they’re inadequate in bed. When you can show your partner how to incorporate a sex toy into your mutual pleasure, it helps them realize that it’s an enhancement, not a replacement. Ultimately, when you have better sex and pleasure, they can have better sex too. But sometimes they have to see it before they can believe it.
Take the Focus Off of Penetration
For many people, sex is all about penetration — a penis in a vagina. All the rest is “extra” or unnecessary. The reality is that sex is everything you do that causes pleasure. Intercourse, on average, only lasts a few minutes — regardless of what movies and TV would have us believe. And that’s okay. When both partners slow down and focus on everything else that feels good, you both have a better experience.
While you can use hands, mouth, tongues, fingers, and other body parts to create pleasure, sex toys add yet another layer. You can use them together with hands and mouths or by themselves. Kissing your neck while a vibrator buzzes on your clitoris might be exactly what you need from your partner. Using a dildo for penetration while sucking on your clit allows them to last longer and puts your pleasure at the center of the moment.
There’s no right way to incorporate sex toys into your sex life — only the way that works for you both.
Hit the Right Spot
While some women do orgasm from penetration, they are in the minority. The vast majority need additional clitoral or other stimulation or don’t feel orgasmic pleasure through penetration at all. Sex toys, once you find the right one for your body, are designed to hit your perfect spot. Exactly where you need it most.
Your partner can get what they need through penetration and you can get what you need with the help of a sex toy. In the end, you both have the pleasure you most want — together. The sex toy didn’t replace your partner; it helped him satisfy you. Assuming your partner wants you to be satisfied, this should be a good thing for him, too.
The orgasm gap is very real, but it’s not an inevitability. Ultimately, sex is about pleasure and connection, and it’s what we should want for ourselves and each other. Communication and learning what gets us off are two big ways to close the gap.
Have you experienced the orgasm gap in your sex life? Let us know in the comments below!