What is the orgasm gap and how can we close it?
The orgasm gap is holding women back from enjoying sexual fulfilment. Here's what it is, and why it's so important to fight against it.
Celebrating International Women’s Day every year on 8th March is a welcome reminder of how powerful women truly are. Our successes, strengths, and ability to collectively band together and effect change has undoubtedly earned us an international day of appreciation, dedicated to our achievements and unshakeable potential. However, in some areas, there’s still room for improvement, and our sexual wellbeing is one of them.
This International Women’s Day, to honour the "choose to challenge" theme, Andrea Oliver Garcia, CEO and co-founder of sexual wellness app, Emjoy, is here to help us understand what the orgasm gap is, why it’s important and how we can challenge both our partners, and ourselves, to close it.
What is the orgasm gap?
The orgasm gap, also called the pleasure gap, refers to the discrepancy in how often people of different sexualities and genders orgasm during partnered intimacy. Unfortunately, heterosexual women are hardest hit of all genders and sexualities by the orgasm gap: research from the International Academy of Sex Research found that 95% of heterosexual men usually or always orgasm during sex, compared to only 65% of heterosexual women.
While the female pleasure revolution has been moving forward for decades thanks to the likes of pioneers like Shere Hite and Betty Dodson, it’s only in recent years that we’ve finally begun to become truly aware of the scope of female sexuality, and naturally, pleasure inequality. As research continues to explore female sexuality and all the ways it can be stimulated, it’s not surprising that women are shunning the shame and stigma that surround female sexual fulfilment, and demanding that conversations about female sexuality no longer be associated with outdated stereotypes or unnecessary taboos.
Why does it exist, and why is it important?
The orgasm gap largely exists because female sexuality and female-specific sex education has been mispresented, suppressed, lacking scientific or academic exploration, and even ignored for years. Female masturbation and pleasure have been shrouded in social shaming, and the female anatomy has been grossly misunderstood for years. Considering the fact that we landed on the moon almost four decades before we even discovered the full structure of the clitoris, it’s hard to not be shocked by our lack of progress regarding the orgasm gap.
The gendered orgasm gap demonstrates just how misunderstood female pleasure is, even today. We must make an effort to close the gap because female pleasure is equally as important as male pleasure, especially considering the fact that multiple studies have found that sexual satisfaction directly correlates with positive physical and mental wellbeing. Women deserve to feel pleasure too, and it’s important that we help to make this fact known to affect positive change.
How can we help close it?
We can help to close the orgasm gap by taking action personally, socially, and societally. Women must feel comfortable and empowered to explore their desires and connect with their bodies, without shame or stigma. There is a need for a fun, comfortable space for women to vocalise their needs, where we are not judged by our partners or even our friends. Encouraging and helping women to build a strong, healthy and happy relationship with their bodies is essential. Once we start to challenge the orgasm gap in our personal lives, we will feel empowered to speak about it socially, which affects change in society through conversation, pop culture, art, film and more. It opens the space for resources focused on female sexual wellness and education to develop and become accessible to women across the world. This combined effort can have a complete domino effect. After all, taboos can only stay taboo if we don’t discuss them.
It’s also important to note that true gender equality is something that will drive pleasure equality. In our intimate lives, we should see ourselves as equal and not prioritise one person’s pleasure over another’s, or allow dated stereotypes to prevent us from embracing our sexuality when exploring solo pleasure. Many historic issues relating to sexual inequality are linked to the opinion that women are less important than men. This is simply not true. Mutually respecting, appreciating and acknowledging one another's needs, desires and wants, both in and out of the bedroom, will be what leads to true pleasure equality.
To show our commitment to closing the orgasm gap, and to help women everywhere challenge sexual taboos and bedroom-based inequality, Emjoy is opening up its entire audio erotica library from Friday March 5th to Monday March 8th. We want women everywhere to have 96 hours of free access to Emjoy’s sensual stories. Not only will this help people tap into their best orgasm yet, but it will help women engage with erotica and explore their wider desires, fantasies and preferences; which are all factors that play a key role in helping to close the pleasure gap. It’s time to choose orgasm equality!
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