Orgasms are great. We’re pretty sure no one would argue that point. They feel great, they’re good for you, and if you have a hand (pun fully intended) in helping someone achieve one, that feels pretty great too. But not all of us are experiencing orgasms as nearly often as others, and it’s happening across the US. This is the orgasm gap; maybe you’ve heard of it before. If not, don’t worry, we’re going to take a deep dive into the epidemic and how to fix it.
1/3rd of people with vaginas are infrequently having an orgasm when they have sex. (Infrequent is defined as having an orgasm 50% of the time or less…sometimes never!) The gap exists between heterosexual and LGBTQ+ people: 66% of heterosexual people with vaginas orgasm frequently whereas 73% of people with vaginas within the LGBTQ+ community do.
Now that we know what it is, let’s delve a little deeper into why the orgasm gap exists. Wanting to understand more about pleasure, we surveyed over 1,000 people about their orgasms and sexual experiences. Here’s what we found:
The takeaway? Knowing and understanding your anatomy, talking with your partner, body confidence, and a willingness to try new positions are all related to how often you orgasm.
Now that we’ve covered what the orgasm gap is, you might be wondering what steps you can take to avoid falling into the orgasm gap. Let’s start at the very beginning.
a climax of sexual excitement, characterized by feelings of pleasure centered in the genitals
That’s true, in many cases. Merriam Webster never leads us astray. However, it is important to note that the genitals are not the only body part involved in achieving various types of orgasm. More specifically, orgasms are characterized by the rhythmic contraction and relaxation of muscles as a result of stimulation and arousal. Those muscles may be in several different erogenous zones, not just the genitals.
Many people report the following to be particularly sensitive and enticing areas:
This list is by no means exhaustive. Truly, an erogenous zone can be anywhere you enjoy being touched. All consensual touch can be intimate and erotic in the right setting.
Stimulating the erogenous zones helps increase your level of arousal, which for many can lead to an orgasm. That’s why foreplay is such an important part of any sexual experience.
Here are the most commonly enjoyed forms of stimulation:
There’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to stimulation. Different people enjoy different types of movement, speeds and amount of pressure. Exploring your body gives you the chance to learn what you find the most enjoyable.
What works for someone else might not work for you. That’s why we encourage you to keep trying until you find the thing that you find pleasurable. When you learn what types of speeds, movements, and pressure you enjoy, it makes it easier for you to articulate that to a partner. Being confident in your sexuality is important. If you don’t know what you enjoy, it’s hard to explain to your partner how to pleasure you. And it becomes even harder to achieve orgasm.
Depending on the source, there are anywhere from 4 to 14 different types of orgasms. The lack of scientific study devoted to human sexuality and specifically, female sexuality, leaves us with a mixed bag of insights and opinions.
That said, there is a general consensus from the hive mind on the following types of orgasms:
There has also been some research into erogenous zones deeper within the vaginal canal, centered around the cervix. These are known as A-Spot, O-spot and Cervical orgasms. Reportedly, these are all areas that take patience to locate and correctly stimulate. Learning the ins and outs of your anatomy is the first step to maximizing pleasure, whether with a partner or with yourself.
The G-spot and the clitoris are the two most commonly reported enjoyed erogenous zones when it comes to stimulation. These are a great place to start your exploration.
Masturbation, or solo play, gives you the chance to explore and experiment on your own terms and in your own time. It might take awhile to find the perfect movement over the clitoris or the right amount of pressure on the G-spot. This is completely normal. But going it alone makes it possible to take care of yourself without having to worry about another person’s needs. You can give yourself over to your own personal pleasure completely.
Beyond physical stimulation, some people report being able to orgasm solely from thinking about an erotic fantasy. It’s like they say: the brain is the sexiest organ in the human body. Getting to the mountaintop is as much about mental work as it is physical. This is why we think it’s so important to be educated on the topic and know what you like! It’s the best way to increase how often you experience orgasms. Whether you do that through partner or solo play is up to you, though we recommend taking some time to focus on yourself. It’s a lot easier to listen to the subtle cues your body is giving you when there’s not another person to think about. Once you take control of your own pleasure, you can teach a partner how to please you, and maybe even help someone else find empowerment in their pleasure, too.