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Differences in Orgasm Frequency Among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Heterosexual Men and Women in a U.S. National Sample

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There is a notable gap between heterosexual men and women in frequency of orgasm during sex. Little is known, however, about sexual orientation differences in orgasm frequency. We examined how over 30 different traits or behaviors were associated with frequency of orgasm when sexually intimate during the past month. We analyzed a large US sample of adults (N = 52,588) who identified as heterosexual men (n = 26,032), gay men (n = 452), bisexual men (n = 550), lesbian women (n = 340), bisexual women (n = 1112), and heterosexual women (n = 24,102). Heterosexual men were most likely to say they usually-always orgasmed when sexually intimate (95%), followed by gay men (89%), bisexual men (88%), lesbian women (86%), bisexual women (66%), and heterosexual women (65%). Compared to women who orgasmed less frequently, women who orgasmed more frequently were more likely to: receive more oral sex, have longer duration of last sex, be more satisfied with their relationship, ask for what they want in bed, praise their partner for something they did in bed, call/email to tease about doing something sexual, wear sexy lingerie, try new sexual positions, anal stimulation, act out fantasies, incorporate sexy talk, and express love during sex. Women were more likely to orgasm if their last sexual encounter included deep kissing, manual genital stimulation, and/or oral sex in addition to vaginal intercourse. We consider sociocultural and evolutionary explanations for these orgasm gaps. The results suggest a variety of behaviors couples can try to increase orgasm frequency.
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ORIGINAL PAPER
Differences in Orgasm Frequency Among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
and Heterosexual Men and Women in a U.S. National Sample
David A. Frederick
1
H. Kate St. John
1,2
Justin R. Garcia
3,4
Elisabeth A. Lloyd
4,5
Received: 19 August 2015 / Revised: 6 January 2017 / Accepted: 7 January 2017
Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017
Abstract There is a notable gap between heterosexual men
and women in frequency of orgasm during sex. Littleis known,
however, about sexual orientation differences in orgasm fre-
quency.We examined how over 30 different traits or behaviors
were associated with frequency of orgasm when sexually inti-
mate during the past month. We analyzed a large US sampleof
adults (N=52,588) who identified as heterosexual men (n=
26,032), gay men (n=452), bisexual men (n=550), lesbian
women (n=340), bisexual women (n=1112), and heterosex-
ual women (n=24,102).Heterosexual men weremost likely to
saytheyusually-alwaysorgasmedwhensexuallyintimate(95%),
followed by gay men (89%), bisexual men (88%), lesbian women
(86%), bisexual women (66%), and heterosexual women (65%).
Compared to women who orgasmed less frequently, women who
orgasmed more frequently were more likely to: receive more oral
sex, have longer duration of last sex, be more satisfied with their
relationship, ask for what they want in bed, praise their partner for
something they did in bed, call/email to tease about doing some-
thing sexual, wear sexy lingerie, try new sexual positions, anal
stimulation, act out fantasies, incorporate sexy talk, and express
love during sex. Women were more likely to orgasm if their last
sexual encounter included deep kissing, manual genital stimu-
lation, and/or oral sex in addition to vaginal intercourse. We
consider sociocultural and evolutionary explanations for these
orgasm gaps.The results suggesta variety of behaviorscouples
can try to increase orgasm frequency.
Keywords Orgasm Orgasm frequency Communication
Relationship length Sex differences Sexual orientation
Introduction
A wide array of magazines and sex guides promise to help
women achieve orgasm more reliably during sexual activity
with their partners (Solot & Miller, 2007). This stream of tips,
tricks, and strategies designed to elicit the ‘‘elusive female
orgasm’’suggests that people believe that the female orgasm
is far more challenging to attain than the male orgasm (Cass,
2007). The research literature bears this out, with findings
from several U.S. national studies showing men report expe-
riencing orgasm durin g sexual activity much more fre quently
than women (Garcia, Lloyd, Wallen, Fisher, 2014; Herbenick
et al., 2010; Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, & Michaels, 1994).
Scientists and social commentators have offered a variety of
explanations for this‘‘orgasm gap’’ between men and women,
ranging from sociocultural (Armstrong, England, & Fogerty,
2012;Gerhard,2000) to biological (Lloyd, 2005,2015;Puts,
Dawood, & Welling, 2012; Wallen & Lloyd, 2011). There appear
to be, however,multiple orgasm gaps:Lesbian women orgasm
substantially more frequently than heterosexual women, and
heterosexual men orgasm more frequently than lesbian women
(Coleman, Hoon, & Hoon, 1983;Garciaetal.,2014). But these
findings require further investigation, because nearly all research
&David A. Frederick
enderflies1@aol.com
1
Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, Chapman
University, One University Drive, Orange, CA 92866, USA
2
Division of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences, Claremont
Graduate University, Claremont, CA, USA
3
Department of Gender Studies, Indiana University,
Bloomington, IN, USA
4
The Kinsey Institute, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN,
USA
5
Department of History and Philosophy of Science and
Medicine, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA
123
Arch Sex Behav
DOI 10.1007/s10508-017-0939-z
on the topic of orgasm has focused on heterosexual men and
women.
Examining the factors linked to orgasm frequency has prac-
tical implications for understanding and promoting sexual health,
and can also inform theoretical debates on the etiology of orgasm.
Women report more satisfaction with their relationships when
their orgasms were more frequent (Young, Denny, Luquis, &
Young, 1998) and more consistent (Klapilova
´,Brody,Krejc
ˇova
´,
Husa
´rova
´, & Binter, 2015). Furthermore, people who orgas m
more frequently report more sexual satisfaction (Haavio-Mannila
& Kontula, 1997; Hurlbert, White, Powell, & Apt, 1993). The
factors that promote and inhibit orgasm as a desired outcome
of partnered sexual activity, particularly among women, have
been hotly debated, especially by evolutionary scientists inter-
ested in whether or not orgasm is an adaptation (Lloyd, 2005)
and by scholars interested in psychosocial barriers to women’s
sexual pleasure (Armstrong, England, & Fogarty, 2012;Basson,
2003).
The first goal of the current research was to use a broad U.S.
national sample of adults to examine gender and sexual ori-
entation differences in orgasm frequency. The second goal
was to examine several of the factors and practices that are
potentially linked to orgasm frequency, including sociode-
mographic characteristics, oral sex frequency, sexual com-
munication strategies, mood setting, trying a greater variety
of sexual practices with their partner, incorporating specific
sex behaviors into their last sexual encounters, and relation-
ship satisfaction.
Gender Differences and Sexual Orientation
Differences in Orgasm Frequency
An orgasm is characterized by a series of muscle contractions
in the genital area resulting in the release of sexual tension and
is accompanied by the subjective experience of pleasurable
sensations (Masters & Johnson, 1966). It has long been known
that men report more frequent and more predictable orgasms
than women (Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin, & Gebhard, 1953;
Laumann et al., 1994; Masters & Johnson, 1966). This dif-
ference in orgasmfrequency has been shownrepeatedly across
different studies (fora review, see Lloyd, 2005). For example,
the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior found that
91% of men and 64% of women aged 18–59 reported orgasm
during their most recent sexual event (Herbenick et al., 2010).
Heterosexual men do not necessarily recognize the extent to
which they orgasm more frequently thanwomen. Researchers
have concluded that men systematically overestimate the orgasm
frequency of their female partners (Laumann et al., 1994;Roberts,
Kippax, Waldby, & Crawford, 1995; Von Sydow, 2002).
There hasbeen substantial focus on the difference in orgasm
frequency between heterosexual men and women, but how
orgasm varies across sexual orientations is not well understood.
In one recent large-scale national study of 6151 single men and
women in the U.S., participants were asked what percentage of
the time they orgasm‘‘when having sex with a familiar partner’
(Garcia et al., 2014, p. 3). Lesbian women reported experiencing
orgasms at a significantly higher rate (75%) than heterosexual
(62%) or bisexual (58%) women. Among men, there were no
significant differences between heterosexual (86%), gay (85%),
or bisexual (78%) men. The current study provides the oppor-
tunity to further examine sexual orientation differences among
men and women, with respect to the sexual practices they
engage in with their current relationship partner.
Sexual Practices Linked to Orgasm Frequency
MacNeil a nd Byers (2005) proposedthat communication about
sexuality is elemental to the‘development and maintenance of
satisfying sexual relationships.’’ Communication allows cou-
ples to articulate and explore their sexual desires and interests.
Sexual communication tends to be lacking among couples
experiencing orgasmicdifficulty (Kelly, Strassberg, & Turner,
2004), and communication skills are a part of cognitive-be-
havioral therapy in the treatment of anorgasmia (Meston, Hull,
Levin, & Sipski, 2004). There has been relatively little empirical
research, however, on the role of partner communication in
promoting orgasm (Meston, Levin, Sipski, Hull, & Heiman,
2004). Nonetheless, researchers have proposed that communi-
cation helps couples promote behaviors that increase the like-
lihood of orgasm occurrence, such as manual stimulation and
oral sex. In one national study of Australian women, participants
were asked about the sexual practices they engaged in during
their last sexual encounter and whether they orgasmed. Of
women who had only vaginal intercourse during their last sexual
encounter, 50% reported an orgasm. In contrast, orgasms were
reported by 73% of women who reported vaginal intercourse
and manual stimulation and by 86% of women who reported
vaginalintercourse, manualstimulation, and oralsex (Richters,
de Visser, Rissel, & Smith, 2006).
Behaviors that promote orgasm extend far beyond vaginal
intercourse, oral sex, and manual stimulation. Neglected in most
research are common behaviors that likely increase orgasm
frequency, including acts of sexual variety (e.g., trying new
sexual positions, wearing lingerie, anal stimulation) and mood
setting(e.g., using candles or musicto create a romanticmood).
As people become habituated to sex with their partner, the
feeling of novelty and accompanying arousal may diminish,
and keeping things varied could promote more frequent orgasms.
Furthermore, several recent studies have pointed to other inti-
mate behaviors that promote sexual satisfaction, but whether that
directly impacts orgasm is not yet known. For instance, kissing/
cuddling is linked to sexual satisfaction for both men and women
(Heiman et al., 2011). More generally, people report greater
sexual satisfaction when they engage in more foreplay, have
longer sexual encounters, and engage in more affectionate
behaviors after sex (Muise, Giang, & Impett, 2014), but there
Arch Sex Behav
123
has been limited recent research on these aspects of people’s
sex lives.
In terms of personal characteristics, some research has found
that women with more education have more frequent orgasm
(Gonza
´lez, Via
´fara, Caba, Molina, & Ortiz, 2006). In two studies,
relative to younger women in the samples, older women were
more likely to orgasm (age range 18–44; Boroditsky, Fisher, &
Bridges,1999; age range 18–59; Herbenick et al., 2010). Older
women may have become more comfortable with their sexu-
ality and learned what works to make them orgasm with their
partner(s). In contrast, younger men are more likely to report
more frequent orgasms (Herbenick et al., 2010), possibly due
to older men havingage-related decreases in sexualmotivation
and more problems with erectile function (see Gray & Garcia,
2012). Finally, the association between orgasm frequency and
relationship satisfaction is likely bidirectional: People who are
more satisfied with their relationships are likely motivated to
engage in more intimate practices that enhance sexual experi-
ences and orgasm frequency, and more frequent orgasms enhance
positivefeelingsabouttherelationshipoverall(Young,Denny,
Luquis, & Young, 1998).
Aims and Hypotheses
The present study provided the opportunity to explore what
differentiates gay, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual men and
women who arerelatively high andlow in orgasm frequency in
a large and diverse sample. Consistent with the existing liter-
ature, we hypothesized an overall gender difference, with men
reporting more frequent orgasms, but that this gender differ-
ence was particularly likely to emerge among heterosexual
participants (H1a). With respect to the effects of sexual orien-
tation within each gender, we did not expect differences among
men (H1b), but did hypothesize that lesbian women would
report morefrequent orgasmsthan heterosexualwomen (H1c).
We also asked participants about their partner’s orgasm fre-
quencies. We expected that reports of male partner orgasm
frequencies would be higher than female partner orgasm fre-
quencies. Therefore, we expected thatheterosexual womenand
gay men would report higher rates of orgasm for their partner
than would heterosexual men and lesbian women (H2).
Further, this study extends the literature on sexual practices
and demographic factors that are associated with greater orgasm
frequency in men and women. One purpose of this study was to
create a profile of what differentiates men and women who
orgasm more or less frequently. Compared to people with less
frequentorgasms, we predictedthat people with more frequent
orgasms would report: being younger (men only; H3a); being
in a relationship with their partner for a longer period of time
(women only; H3b); engaging in more oral sex, acts of sexual
variety in their sexual lives, communication, and mood setting
techniques (H4); combining multiple sexual activities during
their last sexual encounter (e.g., vaginal intercourse, oral sex,
manual stimulation of genitals, and deep kissing) (H5); longer
duration of their last sexual encounter (H6); and greater rela-
tionship satisfaction (H7).
Post hoc analyses were conducted to compare orgasm fre-
quency between lesbian and heterosexual women.
Method
Participants
The present study was based on secondary analyses of anony-
mous data collected via a survey posted on the official Web site
of NBC News for ten days. The sample included 52,588 men
and women who fit the following criteria: aged 18–65years;
completed the full survey via the NBC News entry portal; indi-
cated they were married, remarried, cohabiting, or dating/seeing
one person; and reported being intimate in the past month in
response to the question about orgasm frequency over the last
month.
The average age in the analyzed sample (N=52,588) was
37.2 years (SD =10.6) for women and 42.4 years (SD =9.7)
for men. The sample included participants who identified as
heterosexual men (n=26,032), gay men (n=452), bisexual
men (n=550), lesbian women (n=340), bisexual women
(n=1112), or heterosexual women (n=24,102).Table 1shows
key demographics for the overall sample and for men and
women of different sexual orientations. Unfortunately, we
did not have information on the gender of the person’s partner.
In a different datasetcollected via thesame Web site (Frederick
&Fales,2016), most bisexual men reported a female partner
(83%),followed by no partner(9%) or male partner(8%). Most
bisexualwomen reported a male partner (82%),followed by no
partner (10%) or a female partner (8%).
The study was advertised as being on ‘‘Love and Sex’’ in
order to attract a diverse group of men and women. Market
research on NBCNews.com (formerly msnbc.com) shows that,
at the time of the surveys, it routinely ranked among one of the
most popular Web sites in the U.S. Its 58 million unique
monthly visitors included a broad diversity of people in terms
of age, income, and political orientation (NBCNews.com
Media Kit, 2012). It is important to note that msnbc.com, the
general newsWeb site, was a different entity thanMSNBC TV
and had substantially different demographics, including approx-
imately equal numbers of Democrat and Republican visitors.
Datasets on various topics garnered thr ough this site between
2002 and 2012 have been used to examine mate preferences
(Fales et al., 2016), sexual jealousy (Frederick & Fales, 2016),
sexual regrets (Galperin et al., 2013), sexual experience (Fred-
erick & Jenkins, 2015), sexual satisfaction (Frederick, Lever,
Gillespie, & Garcia, 2016), gender differences in beliefs about
who should pay for dates (Lever, Frederick, & Hertz, 2015),
friendship (Gillespie, Frederick, Harari, & Grov, 2015; Gillespie,
Arch Sex Behav
123
Lever, Frederick, & Royce, 2015), personality, attachment style,
and body satisfaction (Frederick, Sandhu, Morse, & Swami,
2016), and aspects of body image (Frederick & Essayli, 2016;
Frederick, Lever, & Peplau, 2007; Frederick, Peplau, & Lever,
2006,2008; Lever, Frederick, Laird, & Sadeghi-Azar, 2007;
Lever, Frederick, & Peplau, 2006;Peplauetal.,2009).
Outcome Variables
Own and Partner Orgasm Frequency in Past Month
Participants were asked, ‘‘During the past month, how often
did [you]/[your partner] reach orgasm when you and he or she
were intimate?’’ (1 =Never, 2 =Rarely, 3 =About half of
the time, 4 =Usually, 5 =Always). Participants could also
indicate‘‘not applicable, we were not intimate,’’and these
participants were excluded from the dataset. The full continuous
variable was used in the regression. A major goal of the study
was to create a profile of the attitudes and behaviors of people
who orgasm frequently versus rarely. We divided participants
into those who have orgasms Never-Rarely (1–2; Never-Rarely),
Half of Time (3; Half of the Time), or Usually-Always (4–5;
Usually-Always). These groupings enabled us to compare
the practices and attitudes of people with differing orgasm
frequencies.
Predictor Variables
Personal Characteristics
In order to retain the relative ordering of the education levels
when using education as a predictor variable in regression
analyses, education was coded from lower (1 =some high school
education or less) to higher (5 =graduate degree). Participants
indicated if their relationship length was less than 6 months, more
than 6 months but less than one year, 1 year, 2 years, 3–5 years,
6–10 years, 11–20 years,[20 years. These were recoded into
years as: .25, .75, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, and 30 years, respectively.
Participants indicated the number of children in their home
under age 21 who lived in their home at least part of the month.
Response options ranged from 0 to 6?.
Table 1 Demographics of sample
Heterosexual women Lesbian women Bisexual women Heterosexual men Gay men Bisexual men
Participants N24,102 340 1112 26,032 452 550
Age M(SD) 33.8 (9.6) 36.5 (9.7) 31.1 (8.5) 40.5 (10.4) 37.2 (9.3) 42.1 (10.4)
Relationship length in years M(SD) 8.2 (8.5) 5.2 (5.8) 6.6 (7.2) 13.4 (10.3) 6.8 (7.5) 14.1 (10.4)
Relationship status (%)
Dating one person 26 29 24 13 27 12
Living together 20 54 30 9 59 12
Married 49 15 41 72 14 70
Remarried 5 2 5 6 0 6
Education (%)
\High school grad. 1 1 2 1 1 1
High school grad. 12 7 14 7 5 9
Some college/A.A. 40 33 46 30 27 35
College 34 35 27 38 44 36
Graduate degree 13 24 11 24 23 19
Ethnicity (%)
White 84 84 79 88 89 90
Black 3 3 3 2 1 1
Hispanic 5 3 6 3 4 3
Asian 2 1 2 2 1 1
Native American 1 2 1 1 1 .5
Other 1 1 2 1 1 .5
Biracial 1 2 4 1 1 2
Prefer not to say 2 4 3 2 2 2
Children under 21 living in house (%)
Yes 50 22 45 60 8 56
Arch Sex Behav
123
Receiving and Giving Oral Sex
Participants were asked,‘‘During your lovemaking in the past
month, how often did you [give oral sex to your partner]/
[receive oral sex from your partner].’Responses options
(1 =Never; 5 =Always) and treatment in analyses were the
same as those for the orgasm items.
Sexual Communication
Participants were given a list of six different communication
strategies and were asked ‘‘In the past month, have you and
your partner talked about sex in any of these ways? Please
select all that apply.’ The full list of communication strate-
gies are shown in Table 3. We coded affirmative responses as
1 and created a communication variable by summing the
responses for the 6 items (range 0–6).
Acts of Sexual Variety
Participants were given a list of 17 different activities and
were asked ‘‘Have you done any of the following in the past
year to improve your sex life? If so, select all that apply.’’The
full list of activities are shown in Table 3. We coded each
affirmative response as 1 and then created an acts of sexual
variety variable by summing the responses for the 17 items
(range 0–17, with 0 indicating doing none of these activities
and 17 indicating doing all of these activities).
Relationship Satisfaction
Participants responded to the item ‘‘I feel happy with my
relationship overall’’ using a four-point Likert scale (1=
Strongly Disagree, 2 =Somewhat Disagree, 3 =Somewhat
Agree, 4 =Strongly Agree). The full continuous variable was
used in regression analyses. To facilitate data presentation, we
also identified the percentage of participants who disagreed
(1–2) versus agreed (3–4) with the statement.
Activities During Last Sexual Encounter Variables
We also examined event-level data, which may be less prone
to recall biases. Participants were asked about their activities
during the last time they had sex. If these behaviors are rep-
resentative of what couples typically do, they may provide infor-
mation about which practices are linked to greater orgasm fre-
quency. Consistent with the proposal that event-level data are
informative about general practices, 87% of women and 92% of
men in this dataset who received oral sex during their last sexual
encounter reported usually-always receiving oral sex in the past
month. Also consistent with this proposal, reports of oral sex
during last encounter were lower if they reported oral sex half of
the time (50% women; 60% men) and lowest if they reported
oral sex never-rarely (10% women; 12% men) during the past
month. The full list of items are shown in Table 4.
Mood Setting During Last Sexual Encounter Five of the
items described things people might have done to set the mood
(e.g., by playing music in the background or lighting a candle),
and they could check all that applied. We coded affirmative
responses as 1 and created a mood setting variable by summing
up the responses for the 5 items (range 0–5).
Specific Acts During Last Sexual Encounter Eight of the
items described actions that people might have engaged in
during their last sexual encounter, such as gentle kissing and
receiving oral sex, and they could check all that applied. These
were not summed but were examined individually.
Duration of Last Sexual Encounter One item assessed time
spent for the last sexual encounter. Specifically, participants were
asked ‘How much time was spent on that occasion, from time
physical contact began until it ended (including kissing, petting,
etc.)?’’The options were less than 15 min, 15–30 min, 30–6 0 min,
1–2 h, or greater than 2 h. For regression analyses, these were
recoded as 7.5, 22.5, 45, 90, and 120 min, respectively.
Data Analysis
Due to the large sample size, even minuscule effects emerged
as statistically significant in the full sample (e.g., bs as small
as .02 and percentage differences as small as 1 percentage
point), making effect size relatively important to emphasize.
For regression analyses, we present the standardized regres-
sion coefficients (b), and we elected to highlight statistically
significant results in the text when they reflected bvalues
greater than |.09|.
We conducted regression analyses examining the predic-
tors of own orgasm frequency and of partner orgasmfrequency
(Table 2). Model 1 includes all of the relevant predictors,
including relationship satisfaction. Model 2 again presents the
links between the predictors and outcomes, but with relation-
ship satisfaction removed. This is due to the fact that orgasm
frequency might be a component of overall relationship satis-
faction, and thus controlling for relationship satisfaction presents
the logical problem of partially controlling for orgasm frequency
when attempting to predict orgasm frequency. The pattern of
results was generally similar in Model 1 and Model 2, except the
effects of the other predictors generally became stronger when
relationship satisfaction was removed. We show the results for
both models in Table 2, but focus on the patterns found in Model
2 in the Results section. Skewness was low for all continuous
variables (\|1.6| for all variables and\|1.0| for majority of
variables), as was kurtosis (\|2.0|, except for sex frequency =
2.4). Collinearity diagnostics revealed that multicollinearity
was low for all predictors (all tolerance values .50–1.0, all VIF
values 1.0–2.0).
We also divided the participants into three groups of men
and women who experienced orgasms never-rarely, half of
Arch Sex Behav
123
the time, or usually-always. We then conducted chi-square
analyses (or Fisher’s exact tests when appropriate) when exam-
ining the associations between orgasm frequency and other
variables. This allowed us to create a profile of the behaviors
that men and women who never-rarely versus usually-always
experience orgasm (see Tables 3,4). Finally, we present how
orgasm frequency was associated with different combinations
of behaviors for women (vaginal intercourse,oral sex, manual
stimulation of genitals, deep kissing).
We do not present results separately by ethnicity because a
series of one-way ANOVAs examining the effects of eth-
nicity on all of the continuous predictor and outcome vari-
ables showed that even when the effects were statistically
significant, they were minuscule in size (all partial g
2
\.01,
except for age, partial g
2
=.013).
Results
Hypothesis 1 Men Will Report More Frequent Orgasms than
Heterosexual Women (1a), No Differences Are Hypothesized
Among Men (1b), Lesbian Women Will Orgasm More Often
than Heterosexual Women (1c)
The results were consistent with the hypotheses 1a–c
(Fig. 1). Heterosexual men were more likely than hetero-
sexual women to always orgasm (75% HM vs. 33% HW;
p\.001) and usually-always orgasm (95% HM vs. 65% HW;
p\.001) when ‘sexually intimate’’ during the past month.
Lesbian women were less likely than heterosexual men to
always orgasm (59% LW vs. 75% HM; p\.001) or usually-
always orgasm (86% LW vs. 95% HM; p\.001). Lesbian
Table 2 Predictors of own orgasm frequency and partner orgasm frequency among heterosexual, gay, lesbian, and bisexual men and women
Women Men
Heterosexual women Lesbian women Bisexual women Heterosexual men Gay men Bisexual men
bbbbbb
Predictors of own orgasm frequency
Age .05*** .03 .07* -.12*** -.17** -.17**
Relationship length .04*** .08 .06 .08*** .14** .11*
Education -.01 .05 -.01 .02** -.02 .01
Children under 21 .06*** .02 .04 .07*** .00 .11*
Receive oral .19*** .26*** .24*** .06*** .18*** .13**
Give oral -.01 -.01 .01 .03*** .00 -.03
Communication (0–5) .05*** -.05 .09** .00 .09 -.01
Sexual variety (0–17) .06*** .04 .08* .03*** -.05 .07
Mood setting (0–5) .09*** .11 .06 .06*** -.04 .02
Length of last sex .14*** .08 .13*** -.06*** .01 -.02
Model 1 adj. R
2
.13*** .08*** .17*** .03*** .05*** .04***
Relationship satisfaction .18*** .27*** .20*** .13*** .04 .08
Model 2 adj. R
2
.16*** .13*** .20*** .04*** .05*** .05***
Predictors of partner orgasm frequency
Age -.09*** .05 -.18*** .01 -.19*** -.04
Relationship length .07*** .11 .13*** -.01 .09 .00
Education .01* .00 .01 -.02** .06 .03
Children under 21 .07*** .01 .06* .04*** -.04 .10*
Receive oral .03*** -.07 .06 .07*** .05 .10*
Give oral .03*** .29*** .03 .20*** .11* .22***
Communication (0–5) .03*** .00 .03 .00 .09 .04
Sexual variety (0–17) .00 .06 .01 .04*** -.01 .02
Mood setting (0-5) .04*** -.03 .01 .07*** -.02 .01
Length of last sex -.06*** .09 -.03 .12*** .01 .11*
Model 1 adj. R
2
.02*** .07*** .03*** .12*** .04** .12***
Relationship satisfaction .12*** .07 .08* .09*** .10 .07
Model 2 adj. R
2
.03*** .07*** .03*** .12*** .04*** .12***
Positive bs indicate that participants who scored higher on the predictor variables reported more orgasms
*** p\.001; ** p\.01; * p\.05
Arch Sex Behav
123
women were, however, more likely than heterosexual women
to always orgasm (59% LW vs. 33% HW; p\.001) or usu-
ally-always orgasm (86% LW vs. 65% HW; p\.001). The
patterns for bisexual women were similar to heterosexual
women, and patterns for gay and bisexual men were similar
to those of heterosexual men, except that they were slightly
less likely to always orgasm when sexually intimate.
Hypothesis 2 People With Male Partners Will Report More
Orgasms By Partners, and Lesbian Women Will Report More
Frequent Partner Orgasms than Heterosexual Men
Consistent with the hypothesis, heterosexual women were
more likely than heterosexual men to say their partners always
orgasm (80% HW vs. 41% HM; p\.001) or usually-always
orgasm (95% HW vs. 73% HM; p\.001; Fig. 2). Gay men
were also more likely than heterosexual men to say their part-
ners always orgasm (69% GM vs. 41% HM; p\.001)orusu-
ally-always orgasm (89% GM vs. 73% HM; p\.001). Also
consistent with the hypotheses, lesbian women were more likely
than heterosexual men to report that their partners always (66%
LW vs. 41% HM; p\.001) or usually-always orgasm (87% LW
vs. 73% HM; p\.001).
Table 3 Frequency of oral sex, relationship satisfaction, and communication according to orgasm frequency
Men Women
Usually-
always
Half
time
Never-
rarely
v
2
Usually-
always
Half
time
Never-
rarely
v
2
Freq. receives oral sex past month (% in each cat.)
Usually-always 28 23 18 102 36 22 13 1690
About half of the time 22 23 13 25 27 17
Never-rarely 50 54 69 38 51 71
Communication (% yes)
I asked for something I wanted in bed 46 38 28 99 45 39 25 585
One of us praised others about something they did in bed 41 32 17 170 58 48 32 1035
My partner asked for something they wanted in bed 30 26 18 54 51 48 36 322
One of us asked for feedback on how something felt 31 26 19 54 38 34 26 230
One of us called/emailed to tease doing something sexual 31 29 18 50 47 38 28 534
One of us gently criticized how others did something in bed 9 11 11 13 8 11 10 30
Acts of sexual variety past year (% yes)
At least one of us got a mini-massage or backrub 67 64 50 91 69 65 56 284
One of us wore sexy lingerie/underwear 58 52 34 153 70 68 59 219
Took a shower or bath together 59 52 38 123 65 63 52 264
Made a‘‘date night’’to be sure we had sex 56 51 42 58 51 49 42 123
Tried a new sexual position 51 43 28 155 66 62 47 543
Went on a romantic getaway 46 42 35 37 44 41 33 190
Used a vibrator or sex toy together 42 37 30 49 45 42 33 208
Tried anal stimulation 37 30 23 70 39 35 25 285
Viewed pornography together 35 31 23 47 44 41 31 230
Talked about or acted out our fantasies 35 29 24 44 41 34 25 399
Had anal intercourse 23 20 16 20 27 26 20 95
Had sexual contact in a public place 21 19 11 40 25 23 16 185
Integrated foods into sex (chocolate sauce, whip cream) 20 20 13 16 24 20 14 198
Tried light S&M (e.g., restraints, spanking) 16 14 12 n.s. 24 21 15 188
One of us took Viagra or a similar drug 25 25 15 105 9 9 8 n.s.
Videotaped our sex or posed for pictures in the nude 14 12 9 17 15 14 10 79
Invited another person into bed with us 5 5 5 n.s. 4 4 3 13
Chi-square analyses test whether the proportion of people responding in each category differ depending on orgasm frequency. All analyses were
significant at the p\.001 level unless noted with‘‘n.s.’’ for not significant
Arch Sex Behav
123
Heterosexual men’s estimates of their partner’s orgasm fre-
quencies were somewhat higher than heterosexual women’s own
reported orgasm frequency. One-third (33%) of heterosexual
womenreportedthattheyusually-alwaysorgasm,whereas41%
of heterosexual men estimated that their partners orgasm usually-
always (p\.001).
Hypothesis 3 Age and Relationship Length Will Relate to
Orgasm Frequency
In the regression analyses (Table 2, top half), none of the
associations between demographic characteristics and own
orgasm frequency exceeded b=|.09| for women. Consistent
with the hypotheses, younger heterosexual, gay, and bisexual
men were more likely to orgasm. Men who were in relation-
ships longer were also more likely to orgasm, although this
association did not exceed b=|.09| for heterosexual men.
Hypothesis 4 People Who Have More Oral Sex, Acts ofSex-
ual Variety, Communication, and Mood Setting Techniques
Will Orgasm More Frequently
Oral Sex
Consistent with the hypotheses, regression analyses showed
that peoplewho received oralsex more frequentlyhad orgasms
more frequently (Table 2, top half). This was true for hetero-
sexual women (b=.19), lesbian women (b=.26), bisexual
women (b=.24), gay men (b=.18), and bisexual men (b=.13).
The only association that did not exceed b=|.09| was for
heterosexual men (b=.06). In parallel, people who gave oral sex
more frequently generally reported that their partner orgasmed
more frequently (Table 2, bottom half). This was true for lesbian
women (b=.29), heterosexual men (b=.20), gay men (b=.11),
and bisexual men (b=.22).AsshowninTable3,womenwho
usually-always orgasm were more likely than women who never-
rarely orgasm to report that they usually-always receive oral sex
(36% vs. 13%; p\.001). In contrast, women who usually-always
orgasm were much less likely to report that they never-rarely
receive oral se x (38%) than women who never-ra rely orgasm
(71%; p\.001).
Table 4 Events during last sexual encounter (DLS) and relationship satisfaction according to orgasm frequency
Men Women
Usually-
always
Half of
time
Never-
rarely
v
2
Usually-
always
Half of
time
Never-
rarely
v
2
What happened DLS: mood setting (% yes)
At least one of us said‘‘I love you’ 65 55 50 92 66 58 49 476
We engaged in sexy talk 35 30 20 73 49 37 25 916
Laughed about something funny happened during sex 24 24 18 n.s. 38 33 25 303
Lit a candle or dimmed the lights 20 19 16 n.s. 23 17 13 248
Played music in the background 13 14 12 n.s. 14 11 8 172
What happened DLS: acts (% yes)
Vaginal intercourse 92 88 75 254 94 94 92 23
Manual stimulation of genitals 84 81 75 38 86 80 68 859
Gentle kissing 79 78 70 34 82 76 66 524
Deep kissing 65 60 53 51 74 64 52 779
Changed positions during sexual intercourse 57 41 43 66 71 62 52 601
Gave oral sex 47 46 41 n.s. 53 46 39 340
Received oral sex 45 40 36 26 48 38 25 844
Anal intercourse 6 6 6 n.s. 6 4 3 73
Length of sex DLS (% in each cat.)
1?h 11 17 12 104 13 8 6 2456
30–60 min 32 29 26 37 29 19
15–30 min 40 34 33 35 40 35
15 min or less 17 20 28 11 21 39
Relationship satisfaction (% agree)
I feel happy with my relationship overall 86 75 60 385 92 86 73 1249
Chi-square analyses tested whether the proportion of people responding in each category differed by orgasm frequency. Chi-square values are listed for
all statistically significant effects. All analyses were significant at the p\.001 level unless noted with‘n.s.’’For example, among men who usually-
always orgasm, 65% reported saying I love you during sex (35% did not). For example, among women whousually-always orgasm, 13% say sex lasts
1?h, 37% 30–60 min, 35% 15–30 min, and 11% 15 min or less
Arch Sex Behav
123
Communication Techniques
The association between number of communication strategies
and orgasm frequency did not exceed b=|.09| for any group
when controlling for other variables (Table 2). As shown in
Table 3,womenandmenwhoorgasmedmorefrequentlywere
more likely to engage in five of the six communication strate-
gies. In particular, men and women who orgasmed more fre-
quently were more likely to ask for something they wanted in
bed, praise their partner for something they did in bed, and call/
email to tease about doing something sexual.
Acts of Sexual Variety
Although the associations between number of acts of sexual
variety and orgasm frequency were generally in the predicted
direction, none exceed b=|.09| when controlling for other
variables (Table 2). As shown in Table 3, women and men
who orgasmed more frequently were more likely to engage in
almost all of the acts of sexual variety. Women who usually-
always orgasm were especially more likely than women who
never-rarely orgasm say that they involved the following in
their sex lives: wearing sexy lingerie (?21%), trying a new
sexual position (?19%), talking or acting out fantasies (?16%),
or trying anal stimulation (?14%). Men who usually-always
orgasm were more likely than men who never-rarely orgasm say
that they involved the following in their sex lives: lingerie/
underwear(?24%), mini-massageor backrub (?17%), taking
shower/bath (?21%), or a date night to make surethey had sex
(?14%).
Mood Setting
There were no statistically significant associations between
number of mood setting techniques and orgasm frequency
that exceeded b=|.09| (Table 2). As shown in Table 4, men
who orgasmed more frequently were more likely to engage in
two of the mood setting strategies, an d women were more likely
to engage in all of them. Women who usually-always orgasm
were especially more likely than women who never-rarely
orgasm to report saying‘‘I love you’’ (?17%) or engagingin
sexy talk (?24%) during their last sexual encounter. The same
was true for men (‘I love you,’?15%; engaging in sexy talk,
?15%).
Hypothesis 5 Women Who Had Longer Duration of Sex
During Their Last Sexual Encounter Will Orgasm More
Frequently
Consistent with the hypothesis, heterosexual women (b=.13)
and bisexual women (b=.17) who had longer sex sessions were
Fig. 1 Reports of own orgasm
frequency during past month for
gay, lesbian, bisexual, and
heterosexual men and women
Arch Sex Behav
123
more likely to orgasm (Table 2,tophalf).Thesamedidnothold
true for lesbian women (b=.08). Consistent with this pattern,
heterosexual men (b=.12) and bisexual men (b=.11) who had
longer sex sessions reported that their partners were more likely
to orgasm. As shown in Table 4, women who usually-always
orgasm were more likely than women who never-rarely orgasm
to report that their last sexual encounter lasted 1?h(13vs.6%)
or 30–60 min (37 vs. 19%). In contrast, women who usually-
always orgasm compared with women who never-rarely orgasm
were much less likely to report that sex lasted 15 min or less (11
vs. 39%). Men who usually-always orgasm were also less likely
than men who never-rarely orgasm to report that sex lasted
15 min or less (17 vs. 28%).
Hypothesis 6 People with Greater Relationship Satisfac-
tion Will Orgasm More Frequently
When we added relationship satisfaction to the regression
model (Model 2), relationship satisfaction became one of the
strongest predictors for women (Table 2, top half). Con sistent
with the hypothesis, heterosexual women (b=.18), lesbian
women (b=.27), bisexual women (b=.20), and heterosex-
ual men (b=.13) who had higher relationship satisfaction
orgasmed more frequently. The same pattern did not hold for
gay and bisexual men. Heterosexual women who were more
satisfied withtheir relationshipsalso reported that their partner
orgasmed more frequently (b=.12) (Table 2, bottom half).
These findings should be interpreted with caution, however,
because orgasm frequency may be an element that makes up
relationship satisfaction. As shown in Table 4,womenwhousu-
ally-always orgasm were more likely than women who never-
rarely orgasm to be satisfied with their relationship, as were men.
Hypothesis 7 Women Who Combine Multiple Sexual Acts
Will Orgasm More Frequently
Women who incorporated multiple behaviors into their last
sexual encounter reported higher overall orgasm frequency
over the last month (Table 4). Women who received oral sex
during their last sexual encounter were systematically more
likelyto reportmorefrequentorgasmsthanwomenwho did not,
regardless of what other behaviors they engaged in (Table5).
Relatively few heterosexual women who engaging orgasmed
usually-always (35%) compared to 62% of women who engaged
only oral sex. Most heterosexual women who combined oral sex,
manual genital stimulation, and deep kissingreported usually-
always orgasming (80%), as did women who added vaginal
intercourse to that combination (77%).
Lesbian womenwere more likely than heterosexual women
to orgasm when they engaged in comparable behaviors,
Fig. 2 Reports of partner
orgasm frequency during past
month for gay, lesbian, bisexual,
and heterosexual men and
women
Arch Sex Behav
123
including oral sex, manual genital stimulation, and deep kiss-
ing (91 vs.80%; p=.003), genitalstimulation anddeep kissing
(80 vs. 60%; p=.007), or only manual genital stimulation (74
vs. 52%; p=.050). For some combinations of behaviors, the
patterns were in the direction of lesbian women reporting more
frequent orgasms, but the differences did not reach statistical
significance: oral–vaginal–genital–kissing (90 vs. 77%; p=
.056); vaginal–genital–kissing (79 vs. 67%; p=.077).
Further Comparisons of Lesbian and Heterosexual
Women
The differences between lesbian and heterosexual women are
worth further investigation. We conducted a linear regression
examining the size of differences between heterosexual and
lesbian women in orgasm frequency when covariates were
added to the model (all predictors listed in Table2). Hetero-
sexual women were coded as 0 and lesbian women as 1. We also
conducted a logistic regression examining the likelihood of
reporting always orgasming. Even with all of these additional
predictors in the model, lesbianwomen reported morefrequent
orgasms than heterosexual women in the linear regression
(b=.05, p\.001). In the logistic regression, lesbian women had
three times greater odds than heterosexual women of always
experiencing orgasm (OR 2.98, p\.001).
Discussion
Who Experiences Orgasm More Frequently When
Sexually Intimate?
The results of the current study provide a clear picture of who
is most likely to orgasm during partnered sexual activity and
which factors predict orgasm frequency. Overall, men were
more likely to orgasm than women, which replicates a wide
body of existingliterature (Garcia et al.,2014; Herbenick et al.,
2010; Laumann et al., 1994; Lloyd, 2005). Consistent with the
findings of Garcia et al., we found multiple orgasm gaps across
sexual orientations: Lesbian women reported more frequent
orgasms than heterosexual women, and men reported more
frequent orgasms than lesbianwomen. People’s reports of their
partner’s orgasm frequencies mirrored these patterns: People
with male partners report more frequent orgasm for their part-
ners than people with female partners, and lesbian women report
higher orgasm frequency for their partners than heterosexual
men report for their partners.
Table 5 Orgasm frequency according to combinations of behaviors engaged in during last sexual encounter
Behaviors during last sex Orgasm frequency over past month
Receive oral
sex
Vaginal
sex
Genital
stimulation
Deep
kissing
Usually-always Rarely-never
Heterosexual
women
Lesbian
women
Bisexual
women
Heterosexual
women
Lesbian
women
Bisexual
women
%%%%%%
Yes No Yes Yes 80 91 71 7 5 19
Yes Yes Yes Yes 77 90 78 8 3 9
Yes No Yes No 73 – 10 –
Yes Yes No Yes 71 – 73 14 – 15
Yes Yes Yes No 69 – 73 13 – 17
Yes No No Yes 69 – 22 –
No Yes Yes Yes 67 79 71 16 9 13
Yes No No No 62 – 18 –
Yes Yes No No 60 – 67 17 – 14
No No Yes Yes 60 80 70 21 6 22
No Yes Yes No 59 – 53 22 – 24
No Yes No Yes 57 – 59 25 – 24
No No No Yes 54 – 25 –
No No Yes No 52 74 – 28 13 –
No No No No 37 – 51 –
No Yes No No 35 – 29 44 – 54
The values represent the percentage of women who usually-always and rarely/never orgasm during sex according to what behaviors they engaged in
during their last sexual encounter. For example, 77% of heterosexual women who received oral sex, had vaginal sex, had genital stimulation, and had
deep kissing during their last sexual encounter reported usually-always orgasming when sexually intimate during the past month. Values are only
presented in cells for which there were at least 20 participants
Arch Sex Behav
123
Women who orgasmed more frequently reported receiv-
ing more oral sex, having sex for longer durations, and being
more satisfied with their relationships. Of particular importance
for women was incorporating oral sex along with other activi-
ties during a sexual encounter. Some of the other behaviors that
most strongly differentiated women who orgasmed frequently
from women who did not were: asking for what they wanted in
bed, praising their partner for something they did in bed , calling
or emailing to tease about doing something sexual, wearing
sexy lingerie, trying new sexual p ositions, anal stimulation, and
talking about or acting out sexual fantasies, engaging in sexy
talk, and expressions of love during sex.
Consistent with past research, older men reported less
frequent orgasms than younger men, which may reflect men’s
age-related declines in health and in androgen levels (Gray &
Garcia, 2012). Some of the behaviors most strongly differ-
entiated men who orgasm frequently from men who did not
included incorporating a mini-massage or backrub, taking
shower/bath with a partner, and a date night to make sure they
had planned sexual activity.
One interesting finding of note was that 41% of heterosexual
men reported that their partner orgasms usually-always com-
pared to 33% of heterosexual women reporting that they usu-
ally-always orgasm. Part of this difference in perception could
be due to women ‘faking’’ orgasms, which research has sug-
gested women will do for a variety of reasons, including out of
love for their partner, to protect their partner’s self-esteem, intoxi-
cation, or to bring the sexual encounter to an end (Cooper, Fenig-
stein, & Fauber, 2014; Kaighobadi, Shackelford, & Weekes-
Shackelford, 2012; Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010). It is promis-
ing, however, considering sexual double standards surrounding
sexual pleasure (e.g., Armstrong, England, & Fogarty, 2012),
that the difference in heterosexual men’s perceptions and hetero-
sexual women’s reports was small (8 percentage points), sug-
gesting most men have good awareness of women’s orgasm
frequency.
Limitations and Strengths
Self-selection into surveys is a typical problem in studies
conducted with college and community samples. The study
was advertised as being on ‘‘sex and love’ in an attempt to
draw in a diverse range of people. Internet samples, however,
have the advantage of being more diverse with respect to
gender, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, and
geographic region than most convenience samples (Gosling,
Vazire, Srivastava, & John, 2004). Surveys can be completed
with ease from the privacy of respondents’ homes or work-
places, reaching individuals who would not otherwise have
the opportunity to participate in research.
Another limitation of the current study was the reliance on
one-item measures of orgasm frequency. Furthermore, when
supplementing the regression analyses with reports of percent-
ages, we divided the orgasm measure into three categories,
which has the benefit of reducing the amount of information
displayed but at some cost of precision in describing the results.
Confidence in our measures was gained from the fact that we
replicated and extendedthegender and sexual orientation dif-
ferencesidentiedinthestudybyGarciaetal.(2014).
Despite these limitations, a unique aspect of the present
study was inclusion of measures for a wide variety of personal
characteristics and behaviors, and testing the relative strength
of these as predictors of orgasm frequency. Furthermore, we
assessed behaviors not routinely measured in past research, such
as acts of sexual variety, mood setting techniques, expressions of
love during sex, and specific communication strategies. Future
research should examine a broader set of communication strate-
gies beyond the specific positive communication styles we
assessed. The large sample size provided sufficient power to
include a variety of predictors in the regression models and to
segment women into different groups in order to examine how
different combinations of behaviors during sexual activity were
linked to orgasm frequency.
Explaining Gender Differences in Orgasm Frequency
A range of hypotheses have been advanced to explain the dif-
ference in men’s and women’s orgasm rates. These can be
characterized as ‘‘sociocultural,’’ ‘‘byproduct,’’ and ‘‘adaptation-
ist.’’We present these perspectives and then discuss implications
of the current study for reducing the orgasm discrepancy between
heterosexual men and women.
Sociocultural Explanations for the Male–Female Orgasm
Gap
Sociocultural researchers have emphasized how different soci-
etal attitudes, such as sexual double standards and inconsistent
practices during sexual encounters, produce the orgasm gap
between heterosexual men and women (Rudman, Fetterolf, &
Sanchez, 2013). The stigma against women expressing sexual
desire and the pressure on men to take an active role during sexual
activity can prevent couples from engaging in the behaviors that
are most likely to elicit orgasm in women. This stigma can lead
women to not explore their own sexuality, to learn what brings
them to orgasm, or to express to their partners what their sexual
preferences are.
Due to stigma against female pleasure, some people place
greater importance on men’s orgasm than women’s orgasm
(Fahs & Frank, 2014). In interview studies, however, college
men reported feeling it was their responsibility to bring their
female partner to orgasm, that this is very satisfying for men,
and that the absence of female orgasm is distressing (Salisbury
& Fisher, 2014). Some men and women, however, have mis-
taken beliefs about the underlying physiological causes of
orgasm. Nearly one-third of menincorrectly assume that most
Arch Sex Behav
123
women will orgasm from penile–vaginal intercourse alone
(Wade, Kremer, & Brown, 2005).
Many women are dissatisfied withtheir appearance (Forbes
& Frederick, 2008;Frederick, Kelly,Latner, Sandhu,& Tsong,
2016) and weight (Frederick, Forbes, & Berozovskaya, 2008;
Gray & Frederick, 2012; Swami et al., 2010), are less satisfied
with their appearance than men (Frederick, Forbes, Grigorian,
& Jarcho, 2007; Frederick, Jafary, Daniels, & Gruys, 2011),
and are more likely than men to be self-conscious about their
bodies during sex (Peplau et al., 2009). More generally, pop-
ular media promote stigmatization of heavier men and women
(Frederick, Saguy, Sandhu, & Mann, 2016; Frederick, Saguy,
&Gruys,2016; Saguy, Frederick, & Gruys, 2014)andsexual-
ization of slender women (Roberts & Muta, 2017), and women
internalize these thin ideals as important to attain (Schaefer et al.,
2015). Body dissatisfaction interferes with ability to orgasm
(Erbil, 2013; Satinsky, Reece, Dennis, Sanders, & Bardzell,
2012) and body image interventions to improve body satisfac-
tion and counteract the effects of thin ideal media could help
increase orgasm frequency.
Adaptationist Explanations for the Male–Female Orgasm
Gap
Evolutionary perspectives have been widely applied to under-
stand human sexuality and mate preferences (Gallup & Frederick,
2010), and multiple evolutionary explanations for understanding
orgasm have been advanced. For males, insofar as male orgasm
and ejaculation are tightly linked, orgasm rewards men for ejac-
ulating and for seeking intercourse with one or more partners. A
motivational system that promotes seeking a greater number or
variety of reproductive opportunities can be adaptive because
men’s reproductive lives are not constrained by long periods
of gestation and lactation, as well as biologically limiting inter-
birth intervals (Trivers, 1972; but see Brown, Laland, & Mulder,
2009).
Some evolutionary researchers propose that female orgasm
also serves an adaptive function (for reviews, see Puts et al.,
2012; Wheatley & Puts, 2015). One possible a daptive function
is that orgasm in women facilitates bonding with a long-term
romantic partner. A second hypothesis is that orgasm in women
functions to promote reproduction with males with heritable traits
associated with attractiveness or health, which can then be passed
onto offspring. For example, women exhibit preferences for rel-
atively taller partners (Salska et al., 2008) and for men who are
muscular and toned (Frederick, Fessler, & Haselton, 2005;
Frederick & Haselton, 2007;Gray&Frederick,2012), traits
that are heritable. The female orgasm, therefore, is expected
to be more sensitive to context and partner characteristics than
male orgasm. This perspective would explain why orgasm
frequency varies across women and why orgasm frequency
is lower among women than among men.
Byproduct Explanations for the Male–Female Orgasm Gap
An alternative evolutionary explanation for the lower orgasm
frequency in women is that orgasm has little or no adaptive
value in females: It does not promote survival or reproduction.
Rather, it is an evolutionary byproduct of the male orgasm,
much like male nipples are a byproduct of the female nipple
(Lloyd, 2005; Symons, 1979). Consistent with the byproduct
perspective, the clitoris is not necessarily directly stimulated
during sexual intercourse, few women reliablyachieve orgasm
through penile–vaginal intercourse, there is substantial varia-
tion between women in orgasmrates, and most orgasm has not
been clearly linked to fitness-relevant outcomes such as survival
or number of offspring (for reviews, see Lloyd, 2005,2015).
One proximate biological explanation consistent with the
byproduct hypothesis has been offered to explain women’s
substantial variation in orgasm rates. The distance between
the clitoris and the urinary meatus (clitoris–urinary–meatus–
distance; CUMD) places the clitoris farther from the vaginal
opening for some women than others (Wallen & Lloyd 2011).
Women with longer CUMDs do not reliably have orgasms with
intercourse, whereas women with shorter CUMDs (2.0cm or
less) havemore reliable orgasms.These findings are consistent
with the view that a woman’s likelihoodof orgasm arises from
hormonalmechanisms that directthe development of the penis
(and therefore clitoris) in the fetus and infant, rather than
female orgasm providing an adaptive benefit for reproduction.
Explaining Differences in Orgasm Rate Between
Lesbian and Heterosexual Women
Lesbian women were more likely to orgasm than heterosex-
ual women, even when controlling for important contributors
to orgasm frequency that mightvary by sexual orientation (oral
sex frequency, acts of sexual variety, communication, etc.). This
raises the question of why lesbian women orgasm more fre-
quently. One possibility is that lesbian women are in a better
position to understand how different behaviors feel for their
partner (e.g., stimulating the clitoris) and how these sensations
build toward orgasm. It is quite possible that lesbian women are
less likely than heterosexual men to believe that orgasms are
elicitedprimarily by vaginal sex.Lesbian women may be more
likely to hold sexual script norms regarding equity in orgasm
occurrence, including a ‘‘turn-taking culture’’where lesbian
women are more likely to take turns receiving pleasure until
each is satiated (insofar as orgasm is a desired outcome).
If men desire sex more frequently than women (Lippa, 2007),
then there could be more sexual encounters in heterosexual
relationships explicitly intended to satisfy the desires of the
male partner. As a result,higher ratesof orgasm in heterosexual
men reflect, in part, couples creating equality in their sexual
relationships by engaging in activities designed to satiate the
Arch Sex Behav
123
partnerexperiencing intensesexual desire, ratherthan having a
tit-for-tat expectation for orgasm.
Conclusions
Consistent with both feminist and evolutionary perspectives,
orgasm frequency was lower among women than men. Rel-
atively few heterosexual women orgasmed through vaginal
sex alone. Orgasm frequencies for heterosexual women only
approached those for men when other behaviors were added
to sexualintercourse (e.g.,oral sex, manualstimulation).These
findings are consistent with the view that there are biological
differences between men and women in likelihood of orgasm
during intercourse. The findings, however, indicate that this
orgasm gap can be reduced by addressing sociocultural factors
and by encouraging a widervariety of activities when men and
women are sexually intimate. The fact that lesbian women
orgasmed more often than heterosexual women indicates that
many heterosexual women could experience higher rates
of orgasm.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest David Frederick declares that he has no conflict of
interest. H. Kate St. John declares that she has no conflict of interest.
Justin Garcia declares that he has no conflict of interest. Elisabeth Lloyd
declares that she has no conflict of interest.
Ethical Approval All procedures performed in studies involving
human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the
institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964
Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical
standards.
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... The "orgasm gap" refers to the well-established discrepancy in orgasm frequency between cisgender men and women when engaging in heterosexual partnered sex, with men having more orgasms than women on average (e.g., Frederick et al., 2018;Garcia et al., 2014;Piemonte et al., 2019;see Mahar et al., 2020 for a review). Research has shown that the orgasm gap is exacerbated in casual sex encounters (Armstrong et al., 2012;Piemonte et al., 2019), but still exists within committed relationships that span many years (Frederick et al., 2018;Jones et al., 2018). ...
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... In addition to men's and women's individual orgasm frequencies, we use an orgasm frequency discrepancy value to conceptualize the size of the orgasm gap between partners in each relationship (see also Wetzel & Sanchez, 2022). Previous research has found that men overestimate women's orgasm frequency in general, compared to women's reports (Frederick et al., 2018;Shirazi et al., 2018;Wetzel & Sanchez, 2022), but limited research has investigated partner orgasm perceptions in a dyadic context (i.e., do men overestimate their own partner's orgasm frequency?). One such study found that 42% of newlywed husbands misperceived their wives' orgasm frequency (25% overreported and 17% underreported; Leonhardt et al., 2018). ...
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... A study examining 30 various traits and behaviors that were correlated with orgasm frequency during sexual experiences found that heterosexual women were least likely (65%) to say they almost always experienced orgasm when sexually intimate during the last month, followed by bisexual women (66%), and lesbian women were the most likely (86%) among women to experience orgasm. Heterosexual men were the most likely to report orgasm (95%), followed by gay men (89%) and bisexual men (88%) [18]. Absent or markedly reduced sexual arousal or interest for at least 6 months with clinically significant distress as reflected by: ...
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... Barnett et al. [9] reported several gender differences related to orgasm. Other studies have shown differences regarding the perception of physiological sensations of orgasm and regarding orgasm frequency [10][11][12]. On the other hand, some studies have shown that men and women share similar psychological sensations of orgasm [13]. ...
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Masturbation is prevalent across the lifespan. Many people feel ashamed of or conflicted about their masturbation, likely because of long-standing and wide-spread stigma, misinformation, and lack of adequate sexual education. The consensus among sexual health experts is that masturbation is healthy and promotes sexual well-being. Motives for masturbation range from sexual gratification and pleasure to self-exploration and spiritual practice; many people enhance their masturbatory experiences using sex toys or sexually explicit material.
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Zusammenfassung Warum es heute vielleicht wichtiger denn je ist, einen Sexratgeber für Frauen zu schreiben und zu lesen, erklärt der vorliegende Debattenbeitrag. Als Verfasserin eines feministischen Sexualaufklärungsbuchs beobachtet die Autorin die sexpositiven Internet-Bubbles und kennt auch die kritischen Reaktionen dazu. Insgesamt sieht sie die Sache mit der weiblichen Lust momentan verhalten optimistisch.
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____**Einleitung**___ Seit den 1960er-Jahren wird in Wissenschaft, Frauenbewegung und breiter Öffentlichkeit darüber diskutiert, dass und warum Frauen beim Heterosex seltener Orgasmen erleben als Männer und ob und wie man diesen Gender Orgasm Gap schließen kann. Im Rahmen eines bio-psycho-sozialen Verständnisses von Sexualität werden Gender Orgasm Gaps theoretisch sehr unterschiedlich erklärt. ___**Forschungsziele**___ Ziel des vorliegenden Forschungsüberblicks ist es, die bisherigen empirischen Befunde zur Größe des Gender Orgasm Gap zu berichten sowie die vorgeschlagenen Praxismaßnahmen zu seiner Überwindung zu präsentieren und kritisch zu diskutieren. ___**Methoden**___ Im Zuge einer systematischen Literaturrecherche wurden n = 20 empirische Publikationen zum Gender Orgasm Gap und zusätzlich n = 16 wissenschaftliche Originalarbeiten zu seinem Abbau identifiziert und kodiert (1982–2021). ___**Ergebnisse**___ Die eingeschlossenen Umfragen basieren auf Angaben von N = 49 940 Frauen und N = 48 329 Männern und zeigen, dass typischerweise 30 % bis 60 % der befragten Frauen berichten, beim Heterosex zum Orgasmus zu kommen, im Unterschied zu 70 % bis 100 % der Männer. Je nach Rahmenbedingungen des Heterosex schwankt die Größe des Gender Orgasm Gap zwischen –20 % und –72 % zuungunsten der Frauen. Die vorliegenden zehn bevölkerungsrepräsentativen Umfragen ergeben einen gewichteten mittleren Gender Orgasm Gap von –30 % [95 %iges Konfidenzintervall: –31 %; –30 %]. Die in der bisherigen Fachliteratur vorgeschlagenen Maßnahmen zum Schließen dieser Orgasmus-Lücke beziehen sich auf personale Faktoren, Beziehungsfaktoren, sexuelle Interaktionsfaktoren und gesellschaftliche Faktoren: Frauen wird empfohlen, den eigenen Orgasmus bewusster anzustreben und in der Beziehung offener über sexuelle Wünsche zu sprechen. Zudem wird Frauen und Männern geraten, mehr direkte klitorale Stimulation in den Heterosex zu integrieren und Orgasmen von Frauen gesellschaftlich zu demarginalisieren. ___**Schlussfolgerung**___ Aus dem bisherigen Forschungsstand leitet sich die Notwendigkeit ab, Fragen rund um den Gender Orgasm Gap weiterhin in Wissenschaft und Praxis zu bearbeiten. Angesichts der begrenzten Erfolge der letzten Dekaden scheint es jedoch auch geboten, die bisher verfolgten Ansätze im „Kampf um Orgasmus-Gerechtigkeit“ kritisch zu hinterfragen.
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The “orgasm gap” refers to the finding that cisgender men, on average, have more orgasms than cisgender women during heterosexual partnered sex. In the current research, we replicated evidence for several orgasm discrepancies across sexual contexts and assessed men’s and women’s perceptions of the orgasm gap. Our sample consisted of 276 heterosexual, cisgender, sexually active undergraduate students (56.52% women; M age = 18.84). We assessed participants’ self-reported orgasm frequencies with a familiar partner, with a new partner, and during masturbation, as well as participants’ perceptions of their partners’ orgasm frequencies. We found evidence for orgasm discrepancies between young men and women within contexts and for women across contexts. Additionally, men perceived the size of the orgasm gap to be smaller than women perceived it to be. We used qualitative analyses to assess participants’ perceptions of driving forces behind the orgasm gap and their responses could be grouped into five overarching themes: Sociocultural Influence, Women’s Orgasm Difficulty, Biology, Men’s Fault, and Interpersonal Communication. This qualitative data can inform education and advocacy efforts focused on improving orgasm outcomes for young women, particularly by disproving prominent biological justifications for orgasm difference and addressing relevant sociocultural concerns. Additional online materials for this article are available on PWQ’s website at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/suppl/10.1177/03616843221076410 .
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Background Many patients have goals related to sexual health when seeking gender-affirming vaginoplasty, and previous investigations have only studied the ability to orgasm at cross-sectional timepoints. Aim Our aim is to quantify the time to orgasm postoperative gender-affirming vaginoplasty and describe potential correlative factors, including preoperative orgasm, to improve preoperative counseling. Methods A retrospective chart review was utilized to extract factors thought to influence pre and postoperative orgasm in patients undergoing robotic peritoneal flap vaginoplasty. Mean days to orgasm plus one standard deviation above that mean was used to define the time at which patients would be considered anorgasmic. Outcomes Orgasm was documented as a categorical variable on the basis of surgeon interviews during pre and postoperative appointments while time to orgasm was measured as days from surgery to first date documented as orgasmic in the medical record. Results A total of 199 patients underwent surgery from September 2017 to August 2020. The median time to orgasm was 180 days. 178 patients had completed 1 year or greater of follow-up, and of these patients, 153 (86%) were orgasmic and 25 patients (14%) were not. Difficulty in preoperative orgasm was correlated only with older age (median age 45.9 years vs 31.7, P = .03). Postoperative orgasm was not significantly correlated with preoperative orgasm. The only factor related to postoperative orgasm was smoking history: 12 of 55 patients (21.8%) who had a positive smoking history and sufficient follow-up reported anorgasmia (P-value .046). Interventions for anorgasmic patients include testosterone replacement, pelvic floor physical therapy, and psychotherapy. Clinical Implications Preoperative difficulty with orgasm improves with gender-affirming robotic peritoneal flap vaginoplasty, while smoking had a negative impact on postoperative orgasm recovery despite negative cotinine test prior to surgery. Strengths & Limitations This investigation is the first effort to determine a timeline for the return of orgasmic function after gender-affirming vaginoplasty. It is limited by retrospective review methodology and lack of long-term follow-up. The association of smoking with postoperative orgasm despite universal nicotine cessation prior to surgery may indicate prolonged smoking cessation improves orgasmic outcomes or that underlying, unmeasured exposures correlated with smoking may be the factor inhibiting recovery of orgasm. Conclusion The majority of patients were orgasmic at their 6-month follow-up appointments, however, patients continued to become newly orgasmic in appreciable numbers more than 1 year after surgery. Blasdel G, Kloer C, Parker A, et al. Coming Soon: Ability to Orgasm After Gender Affirming Vaginoplasty. J Sex Med 2021;XX:XXX–XXX.
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This study presents the first part of a mixed-methods exploration of couple sexual communication. Typologies of heterosexual couples in committed, sexual relationships were created for further exploration of group differences in sexual communication. A cluster analysis categorized couples into four different couple typologies: mutually satisfied, satisfied men/dissatisfied women, satisfied women/dissatisfied men, and mutually dissatisfied. Using a MANOVA approach, the couple typologies were used to identify differences in how the couple types communicated about sex. The results revealed significant differences among the differing couple types, which will be explored qualitatively in part two of this analysis.
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Passion and sexual satisfaction typically diminish in longer-term relationships, but this decline is not inevitable. We identified the attitudes and behaviors that most strongly differentiated sexually satisfied from dissatisfied men and women who had been together for at least three years (N = 38,747). Data were collected in 2006 from cohabiting and married men (M) and women (W) via an online survey on a major national U.S. news Web site. The vast majority of these participants reported being satisfied with their sex lives during their first six months together (83% W; 83% M). Satisfaction with their current sex lives was more variable, with approximately half of participants reporting overall satisfaction (55% W; 43% M) and the rest feeling neutral (18% W; 16% M) or dissatisfied (27% W; 41% M). More than one in three respondents (38% W; 32% M) claimed their sex lives were as passionate now as in the beginning. Sexual satisfaction and maintenance of passion were higher among people who had sex most frequently, received more oral sex, had more consistent orgasms, and incorporated more variety of sexual acts, mood setting, and sexual communication. We discuss implications of these findings for research and for helping people revitalize their sex lives.
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Recent reviews have challenged the view that gay men are at higher risk than heterosexual men for developing poor body image. The current project examined the extent to which gay and heterosexual men differed on measures related to body image. We also examined whether body mass index (BMI) moderated the association between sexual orientation and body image. Across 5 studies, 111,958 heterosexual men and 4,398 gay men completed surveys assessing different aspects of body image. Gay men generally reported lower body satisfaction than heterosexual men, but these differences were typically small (most ds < .20). Gay men were more likely than heterosexual men to report dissatisfaction with their physical appearance (29 vs. 21%) and muscle size/tone (45 vs. 30%), but not weight (44 vs. 39%). Gay men were also more likely to agree that they experienced objectification (d = .40; 77% agree vs. 61% agree), surveillance (d = .50; 58 vs. 39%), appearance-based social comparison (d = .45; 68 vs. 51%), and pressure from the media to be attractive (d = .68; 58 vs. 29%). Odds ratios showed that gay men were more likely to consider cosmetic surgery (3.96), use diet pills (2.59), diet in the past year to lose weight (1.84), and avoid sex because of body dissatisfaction (6.28). BMI was a strong predictor of body dissatisfaction in men, but did not consistently moderate the association between sexual orientation and body image. Differences between heterosexual and gay men were largest on measures assessing body modification and perceived sociocultural pressures.
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Most content analyzes of Playboy magazine have reported a trend toward increased thinness over time. However, recent research suggests that this trend may be reversing. The current study updates this research by examining changes in the body mass index (BMI) of Playboy models from 2000 to 2014. Results revealed that the average model BMI increased during most of this period with 95% of models now possessing BMIs that are either normal weight or only slightly underweight.
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Women responding to the 1998 Canadian Contraception Study answered several questions about sexual and reproductive health issues. Eleven percent of respondents had never had intercourse: of those who had, 88% were coitally active during the previous six months. Premenstrual syndrome was self-diagnosed by 58% of all respondents, while 30% reported dysmenorrhea. Monthly breast self-examination was practised by 37%, of respondents, with a higher reported rate among older women. Pap smears during the preceding two years were reported by 81% of sexually experienced women. Among sexual dysfunctions that were examined, the most common was diminished sexual desire, described as a problem by 39% of the total sample and by 57% of younger married women. These results show that sexual, reproductive, and women's health problems are common among Canadian women, and that reproductive cancer screening is suboptimal.
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Asian American women experience sociocultural pressures that could place them at increased risk for experiencing body and face dissatisfaction. Asian American and White women completed measures of appearance evaluation, overweight preoccupation, face satisfaction, face dissatisfaction frequency, perfectionism, surveillance, interdependent and independent self-construal, and perceived sociocultural pressures. In Study 1 (N = 182), Asian American women were more likely than White women to report low appearance evaluation (24% vs. 12%; d = −0.50) and to be sometimes-always dissatisfied with the appearance of their eyes (38% vs. 6%; d = 0.90) and face overall (59% vs. 34%; d = 0.41). In Study 2 (N = 488), they were more likely to report low appearance evaluation (36% vs. 23%; d = −0.31) and were less likely to report high eye appearance satisfaction (59% vs. 88%; d = −0.84). The findings highlight the importance of considering ethnic differences when assessing body and face image.