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Not All Orgasms Were Created Equal: Differences in Frequency and Satisfaction of Orgasm Experiences by Sexual Activity in Same-Sex Versus Mixed-Sex Relationships

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Which sexual activities result in the most frequent and most satisfying orgasms for men and women in same- and mixed-sex relationships? The current study utilized a convenience sample of 806 participants who completed an online survey concerning the types of sexual activities through which they experience orgasms. Participants indicated how frequently they reached orgasm, how satisfied they were from orgasms resulting from fourteen sexual activities, and whether they desired a frequency change for each sexual activity. We present the overall levels of satisfaction, frequency and desired frequency change for the whole sample and also compare responses across four groups of participants: men and women in same-sex relationships and men and women in mixed-sex relationships. While all participants reported engaging in a wide variety of activities that either could, or often did, lead to the experience of orgasm, there were differences in the levels of satisfaction derived from different types of orgasms for different types of participants, who also engaged in such activities with varying degrees of frequency. We discuss group differences within the context of sexual scripts for same- and mixed-sex couples, and question the potential explanations for gender differences in the ability to experience orgasm during partnered sexual activity. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00224499.2017.1303437?journalCode=hjsr20
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Download by: [Dr Karen Blair] Date: 31 March 2017, At: 07:41
The Journal of Sex Research
ISSN: 0022-4499 (Print) 1559-8519 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/hjsr20
Not All Orgasms Were Created Equal: Differences
in Frequency and Satisfaction of Orgasm
Experiences by Sexual Activity in Same-Sex versus
Mixed-Sex Relationships
Karen L. Blair, Jaclyn Cappell & Caroline F. Pukall
To cite this article: Karen L. Blair, Jaclyn Cappell & Caroline F. Pukall (2017): Not All Orgasms
Were Created Equal: Differences in Frequency and Satisfaction of Orgasm Experiences by Sexual
Activity in Same-Sex versus Mixed-Sex Relationships, The Journal of Sex Research
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2017.1303437
Published online: 31 Mar 2017.
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Not All Orgasms Were Created Equal: Differences in Frequency
and Satisfaction of Orgasm Experiences by Sexual Activity in
Same-Sex versus Mixed-Sex Relationships
Karen L. Blair
KLB Research, St. Francis Xavier University
Jaclyn Cappell
Department of Psychology, Queens University
Caroline F. Pukall
Department of Psychology, Queens University
Which sexual activities result in the most frequent and most satisfying orgasms for men and
women in same- and mixed-sex relationships? The current study utilized a convenience sample
of 806 participants who completed an online survey concerning the types of sexual activities
through which they experience orgasms. Participants indicated how frequently they reached
orgasm, how satised they were from orgasms resulting from 14 sexual activities, and whether
they desired a frequency change for each sexual activity. We present the overall levels of
satisfaction, frequency, and desired frequency change for the whole sample and also compare
responses across four groups of participants: men and women in same-sex relationships and
men and women in mixed-sex relationships. While all participants reported engaging in a wide
variety of activities that either could, or often did, lead to the experience of orgasm, there were
differences in the levels of satisfaction derived from different types of orgasms for different types
of participants, who also engaged in such activities with varying degrees of frequency. We
discuss group differences within the context of sexual scripts for same- and mixed-sex couples
and question the potential explanations for gender differences in the ability to experience
orgasm during partnered sexual activity.
For many people, the experience of orgasm is viewed as the
end goalof sexual activity (Potts, 2000). In fact, the
frequency with which individuals achieve orgasm and the
satisfaction that they derive from orgasms are often consid-
ered markers of both relationship and sexual satisfaction
(Haavio-Mannila & Kontula, 1997; Mah & Binik, 2005).
Although researchers often study gender differences in
orgasm experiences, we know very little about how orgasm
experiences differ at the intersections of gender and sexual
identity. As a result, the literature is unable to provide clear
answers concerning whether same-sex and mixed-sex cou-
ples differ in the types of sexual activities that are most
likely to elicit frequent and satisfying orgasms. More speci-
cally, we currently understand very little about how exist-
ing gender differences in orgasm experiences may differ as a
function of relationship type. Documenting such differences
can provide clinicians with a better understanding of the
sexual repertoires of clients in same- versus mixed-sex
relationships and will potentially elucidate strategies that
either group can borrow from the other to expand their
partnered sexual experiences.
GENDER DIFFERENCES IN ORGASM
Evidence suggests the subjective experience and neuro-
logical underpinnings of orgasm are comparable across
genders (Georgiadis, Reinders, Paans, Renken, &
Kortekaas, 2009; Mah & Binik, 2002; Vance & Wagner,
1976). Despite these documented similarities, there are
Correspondence should be addressed to Karen L. Blair, KLB Research/
St. Francis Xavier University, 5055 Notre Dame Avenue, Antigonish, Nova
Scotia B2G 2W5, Canada. E-mail: kblair@stfx.ca
Contributions: Conceived of and designed the research: KLB.
Conducted the research: KLB. Analyzed the data: KLB. Wrote the paper:
JC and KLB. Revised and edited the paper: JC, KLB, and CFP. Provided
funding: CFP.
The authors would like to thank the KLB Research participants (http://
www.klbresearch.com) who so openly shared their time and experiences to
make this article possible. We would also like to thank Dr. David
Kremelberg for his feedback on various iterations of this article. This
research was supported by the rst authors SSHRC-CGS doctoral award.
THE JOURNAL OF SEX RESEARCH,00(00), 115, 2017
Copyright: © The Society for the Scientic Study of Sexuality
ISSN: 0022-4499 print/1559-8519 online
DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2017.1303437
notable gender differences regarding the context in which
orgasm occurs.
Men
1
typically experience their rst orgasm after pub-
erty; and in adulthood, they experience orgasm quite con-
sistently (Hite, 1982; Janus & Janus, 1993; Richters, Visser,
Rissel, & Smith, 2006), often reporting experiences of
orgasm in 85% to 95% of their partnered sexual activities
(Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, & Michaels, 1994). However,
womens masturbation debut is later, more variable, and
their attainment of orgasm from partnered activity is less
predictable (Wallen & Lloyd, 2011). Women typically report
orgasm experiences in 40% to 65% of their partnered sexual
activities (Haavio-Mannila & Kontula, 1997; Haning et al.,
2007; Hurlbert, Apt, & Rabehl, 1993; Shackelford et al.,
2000; Singh, Meyer, Zambarano, & Hurlbert, 1998;
Thornhill, Gangestad, & Comer, 1995). One reason for the
gender gap in orgasm frequency may be that typical hetero-
normative sexual scripts tend to favor sexual activities that
are more likely to result in orgasms for men than for women
(e.g., penile-vaginal intercourse). This gap is reinforced by
views dictating that women be more passive in their sexu-
ality, while mens sexuality is permitted to focus on their
ability, performance, and competence (Tiefer, 2004).
Coupled with what Potts (2002) refers to as the coital
imperative,heteronormative scripts appear to give a greater
degree of agency to men than to women, especially in
matters concerning pleasure.
Gender Differences in Orgasm As a Function of Sexual
Activities
For women, orgasm during sexual activity can occur from
clitoral and/or vaginal stimulation, though the clitoris is the
primary sensory source for triggering orgasms in women (Mah
&Binik,2001). While the clitoris can occasionally be stimu-
lated during penetrative vaginal intercourse (either directly or
indirectly), the majority of women indicate that they do not
usually orgasm from penetration alone (Lloyd, 2005).
Compared to other sexual activities during which the clitoris
is directly stimulated (e.g., manualgenital or oralgenital
simulation), women are least likely to experience orgasm dur-
ing penilevaginal intercourse (e.g., Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin,
&Gebhard,1953; Laumann et al., 1994). While the majority
of men indicate that they usually or always orgasm during
penilevaginal intercourse (Janus & Janus, 1993), the majority
of women indicate that they usually do not orgasm as a result
of vaginal penetration (Lloyd, 2005).
Women report that they are more likely to experience
orgasm during nonpenetrative partnered activities, speci-
cally those that directly stimulate the clitoris. For example,
Fugl-Meyer, Oberg, Lundberg, Lewin, and Fugl-Meyer
(2006) found that 83% of their female sample reported
orgasms from manual genital caressing and 69% reported
orgasm from receiving oral sex. Despite the higher fre-
quency of orgasm from nonpenetrative activities, the Janus
Report on Sexual Behavior found that only 18% of women
have a preference for achieving orgasm through oral sex,
whereas 69% prefer to reach orgasm through penetration
(Janus & Janus, 1993). However, these self-reported prefer-
ences may be highly inuenced by what women believe to
be normativesexual experiences (Potts, 2002), rather than
based on their actual objective comparison of experiences of
orgasms during different sexual activities. Womens prefer-
ences for penetration-derived orgasms may also be a func-
tion of sexual scripts placing a greater emphasis on the male
orgasm, such that a womans orgasm experience during, or
while facilitating, male orgasm may be viewed as a more
properform of sexual activity, emphasizing the frequent
conation of sex and male orgasm (Braun, Gavey, &
McPhillips, 2003). This pattern may have the unfortunate
consequence of women being less likely to report a prefer-
ence for orgasms experienced as a result of oral sex, despite
their apparent greater ability to achieve orgasm through
such activities.
Gender Differences in Preferences for Sexual Activity
Given the gender differences in the rates of orgasm during
different sexual activities, it is not surprising that there are
gender differences in preferences for, and enjoyment of,
different sexual activities. Men rate penilevaginal inter-
course as more pleasurable than do women (e.g., Haavio-
Mannila & Kontula, 1997; Holmberg & Blair, 2009). Indeed,
in comparison to other partnered sexual activities, men prefer
intercourse to stimulation by partners hand, mouth, or other
means (Purnine, Carey, & Jorgensen, 1994).
With respect to nonpenetrative partnered sexual activities,
men also seem to enjoy performing and receiving oral sex
more so than women (e.g., Galinsky & Sonenstein, 2011;
Pinkerton, Cecil, Bogart, & Abramson, 2003; Purnine et al.,
1994). Pinkerton and colleagues (2003) asked undergraduates
to rate the pleasurableness of different sexual acts, regardless of
whether they had experience engaging in the act(s). The authors
found that men rated performing oral sex as more pleasurable
than did women. Interestingly, whether or not male respondents
had previous experience performing oral sex did not signi-
cantly affect their pleasure ratings, whereas female respondents
whohadperformedoralsexrateditassignicantly less pleasur-
able than females who had not. The same study found that
womenreportedmorepleasurefrommanualgenital stimulation
by a partner than did men (Pinkerton et al., 2003). Women have
also reported a greater preference for more tender (e.g., hugging,
talking), sensual (e.g., kissing, having breasts stimulated by
partner), or erotic (e.g., dancingorundressingforapartner)
sexual activities than men (Holmberg & Blair, 2009).
Sexual Orientation Differences in Sexual Behavior and
Orgasm
The vast majority of human sexuality research has
focused on sexual activities within the scope of heternorma-
tive relationships. Recently, there has been a call for the
BLAIR, CAPPELL, AND PUKALL
2
increased application of inclusive research methods, which
seek to include more diverse experiences within the scope
of sexuality research (Andersen & Zou, 2015; Blair, 2016).
In particular, this perspective has led to a growing interest in
understanding diverse sexualities and the increased inclu-
sion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/ques-
tioning (LGBTQ; also referred to as queer in this article)
participants in human sexuality research. The available data
suggest there are indeed differences between heterosexual
and queer individuals when it comes to sex.
One of the most telling differences identied to date has
been that penile penetration (i.e., vaginal and/or anal pene-
tration) occurs less often in same-sex sexual activity than it
does in mixed-sex sexual activity (de Visser, Smith, Rissel,
Richters, & Grulich, 2003; Grulich, de Visser, Smith, Rissel,
& Richters, 2003; Laumann et al., 1994). This nding is not
surprising for women in same-sex relationships; however, it
may be of some surprise for men in same-sex relationships,
given that anal sex is so often the focus of research on male
same-sex sexual behavior, largely due to a risk-centered
approach focused on human immunodeciency virus
(HIV) transmission. However, multiple studies have found
that anal sex is practiced less often than mutual masturba-
tion and oral sex (both giving and receiving) in male same-
sex relationships (Rosenberger et al., 2011).
The most common sexual activities for women to engage
in during same-sex sexual activity are manual stimulation of
the genitals (either inside the vagina or externally on the
vulva), oral sex, and rubbing genitals together (Bailey,
Farquhar, Owen, & Whittaker, 2003; Schick, Rosenberger,
Herbenick, & Reece, 2012). Given that men are more likely
to orgasm from penetrative activities, while women are more
likely to experience orgasm from clitoral stimulation, one
might hypothesize that women engaging in same-sex sexual
activity would experience more orgasms than heterosexual
women, whereas men engaging in same-sex sexual activity
might experience fewer orgasms than heterosexual men.
Indeed, research has long suggested that women in same-
sex relationships experience frequent and intense orgasms
(Kinsey et al., 1953), perhaps to a greater extent than hetero-
sexual women (Bressler & Lavender, 1986). On the other
hand, while men in same-sex relationships experience enjoy-
able sex and frequent orgasms (Rosenberger et al., 2011), it
appears that orgasm may occur less frequently in their part-
nered sexual activities than it does for men in mixed-sex
relationships (e.g., Grulich et al., 2003;Richtersetal.,2006).
In a recent study conducted with 2,850 single men and
women in the United States, Garcia, Lloyd, Wallen, and
Fisher (2014) investigated the differences in occurrence of
orgasm (dened as the percentage of the time during sex
that one reaches orgasm) with a familiar sexual partner
among individuals of various sexual orientations. The
results suggested that heterosexual, gay, and bisexual men
do not differ in how frequently they experience orgasm. In
contrast, signicant differences among women of different
sexual identities were found, such that lesbians had signi-
cantly higher rates of orgasm than self-identied
heterosexual and bisexual women, with bisexual women
reporting the lowest rate of orgasm.
The study provided important new insights into how
orgasm experiences differ as a function of sexual orienta-
tion. However, there were some methodological issues that
limited the application and generalizability of the results.
Specically, the grouping of individuals solely based on
their self-identied orientation within the Garcia et al.
(2014) study is problematic, as an individuals self-identi-
ed sexual identity does not always accurately predict the
gender of their sexual partners (Diamond, 2000; Vrangalova
& Savin-Williams, 2010). The study also noted the lack of
available information in determining the type of relationship
that bisexual participants were reporting on, such that this
group of participants within the study was likely a mixture
of individuals reporting on same-sex and mixed-sex
relationships.
CURRENT STUDY
In many cases the so-called orgasm gap has been examined
by determining differences in orgasm frequency in men and
women. What remains missing from the literature is an exam-
ination of satisfaction. Are all orgasms from all activities equally
satisfying? Are there certain activities that are both reliable in
producing orgasmic experiences and are also rated as the most
satisfying of orgasmic experiences? Or, perhaps, are all orgasms
equally satisfying, such that so long as an orgasm occurs, then a
relatively equal amount of satisfaction has also been achieved?
The current study sought to shed light on these questions by
examining not only frequency of orgasm across different gen-
ders and relationship types but also the self-reported levels of
satisfaction that individuals derive from orgasms resulting from
different sexual activities. Together, this information may paint a
clearer picture of the orgasm gap and provide potential sugges-
tions for closing the gap by helping couples and individuals
focus on (or at least include in their sexual repertoire) activities
most likely to result in not only frequent or reliable orgasms but
also the most satisfying of orgasms.
Thus, the current study sought to examine elements of
satisfaction and frequency associated with various sexual
activities across a sample of men and women in mixed-sex
and same-sex relationships. In addition, we sought to spe-
cically investigate experiences of orgasm resulting from
various sexual activities with respect to questions of fre-
quency and satisfaction across various relationship types
(same sex/mixed sex), allowing for a simultaneous compar-
ison of the contributions of gender and relationship type.
METHOD
Participants
Participants were recruited to participate in a larger study of
contemporary relationship experiencesthrough the use of
FREQUENCY AND SATISFACTION OF ORGASM EXPERIENCES
3
online advertisements, messages sent to electronic mailing
lists, on-campus announcements, in-print magazine ads, snow-
balling methods, and invitations sent to previous study parti-
cipants. To be eligible to participate, participants needed to be
in a romantic relationship, have access to the Internet, be
18 years of age or older, and be capable of completing a
questionnaire in the English language. Specic efforts were
made to recruit a sexually diverse sample through the place-
ment of targeted advertisements directed at LGBTQ commu-
nities and interests. The use of the Internet to recruit
participants and deliver the survey facilitated the recruitment
of a large sample, with nearly one-half of the sample currently
within a same-sex relationship. Past research has noted similar
success, with Internet research allowing more diverse conve-
nience samples to be collected, as compared to standard on-
campus and local community recruiting efforts (Gosling &
Mason, 2015). Furthermore, when comparing to the average
nonnationally representative sample collected in psychologi-
cal literature, large Internet samples tend to be signicantly
more diverse (Gosling, Vazire, Srivastava, & John, 2004).
Finally, when studying potentially sensitive information,
such as the nature of ones orgasm experiences, offering a
survey through an online environment may increase the feeling
of anonymity and may increase the number and type of parti-
cipants interested in completing such a survey (Gosling &
Mason, 2015).
A total of 1,294 individuals accessed the online sur-
vey. Of these, 63 did not respond to any questions at all,
115 were removed from the analysis because they indi-
cated that they were not currently in a romantic relation-
ship, 15 did not answer the relevant questions based on a
current partner, and 294 did not provide responses to the
relevant questions used in the current analysis. There
were no signicant demographic differences between
those who answered the relevant questions and those
who did not. The remaining 806 participants ranged in
age from 18 to 79, with a mean age of 30 (SD = 10.65).
The majority of participants identied as women (61.4%),
White (90.1%), and predominantly resided in Canada
(38.7%), the United States (45.4%), or other large
Western nations (e.g., United Kingdom, Australia;
10.4%).
2
Although all of the participants identied as
cisgender, 9 (1.1%) indicated that their current partner
identied as either a trans man or trans woman.
Participants were well educated, with the majority report-
ing having at least an undergraduate degree, although
more than half of the sample (64.2%) reported personal
annual incomes less than $36,000.
3
Nearly half of the
sample reported identifying with the labels gay or lesbian
(47.9%), slightly fewer identied as straight (44.3%), and
a minority reported identifying as bisexual (5.4%) or
unlabeled (2.5%). All participants were in romantic rela-
tionships, the average length of which was 52.9 months,
or nearly 4.5 years. No participants reported being in
multiple relationships at the time of completing the ques-
tionnaires. Relationship duration varied greatly, from as
little as one week to a maximum of just over 38 years
(SD = 68.4 months). Just over half of the relationships
were classied as being same sex (51.1%). Table 1 pre-
sents the demographic and relationship variables of the
full sample.
Measures
Personal and Relationship Demographics. Participants
were asked to provide a number of personal and relational
demographics, including their gender (male, female, trans
woman, trans man), sexual identity (lesbian, gay, bisexual,
straight, unlabeled), sexual orientation (heterosexual,
homosexual, bisexual, other), age, personal and household
income, education level, ethnicity, nationality, length of
relationship (in months), gender of their partner, and the stage
of their relationship (e.g., dating, engaged, common law/
married).
Sexual Satisfaction Inventory. Sexual satisfaction,
frequency, and desired frequency change were derived
using a modied version of the 32-item Sexual Satisfaction
Inventory (SSI; Whitley, 1998). The current analysis
examined 14 (13 original and one additional) items from
the SSI, which either pertained to experiences of orgasm,
experiences that could potentially lead to orgasm, or
experiences of not reaching orgasm during sexual activity.
Participants were asked to indicate the level of sexual
satisfaction they derive from each activity, ranging from 1
(No satisfaction)to5(Maximum satisfaction). Participants
responded Not applicable to any items that were not currently
part of their sexual repertoire. No concrete time period was
provided to participants, as they were just asked to rate the
level of satisfaction that they derive from these activities, in
general, within the context of their current romantic
relationship. An example of an item related to experiences
of orgasm was Orgasm experienced with vaginal intercourse
only,while an example of an item pertaining to an activity
that could potentially lead to orgasm (but may not) was
Sexual intercourse or penetration with your partner.
Although the original SSI does not include an indication of
frequency, we modied the questionnaire to ask participants to
indicate the frequency with which they reached orgasm for the
orgasm-related items. These items specically asked
participants about orgasm occurring as a result of various
activities. Once again, no specic timeline was provided, as
the question was primarily aimed at assessing the frequency
with which they achieved orgasm when participating in the
sexual activity, not how often, in general, each type of orgasm
occurred. Participantsresponded using a 6-point scale,ranging
from 0 (Never)to5(Always). For example, for orgasms
resulting from vaginal intercourse alone, participants indicat-
ing a response of 0 would be indicating that they never had
orgasms as a result of vaginal intercourse alone (e.g., without
any other form of stimulation), while participants responding 4
would be indicating that when they engaged in vaginal inter-
course with no other form of stimulation, they almost always
experience an orgasm.
BLAIR, CAPPELL, AND PUKALL
4
Finally, we also added a question to assess desire for a
change in frequency for ve items that related to sexual
activities, but not specically to types of orgasms. Desire for
frequency change was not assessed for the orgasm in order
to focus on frequency change associated with actual sexual
behaviors instead of sexual outcomes (orgasms). This deci-
sion was based upon the assumption that individuals have a
certain degree of agency in determining which sexual
activities they engage in, but may not have the same per-
ceived control over their ability to achieve orgasm through
various activities. Participants were asked to indicate
whether they desired the frequency with which they
engaged with each activity to change in the future. Using
a 5-point scale, participants could indicate the extent to
which they desired a change in the frequency with which
they engaged in each activity using the following scale:
Table 1. Sample Demographics Split by Relationship Type and Group
Demographic
Same Sex (n= 412) Mixed Sex (n= 394)
Female (n= 207) Male (n= 205) Female (n= 288) Male (n= 106)
Age, M(SD) 31.79 (11.49) 36.05 (12.75) 25.25 (6.27) 27.95 (6.50)
Sexual orientation, n(%)
Heterosexual 3 (1.4) 0 (0) 256 (88.9) 100 (94.3)
Homosexual 159 (76.8) 193 (94.1) 5 (1.7) 3 (2.8)
Bisexual 25 (12.1) 5 (2.4) 20 (6.9) 1 (0.9)
Queer 18 (8.7) 6 (2.9) 5 (1.7) 1 (0.9)
Pansexual 2 (1.0) 1 (0.5) 2 (0.7) 0 (0)
Sexual identity, n(%)
Gay 9 (4.3) 197 (96.1) 0 (0) 2 (1.9)
Lesbian 171 (82.6) 0 (0) 2 (0.7) 0 (0)
Bisexual 17 (8.2) 5 (2.4) 21 (7.3) 0 (0)
Straight 3 (1.4) 0 (0) 249 (86.5) 101 (95.3)
Unlabeled 4 (1.9) 0 (0) 13 (4.5) 2 (1.9)
Education, n(%)
Less than high school 2 (1.0) 2 (1.0) 0 (0) 0 (0)
High school 29 (14.0) 19 (9.3) 36 (12.5) 12 (11.3)
College degree 28 (13.5) 40 (19.5) 31 (10.8) 19 (17.9)
Some college/university 75 (36.2) 68 (33.2) 97 (33.7) 30 (28.3)
University undergraduate degree 41 (19.8) 39 (19.0) 76 (26.4) 24 (22.6)
Graduate degree 32 (15.5) 37 (18.0) 48 (16.7) 21 (19.8)
Household annual income, n(%)
< $20,000 37 (17.9) 22 (10.7) 47 (16.3) 16 (15.1)
$20,000$35,999 28 (13.5) 22 (10.7) 42 (14.6) 20 (18.9)
$36,000$55,999 37 (17.9) 26 (12.7) 47 (16.3) 16 (15.1)
$56,000$75,999 25 (12.1) 27 (13.2) 35 (16.3) 11 (10.4)
$76,000$99,999 16 (7.7) 27 (13.2) 20 (6.9) 7 (6.6)
$100,000$150,999 28 (13.5) 31 (15.1) 31 (10.8) 11 (10.4)
$151,000$200,999 6 (2.9) 18 (8.8) 7 (2.4) 4 (3.8)
> $201,000 10 (4.8) 12 (5.9) 12 (4.2) 2 (1.9)
Nationality
American 144 (69.6) 168 (82.0) 32 (11.1) 22 (20.8)
Canadian 33 (15.9) 23 (11.2) 233 (80.9) 23 (21.7)
Other 30 (14.5) 14 (6.8) 23 (8.0) 61 (57.5)
Gender of partner, n(%)
Partner is male 0 (0) 204 (99.5) 285 (99.0) 0 (0)
Partner is female 202 (97.6) 0 (0) 0 (0) 106 (100)
Partner is MtF 5 (2.4) (0) 0 (0) 0 (0)
Partner is FtM 0 (0) 1 (0.5) 3 (1.0) 0 (0)
Relationship length in months, M(SD) 43.84 (52.27) 82.53 (95.38) 40.24 (48.81) 43.71 (56.63)
Relationship stage, n(%)
Casually dating 4 (2.0) 4 (2.0) 10 (3.5) 4 (3.8)
Seriously dating 99 (47.8) 91 (44.4) 172 (59.7) 58 (54.7)
Engaged 27 (13.0) 17 (8.3) 29 (10.1) 17 (16.0)
Married 28 (13.5) 23 (11.2) 48 (16.7) 26 (24.5)
Separated 1 (0.5) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0)
Common law 11 (5.3) 4 (2.0) 25 (8.7) 1 (0.9)
Domestic partnership 33 (15.9) 59 (28.8) 3 (1.0) 0 (0)
Civil union 4 (1.9) 5 (2.4) 1 (0.3) 0 (0)
Decline response 0 (0) 2 (1.0) 0 (0) 0 (0)
FREQUENCY AND SATISFACTION OF ORGASM EXPERIENCES
5
1=Much more,2=A bit more,3=About the same,4=A
bit less,or5=Much less.
Table 2 presents a summary of the items from the SSI
which were used and which questions (satisfaction, fre-
quency, frequency change) were assessed for each item,
along with full sample descriptive statistics.
Procedure
The study was completed online, with participants initially
setting up a user account by registering and selecting a self-
determined username and password after completing an
informed consent process. The materials and procedures for
this study were reviewed and approved by the Queens
University Research Ethics Board. Participants then used these
login credentials to access the survey; this login information also
provided participants with the ability to save their progress and
return at a later time. Participants received participation points as
they progressed through the surveys, as per Blair & Holmberg,
2008. Points could be entered into prize draws (1 point = 1 entry)
or could be donated to a variety of different charities (1,000
points = $1 donation). The average participant earned between
4,000 and 6,000 points during their participation.
RESULTS
Data Considerations
Prior to conducting any analyses, the data were cleaned
and evaluated for violation of assumptions. Participants
were then grouped according to their gender and
relationship type, resulting in four groups: women in
same-sex relationships, men in same-sex relationships,
women in mixed-sex relationships, and men in mixed-sex
relationships. While this grouping does not allow for com-
parisons to be made as a function of sexual identity (e.g.,
gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight), we would argue that rela-
tionship type and the gender of ones partner is likely to be a
more inuential factor in altering ones orgasmic experi-
ences than ones self-identied sexual identity label (Blair
& Pukall, 2014; Blair, Pukall, Smith & Cappell, 2015; Blair,
2016). All group comparisons were conducted using these
four groups unless a particular activity was not relevant for a
specic group (e.g., clitoral stimulation for men in same-sex
relationships).
Table 1 presents the sample sizes for each group. Groups
differed from one another on two demographic variables:
age and relationship length, such that all four groups dif-
fered signicantly in age, and men in same-sex relationships
reported slightly longer relationships than the other three
groups. Consequently, age and relationship length were used
as covariates in all group comparison analyses.
In all cases, the variables to be compared were either
ordinal or violated the assumption of normality.
Consequently, nonparametric analyses of covariance
(ANCOVAs) were used to assess group differences, follow-
ing the procedure outlined by Quade (1967), in which each
variable was ranked and then the ranked covariates (age and
relationship length) were regressed upon the ranked version
of the variable in question. Analyses of variance (ANOVAs)
were run using the saved residuals from the regressions and
therefore means reported are the means of the saved resi-
duals. For ease of comparison within activities, satisfaction,
Table 2. SSI Items and Full Sample Descriptive Statistics
SSI Item
Satisfaction Frequency Frequency Change
15
(High = More Satisfaction)
0 (Never);
5 (Always)
1 (More); 3 (Same);
5 (Less)
M(SD)M(SD)M(SD)
Nonorgasm items
Oralgenital stimulation of you by your partner 4.33 (1.01) 2.99 (1.52) 2.29 (.85)
Oralgenital stimulation of your partner by you 4.01 (1.13) 3.02 (1.42) 2.52 (.89)
Sexual intercourse with your partner (or penetration) 4.45 (1.00) 3.59 (1.37) 2.35 (.91)
Manual stimulation by your partner of your genital area 4.27 (1.14) 3.46 (1.27) 2.51 (.84)
Self-stimulation of your genital area 3.86 (1.14) 2.30 (1.38) 2.94 (.71)
Sexual activity with your partner without experiencing orgasm (or climax of any kind) 3.45 (1.14) 2.03 (1.28) 3.19 (.94)
Orgasm experienced more than once during a single sexual experience 4.41 (1.00) 1.85 (1.40) 2.01 (.84)
Orgasm items
Orgasms with vaginal intercourse only 3.80 (1.26) 2.04 (1.80) n/a
Orgasms with vaginal intercourse and clitoral stimulation 4.54 (0.92) 2.98 (1.82) n/a
Orgasms with clitoral manipulation by your partner 4.30 (1.00) 3.01 (1.63) n/a
Orgasms with clitoral manipulation by yourself 4.01 (1.17) 3.32 (1.74) n/a
Orgasms with oralgenital contact 4.29 (1.00) 2.87 (1.64) n/a
Orgasms with anal entry 3.61 (1.57) 1.71 (1.84) n/a
Orgasms from handpenis stimulation* 4.10 (0.93) 3.43 (1.40) n/a
Notes. *Not an original SSI item; n/a = not applicable or not asked.
BLAIR, CAPPELL, AND PUKALL
6
frequency, and, where applicable, desired frequency change
are presented together for each activity, where each activity/
type of orgasm corresponds to a single item on the SSI.
Table 3 presents the actual means and standard deviations
for each item analyzed from the SSI, separated by relation-
ship type group.
Independent samples ttests were used for activities
applicable only to either men or women. Bonferroni correc-
tions were not applied despite the large set of analyses,
which would have reduced the corrected alpha value to a
value so low that it would have been almost impossible to
reject any of the null hypotheses and this would therefore
inate Type II errors (Perneger, 1998). Actual pvalues are
therefore reported.
Partnered Sexual Activity Without Orgasm
Satisfaction and Frequency. Groups did not signicantly
differ from one another concerning the degree of satisfaction
derived from participating in partnered sexual activities without
orgasm, p= .829; however, the frequency of this experience
varied signicantly among the groups, F(3, 689) = 4.15,
p= .006, η
2
= .02. Women in mixed-sex relationships
(M= 38.40, SD = 220.44) reported sexual activity without
orgasm more frequently than men (M=24.60, SD = 197.84,
p= .012) and women (M=17.90, SD = 210.97, p= .039) in
same-sex relationships. Men in mixed-sex relationships did not
differ signicantly from the other three groups (M=18.00,
SD = 214.79, p= .135).
Desired Frequency Change. There were no signicant
group differences in desired frequency change for
experiencing sexual activity without orgasm, WelchsF(3,
286.533) = 2.57, p=.05.
Receiving OralGenital Stimulation
Satisfaction. The level of satisfaction reported based
on receiving oralgenital stimulation (regardless of orgasm
occurrence) differed signicantly among the four
relationship types, WelchsF(3, 297.802) = 3.03,
p= .028, η
2
= .01. Games-Howell post hoc comparisons
revealed that women in same-sex relationships (M= 30.40,
SD = 178.90) reported deriving signicantly more
satisfaction from this activity than women in mixed-sex
relationships (M=27.67, SD = 211.19, p= .015). No
other group differences existed, with men in same-sex
(M= 2.60, SD = 189.54) and mixed-sex (M= 7.67,
SD = 195.37) relationships reporting roughly equal
satisfaction levels, which lay in between the extremes of
women in same-sex and mixed-sex relationships.
Frequency. Groups also differed in the frequency with
which they received oralgenital stimulation from their
partners, WelchsF(3, 302.39) = 12.00, p< .001,
η
2
= .05. Games-Howell post hoc tests revealed that men
(M= 58.64, SD = 202.00) and women in same-sex
(M= 29.75, SD = 235.41) relationships reported a greater
frequency than men (M=47.14, SD = 216.33, p= .001
and p= .044, respectively) and women in mixed-sex
(M=50.66, SD = 220.63, p< .001 and p= .002,
respectively) relationships, but that men and women
within each relationship type did not signicantly differ
from each other.
Desired Frequency Change. Groups differed
signicantly in their desire for a change in frequency of
receiving oralgenital stimulation from their partners,
WelchsF(3, 310.78) = 6.97, p< .001. Games-Howell
post hoc comparisons revealed that men in mixed-sex
relationships differed signicantly from all other groups
such that they reported a desire for the greatest increase in
frequency of receiving oralgenital stimulation (M= 78.27,
SD = 185.55) compared to women in same-sex relationships
(M= 7.34, SD = 195.71, p= .022), men in same-sex
relationships (M=7.13, SD = 199.17, p= .003), and
women in mixed-sex relationships (M=28.30,
SD = 203.27, p< .001). The other three groups did not
differ signicantly from one another.
Providing OralGenital Stimulation
Satisfaction. Groups signicantly differed concerning
the degree of satisfaction derived from providing oral
genital stimulation to their partner, F(3, 689) = 18.58,
p< .001, η
2
= .08. Tukeys post hoc analyses revealed
that women in mixed-sex relationships (M=76.89,
SD = 211.10) derived signicantly less satisfaction from
providing oralgenital stimulation than the other groups:
men in mixed-sex relationships (M= 21.49, SD = 206.47,
p= .001), men in same-sex relationships (M= 30.54,
SD = 200.16, p< .001), and women in same-sex
relationships (M= 61.94, SD = 195.87, p< .001).
Frequency. Groups signicantly differed in the
frequency with which they reported providing oralgenital
stimulation to their partner, F(3, 697) = 6.02, p< .001,
η
2
= .03. Tukeys post hoc analyses revealed a number of
group differences, such that men in same-sex relationships
(M= 55.22, SD = 207.69) engaged in this activity more
often than individuals in the other three relationship types:
women in same-sex relationships (M=6.86, SD = 233.59,
p= .032), and men (M=26.43, SD = 224.62, p= .020)
and women (M=29.02, SD = 212.29, p< .001) in mixed-
sex relationships.
Desired Frequency Change. Groups differed
signicantly in their desire for a change in frequency of
providing oralgenital stimulation to their partners, Welchs
F(3, 301.71) = 16.98, p< .001. Games-Howell post hoc
comparisons revealed that men in mixed-sex relationships
(M= 84.95, SD = 202.45) reported a greater desire to
increase their frequency of providing oralgenital
stimulation than women in mixed-sex relationships
FREQUENCY AND SATISFACTION OF ORGASM EXPERIENCES
7
Table 3. SSI Descriptive Statistics Separated by Relationship Type Group
Satisfaction Frequency Frequency Change
MSS MMS FSS FMS MSS MMS FSS FMS MSS MMS FSS FMS
M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD M SD
Nonorgasm items
1. 4.39 .87 4.37 .99 4.52 .85 4.13 1.20 3.46 1.30 2.62 1.52 3.25 1.55 2.58 1.52 2.33 .87 1.93 .86 2.24 .82 2.44 .82
2. 4.26 .94 4.18 .99 4.32 1.04 3.54 1.21 3.43 1.25 2.85 1.51 3.04 1.50 2.75 1.39 2.49 .86 2.11 .90 2.31 .92 2.85 .78
3. 4.62 .81 4.72 .65 4.27 1.11 4.37 1.02 2.94 1.45 3.89 1.19 3.60 1.31 3.94 1.27 2.10 .91 1.99 .91 2.47 .86 2.59 .86
4. 4.23 .90 4.22 .91 4.50 .81 4.16 1.06 3.38 1.23 3.06 1.37 3.75 1.19 3.44 1.25 2.47 .87 2.20 .97 2.50 .77 2.65 .78
5. 4.19 .87 3.61 1.00 3.78 1.26 3.77 1.23 3.14 1.08 2.29 1.35 1.90 1.33 1.97 1.36 2.97 .73 3.16 .77 2.88 .66 2.89 .68
6. 3.35 1.14 3.43 1.18 3.48 1.17 3.52 1.11 1.75 1.07 1.92 1.27 1.95 1.23 2.33 1.40 3.03 .91 3.12 1.13 3.27 .93 3.28 .87
7. 4.30 1.01 4.46 .87 4.45 .94 4.45 1.03 1.43 1.17 1.91 1.33 2.35 1.41 1.76 1.44 1.95 .81 1.77 .81 2.12 .85 2.07 .85
Orgasm items
8. ——4.69 .61 3.30 1.31 3.86 1.17 ——4.24 1.05 1.72 1.54 1.99 1.66 ——— — ————
9. ——4.56 .74 4.54 .90 4.61 .85 ——3.52 1.50 3.51 1.55 3.14 1.65 ——— — ————
10. ————4.47 .88 4.17 1.06 ————3.48 1.50 2.68 1.63 ——— — ————
11. ————3.92 1.19 4.08 1.13 ————3.46 1.70 3.26 1.77 ——— — ————
12. 4.18 .95 4.36 .96 4.48 .94 4.20 1.08 2.84 1.43 2.76 1.67 3.41 1.58 2.54 1.74 ——— — ————
13. 4.60 .81 3.35 1.70 2.77 1.54 2.79 .156 3.31 1.48 1.55 1.86 1.09 1.53 .62 1.16 ——— — ————
14. 4.30 .80 3.82 .97 ——— —3.75 1.15 3.04 1.54 — — — — ——— — ————
Note. MSS = male same sex; MMS = male mixed sex; FSS = female same sex; FMS = female mixed sex. 1. Oralgenital stimulation of you by your partner; 2. Oralgenital stimulation of your partner by you; 3.
Sexual intercourse with your partner (or penetration); 4. Manual stimulation by your partner of your genital area; 5. Self-stimulation of your genital area; 6. Sexual activity with your partner without experiencing
orgasm (or climax of any kind); 7. Orgasm experienced more than once during a single sexual experience; 8. Orgasms with vaginal intercourse only; 9. Orgasms with vaginal intercourse and clitoral stimulation; 10.
Orgasms with clitoral manipulation by your partner; 11. Orgasms with clitoral manipulation by yourself; 12. Orgasms with oralgenital contact; 13. Orgasms with anal entry; 14. Orgasms from handpenis
stimulation. Top two for each group are in bold, lowest two for each group are underlined. For frequency change, bolded indicates desire for increased frequency, underlined indicates desire for decreased frequency.
BLAIR, CAPPELL, AND PUKALL
8
(M=58.17, SD = 184.32, p< .001) and men in same-sex
relationships (M=10.58, SD = 197.36, p= .002). Women
in same-sex relationships (M= 48.68, SD = 197.30) also
reported a greater desire to increase frequency of providing
oralgenital stimulation than women in mixed-sex
relationships (p< .001) and men in same-sex relationships
(p= .021). Men in mixed-sex relationships and women in
same-sex relationships did not signicantly differ in their
desire to increase frequency of providing oralgenital
stimulation, nor did women in mixed-sex relationships and
men in same-sex relationships, ps > .05.
Sexual Intercourse/Penetration With Partner
Satisfaction. The degree of satisfaction derived from
participating in sexual intercourse or penetrative activities
with ones partner differed signicantly across relationship
types, WelchsF(3, 303.51) = 6.83, p< .001, η
2
= .03.
Games-Howell post hoc analyses revealed that men and
women differed from one another, such that men in same-
sex (M= 35.07, SD = 165.35) and mixed-sex (M= 42.57,
SD = 159.68) relationships reported greater satisfaction
from penetrative activities than women in same-sex
(M=30.29, SD = 196.10, p= .004 and p= .008,
respectively) and mixed-sex (M=19.13, SD = 188.40,
p= .009 and p= .020, respectively) relationships.
Frequency. Groups also differed in the frequency with
which they engaged in penetrative activities, F(3,
697) = 16.84, p< .001, η
2
= .07. Tukeys post hoc
analyses revealed that men in same-sex relationships
(M=89.26, SD = 199.85) engaged in these activities
less than the other three groups: women in same-sex
relationships (M= 3.00, SD = 229.28, p< .001), men in
mixed-sex relationships (M= 45.20, SD = 202.84, p< .001),
and women in mixed-sex relationships (M= 49.29,
SD = 211.14, p< .001).
Desired Frequency Change. Groups differed signi-
cantly in their desire for a change in frequency of participating
in sexual intercourse or penetrative activities with onespartner,
Wel c h sF(3, 305.37) = 10.11, p< .001. Games-Howell post hoc
comparisons revealed a gender difference in that men in mixed-
sex (M= 57.80, SD = 191.56) and same-sex (M= 43.15,
SD = 197.25) relationships reported a greater desire to increase
frequency of penetrative activities than women in mixed-sex
relationships (M=39.94, SD = 191.20, ps < .001) and
women in same-sex relationships (M=21.28, SD = 196.39,
p= .008 and p= .010, respectively). There were no signicant
differences between genders, ps>.05.
Multiple Orgasms During One Sexual Encounter
Satisfaction and Frequency. Although groups did not
report a signicant difference in the amount of satisfaction
derived from experiencing multiple orgasms within a single
sexual encounter, they signicantly differed in the frequency
with which they experienced multiple orgasms within a
single sexual encounter, WelchsF(3, 296.02) = 14.86,
p<.
001η
2
= .06. Games-Howell post hoc analyses
revealed that women in same-sex relationships (M=73.57,
SD = 213.75) reported the greatest frequency of multiple
orgasms, followed by men in mixed-sex relationships
(M=19.89,SD = 209.88, ns), women in mixed-sex
relationships (M=8.61, SD = 226.14, p=.01),andmen
in same-sex relationships (M=66.62, SD = 187.88,
p< .001). Men in mixed-sex relationships signicantly
differed from men in same-sex relationships (p=.01)but
not from either group of women.
Desired Frequency Change. Groups differed
signicantly in their desire for a change in frequency of
experiencing multiple orgasms in one sexual encounter,
WelchsF(3, 302.11) = 8.25, p< .001. Games-Howell
post hoc comparisons revealed a gender difference in that
men in mixed-sex (M= 61.65, SD = 154.92) and same-sex
(M= 27.37, SD = 176.86) relationships reported a greater
desire to increase their frequency of multiple orgasms within
a sexual encounter than women in mixed-sex (M=19.41,
SD = 187.94, p= .001 and p= .045) and women in same-
sex (M=32.16, SD = 189.67, p< .001 and p= .012,
respectively) relationships.
Orgasm From Vaginal Intercourse Alone
Satisfaction. Groups differed signicantly in the
amount of satisfaction derived from orgasms resulting from
vaginal intercourse, WelchsF(2, 236.565) = 64.33,
p<.001,η
2
= 18. Games-Howell post hoc analyses
revealed that all three groups differed signicantly from one
another, with pvalues all < .01. Men in mixed-sex
relationships reported the greatest amount of satisfaction
(M=99.90,SD = 78.96), followed by women in mixed-sex
relationships (M=-.63,SD = 120.05), and nally women in
same-sex relationships (M=50.72, SD = 126.17).
Frequency. Groups differed signicantly in the
frequency with which they experienced orgasms resulting
from vaginal intercourse, WelchsF(2, 262.807) = 136.69,
p< .001, η
2
= 24. Games-Howell post hoc analyses revealed
that men in mixed-sex relationships (M= 206.86,
SD = 98.82) reported achieving orgasm through vaginal
intercourse more frequently than women in same-sex
(M=30.73, SD = 149.27, p< .001) and mixed-sex
relationships (M=1.47, SD = 163.53, p< .001). Women
did not signicantly differ in their frequency of orgasm from
vaginal intercourse as a function of relationship type.
Orgasm From Vaginal Intercourse and Clitoral
Stimulation
Satisfaction. No signicant group differences were
found when comparing women in same-sex relationships
and men and women in mixed-sex relationships on the
FREQUENCY AND SATISFACTION OF ORGASM EXPERIENCES
9
amount of satisfaction derived from orgasms due to
combined vaginal intercourse and clitoral stimulation,
p= .413.
Frequency. No signicant group differences were
found when comparing women in same-sex relationships
and men and women in mixed-sex relationships on the
frequency with which they experienced orgasms as a result
of vaginal intercourse combined with clitoral stimulation,
p= .125.
Orgasm From Clitoral Manipulation by Partner
Satisfaction. There was a statistically signicant
difference in mean satisfaction derived from orgasms
resulting from clitoral manipulation by a partner between
women in same- and mixed-sex relationships, with women
in same-sex relationships reporting greater satisfaction,
M= 25.82, 95% CI [3.1348.50], t(371.67) = 2.24,
p= .027, η
2
= .02.
Frequency. There was a statistically signicant
difference in frequency with which women derived from
orgasms resulting from clitoral manipulation by a partner
between women in same- and mixed-sex relationships, with
women in same-sex relationships reporting greater
frequency, M= 48.09, 95% CI [3.1348.50], t
(412) = 3.72, p< .001, η
2
= .03.
Orgasm From Clitoral Manipulation by Self
Satisfaction and Frequency. Women in same-sex and
mixed-sex relationships did not report any signicant
differences concerning the degree of satisfaction associated
with orgasms resulting from self-manipulation of their
clitoris, t(412) = .70, p= .944; nor did they report any
signicant differences in frequency of this activity, t
(388) = 1.587, p= .113.
Orgasm From Receiving OralGenital Contact
Satisfaction. Groups reported signicantly different
levels of satisfaction derived from orgasms resulting from
oralgenital contact, WelchsF(3, 284.57) = 4.33, p= .005,
η
2
= .02. Games-Howell post hoc analyses revealed that
women in same-sex relationships (M= 38.77, SD =
176.45) derived the greatest amount of satisfaction,
followed by men in mixed-sex relationships (M= 14.30,
SD = 186.27, n.s.), women in mixed-sex relationships
(M=13.49, SD = 193.27, p= .035) and men in same-
sex relationships (M=25.76, SD = 188.44, p= .005). Men
and women in mixed-sex relationships and men in same-sex
relationships did not differ signicantly from one another.
Frequency. Groups signicantly differed in the
frequency with which they experienced orgasms resulting
from oralgenital contact, WelchsF(3, 293.03) = 8.10,
p<.001,η
2
= .04. Games-Howell post hoc analyses
revealed that women in same-sex relationships (M=68.76,
SD = 213.60) reported the most frequent occurrence of
orgasms resulting from oralgenital contact, followed by
men in mixed-sex relationships (M=6.47, SD = 220.35,
p= .05), men in same-sex relationships (M=20.50,
SD =193.10,p< .001), and women in mixed-sex
relationships (M=30.77, SD = 223.35, p<.001).The
other three groups did not differ signicantly from one
another.
Orgasm From Anal Entry
Satisfaction. Of the 806 participants, 216 (26.7%)
provided a satisfaction rating for orgasm resulting from
anal entry; the remaining participants responded with Not
applicable. Groups differed in the amount of satisfaction
derived from orgasm resulting from anal entry, WelchsF
(3, 140.84) = 6.40, p< .001, η
2
= .28. Games-Howell post
hoc analyses revealed that men in same-sex relationships
(M= 70.03, SD = 88.55) reported signicantly more
satisfaction from this activity than did the other three
groups: men in mixed-sex relationships (M=15.96,
SD = 139.91, p= .001), women in mixed-sex relationships
(M=58.94, SD = 115.96, p< .001), and women in same-
sex relationships (M=72.30, SD = 108.53, p< .001). The
remaining three groups did not differ signicantly from one
another.
Frequency. Groups differed signicantly in the
frequency with which they reported experiencing orgasm
resulting from anal entry, WelchsF(3, 207.16) = 9.71,
p< .001, η
2
= .31. Games-Howell post hoc analyses
revealed that men in same-sex relationships (M= 122.14,
SD = 132.53) experienced orgasm via anal entry most
frequently and signicantly more than men in mixed-sex
relationships (M=9.05, SD = 171.32, p< .001), women in
same-sex relationships (M=60.62, SD = 138.87,
p< .001), and women in mixed-sex relationships
(M=85.23, SD = 117.85, p< .001). Men and women in
mixed-sex relationships also differed signicantly from each
other, with men reporting more frequent experiences of anal
entry orgasms, p= .011.
Orgasm From HandPenis Stimulation
Satisfaction. An independent-samples ttest was used
to compare men in same-sex and men in mixed-sex
relationships on the amount of satisfaction reported from
experiencing orgasm through handpenis stimulation. Men
in same-sex relationships reported signicantly more
satisfaction (M= 16.44, SD = 80.62) than men in mixed-
sex relationships (M=27.20, SD = 85.93); M= 43.65, t
(278) = 4.12, p< .001, 95% CI [22.7964.51], η
2
= .06.
Frequency. Men in same-sex relationships also
reported signicantly greater frequency of orgasm from
BLAIR, CAPPELL, AND PUKALL
10
handpenis stimulation (M= 17.95, SD = 80.67) than men
in mixed-sex relationships (M=25.35, SD = 95.70);
M= 43.30, t(148.12) = 3.70, p< .001, 95% CI [20.19
66.41], η
2
= .05.
DISCUSSION
The purpose of this study was to generate a more
nuanced understanding of how (and how often) men and
women in mixed-sex and same-sex relationships experience
orgasm as a result of a variety of different sexual activities.
The study also investigated how individuals in same- versus
mixed-sex relationships differ with respect to their level of
satisfaction with the existing frequency of various sexual
activities within their relationships by assessing the extent to
which they reported desires for increased or decreased fre-
quency of specic sexual activities.
The results of this study add further evidence to the
literature suggesting that many of the noted gender differ-
ences in orgasm rates between men and women may be
more clearly explained by differences in preferred and prac-
ticed sexual behaviors than by particular biological or phy-
siological sex differences in the abilityto achieve orgasm.
To the extent that a single physiological process, regard-
less of whether one is engaging in solo or partnered sexual
activities, governs such ability, the results of the current
study suggest that any sex differences in orgasm experi-
ences appear to exist only for partnered sexual activity.
For example, women reported no difference in the fre-
quency with which they were able to reach orgasm on
their own as a function of relationship type, but did report
differences in frequency of orgasm during partnered sexual
activities. Future research should seek to conrm whether
orgasms in women are, indeed, governed by a single phy-
siological process regardless of context (solo versus part-
nered) to shed more light on whether comparisons between
solo and partnered sexual activity and orgasm experiences
provide a valid means through which to study sex differ-
ences in the ability to reach orgasm.
Taken together, the results of this study, along with those
recently published elsewhere (Garcia et al., 2014), begin to
paint a picture of a new understanding of same-sex sexuality
and, indeed, the sexual behavior and satisfaction of indivi-
duals in both same- and mixed-sex relationships. These
ndings appear to be the most robust and salient in
women; that is, while a general level of agreement between
orgasm satisfaction and frequency is seen among women in
same-sex relationships (i.e., if they report high satisfaction,
they also report high frequency), this same pattern does not
emerge as clearly when examining women in mixed-sex
relationships. Consequently, these results raise the question
of whether women in mixed-sex relationships are potentially
missing out on more (mutually) satisfying sexual encoun-
ters. This possibility may be closely linked to what men and
women are taught about sex and sexual scripts. According
to Wiederman (2005), men are often taught to view sexual
activity as a positive element in their life, as something that
is goal directed (e.g., sexual pleasure, especially his), and as
something that can be rather easily separated from relational
issues. This is contrasted against women often learning that
sexual activity can be dangerous for both their bodies and
their reputations and should, therefore, take place only
within the context of meaningfulrelationships. Such
notions may lead women in mixed-sex relationships to
place more value on sex as a means of strengthening the
relationship (through meeting the goals of their male part-
ners) rather than as a means of also achieving their own
personal pleasure.
Not only are women in same-sex relationships reporting
greater frequency of orgasm from a greater variety of activ-
ities, past research has found that they also report longer
durations of individual sexual encounters when compared to
their mixed-sex counterparts (Blair & Pukall, 2014).
Interestingly, women in mixed-sex relationships in the cur-
rent study did not differ from those in same-sex relation-
ships when it came to their satisfaction derived from
orgasms as a result of self-stimulation, nor did they differ
in frequency. However, there were signicant differences in
the satisfaction and frequency associated with orgasms
resulting from their partners stimulation of their clitoris
and oral sex, such that these orgasms were more satisfying
and more frequent among women in same-sex relationships.
Together, these patterns support the notion that women in
same-sex relationships may simply be more in tune with
other womens bodies and more adept at manipulating other
womens bodies in the way they would their own (Garcia
et al., 2014; Frederick, St. John, Garcia & Lloyd, 2017).
The Inuence of Sexual Scripts
Conventional heterosexual sexual scripts may also play
an important role in these patterns. In heterosexual relation-
ships, the male orgasm tends to signal the end of sex
(Opperman, Braun, Clarke, & Rogers, 2014), which may
consequently reduce the opportunities for women in mixed-
sex relationships to experience as many (and therefore as
many satisfying) orgasms as women in same-sex relation-
ships, who are engaging in longer, less male results-oriented
(i.e., male orgasm-focused) sexual activity. In the current
study, only heterosexual men rated vaginal penetration as
resulting in frequent and satisfying orgasms, while women,
regardless of relationship type, reported less frequent and
less satisfying orgasms resulting from vaginal penetration.
However, when the clitoris is simultaneously stimulated
during vaginal penetration, this gender difference disap-
pears, suggesting that the combination of clitoral stimulation
and vaginal penetration can lead to more satisfying orgasms
for women of either relationship type, while not reducing
the satisfaction experienced by men in mixed-sex
relationships.
Additional gender and relationship type differences were
found when examining the sexual activities of men in same-
sex relationships. Specically, men in same-sex
FREQUENCY AND SATISFACTION OF ORGASM EXPERIENCES
11
relationships reported engaging in penetrative intercourse
the least often out of the four groups. This nding is con-
sistent with previous research, which has found that anal sex
is not always part of the sexual repertoire of men in same-
sex relationships (e.g., Davies et al., 1992; Rosenberger
et al., 2011). However, while men in same-sex relationships
are engaging in penetrative intercourse much less frequently
than men in mixed-sex relationships, they do not report any
less satisfaction from it, meaning that there must be a
reason, other than enjoyment, to explain the lower frequen-
cies reported by men in same-sex relationships.
One potential explanation lies in the signicant amount
of preparation required for anal penetration compared to
vaginal penetration. For example, approximately 50% to
60% of gay men report rectal douching or enema use before
receptive anal intercourse (Calabrese, Rosenberger, Schick,
Novak, & Reece, 2013; Javanbakht, Stahlman, Pickett,
LeBlanc, & Gorbach, 2014), citing cleanliness, partner pre-
ference, and increased pleasure of anal sex as considerations
(Carballo-Dieguez, Bauermeister, Ventuneac, Dolezal, &
Mayer, 2010; Javanbakht et al., 2014; Noor & Rosser,
2014). Another obstacle for gay men engaging in anal sex
is nding a partner with whom their self-identied sex role
(i.e., top, bottom, versatile) matches. When two men who
are in a relationship are incompatible with respect to their
sex role during anal sex, other nonpenetrative activities may
become more regularly practiced. Some may compromise
and change roles in attempts to please their partner, while
others, according to Moskowitz, Rieger, and Roloff (2008),
may decide to make the relationship nonmonogamous so
that anal sex can be engaged in with a third person or casual
partners. Anal sex outside of the individuals relationship
would not have been captured in this survey and therefore
may explain the lower frequency of anal sex in male same-
sex relationships as well.
Groups also differed in their reported desire for a change
in the frequency with which they provide and receive oral
genital contact or oral sex. While men in mixed-sex rela-
tionships reported a strong desire to perform oral sex on
their female partners more often, their female partners
reported the opposite. Future research should further exam-
ine this phenomenon with a focus on understanding
womens reasons for seeking or avoiding receptive oral
sex. While there may be any number of reasons that
women in mixed-sex relationships report lower interest in
receiving oral sex, including simply not enjoying the act
(which does not seem to match with our results concerning
satisfaction derived from oral sex), self-conscious concerns
about their genitals, or a lack of talent on behalf of their
partner, one other reason may be the unwritten sexual script
that receiving oral sex from ones partner obligates one to
return the same activity. Could it be that women in mixed-
sex relationships do not acquiesce to their male partners
desires for performing more oral sex based on this quid pro
quo sexual script? In other words, do women refrain from
receiving oral sex as a means of avoiding performing oral
sex on their male partners, an activity which women in
mixed-sex relationships reported as much less satisfying
compared to the other three groups? Given that men in
mixed-sex relationships were the only group to rate orgasms
from vaginal penetration as being highly satisfying, a more
appropriate tradeoff for men and women in mixed-sex rela-
tionships may be vaginal intercourse (to satisfy the man)
and oral sex for women (to satisfy the womanand appar-
ently, also the man). In conjunction with the comparative
evidence from women in same-sex relationships, it would
appear that increasing engagement in receptive oral sex for
women in mixed-sex relationships may signicantly contri-
bute to the frequency with which they experience satisfying
orgasms.
Finally, although groups did not differ in terms of satis-
faction derived from partnered sexual activities without
orgasm, differences emerged with respect to frequency.
That is, women in mixed-sex relationships reported the
most frequent partnered sexual activity that did not result
in orgasm. These results are partly consistent with previous
research, which has found that women are less likely to
orgasm during partnered sexual activity than men (e.g.,
Laumann et al., 1994). However, the results from previous
studies may be conating rates of female orgasm during
partnered sexual activity by ignoring the gender of the
womans partner. Indeed, the results from this study suggest
that women in same-sex relationships may be experiencing
more orgasms during partnered sexual activity than women
in mixed-sex relationships. Despite the difference in fre-
quency of partnered sexual activity without orgasm, there
were no differences in terms of the satisfaction derived from
partnered sexual activities without orgasm, nor the desire to
change the frequencyalthough the pattern of results
(p= .05) did indicate a trend toward women in mixed-sex
relationships desiring the experience of sex without orgasm
less often. Although it is possible that women may not be
distressed by engaging in sexual activity that does not result
in orgasm, sexual scripts may again be at play in creating
the underlying assumption that women are less likely to
achieve orgasm, and therefore sexual activity stops after
the man experiences his orgasm (e.g., Potts, 2002).
Strengths and Limitations
The current study was strengthened by a large sample of
individuals in mixed-sex and same-sex relationships. The
inclusion of a variety of sexual activities within the ques-
tionnaire allowed for a more accurate understanding of the
nuances involved in couplessexual relationships.
Analyzing the data by partner gender (relationship type)
provided pertinent information that would have been missed
if groups were simply divided by self-identied sexual
orientation, especially for individuals who identify as
bisexual.
The results of this study should be considered within the
context of several limitations. The frequency of sexual
activity and orgasm was collected using ordinal measures;
as such, the information provided is based on ranges rather
BLAIR, CAPPELL, AND PUKALL
12
than more specic estimates. Because the data collected
were based on self-report questionnaires administered
through the Internet, there is the potential for over- and
underreporting. In addition, an individuals ability to accu-
rately recall the frequency of his or her sexual encounters
and orgasms may vary between individuals and as a result
of gender or relationship type. To the extent that there may
be such gender differences, or difference in the likelihood to
under- or overreport, the group differences reported within
this article may be attenuated by such patterns.
The results of this study need to be interpreted within the
limitations of the sample used, such that the sample was
more White than the general population (90%); was quite
well educated, although not wealthy; and had access to the
means and time necessary to complete an online survey. On
average, participants were in established yet still relatively
young relationships (4.5 years), and thus the results may not
generalize to older populations, more ethnically diverse
populations, or to populations outside of Canada, the
United States, or other Western cultures. In addition, much
of the supporting research referenced throughout the article
has also focused on the experiences of those living in
Western cultures and therefore may not speak to the experi-
ences of those living beyond such borders.
Future Directions and Conclusions
The results of this study indicate that frequency and
satisfaction of sexual behavior and orgasm differ as a func-
tion of gender and the gender of ones partner. The current
study adds to a growing body of literature that suggests that
women in same-sex relationships have better sex lives than
previously thought (Blair & Pukall, 2014; Frederick et al.,
2017; Garcia et al., 2014). The term lesbian bed death was
introduced in the 1980s to describe the reduced sexual
activity that was observed in female same-sex relationships
(Blumstein & Schwartz, 1983). Corroborating evidence of
this decline in sexual activity (Loulan, 1984; Peplau,
Cochran, Rook, & Padesky, 1978) lent itself to the widely
held assumption that queer women have lower sex drives
than heterosexual women (Cohen & Byers, 2014). Recent
research, including the present study, has helped put the
myth of lesbian bed death to bed (Blair & Pukall, 2014;
Cohen & Byers, 2014). In fact, the current results suggest
that women in same-sex relationships may offer ideal sexual
scripts that individuals in other relationship types may ben-
et from adopting.
While previously held stereotypes about women in same-
sex relationships are being shattered, the results of this study
indicate there may be a similar shift that needs to happen
with respect to the sex lives of men in same-sex relation-
ships. Stereotypes about gay men as promiscuous and inter-
ested only in anal sex are pervasive in the media
(Mowlabocus, 2007); however, this representation is likely
inaccurate. Future research should take a more sex positive
approach to investigations of the sexual activity of men in
same-sex relationships (i.e., as opposed to a risk perspective
focused on HIV transmission). Having more accurate under-
standings about the nuances in the sexual activity of men in
same-sex relationships will make for better sex therapy
providers.
Finally, it is important that sex researchers take into con-
sideration not only the sexual identities/orientations of their
sample but also the congurations of their participantsactual
relationships. Sexual identity does not always align perfectly
with the gender of ones partner, with exceptions to the rule
always being present, such that a heterosexual woman may
nd herself dating another woman, while a lesbian may nd
herself in a relationship with a cisgender or transgender man,
and yet still maintain a lesbian identity because it most closely
ts their overall experiences (Blair, 2016). Furthermore, not all
sexual identities clearly point to a relationship conguration,
such as bisexual and queer identities. Consequently, based on
the researchquestion at hand, it is important for sex researchers
to consider whether sexual identity or relationship type may be
better suited as a meaningful grouping variable. In the case of
the current study, examining same-sex versus mixed-sex rela-
tionship congurations allowed for a better understanding of
how sexual activity and orgasm frequency/satisfaction varies
as a function of gender and relationship type that would
not have been as clear if only relying on sexual identity labels.
Notes
1. Unless otherwise noted, use of the terms man/men/woman/women
indicate reference to cisgender (e.g., gender identity aligns with gender
assigned at birth) participants, as the majority of research in this area
has focused on cisgender experiences.
2. A total of 45 participants (5.5%) resided in other nations. Group
comparisons revealed no signicant differences on the outcome vari-
ables of interest between these participants and participants from the
more heavily represented nations, and therefore these participants were
not removed from the data set.
3. Data were collected at a time when the U.S. dollar (USD) and
Canadian dollar (CND) were at par, so the question asked participants
to state their income in USD/CND dollars.
ORCID
Karen L. Blair http://orcid.org/0000-0002-8602-098X
Jaclyn Cappell http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5751-1205
Caroline F. Pukall http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1553-6118
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FREQUENCY AND SATISFACTION OF ORGASM EXPERIENCES
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... However, most studies in this field have been conducted with heterosexual people and in the context of sexual relationships . While it is true that same-gender and mixed-gender couples' sexual activities share a few similarities (Holmberg & Blair, 2009), it is a reality that the literature has adopted a heteronormative approach to study sexuality and it would be mistaken to presume that sexuality in same-gender partnerships adheres to these heteronormative frameworks (Blair et al., 2017;Scott et al., 2018). There are few studies that compare the orgasmic experience in people of different sexual orientations, but the results indicate that the person's sexual orientation influences the orgasmic experience (Frederick et al., 2018;Garcia et al., 2014;Herbenick et al., 2010;Mangas et al., 2022). ...
... One explanation for the gender gap in orgasm could be the idea that traditional heteronormative sexual scripts seem to grant men more agency than women, encouraging sexual acts that are more likely to produce orgasms in men (such as penile-vaginal intercourse) (Blair et al., 2017). In addition, the fact that the dimensions where women score higher than men are the ones related to emotions and intimacy is consistent with traditional sexual scripts where women are typically depicted as sexual gatekeepers who prioritize emotional closeness and fidelity. ...
Article
Full-text available
The subjective orgasm experience (SOE) is the psychological perception of orgasm sensations and closely related to sexual health. Here, SOE was studied through the context in which it is experienced (sexual relationships and solitary masturbation), gender, and sexual orientation. For this purpose, data were collected from 4255 people (1927 men and 2328 women) of different sexual orientations (heterosexual = 1545; bisexual = 1202; and gay = 1508) who completed two versions of the Orgasm Rating Scale (ORS) for both contexts (i.e., sexual relationships and solitary masturbation) along with a socio-demographic questionnaire. Results showed that the ORS in the context of solitary masturbation is an instrument invariant by gender and sexual orientation. Significant differences in SOE were found by context: it was more intense in the context of sexual relationships (vs. solitary masturbation); by gender: women (vs. men) reported greater intensity; and by sexual orientation, with heterosexual people (vs. gay and bisexual people) having a more intense experience.
... Other research has also examined the associations between orgasm and sexual and relationship satisfaction among samegender/sex couples. A study by Blair et al. (2018) examined orgasm frequency and satisfaction among men and women in same-gender/sex and different-gender/sex relationships. They found that the greatest discrepancies in these relationships occurred among women as a function of relationship type. ...
... Previous research supports this hypothesis, as some gay men have been found to reject normative ideas of assuming gender "roles" in a relationship (e.g., Johns et al., 2012;Kurdek, 2005) that may shape sexual experiences in heterosexual relationships. For women, scholars have suggested that higher rates of orgasm among lesbian women could be found because women simply know more about how to stimulate another woman's body than do heterosexual men (Blair et al., 2018;Garcia et al., 2014). ...
Article
Orgasm is commonly considered an important aspect of sexual activity. The current study sought to replicate and extend prior work by examining gender/sex differences in the association between orgasm and satisfaction in a sample of same-gender/sex couples. We also examined how desire for an orgasm moderated this association. Although prior research found a curvilinear association between orgasm and satisfaction for heterosexual women (but not men), we found that orgasm curvilinearly predicted relationship and sexual satisfaction across genders/sexes, indicating more frequent orgasm was associated with higher satisfaction only to an extent for all individuals in our sample. We also found that when desire for orgasm was high, orgasm was associated with higher relationship and sexual satisfaction than when desire was low, suggesting that desire for orgasm may differentially affect how orgasm is related to satisfaction. We discuss our findings in terms of sexual scripting theory, contextualizing our results by considering the socially constructed nature of sexuality and how sexual scripts may vary across individuals with different sexual and gender identities.
... The absence of gender differences in the sleep effects of sexual activity with orgasm may be due to comparable endocrine processes following orgasm in men and women (Georgiadis et al., 2009;Mah & Binik, 2002). The widely held notion that men fall asleep faster than women after sexual activity may have emanated from the existing gender gap in achieving orgasm, i.e., women are less likely to reach orgasm during heteronormative sexual activity than men (Blair et al., 2018). Case numbers of the present study corroborate this notion, as although the sample consists of more than twice as many women as men, men reported a higher number of occurrences of both partnered sex and masturbation with orgasm. ...
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Aiming to promote overall health and well‐being through sleep, the present studies examine to what extent sexual activity serves as a behavioural mechanism to improve sleep. The relation between sexual activity, i.e., partnered sex and masturbation with or without orgasm, and subjective sleep latency and sleep quality is examined by means of a cross‐sectional and a longitudinal (diary) study. Two hundred fifty‐six male and female participants, mainly students, completed a pre‐test set of questionnaires and, thereafter, a diary during 14 consecutive days. The cross‐sectional study was analysed using analysis of covariance and demonstrated that both men and women perceive partnered sex and masturbation with orgasm to improve sleep latency and sleep quality, while sexual activity without orgasm is perceived to exert negative effects on these sleep parameters, most strongly by men. Accounting for the repeated measurements being nested within participants, the diary data were analysed using multilevel linear modelling (MLM). Separate models for subjective sleep latency and sleep quality were constructed, which included 2076 cases at level 1, nested within 159 participants at level 2. The analyses revealed that only partnered sex with orgasm was associated with a significantly reduced sleep latency (b = −0.08, p < 0.002) and increased sleep quality (b = 0.19, p < 0.046). Sexual activity without orgasm and masturbation with and without orgasm were not associated with changes in sleep. Further, no gender differences emerged. The present studies confirm and significantly substantiate findings indicating that sexual activity and intimacy may improve sleep and overall well‐being in both men and women and serve as a directive for future research.
... 7-10 Popular books and magazines of anecdotal narrative describe the prostate as "the male g spot," referencing the "Gräfenberg spot" in the natal female vagina as a stimulation target to enhance orgasm. 11,12 Although some men who engage in RAI use the prostate to justify their desire for RAI, others are unaware of the prostate gland or its location. 7 These divergent experiences suggest that the prostate is not always the driver for engaging in RAI. ...
Article
Background Receptive anal intercourse (RAI) is commonly practiced among individuals of all sexual orientations. However, negative stigmatization by society and health care professionals leads to the underreporting or this practice. Aim We sought to assess and describe the subjective role of the prostate as a pleasure center in participants with diverse RAI experiences. The secondary aim was to describe nonprostatic areas within the anorectal region that produce erotic sensation and/or pain. Methods The exploratory sequential multimethod study design included focus groups and semistructured interviews with 30 individuals with prostates who had engaged in RAI. We used graphic elicitation of natal male anatomy to enhance visualization and assess participant perspectives. Outcomes The main outcome of interest was the identification of anatomic locations of erogenous sensation and pain during RAI. Results Among the participants (median age 38, range 24–77 years), most participants (90%) identified as cisgender male. Three major themes emerged within the motivations for RAI, including (1) deriving intrinsic pleasure, (2) providing both pleasure for a partner and a way to improve intimacy/connection, and (3) an inability to be the insertive partner due to physical or mental challenges. The data suggest that the anorectal region produces a variety of erogenous sensations which participants find pleasurable. Overall, 2 major areas of erogenous sensation occur along the anterior rectal wall and within the anus. Within the context of RAI, 2 distinct categories of pain emerged, including pain with insertion and pain at other times. Clinical Implications Understanding where erogenous sensation originates for each individual may predict sexual functioning after various surgical interventions. Timing and location of pain may aid in further characterizing anodyspareunia. Strengths and Limitations Our study utilized a sequential design (from focus groups to interviews) with diverse RAI experiences, especially regarding age, geographic location, and prostate pathology. We included individuals of diverse gender identities, but too few to evaluate these groups independently from cisgender men. Conclusion People with prostates experience pleasure in multiple areas during RAI. Contrary to some lay literature, the prostate region is not the subjective pleasure center for all individuals. Timing and location of pain during RAI may inform areas for intervention. Providing a language for pleasure and pain during RAI may improve communication between not only sexual partners but also clinicians and patients.
... Past and recent research has shown that biological explanations may not provide sufficient reason for the systematic differences in orgasm and sexual pleasure experiences between heterosexual women and men (Armstrong et al., 2012;Blair, Cappell, & Pukall, 2018;Klein & Conley, 2021; see Mahar, Mintz, & Akers, 2020 for a review). Women and men may not differ in their biological "capacity" to orgasm; when masturbating women and men reach orgasms in a similar time frame (Kinsey, 1953). ...
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Despite some efforts to enhance clitoral knowledge to increase women's sexual pleasure, a gendered orgasm gap persists. We aimed to provide contemporary data on people's knowledge about the clitoris and investigate its association with the experience of sexual pleasure. Heterosexual participants (n = 573; 64.2% women) took a quiz on clitoral knowledge and answered sexuality-related questions. Participants answered only 50% of the nine quiz items correctly. Clitoral knowledge predicted sexual pleasure and orgasm in women, mediated via reduced endorsement of gendered sexual scripts. Our results highlight the importance of clitoral knowledge and its interplay with societal barriers for the experience of pleasure.
... Additionally, research may aim to incorporate factors that may influence levels of engagement in sexual behavior, such as sexual orientation and ethnicity. Those in a heterosexual relationship may partake in different sexual behaviors compared to a homosexual relationship, so the level of risk may differ depending on sexual preferences (Blair et al., 2018). The current study found that there were ethnicity differences on various forms of sexual risk and alcohol usage, so future research may aim to examine the role that ethnicity plays in these factors. ...
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The window of risk for developing a schizophrenia-spectrum disorder overlaps with young adulthood, a time of increased independence and self-sufficiency. Research suggests that this period is also associated with increased substance use and risky sexual encounters. The current study aimed to examine rates of alcohol usage and risky sexual behaviors in those demonstrating higher rates of schizotypy (i.e., risk indicator for schizophrenia). Data was collected at a midsized university in the Northeastern United States during the 2019–2020 and 2020–2021 academic years. A total of 385 undergraduate students enrolled in introductory psychology classes completed the study either in-person or online. The study consisted of questionnaires related to alcohol usage, rates of sexual risk behaviors, and schizotypal traits. Due to COVID-19 restrictions and the time period covered by the sexual risk measure (i.e., the last six months), the authors deemed it necessary to omit certain participants, leaving 179 participants in our main analyses. Participants who reported higher levels of alcohol usage and positive schizotypy demonstrated increased engagement in specific sexual risk behaviors, while higher levels of negative schizotypy may have acted as a protective factor against engagement in sexual risk. Descriptive data for participants collected during the pandemic period was provided for comparison and for the interest of future researchers looking at the pandemic period (n = 180). The current findings provide a snapshot (baseline rate) of sexual behavior and alcohol usage in a nonclinical sample with varying risk for psychosis that extends previous research involving clinical samples.
... For example, reporting that one's most recent MST "met expectations" because they expected it to be a "magical, life-altering experience" is very different from someone who expected it to "fall flat, produce guilt, or result in awkwardness." In addition, the experience of an orgasm is not always indicative of a positive/ pleasurable experience (Blair et al., 2018;Chadwick et al., 2019). For example, qualitative research by Chadwick et al. (2019) reveals that even consensual sexual encounters can result in "negative, non-positive, or less pleasurable" orgasm experiences. ...
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Research reveals that a substantial proportion of North American adults report interest in and experience with mixed-sex threesomes (MSTs; sexual activity involving three people at the same time in which persons of more than one sex are present). Despite the prevalence of MST participation, little is known about the outcomes of MST experiences. Thus, the current study assessed MST outcomes using various metrics including the extent to which one’s most recent MST met expectations, the likelihood of participating in the MST again, and whether an orgasm was experienced. In addition, the extent to which one’s sex, the sex of those involved, and the inclusion of one’s romantic partner impacted outcomes was examined. Data from 276 heterosexual adults (217 men, 59 women) revealed that, overall, adults report fairly positive outcomes from their most recent MST and that males reported more positive outcomes than did females (particularly when engaging in a MST with two members of the other sex). In addition, MSTs involving one’s romantic partner resulted in more positive outcomes than did those with casual partners. These results confirm that MSTs can be a satisfying experience particularly for heterosexual males and those participating with a romantic partner. Implications for educators looking to destigmatize various forms of nonmonogamies and for practitioners who intend to assist adults interested in safely exploring multi-person sexual behavior are discussed.
Article
In a confidential U.S. nationally representative survey of 2,525 adults (1300 women, 1225 men), we examined participants’ event-level sexual behaviors, predictors of pleasure and orgasm, and perceived actual and ideal duration of sex, by gender and age. Event-level kissing, cuddling, vaginal intercourse, and oral sex were prevalent. Sexual choking was more prevalent among adults under 40. While women and men reported a similar actual duration of sex, men reported a longer ideal duration. Participants with same-sex partners reported a longer ideal duration than those with other-sex partners. Finally, findings show that gendered sexual inequities related to pleasure and orgasm persist.
Article
The current literature on sexual desire is often limited to the experiences of heterosexual cisgender individuals. Individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or sometimes questioning) (LGBTQ+) may experience sexual desire and relationship configurations differently than their heterosexual counterparts. The purpose of the study was to use the 3-factor structure of the Sexual Desire Inventory to compare LGBTQ+ and heterosexual cisgender individuals with and without sexual interest/arousal disorder (SIAD). The three domains are dyadic sexual desire towards partner, dyadic sexual desire for attractive other, and solitary sexual desire. A sample of 98 LGBTQ+ individuals and 65 heterosexual cisgender individuals ( M age = 31.2, SD = 9.1) were a part of a larger ongoing study where they completed online measures of demographics and sexual desire. We carried out 2x2 ANOVAs to compare desire domains among four subsamples: LGBTQ+ without SIAD, LGBTQ+ with SIAD, cisgender heterosexual without SIAD, and cisgender heterosexual with SIAD. There was a main effect of SIAD status on dyadic desire for a partner and for an attractive other such that those with SIAD had lower desire. There was a main effect of SIAD status and group for solitary sexual desire, such that those without SIAD; LGBTQ+ individuals reported significantly higher solitary desire, which could be explained by higher sexual positivity in this population. Future studies should explore the impact of relationship structures on these separate domains of dyadic desire in sexually diverse groups.
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Introduction: Since the 1960 s, there has been debate in academia, the women’s movement, and the general public about the fact that women experience orgasms less frequently than men during heterosex as well as why, and additionally about if and how to close this gender orgasm gap. Within a bio-psycho-social model of sexuality, gender orgasm gaps are explained theoretically in very different ways. Objectives: The aim of this research review is to report the empirical findings to date on the size of the gender orgasm gap as well as to present and critically discuss the proposed practice measures intended to close it. Methods: In the course of a systematic literature search n = 20 empirical publications on the orgasm gap and an additional n = 16 original research papers promoting its closure were identified and coded (1982–2021). Results: The surveys included are based on the self-reports of N = 49 940 women and N = 48 329 men, and show that typically 30 % to 60 % of women report reaching orgasm during heterosex in contrast to 70 % to 100 % of men. Depending on the context of heterosex, the size of the orgasm gap varies from –20 % to –72 % to the disadvantage of women. The ten population-representative surveys presented yield a weighted mean orgasm gap of –30 % [95 % confidence interval: –31; –30]. The measures proposed in previous literature for closing the orgasm gap relate to personal factors, relationship factors, sexual interaction factors, and societal factors: Women are advised to strive more consciously for their own orgasm and to talk more openly about their sexual wishes in the relationship. In addition, women and men are advised to integrate more direct clitoral stimulation into heterosex and to demarginalize women’s orgasms socially. Conclusion: Based on the current state of research, there is a need to continue addressing issues around the gender orgasm gap in both research and practice. However, given the limited successes of recent decades, it also seems imperative to critically examine the approaches taken so far in the “battle for orgasm equality”. Open Access Full Text: https://www.thieme-connect.de/products/ejournals/pdf/10.1055/a-1832-4771.pdf
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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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Introduction: Despite recent advances in understanding orgasm variation, little is known about ways in which sexual orientation is associated with men's and women's orgasm occurrence. Aim: To assess orgasm occurrence during sexual activity across sexual orientation categories. Methods: Data were collected by Internet questionnaire from 6,151 men and women (ages 21-65+ years) as part of a nationally representative sample of single individuals in the United States. Analyses were restricted to a subsample of 2,850 singles (1,497 men, 1,353 women) who had experienced sexual activity in the past 12 months. Main outcome measures: Participants reported their sex/gender, self-identified sexual orientation (heterosexual, gay/lesbian, bisexual), and what percentage of the time they experience orgasm when having sex with a familiar partner. Results: Mean occurrence rate for experiencing orgasm during sexual activity with a familiar partner was 62.9% among single women and 85.1% among single men, which was significantly different (F1,2848 = 370.6, P < 0.001, η(2) = 0.12). For men, mean occurrence rate of orgasm did not vary by sexual orientation: heterosexual men 85.5%, gay men 84.7%, bisexual men 77.6% (F2,1494 = 2.67, P = 0.07, η(2) = 0.004). For women, however, mean occurrence rate of orgasm varied significantly by sexual orientation: heterosexual women 61.6%, lesbian women 74.7%, bisexual women 58.0% (F2,1350 = 10.95, P < 0.001, η(2) = 0.02). Lesbian women had a significantly higher probability of orgasm than did either heterosexual or bisexual women (P < 0.05). Conclusions: Findings from this large dataset of U.S. singles suggest that women, regardless of sexual orientation, have less predictable, more varied orgasm experiences than do men and that for women, but not men, the likelihood of orgasm varies with sexual orientation. These findings demonstrate the need for further investigations into the comparative sexual experiences and sexual health outcomes of sexual minorities.
Article
Previous research suggests that the sexual identities, attractions, and behaviors of sexual-minority (i.e., nonheterosexual) women change over time, yet there have been few longitudinal studies addressing this question, and no longitudinal studies of sexual-minority youths. The results of 2-year follow-up interviews with 80 lesbian, bisexual, and "unlabeled" women who were first interviewed at 16-23 years of age are reported. Half of the participants changed sexual-minority identities more than once, and one third changed identities since the first interview. Changes in sexual attractions were generally small but were larger among bisexuals and unlabeled women. Most women pursued sexual behavior consistent with their attractions, but one fourth of lesbians had sexual contact with men between the two interviews. These findings suggest that there is more fluidity in women's sexual identities and behaviors than in their attractions. This fluidity may stem from the prevalence of nonexclusive attractions among sexual-minority women.
Article
Objective: To describe numbers of opposite-sex partners, experiences of different heterosexual behaviours, and recent heterosexual experiences among a representative sample of Australian adults. Methods: Computer-assisted telephone interviews were completed by a representative sample of 10,173 men and 9,134 women aged 16-59 years from all States and Territories. The response rate was 73.1% (69.4% among men and 77.6% among women). Results: Men reported more sexual partners than women over their lifetime, in the past five years and in the past year. 15.1% of men and 8.5% of women reported multiple sexual partners in the past year. Reporting multiple opposite-sex partners was significantly associated with being younger, identifying as bisexual, living in major cities, having a lower income, having a blue-collar occupation, and not being married. All but a handful of respondents' most recent heterosexual encounters involved vaginal intercourse and condoms were used in one-fifth of these sexual encounters. Anal intercourse was very uncommon during respondents' most recent heterosexual encounters. Conclusion: Patterns of heterosexual experience in Australia are similar to those found in studies of representative samples in other countries. Implications: There may be a need for interventions targeted at people with multiple sexual partners to promote safer sexual behaviour and to reduce the likelihood of transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Article
Today the Internet plays a role in the lives of nearly 40% of the world's population, and it is becoming increasingly entwined in daily life. This growing presence is transforming psychological science in terms of the topics studied and the methods used. We provide an overview of the literature, considering three broad domains of research: translational (implementing traditional methods online; e.g., surveys), phenomenological (topics spawned or mediated by the Internet; e.g., cyberbullying), and novel (new ways to study existing topics; e.g., rumors). We discuss issues (e.g., sampling, ethics) that arise when doing research online and point to emerging opportunities (e.g., smartphone sensing). Psychological research on the Internet comes with new challenges, but the opportunities far outweigh the costs. By integrating the Internet, psychological research has the ability to reach large, diverse samples and collect data on actual behaviors, which will ultimately increase the impact of psychological research on society. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Psychology Volume 66 is November 30, 2014. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/catalog/pubdates.aspx for revised estimates.