The orgasm has been called many things: a little death, heaven, high tide. No matter what you call it, an orgasm is, basically, a rush of endorphins and pleasure stemming from genitalia stimulus. The orgasm is a deeply beautiful and incredibly beneficial human reaction, but not everyone gets to experience them equally: Women are having fewer orgasms than men when they have sex with men.
Pornography and sexualized imagery is a readily accessible medium that can be clicked into by anyone at any given time. Because it is widely available—and sex education isn’t—we as humans emulate what we see as the norm. Far too often, male orgasm is the purpose of most heterosexual pornographic videos with women’s pleasure residing in niche categories.
With accessible imagery that props up men’s orgasms as a must-have and women’s as nonexistent—along with a lack of sex education—the consumer internalizes this messaging and acts upon it as the norm. Does life really imitate art? It sure can. In a 2018 study of newlywed heterosexual couples, 87 percent of men reported consistently experiencing orgasms, compared to only 49 percent of women.
This is what we call The Pleasure Gap, i.e., the disparity between cisgender men and women in terms of sexual satisfaction. Sure, anyone could point to the female orgasm being harder or more difficult to achieve based being nonexistent in porn, feature films, and television shows, but truly it’s just a lack of representation as the male and female orgasm takes just as much effort to achieve when engaging in solo play: 4 minutes.
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