Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Orgasm Gap

Just in time for Valentine's Day, check out this interesting article by Hannah Seligson over at The Daily Beast about "the orgasm gap":
Women are shattering political glass ceilings, surpassing men in the workforce, and even winning Indy-car races. But there’s one area where the gender gap has proved particularly stubborn.

“The orgasm gap is an inequity that’s as serious as the pay gap, and it’s producing a rampant culture of sexual asymmetry,” says Paula England, a professor of sociology at Stanford University.

New academic research conducted by England and others is shedding light on one of the world's most familiar bedroom problems. In a study to be published later this year by W.W. Norton in the book Families as They Really Are, researchers found that college women have orgasms half as often as men on repeat hookups (meaning hooking up more than twice) and only a third of the time in first-time hookups. And they concluded that a lack of sexual reciprocity could be a key reason for this orgasm gap. The study was conducted by a team of researchers from Stanford and Indiana University.
The bright spot of the study is this: Even though folklore has it that women don’t achieve orgasms with strangers because they need emotional attachment to feel that sort of pleasure, the truth is that women’s orgasms are not usually the result of emotional attachments, but simple physicality. Which is why Angier says she believes the sexual paradigm of women as passive receiver and man as sexual agent needs to be stamped out if women are going to get serious about their orgasms.

“The woman really has to be the boss of the sexual experience, because it’s harder for women to have an orgasm through a straightforward sexual position. Women need to start understanding how their clitoral nerves are positioned,” says Angier. Speaking from her own experience, she says multi-orgasmic women take responsibility for their own pleasure. “Personally, I made that my pet project.”

Although Sigmund Freud argued that a clitoral orgasm was adolescent and that the vagina was the fountain of the more “mature” orgasm, there’s evidence that theory is not only misguided, but is also fueling the orgasm gap.
Compelling statistical evidence, but nothing new as far as what I and many people I know already know about female sexuality. What do you all think?

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