Six Golden Rules for Closing The Pleasure Gap
When we talk about The Pleasure Gap, what we’re really talking about is the thing that no one talks about. That heterosexual women are likely to orgasm far less frequently during sex than their male counterparts. Should we pause for an awkward silence? That’s right.
A 2017 study of over 50,000 cis men and women in the US showed 95% of heterosexual men reported that they had an orgasm the last time they had sex.
On the other hand, only 65% of heterosexual women reported the same. This means that men are 30% more likely to reach orgasm during hetero sex than women, and this is where The Pleasure Gap begins.
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Why Does The Pleasure Gap Exist?
Good question! No one wants The Pleasure Gap to exist. Ask the majority of straight men what great sex means to them, and they’ll probably reference getting their partner to orgasm. Ask straight women, and they’ll probably reference being able to orgasm themselves.
Everyone wants the same thing. But therein lies one of the major causes of The Pleasure Gap... Pressure to orgasm. More on that later.
From a biological and psychological point of view, orgasms tend to be more complicated for women, and take a little more time to happen than they do for men.
Then, of course, there’s centuries of societal and cultural shaming around female pleasure. Sometimes this looks like a severely limited education curriculum about female anatomy in schools, other times this looks like mainstream entertainment industries that portray women having orgasms easily, and frequently, every time they have penetrative sex.
Let’s also acknowledge that humanity managed to invent the mobile phone before it discovered and named the clitoris.
What Can We Do to Close The Pleasure Gap?
There’s no “one size fits all” solution for everyone to have an equal amount of orgasms.
After all, someone’s ability to orgasm can be dictated by anything from the temperature of the room to the kind of day they had at work.
There is, however, a way to make a difference.
According to Lover co-founder Dr. Britney Blair, there are six rules that anyone can employ to improve orgasm equality.
Golden Rule 1: Go Solo
Many women grow up feeling ashamed of their sexuality and discouraged from exploring sexual pleasure, but solo-exploration is the single best way to create change in your sex life for women.
According to Dr. Blair, “The secret to having really good sex is learning to have really good sex with yourself."
This is never more true than when it comes to reaching orgasm. Put simply, the more easily, consistently and creatively you can reach orgasm by yourself, the easier it is going to be with a partner. Men can also contribute here by encouraging their partners to indulge in pleasure, and to do this regularly.
If you’re not sure where to start, check out the Lover app’s Orgasmic Meditation exercise.
Golden Rule 2: Tongues, Toys and Thumbs
Only 17% of women can orgasm from penetration alone, which may come as a shock if you’ve grown up on a diet of Hollywood sex scenes and PornHub’s top-rated videos.
It’s important to look further than simply penetration to find other ways of stimulating the clitoris. Dr. Blair adds, “Be resourceful. Using tongues, toys, and fingers can make all the difference.”
In fact, moving away from penetration can transform sex for both partners, and be a great way of closing The Pleasure Gap.
For women, it's important to learn about the factors that can affect your ability to reach orgasm in bed. If oral sex gets you there every time, don’t be afraid to ask your partner for this and guide them to touch you in the ways that you want.
If you need advice, support, and personalized plans to work on this with your partner, try an expert coaching session with a Personal Advisor in the Lover app. Your first session will be included with your subscription (which you can get 50% off today!).
Golden Rule 3: Slow Down, Lube Up
Most women need around 20 minutes of clitoral stimulation to reach climax. Even if a woman is getting the right kind of stimulation, they might not be receiving that stimulation for long enough.
“Savor the experience, and give yourself space to respond to the good sensations,” Dr. Blair advises.
By slowing things down and spending more time on the build up, closing The Pleasure Gap comes much easier. Lube is also one of the most underrated products to bring into the bedroom. It’s a major pleasure-booster for solo and partnered sex, and can help both men and women to enjoy the sensations of touch more intensely.
Golden Rule 4: Pressure Off, Pleasure On
“It sounds counterintuitive, but orgasms happen much easier when we stop thinking about them,” says Dr. Blair.
It’s a bit like trying to fall asleep. The more you think about it, the less likely it is to happen.
If you notice that your thoughts are dominating your experience, just take a moment to catch yourself.
A helpful tip is to pick one of your five senses, and focus your mind on that sense to quickly drop back into your body. It could be the taste of your partner’s skin, the smell of their scent or the texture of their skin to your touch.
Whatever it is, immerse yourself in it and you’ll find your racing brain drifts off into the background.
For a guided exercise which shows you exactly how to do this, step by step, check out the Lover app’s "Being Present for Pleasure" exercise.
Golden Rule 5: Talk, Talk, Talk
Let’s go back to basics. Want to know the easiest way of getting someone to do what feels good, and what gets you to orgasm? Telling them.
If you’re a woman, that means using your words. If you’re a man, it means asking for those words!
Dr. Blair’s tip? “Don’t fake your orgasms, don’t expect your partner to be a mind reader, and give each other feedback.”
Both partners are responsible for communicating honestly during sex. This means being receptive and open to feedback, asking “Does this feel good?” and giving guidance to each other.
Remember, nobody is a mind-reader. If you’re feeling a bit nervous about how to communicate effectively (and without cringing on the inside), try out "Asking For What You Want," an exercise in the Lover app. It’ll give you some simple communication strategies to employ.
Golden Rule 6: Tap Into Your Turn-Ons
Humans are generally considered to be a lucky species. Unlike most animals, we’re born with consciousness and we have sex for the sheer sake of pleasure.
Above all that, the thing we should be most grateful for is being born with turn-ons. We all have them, even if we don’t know what they are yet. Turn-ons are meant to be embraced, and they’re a key to helping all of us close The Pleasure Gap.
Instead of feeling ashamed of your desires, or yucking someone else’s yum, Dr. Blair encourages couples to “Share your fantasies, tell your partner about what gets you excited, make sure that you’re both clued into this.”
Of course discussing your turn-ons with a partner for the first time isn’t always SO easy. That’s why Lover is about to (re)launch their long awaited Turn Ons Game. After connecting with a partner, you can swipe right and left on different kinks & turn-ons. When you both swipe right, you’re notified of the match.
Sharing your turn-ons can open you and your partner up to a new world of pleasure, and by following the other golden rules above, you’re doing your part to close The Pleasure Gap, once and for all.
To help you work these golden rules into your sex life, you can get your annual subscription to the Lover app for 50% off! Get your code below.
Download the app to start your journey and get a free 30-minute meeting with your Personal Advisor when you sign up.