top of page

What is the Pleasure Gap?

As anyone who has watched When Harry Met Sally will know, your experience of sex can be wildly different from your partner, especially in heterosexual relationships. From the differences in anatomy to the variety of sexual desire you might experience, things can feel very different indeed for both parties involved.

In a study of cis heterosexual couples, 95% of men reported that they reached orgasm during their latest sexual encounter, only 65% of women did from their last experience.

This gaping chasm is known as The Pleasure Gap.

Why Does the Pleasure Gap Exist?

Differences here can come from a number of factors, for example: the people involved, their bond, the day, the setting, and more.

Let's also acknowledge where many of our expectations came from. In mainstream media, porn, and even music, sex is often defined as p-in-v penetration. In reality, only 15% of people with vulvas can have orgasms from penetration alone.

The vast majority of women can't have orgasms without clitoral stimulation, whether it's from oral or manual stimulation.

Duration of sex can also play a role here. An average heterosexual couple will have sex for 7 to 12 minutes. That includes foreplay and penetration. This is unfortunate, when you consider that female arousal triggers can’t be rushed. In the physiology of female arousal, most women need around 20 minutes of clitoral stimulation to reach climax.