• The Lover Team

What is the Pleasure Gap?

Updated: 4 days ago



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.


Even if a woman is getting the right kind of stimulation, they might not be receiving that stimulation for long enough.


How Can We Close the Gap?


For women, the best route to more pleasurable sex is to tell your partner what you want, what feels good, and what you need to have an orgasm. If you plan to have sex with your partner again, faking an orgasm only brings you farther away from getting the sex you want (and deserve!). It's also important to learn about other factors that can affect your pleasure, and exploring your body through solo sex is deeply beneficial for you to communicate your needs to your partner. You can make huge strides with easy and practical exercises from the Lover App's "Climaxing Consistently" course.


For men, asking for feedback, being receptive to directions, and reassuring your partner that there's no rush are all critical parts of this. Banishing old habits, ditching old expectations, and openness to learning new approaches will help you and your partner to have better sex. You may need to reframe foreplay as coreplay and slow things down, and it never hurts to brush up on your oral skills. The Lover App's "Better in Bed" course has everything you need to close the gap.

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