Most people have heard of the gender pay gap, but there’s another form of gender inequity that doesn’t get nearly as much attention.
Not only are women getting short-changed in the workforce, studies suggest they are also getting the short end of the stick in the bedroom.
Even today, in an age where many women have more sexual freedom than ever before, evidence shows men are nearly two times more likely to orgasm during sex than women.
This discrepancy in sexual pleasure is known as the orgasm gap, and a new study now suggests the gulf persists beyond one-night stands and lasts into marriage.
The research focussed on 1,683 newlywed heterosexual couples, and each partner was asked how often they had orgasms and how often they thought their significant other had orgasms.
The participants were also asked about how satisfied they were with their sex life and their relationship.
The findings reveal that the orgasm gap is still very much alive in modern society, even in committed and loving relationships. While 87 percent of husbands said they consistently experienced orgasm during sexual activity, only 49 percent of wives could say the same.
Some of this could be due to anatomical differences, which make it easier for men to climax. Regardless of the cause – whether cultural, or physical, or some mix of both – closing the orgasm gap is in the interests of both men and women.
Another part of the study found that a person’s sexual satisfaction, no matter their gender, was linked closely to how often they thought their partner was orgasming.
“It turns out that her report of how often she has orgasm is important for her satisfaction and his report of how often he thinks she has orgasm is important for his satisfaction,” Nathan Leonhardt, who researches human sexuality at the University of Toronto in Canada, explained to Psypost.
“In other words, her orgasm experience seems to be important for both husbands and wives.”
So if most husbands say they want their wives to have a good time in bed, why aren’t they picking up their game?
Well, it might not be entirely their fault. Part of the problem could be that men are largely oblivious that there is a problem. In the recent survey, 43 percent of husbands misperceived how often their wives were experiencing orgasm.
According to the researchers, though, women only misconstrued their partner’s sexual pleasure 14 percent of the time.
The authors suggest these incorrect perceptions are just a symptom of another problem, which is that many couples are uncomfortable with sexuality, causing a lack of communication in the bedroom.
But these are just speculations, and more research needs to be done on why men are misinterpreting the sexual satisfaction of their wives, as multiple different factors have been put forward.
For instance, it could be that women are faking orgasms so their husbands feel more satisfied with the experience. Or, maybe it’s that men don’t know what it looks like for women to orgasm, perhaps because they have seen too many inaccurate portrayals in porn.
Whatever the cause, it never hurts to have a chat. If couples are looking to boost their sex life, the study suggests that staying attentive to a partner’s needs and honestly talking through any problems is a must.
“When counselling couples, clinicians should give particular attention to the wife’s orgasm experiences, to potentially help both husbands and wives have higher sexual satisfaction,” the authors conclude.
Over the next few years, the researchers are going to continue following these newlyweds to see how relationship dynamics change over the course of a marriage.
This study has been published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.