Perhaps this is no big surprise to any woman out there who has had casual sex, like, ever, but according to The New York Times, new research suggests “women are less likely to have orgasms during uncommitted sexual encounters than in serious relationships.” That’s not just because guys who participate in hookups are less invested in a woman’s pleasure than men in relationships are, but also because “practice with a partner … yields better success at orgasm.” That’s what Paula England, a sociologist at New York University who ran the study cited by the Times, says about the dynamics of casual sex.
A staggering 75% of women in committed relationships say they had an orgasm the last time they had sex with their partner. That number seems high, and yet not high enough. Why does a woman’s orgasm remain elusive even in an LTR? Based on research by Dr. Alfred Kinsey, creator of the famous Kinsey Scale, “a woman’s chances of experiencing orgasm slowly rise over the course of 25 years but never even approach 90%,” notes CNN. Wow. That’s depressing, especially in comparison to men, who have a 100% rate of climax from early adulthood on.
Part of the elusiveness of the female orgasm has to do with body parts; men have to learn to, ah, push a woman’s button the right way in order to induce orgasm. (For more on the physicality of female orgasm, click here, which could also be a useful directive for women to give during sex.) As could any directive, so it seems, since a lack of communication is another part of why women are less likely to climax than men. Natalie Kitroeff writes for the Times, “Communicating about those particulars is especially tricky in hookups. When one awkward exchange or misread text message could end the arrangement altogether, there’s a certain amount of pressure to tread softly,” which can leave women feeling unsatisfied at the end of a one night stand.
Several young women Kitroeff interviewed said that for them, having an orgasm isn’t the driving force behind wanting to hook up, but that “sacrificing a reliable orgasm for sex without the burden of commitment” was appealing, or that the need for human touch and some kind of intimacy supercedes the need to climax. People engage in casual sex not just because they want to orgasm, but because they want to feel a connection with someone. Why should the lack of a long-term partner rob anyone from a little cuddling? As one young woman put it, even if she doesn’t climax during a casual encounter, the rendezvous is still worthwhile. She told Kitroeff, “to be able to see someone else’s pleasure that was your own doing, I think there’s definitely something very empowering about that.” Hopefully more men will start to feel the same way.
Photo credit: Flickr user andrewrennie