Who’s Most Likely to Have an Orgasm? Men and Lesbians

Why not straight and bisexual women? Ask lesbians.

Posted Apr 17, 2018

Nachoman via Wikimedia Commons
Source: Nachoman via Wikimedia Commons

It goes without saying that the average straight man is more likely to have an orgasm during partnered sex than the average straight woman, as a recent study by Frederick and colleagues documented. But, why? Does the sex difference also hold for gay men versus lesbians and bisexual men versus bisexual women? If so, is it about differences between biological men and women, about sexual orientation differences, or, as always, something else?

In a large sample of US adults, 95 percent of straight men reported that they usually/always orgasmed when sexually intimate with another. By contrast, only 65 percent of their likely sex partners (straight women) reported they usually/always orgasmed. Gay men were similar to straight men (89 percent), which was nearly identical to the reports of lesbian women (86 percent). Clearly, the sex difference did not hold for these sexual minorities.

Bisexuals complicate matters. Whereas bisexual men (88 percent) were similar to straight and gay men, bisexual women (66 percent) were similar to straight women but not to lesbian women. In this regard it is critical to recall that the majority of bisexual women’s sex partners are straight men.

Frederick examined which women orgasmed, and which didn’t—because few men didn’t orgasm, this was much less an issue for them. Women who reported usually/always orgasming were more likely to:

1.    receive oral sex from their partner

2.    have longer sex sessions

3.    be more satisfied with the relationship they had with their partner

4.    ask their partner for what they wanted during sex

5.    praise their partner for his/her performance

6.    tease their partner about doing something sexual

7.    wear sexy lingerie

8.   try new sexual positions, including anal stimulation

9.   act out sexual fantasies, including incorporating sexy talk

10.  express love during sex

If the sexual experience included vaginal intercourse—with orgasm for the woman—then what helped her was deep kissing, manual genital stimulation, and/or oral sex.

It is noteworthy that these rates of reported orgasms were mirrored when individuals were asked about the frequency of their partners’ orgasms. One exception was that straight men somewhat over-estimated the rate at which their partner achieved orgasm: 73 percent thought she usually/always orgasmed—lower than either straight (65 percent) or bisexual (66 percent) women said that they actually orgasmed. This could be due to the ability of some women to “fake” their orgasms. Gay men and lesbian women were quite aware of whether their partner orgasmed.

The fact that lesbians’ sex partners frequently orgasmed likely reflects the superior ability of lesbians to bring their female partners to orgasm—because they incorporated more of the Top Ten (see above) techniques that enhance the possibilities of women orgasming.

The authors offer various explanations for the sex difference in orgasm frequency. The one that makes the most sense to me is the within-women comparison: “Lesbian women are in a better position to understand how different behaviors feel for their partner (e.g., stimulating the clitoris) and how these sensations build toward orgasm [emphasis added].” Given their greater knowledge than men about female anatomy and what turns women on, they’re less likely to believe that orgasms are elicited primarily by vaginal sex. This explanation is consistent with the research of another team (Shirazi and colleagues) that explored women’s experience of orgasm during intercourse. They found that women reported a higher rate of orgasms during “assisted intercourse” and a lower rate during “unassisted intercourse.” What constitutes assisted intercourse? Concurrent clitoral stimulation.

Based on these results, one recommendation would be for straight men to consult with lesbian women to teach them how to satisfy women. This could also be an economic boon to lesbians and, hopefully, an interpersonal sensation for straight men.

References

Frederick, D. A., John, H. K. S., Garcia, J. R., Lloyd, E. A. (2018). Differences in orgasm frequency among gay, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual men and women in a U.S. national sample. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 47, 273-288. doi: 10.1007/s10508-017-0939-z

Shirazi, T., Renfro, K. J., Lloyd, E., & Wallen, K. (2018). Women’s experience of orgasm during intercourse: Question semantics affect women’s reports and men’s estimates of orgasm occurrence. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 47, 605-613.