Countless studies are done every year on sex and its participants resulting in various “earth shattering” findings. The latest news from the International Academy of Sex Research has offered us a gem of knowledge that might not be so surprising to many of us. Women are less likely to orgasm from casual sex. In fact, not just slightly less likely, but 50% less likely to orgasm than their male counterparts. To put things into perspective, about 75% of the women claimed to reach orgasm who were interviewed from the same survey pool but were in relationships rather than engaging in casual sex. Inevitably, after reading a statistic like this, questions about why such a discrepancy would exist.
In an era where we are sold the idea of gender equality, it still comes back to a rift between the sexes. It could be easy to finger-point who’s fault this really comes down to. We could certainly start with blaming the men in these encounters for not making it a priority to satisfy their sexual conquests. Along the same lines, we could also find liability in the women themselves for not making themselves a priority since clearly their sexual partners are. However, instead of playing the blame-game (ultimately never resulting in a winner), this topics begs us to discuss whether orgasm is really the most important part of casual sex for women.
Often we can forget about the emotional satisfaction derived from an intimate encounter; that intangible rush from a physical encounter with someone new. There is a certain adrenaline rush that comes from undressing in front of a new person for the first time. Women especially can often feel self-concious under these circumstances. Where a male often is prioritizing his need for an orgasm, his female counterpart for the evening may have other motives for their rendez-vous. A sense of empowerment can often be derived from being able to properly satisfying a partner; empowerment that men might not be in search of under the same circumstances. There is a certain point where we have the opportunity to redefine emotional pleasure’s dominance over physical pleasure.
The association with fulfilling an emotional void with sex is no stranger to many women. That temporary bond may become stronger with the achievement of an orgasm (and is certainly a much welcomed bonus) but perhaps it is not what is most gained in casual sex situations. Emotional satisfaction in association with an added level of vanity in feeling sexually accomplished at being skilled at the various aspects of sex is often extremely pleasurable. To really understand the importance of these non-orgasm benefits, it is important to note that sexual stimulation without a partner typically has a drastically higher success rate in achieving orgasm. As described by one female University of Toronto student “If all I wanted to do was orgasm, I would just do it myself. [With casual sex] I’m looking for something beyond that.”
There is of course room for improvement where women could consistently both achieve their alternative benefits as well as orgasm from casual sex, but it would be unfair to devalue all of these encounters and strictly hold them to only one point of validation. Since the percentage of women engaging in casual sex is on a consistent incline, it is safe to assume that they must be enjoying something.
By Romana Outerbridge