Thursday, February 23, 2017

It's a case of plus ça change in sexual relationships

Some 50 or 60 years after Masters and Johnson's ground-breaking research on sexual attitudes and practices, studies on orgasms are still being carried out. The latest of these was published recently in the American journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, and it looked at 52,000 individuals between the ages of 18 and 65 who were in relationships with a single partner, including 2,000 gays, lesbians and bisexuals.
What the study reveals is perhaps a little underwhelming, and maybe even depressing for women's rights campaigners. 95% of heterosexual men reported that they always or usually reached orgasm, compared to 65% of heterosexual women. A much higher percentage of lesbian women always or usually orgasmed (86%), although fewer gay men (89%), and even fewer bisexual men (88%) and bisexual women (66%). Make what you will of the statistics for gays, lesbians and bisexuals, by far the largest "orgasm gap" is between heterosexual men and women, and in some respects little appears to have changed over the last 50 years, despite the so-called Sexual Revolution.
This conclusion is backed up by another finding in the study: about 30% of men believe that good old-fashioned vaginal intercourse is the best way to ensure that a woman reaches orgasm. In fact, only 35% of heterosexual women actually orgasm from vaginal sex alone, while 44% rarely or never do. Compare that with the finding that 80% of heterosexual women, and 91% of lesbian women, climax as a result of the "golden trio" of moves - genital stimulation, deep kissing and oral sex - without any vaginal intercourse. A longer duration of sex also significantly increases a woman's likelihood of climaxing. As one of the research authors tersely puts it: "To say that there needs to be some education I think is an understatement".
And what about mood music, dimming the lights, changing sexual positions, joking, or saying "I love you" during sex? Apparently, none of this has any effect whatsoever on men, while women may increase their orgasm rate by as much as 20% by these simple expedients.
And finally the issue of fake orgasms. 44% of heterosexual men reported that their partners always reached orgasm, while only 33% of heterosexual women actually DID always orgasm. This suggests that a substantial amount of orgasm faking is still going on, and the reasons offered range from love of their partner or to protect their partner's self-esteem, to intoxication or just to bring the sexual encounter to an end.

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