Female Orgasm – Why are women less likely to have an orgasm than men? – Radio SRF 1
There is an orgasm gap in couple sex between man and woman in Switzerland. This is confirmed by a study at the University of Basel: While 94 percent of men often or almost always climax, the figure for women is just 56 percent.
In Basel, however, the main focus was on where the reasons for this orgasmic gap could lie. Study leader Lenya Koechlin summed it up in an interview: The addition of a penis during sex reduces a woman’s chance of having an orgasm.
Lenya Koechlin is a medical student at the University of Basel. In an online study, she examines the so-called orgasm gap in Switzerland.
She is also personally involved in the topic. In 2020, for example, she helped organize the “My Pleasure” festival on empowerment and female sexuality.
SRF: Women reach orgasm less often than men. What reasons have you found for this orgasm gap?
Lenya Koechlin: According to our results, it is mainly due to the understanding of sex between men and women. Many people understand “sex” and “penetration” as synonyms. This has an impact on the frequency of orgasms in women. Because it is well known and is also confirmed by our results that many women do not experience an orgasm through penetration alone, but need external stimulation of the clitoris.
If we were to also understand sexual techniques such as manual or oral stimulation of the clitoris as sex, the orgasm gap would be significantly reduced.
What other factors mean that women come less often than men?
Pornography consumption also plays a role. The number of women who reliably orgasm during sex is higher among women who do not use porn than among women who use porn frequently. From our point of view, this has to do with the fact that mainstream pornography conveys an image of sex that is strongly fixated on penetration. So when it comes to porn consumption, women copy practices that are not conducive to their sexuality.
However, it must be said that there can be another explanation for the connection: that a lack of satisfaction in sex leads to frequent porn consumption in women.
What role do taboos and, conversely, communication play?
It is clear from our results that women are more likely to have an orgasm when they communicate their needs clearly. But there is little room for this in the media either, as can be seen in Hollywood films, for example. There is almost no language during sex.
According to your study, knowledge of female anatomy has no significant impact on the orgasm gap. How do you explain that?
We see that women mostly experience an orgasm for themselves during masturbation. So they know what they need. But that doesn’t seem to have any place when the man comes along. Which brings me to the somewhat provocative statement that the addition of a man or penis decreases the chances of a female orgasm.
On the other hand, it is also important to mention that many young and well-educated people took part in our survey. This could also have led to some distortion here.
The orgasm gap study
About the as yet unpublished study, the “Daily Gazette” first reported. It is based on an anonymous online survey. The questionnaires of around 2,000 people have now been evaluated, including 76% women and around 24% men. The publication of the results is planned for the end of the year.
Study director Lenya Koechlin is part of a small research group, which also includes biomedical professor emeritus Daniel Haag-Wackernagel and reproductive and sexual medicine specialist Dr. Gideon Sartorius from the University of Basel are represented.
The aim of the work is to provide information on sexuality, emphasizes Koechlin: “We don’t want to create any new norms. And we don’t want to imply that orgasm is necessary for sexual satisfaction and health.”
How would you reduce the orgasm gap based on your results?
It is crucial to involve the clitoris more in heterosexual couple sex. In addition, it would be important to promote a diverse understanding of sex beyond pure penetration. This starts with other portrayals of sex in the media and also in sex education classes. But it should also become more of a part of our conversations about sex.
Vera Büchi conducted the interview.
What good are popular attempts to explain the orgasm gap?