Home » Blogs » Real World Research » Why Is It Harder for Women to Orgasm Than Men?

Why Is It Harder for Women to Orgasm Than Men?

"The Unmade Bed" by Imogene Cunningham/Yale University Art Gallery

The punchline to the question posed in the title of this post is “Who cares?”

Yes, it’s a joke, a guy joke that actually makes me laugh because it’s really about how loutish some men are about jokes and sex. Also, it’s funny because it’s true.

The Psych Central news hounds pointed me towards an article titled “Women, Men, and the Bedroom: Methodological and Conceptual Insights That Narrow, Reframe, and Eliminate Gender Differences in Sexuality.”

I wanted to learn more, so I dug up the original paper, which pulled together a number of studies debunking or reframing some of the things we know to be true (or do we?) about men, women, and sex.

Two in particular amused me, in a loutish female way.

One myth, apropos to the joke, is that women orgasm less frequently than men. This is actually true.

But the joke is, the joke is not really a joke. In a 2009 study involving nearly 13,000 undergraduates, researchers found that women had orgasms only 32% as often as men in first-time hookups, 49% in repeated hookups, and a respectable 79% in romantic relationships.

Are women more likely to orgasm when they know a guy because they must remain cautious and vigilant outside of romantic relationships and therefore can’t relax enough to experience the le petit morte of orgasm in hookups? Not necessarily. This research suggests that in hookups, men really don’t care, and they don’t try.

Here’s an interesting blog post on the research that points out:

Interviews with male and female students revealed that while men feel entitled to receive oral sex, and females feel obligated to give it, the reverse is not true. As a result, while men receive fellatio more or less equally across all relationship contexts, cunnilingus increases dramatically as the relationship becomes more committed. Thus, it seems that men feel that it is important to please their girlfriends, but are not as interested in the pleasure of a casual hook up.

Another myth debunked in the article is the whole “men like casual sex more than women.”

This is a corollary, guys, so listen up. One 2010 study found that women were, in fact, much less likely than men to accept hypothetical offers of casual opposite-sex with strangers. More recent research dug deeper into this and found that (unsurprisingly) stigma plays a part in this reluctance; what participants in the research called “slutbashing.”

But the same research also found that when women were presented with the possibility of casual sex with famous people or close friends, the gap narrowed. Attractiveness of the hypothetical partner played into the decision,  but so did women’s perception of the skill a guy might display in the sack.

 …women and men were equally likely to accept offers of casual sex from close friends whom they perceived to have high sexual capabilities (i.e., whom they thought would “be a great lover” and would provide them with “a positive sexual experience”). …Across multiple studies, perceived sexual capabilities of sexual proposers most strongly predicted acceptance of casual-sex offers among both women and men. Moreover, perceived proposer sexual capabilities partially mediated the gender differences in casual sex.

Women who didn’t fear slutbashing, and were unconcerned about the sexual prowess of the guy, were just as interested in casual sex as men. Not that we can eliminate slutbashing in the real world, so we’re purely hypothetical here. Nor am I advocating casual sex. That’s a decision for the individual. I can think of lots of reasons it’s a bad idea.

Nonetheless, there’s take-home message here for guys. According to this research, if you wanna get lucky, you better learn your way around the equipment and acquire some skills.

Who cares? Women care. Ha ha. Joke’s on you.

Why Is It Harder for Women to Orgasm Than Men?

5 comments: View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Dembling, S. (2011). Why Is It Harder for Women to Orgasm Than Men?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 5, 2020, from


Last updated: 24 Oct 2011
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.