With over 120k Instagram followers, Lala is the anonymous voice helping womankind through every bump in the road. An established sex, dating and relationship educator, she’s had her fair share of relationship drama and shares her wisdom on social media to a loyal army of followers. Every week thousands turn to her to answer their questions, (no matter how embarrassing), and her funny, frank approach to love and relationships has made her the ultimate feel-good guru.
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If you haven’t heard of the orgasm gap you might well have experienced it. The orgasm gap is the gap between how often cis heterosexual women orgasm during sex with a partner and how often cis men orgasm with a partner.
Women who sleep with women are not included in this gap, there is no orgasm gap for lesbians, they are generally having a great time in bed. It’s only women who sleep with men who are losing out.
I saw a statistic today from a study by Indiana University around orgasm frequency during sexual encounters. It showed that 95% of cis heterosexual men and 86% of lesbian women usually orgasmed during partner sex, the statistic for heterosexual women was 65%.
And whilst this is a significant gap based on a study of 52,000 people, I don’t think it’s entirely true that most women are reaching orgasm 65% percent of the time without assisting themselves. I think it’s far less.
Obviously, I haven’t undertaken a study of 52,000 people, but based on my conversations with thousands of women when I have written about the orgasm gap on my Instagram, it is really apparent that the gap is huge.
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And I don’t just think it’s an orgasm gap, I think it’s a pleasure gap as a whole. 20,000 women took part in some Instagram polls I did on this subject and it confirmed to me just how short-changed heterosexual women have been when it comes to sex. Often, it’s not just orgasms that aren’t happening, it’s physical pleasure as a whole that is scarce.
Far too many of us have experienced sex with men that doesn’t include much, if any, foreplay (which shouldn’t really be called foreplay – it should be called sex because penis in vagina is not the only form of sex and should not be viewed as the holy grail).
Foreplay is pretty critical for most cis women. It can take us time to warm up and we tend to need the right conditions to be able to achieve orgasm.
Very often sex with men, especially when you’re young, involves two minutes of fingering and thirty seconds of oral (if you’re lucky) before he climbs on top and begins jack hammering away at your vagina while saying “Yeah, you like that baby” – no I do not like that, I can barely feel anything.
The clitoris is our pleasure zone, it is packed with nerve endings, whereas the inside of the vagina contains very few – this is to protect us from severe pain during childbirth. Pumping away at dry vaginas is generally a very selfish and pointless task.
That’s not how most women cum, nor is it how we experience pleasure. But because we’re raised in a society that tells us that sex is something for men that we just go along with for their pleasure, and because we’re exposed to porn and movies that show women who appear to be easily orgasmic the second that a penis enters them, many of us end up feeling like there’s something wrong with us for not experiencing sex in the ways that we expected to.
The lack of fireworks and insane joy feels like it’s something personal that we have caused, and so we often fake it.
We fake it far too often, for a multitude of reasons – we want it to end because it’s boring and we’re not feeling much, we don't think we'll ever manage to have a real one, it hurts, we don't want to bruise his ego, we think we have to put on a porn style performance, we think that every other woman is cumming and we don't want to seem like the odd one out.
Unless you are lucky enough to be one of the 20% of women who can orgasm from penetration without clitoral stimulation (although those who can are actually climaxing from clitoral stimulation, they just have larger clitoral bulbs which mean that their clitoris is being stimulated via the entrance to the vagina) then it is highly likely that you have faked it too.
This leads to an annoying cycle where men believe that what they’ve been doing all along has been working. Trying to tell a heterosexual man that most of his partners have probably faked it at some point is no mean feat. They’re usually very resistant to the information that penis in vagina is not doing what they think it is for the 80% of women who don’t cum from penetration alone.
They will often say something like “You must be sleeping with the wrong men” or “Well I must be a rare diamond because I have made every single woman I’ve ever been with orgasm! You can’t fake the leg shake.” Yes Gary, we certainly can.
It’s even harder to convey this information to a partner who you’ve been sleeping with for a while. I regularly receive messages from women who have been faking orgasms for the duration of their relationship.
They initially did it because they didn’t want to hurt their boyfriend’s feelings, but months or years down the line it has meant that their partner is entering the bedroom with the same methods he’s always been using that do absolutely nothing for his partner.
It’s incredibly hard to tell someone that you’ve been faking for years, especially if you love them. Which is why it’s so important not to fake it!
The problem is that it's easier said than done. If you've spent your life faking it by default, then you suddenly have to learn a new way of doing things and it can be really hard. We need to use our voices, we need to be able to communicate our wants, needs & desires.
No orgasm is OK, it's not the be all and end all, sex doesn’t have to have ended in climax for it to have been good, but no pleasure is not OK and if we pretend to feel pleasure from things that only feel mildly good then they will never learn. So, from here on in, we will only moan if something genuinely feels good, we’ll be honest about how things feel in bed and we’ll guide them kindly to do the things we like.
We will not perform, we will not see penis in vagina as the main event, we’ll not see them finishing as the end if we haven’t got what we came for. We will expect 'foreplay', and we will prioritise our pleasure over their egos.
I’ve written a whole chapter about this in my book Block, Delete, Move On which is out in February 2022. But if you want to read something sooner than that I would highly recommend Mind The Gap by Dr Karen Gurney. Let’s close this gap!
For more of Lala’s wisdom follow @Lalalaletmeexplain on Instagram
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