“Repeatedly asking me if I’ve cum makes me cum,” said no woman ever.
Here’s the situation: you’re enjoying a sexual experience with your partner and for whatever reason they’ve decided to question you on the state of your orgasm. It seems like your partner means well and they do. They are invested in your pleasure. They want to ensure you reach climax.
At face value, this is a lovely idea.
For women especially, it’s great to have a partner who’s invested in your orgasm and wants to learn what makes you tick. But, the repeated questioning puts a whole lot of pressure on the cumee to cum.
The Orgasm Gap
You’ve heard of a wage gap, but what about the orgasm gap? According to Psychology Today, the orgasm gap refers to the fact that men orgasm more than women in heterosexual sexual encounters. This is according to science, and researchers even found a gendered orgasm gap. For example, lesbian women have more orgasms than straight women — no surprise here — and women have more orgasms when they masturbate than when they are with their partners.
The discrepancy in orgasms is why it’s excellent to have a partner invested in your pleasure to help close the gap. But, at what point does questioning your ability to reach climax become more about validating your partner’s sexual prowess than about your pleasure?
Any partner invested in making your toes curl should be aware that reaching an orgasm is as much about mental — if not more so — than physical stimulation. Holding you accountable to explain why you did or didn’t reach orgasm doesn’t help the mood or increase the odds of making it happen.
How Do We Close the Orgasm Gap?
Heterosexual people with vaginas historically have a tougher time reaching orgasm than their male partners — so how the hell do we close the orgasm gap?
We communicate with our partners about what we enjoy. Duh.
Our partners aren’t mind readers. If we don’t speak up and tell them what we like and what we don’t like, they will never know. It doesn’t have to be a hardcore conversation. No need to sit your partner down in front of a whiteboard and give step-by-step instructions on stimulating the clitoris — unless you want to role play a student/teacher classroom scene, which could be super hot.
Before we can tell our partners what we like, we must know for ourselves.
My biggest piece of advice is to explore your body to find out what you enjoy. You are the master of your own orgasm. Not sure where to start? Check out these tips for a solo experience to learn more about your body & orgasm:
Understand that your mental state and physical stimulation are partners in this process. You need them both.
If you’re stressed about work or can’t stop thinking about your dog’s vet appointment, you aren’t helping yourself. Clear your mind, let yourself relax and think about something sexy. You can always watch porn or read erotica. Focusing on entertainment helps me clear my mind of the day’s clutter. It’s widespread knowledge that women mostly orgasm from clitoral stimulation. Different sources give different specific numbers, but all agree that playing with the clit is the way to go if you’re a woman with a vagina trying to reach orgasm.
What does clitoral stimulation mean when it comes to you and your orgasm? Well, it depends. Your preferences and your body are different than every other woman’s. We know statistically that the clitoris is the orgasm goldmine. Start your exploration there.
Outside of the context of a partner, figure out what your body enjoys solo.
Try a vibrating toy
I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t enjoy a vibrator. If you’re learning your orgasm, that is a great place to start.
Watch your breathing
Deep breaths, holding your breath, fast, short breaths — they all affect your body differently. Try different breathing techniques and see what feels relaxed and pleasurable for your body.
It’s Not All About the Mighty O
Orgasms are great. If you’ve had one, you know this. If you haven’t, you’ve probably heard just enough to make you green with envy. I get it; you want to experience the glory that you hear your friends and random TV hosts talk about. Before you psych yourself out about it, understand that not all women (or men, for that matter) orgasm at each sexual encounter — and that’s okay. In fact, some people never orgasm.
Don’t get stressed if you or your partner do not orgasm; sex can still feel divine, even if you aren’t reaching climax. Enjoy your sexual experiences without putting undue pressure on yourself or your partner to orgasm. Remember, a watched pot never boils.
Header image illustrated by Marcy Gooberman
tabú connects young adults with trustworthy and engaging answers to their sex ed questions by connecting them to certified health experts and peer to peer support.