Imagine dining at a restaurant where your date gets a Michelin-starred feast but you get a plate of stale crackers and some out-of-date cheese. Chances are you wouldn’t be happy. But for many heterosexual women having sex with a male partner, there’s a good chance you’re being served those stale crackers. Let’s start putting an end to that pleasure gap today with seven powerful tips to get your fair share pleasure during sex.
Before we dive in, let’s make sure we’re on the same page.
What’s the pleasure gap?
To answer that question, let’s first address an associated phenomenon, the orgasm gap. The orgasm gap is the disparity between the percentage of men who report climaxing during sex compared to women.
According to a 2017 study, heterosexual men claim to orgasm around 95% of the times they have sex, compared to 65% of women. This 30% difference is what we call the orgasm- or pleasure gap. There are many reasons for this pleasure inequality ranging from lack of familiarity with the female anatomy, to how society views female pleasure.
While closely related, the pleasure gap, refers to the inequality between the pleasure men and women feel during sex. This is an important distinction to make as you don’t need to orgasm to have pleasurable sex. Conversely, you can also orgasm and not find the sex that enjoyable.
So, now we know what the pleasure gap is, what can we do to close it?
1. Stop faking orgasms
We know, it can be tempting to fake an orgasm: from not wanting to upset our partner, just wanting sex to stop already, to not actually believing we can climax with a partner… But faking orgasms doesn’t do anyone any favors.
Firstly, by pretending to orgasm, you’re sending yourself the message that your pleasure isn’t as important as your sexual partner’s. Apart from this being untrue – we all deserve pleasure – it’s really damaging to your self-esteem and an important contributor to the gaping pleasure gap between men and women.
Secondly, if you fake it, your partner won’t know what really gives you those sweet O’s and they’ll continue doing what doesn’t work. So if you’ve been having penetrative sex for 10 minutes and eventually you just pretend to cum, guess what? Your partner is going to do the same the next time you have sex because they think that’s what you want.
So do everyone a favor by committing to never faking it again. Of course, this can be harder to do the longer you’ve been faking it, but it’s definitely possible to redirect your partner to doing things you actually enjoy without telling them you hated what they’ve been doing up to now. Of course, this relies on you actually knowing what you like and dislike in bed, which brings us to our next tip.
2. Find what gives you pleasure
Before you can share your sexual likes and dislikes with a partner, you need to know what they are first. By far the best way to figure this out is through masturbation. Unlike partnered sex, masturbation gives you the time and space you need to try things out on your terms with nobody else to worry about. Masturbation is purely about you and your pleasure. Plus, it’s a fantastic form of self-care which comes with a ton of health benefits.
And self-pleasure isn’t just something for single people. Even in a long-term relationship, masturbation is an effective and pleasurable way to explore your body, discover your erogenous zones, and how you like to be touched. So if you’d like to increase your pleasure by discovering new techniques, make sure to schedule regular solo sex sessions. Why not get started with these sexy masturbation ideas?
3. Tell (or show) your partner what you want
Once you know your likes and dislikes, share them with your partner. Nobody’s a mind reader and it’s your responsibility to make sure that your needs are met. Plus, most people are all too happy to receive clear suggestions and instructions.
Another great way to share your sexual likes and dislikes with your partner is through mutual masturbation. Watching each other masturbate is a fantastic way for you and your partner to learn more about what gives each of you pleasure. You can also take turns guiding the other one on how you like to be touched. This can be super sexy and will help you both to enjoy more pleasure in the bedroom, bathroom, or wherever you decide to get it on.
4. Spend more time on foreplay
One reason that many women are dissatisfied with their sex life and don’t end up cumming is that little or no time is spent on foreplay. Sorry guys, a few hurried twirls around the clit before penetration just won’t cut it! Foreplay has a ton of benefits and is super important for building arousal and pleasure and can include a wide range of activities like oral sex, breast stimulation, nipple play, kissing…
While we often think of foreplay as an appetizer before the main course, it’s important to know that sex doesn't have to include intercourse and these “pre-sex” activities can actually be the main event. In fact, for most women the most reliable route to orgasm is clitoral stimulation, which is often achieved most easily with oral sex, manual stimulation or using sex toys.
5. Don’t put up with pain during sex
If you’ve ever experienced pain during sex, you’re not alone. According to the American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians, 75 percent of women experience pain during sex at some point in their lifetimes. Aside from the obvious, (who wants to be in pain when they should be enjoying sex?) pain during sex can cause secondary problems which can actually be harder to treat than the pain itself.
So whatever you do, stop having sex that hurts. See a medical practitioner to get the right diagnosis and stop doing whatever’s hurting you until you’ve found treatment.
But that doesn’t mean you should stop having sex altogether. If penetration is painful for you right now, try oral sex or some of these other non-penetrative sex ideas. If it’s your vulva that’s hurting, focus on touching other erogenous zones for a while. When you stop framing sex as penis-in-vagina penetration, you’ll see your sex life open up to a whole new world of possibilities.
6. Learn from sex-positive resources
When it comes to sex and pleasure, knowledge is power. More than ever before there are so many sex-positive resources at your fingertips that can help you learn more about your body, what gives you pleasure and how to advocate for yourself. The Emjoy app is a great place to start. Created by women for women, Emjoy offers you over 600 audio sessions on how to enjoy more pleasure, boost your self-esteem, increase your libido and more.
Start your wellbeing journey with Emjoy today and watch your pleasure grow.
7. Remove orgasm as a goal
Finally, remember that while orgasms can feel AMAZING, you don’t need to cum for a sexual encounter to be “pleasurable”. Particularly for those of us who experience orgasm anxiety, removing orgasm as a goal can really take the pressure off during sex. Who knows, maybe without the goal of cumming, you’ll feel more relaxed and actually climax. And if not, don’t sweat it. Orgasms are NOT essential for good sex.