Women spend 419 more hours per lifetime than men to reach orgasm

Woman feeling sad in her bedroom. (Getty Images)
Women are feeling orgasm shame. (Getty Images)

Experts are calling for better understanding of female sexual health as new research has revealed UK women spend women spend at least 419 more hours per lifetime than men to reach orgasm.

We already know that the orgasm gap (the term used to define the disparity in sexual experiences between men and women) is real with 61% of British men having an orgasm every time they have sex compared to only 30% of British women.

But additional findings have underpinned the shame and embarrassment women are feeling about this orgasm deficit, highlighting the need to better understand and normalise pleasure differences between the genders.

As part of its commitment to the advancement of female sexual pleasure women's health app, Flo, has launched the largest orgasm study to date and the findings are pretty eye-opening.

According to their calculations and publicly available data, women would need to spend at least 419 hours or 17.4 days more than men across their lifetime to reach the same number of orgasms as their male counterparts.

While one in three men believe that most women can orgasm from vaginal stimulation alone, in reality, only 18.4% of women orgasm just from vaginal stimulation, with the majority requiring or preferring additional clitoral stimulation.

But, that lack of knowledge about female satisfaction is having a knock-on impact on wellbeing and relationships with a third of women claiming they feel embarrassed to talk to their partner about what they like during sex.

This sense of shame and embarrassment is also present when it comes to self-pleasure with over a fifth (21%) of UK women feeling that masturbation is shameful or wrong.

"As a sex therapist I frequently encounter women expressing concerns about taking too long to reach orgasm," explains Jordan Rullo, Flo medical Expert and certified sex therapist.

"When I hear this, I ask 'compared to whom?' Unfortunately, society and social media often sell men’s sexual function as the ideal, but the fact that women take nearly three times as long as men to reach orgasm does not necessarily indicate a problem, it is simply a difference."

Rullo says she hopes the new study will help break the stigma surrounding these differences, recalibrate societal expectations, and empower women worldwide by normalising the variety of orgasm experiences."

Woman in bed having an orgasm. (Getty Images)
Experts want to encourage more understanding about female sexual pleasure. (Getty Images)

Dr Liudmila Zhaunova, director of science at Flo Health, says the bias towards male physiology as the norm has seeped into expectations surrounding female orgasm.

"It's time to reset these unrealistic standards placed on women," she says. "We hope that the results of our study will enhance women's understanding of navigating their sexual experiences and pleasure."

Dr Zhaunova points out that the subject of female sexual pleasure and climax remains under-researched and under-explored, with stats revealing four times more research into understanding aspects of men’s sexual functioning than women.

"We look forward to helping close this glaring research gap and aim to contribute toward improving the sexual experiences of millions of women around the world."

As well as a lack of knowledge and understanding Rullo says cultural expectations has a role to play in women feeling orgasm shame.

"Society and the media often expect women’s sexuality to be the same as men’s sexuality, and when it isn’t, women are told that something is wrong with them," she explains. "Orgasm is an excellent example of this unrealistic demand. Studies show men take, on average, 5-7 minutes to reach orgasm. Women take, on average, 14 minutes to reach orgasm."

But when women are told something is wrong with them because their sexuality doesn't match that of mens, Rullo says that leads to feelings of sexual shame.

"So often I hear women say 'it takes me too long to orgasm' and 'my partner is getting bored because of how long it takes'," she continues.

"But women’s orgasms are NOT broken! There’s nothing wrong with women taking 14 minutes or more to reach orgasm. Women’s orgasms are simply different from that of men’s orgasm, and there’s no shame in that."

Thankfully there are some ways to overcome feelings of shame and anxiety many women are feeling about sexual pleasure.

Woman in bed. (Getty Images)
There are ways to overcome orgasm shame. (Getty Images)

How to overcome orgasm shame

Up your knowledge

By arming yourself with accurate sexual health information. "A woman’s orgasm may take three times as long as a man's orgasm and this is a natural variation in orgasmic function," Rullo says. "This is not a problem."

Practice reverse psychology

This could help challenge this old shameful message. Rullo suggests telling yourself 'men orgasm too quickly. Why can’t they last, on average, as long as 14 minutes?'

"Now, I’m not suggesting that men should or need to last longer (I don’t want to shame men), but flipping the narrative can highlight the double-standard and irrationality of such a shameful message," she counters.

Appreciate your climax journey

Rullo suggests considering the length of time it takes to reach orgasm as a journey. "That’s more time to enjoy arousal and to ride the wave of pleasure!" she adds.

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