Episode 3: Let's Get Cliterate! Narrowing The Orgasm Gap

On this week’s episode we speak with Laurie Mintz, the feminist author behind “Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters and How to Get it” and “A Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex: Reclaim Your Desire and Reignite Your Relationship”. She is a Professor at the University of Florida where she teaches undergraduates the Psychology of Human Sexuality.  She believes that this generation of college students are “the most misinformed generation about sex, ever.” We discuss sexual empowerment, coming out of the “normal closet”, and having a real perspective.   Here are some highlights:

Reversing the Equation

Although it can happen to anyone at any age, 60% of women, at some point, say that they have lost their libido. In figuring out why this is so commonplace, Laurie believes we need to look at the full context of women’s lives,, including stress. And for most women this equates to reversing the equation to ask themselves: Do you enjoy your sexual encounters?

Embrace REAL

The media has projected a misguided idea of what sex is and how it starts: Women having amazing and fast orgasms and men lasting 30 mins or more… when in reality the average length of sexual intercourse is 3 - 5 mins. Because of this, people can think that something is wrong with them when they are experiencing REAL sexual functioning.Let’s change the dialogue – “real” instead of “normal"

How many times?

Couples with mismatched libidos exist. The New York Times article about how many times a couple should have sex in a weekbrings the topic into question, but what matters is quality over quantity and knowing what works for you.  Ask yourself and your partner if you are happy with the frequency of your sexual experiences? Communicate and compromise because sexual communication is part of general communication.

Studies on Women and Self Pleasure:

  • Only 1.2% of women pleasure themselves with vaginal stimulation alone. In most cases, women only use external stimulation. Twelve to twenty percent will couple external/clitoral stimulation with vaginal penetration.

  • There is a disconnection between what women do when they are alone, and what they think they should do when they are with a partner. As  Elizabeth Lloydstates: "Male masturbation resembles the same kind of stimulation as intercourse. Female masturbation looks nothing like it".

  • When women masturbate about 94% reach orgasm within a few minutes! This means that women know how to do it alone, but don’t bring that knowledge into our partnered encounters.  

  • 70% of women are faking orgasms during intercourse, which only serves to reinforce behaviors that aren’t getting you off.  

How can we help women to orgasm when having partner sex with men?

"You need to stop thinking about sex as just the intercourse, but as the whole encounter".  In doing so, both parties benefit: Men can let go of the idea that their penis alone can make a woman orgasm and allows for more freedom and creativity in their sexual experiences.

Tickets to Pound Town

A note about one-night stands: The expected norm is that your partner does not care about your pleasure.  But in heterosexual partners, young men do want to please their female partners, but they don’t have the correct information, as much of what they know comes from porn. It’s not that porn is bad, but it doesn’t always model effective and egalitarian sex. In order to close the orgasm gap, everyone needs to have good sex ed.

The Best Sex

Laurie asserts that “The best sex is when both people involved get to the point where they are focused on themselves and fully immersed in their own pleasure”.

About the Classroom: When good information can turn sex lives around.

“This generation of college students that I am teaching - I call them the most misinformed generation about sex ever, and they agree with me. So much information, but so little sex ed, that they are misinformed”.

Only 23 States in the US require Sex Ed, and only 13 require information to be medically accurate. That means that adolescents can be told misinformation and downright lies regarding sex and sexuality.  This is what our previous guest, Peggy Orenstein((Episodes 1 & 2), calls it “Ideology over Evidence”.

Orgasm Gap: “There can be no quality without equality”.

According to her own study, 55% of men and only 4% say they orgasm during an initial sexual hookup. This gap decreases with subsequent sexual experiences together, but never equalizes. This orgasm inequity coupled with other gender inequalities are due to the cultural privilege of the male experience. Why are women having fewer orgasms than man? It’s because men’s orgasm is prioritized.

Recommendations for resources for a good self SexEd:

Teen Vogue

The Guide to getting it on!- Authors: Joannides and Gross.

Becoming Cliterate

She Comes First