NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Do women really have lower expectations when it comes to their physical pleasure? A new study finds gender inequality isn’t just an issue in the workplace, it’s also a problem in many bedrooms. Researchers from Rutgers University say they found a noticeable gap between what men and women expect when it comes to sex.
Overall, when men and women reach orgasm more frequently during their bedroom romps, they want and expect that same level of pleasure in the future. However, when the opposite happens, people end up expecting less pleasure from their romantic relationships.
‘Orgasm gap has implications for women’s general well-being’
With that in mind, the team examined this orgasm gap, which they describe as a well-established phenomenon that sees men climax more often than their female partners. Through a survey of 104 sexually active couples, results show women are more likely to end up in a “cycle of inequality” in their relationships — rather than seeing their sexual satisfaction improve over time.
Specifically, the team asked each couple about how often each partner orgasms, their ideal amount of sexual pleasure, and how often they expect to climax during sex. Women who had fewer orgasms reduced the importance they placed on reaching this level of pleasure.
“Our expectations are shaped by our experiences, so when women orgasm less, they will desire and expect to orgasm less,” says Grace Wetzel, a Rutgers social psychology doctoral student, in a media release. “If women do lower their expectations in this way, the more orgasm inequality may perpetuate in relationships.”
Wetzel contends that a person’s expectations influence their future actions. In the case of sex, it motivates how people go about pursuing (or not pursuing) certain wants and desires in the bedroom.
“The orgasm gap has implications for women’s pleasure, empowerment, sexual satisfaction and general well-being,” the researcher adds. “Importantly, this is a gender equality issue. Women are learning to expect and be satisfied with less in their sexual interactions with men.”
The study is published in the journal Sex Roles.