New Study Reveals That LGBTQIA+ Women Have More Orgasms Than Straight Women

Published: JUNE 17, 2024
A new study reveals that lesbians, bisexual, and pansexual women actually do have more orgasms than straight women. Here's why.

A recent study conducted by researchers at Rutgers University reveals that straight women are having far fewer orgasms than lesbians. As a queer cisgender woman who primarily has sex with other women and people with vulvas, these findings are unsurprising. They confirm a disparity rooted in the dynamics of heterosexual sex that many women and people assigned female at birth have experienced.


How sexism and gender roles impact sexual satisfaction

Carol Queen, PhD, Good Vibes Staff Sexologist and Curator of the Antique Vibrator Museum, explains that it is, in fact, cishet men's fault that straight women are having fewer orgasms, though it's not entirely their fault. It's also the fault of the sex-negative culture, that fails to provide useful sex education.

"So actually, let's shift the blame away from men, except those who don't care about their partners' pleasure and, a big Venn diagram overlap, those who trust sex information from the likes of Andrew Tate," she says. "The blame is sociocultural, and all the sex-and-reproduction-related culture wars we're seeing now are other heads of this hydra."

She adds that the point of the sex-positive movement isn't just to say "YAY SEX" all the time — although yay sex — but to counter sex negativity and erotophobia, which are both pervasive in Western culture.


Traditional sexual dynamics and societal expectations, which are rooted in both sex negativity and sexism, place the focus of sexual encounters on men, which ultimately affects women's sexual satisfaction. The findings of the new Rutgers study confirm this. Their research suggests that lesbian sexual encounters often involve a greater focus on mutual satisfaction, communication, and a deeper understanding of vulvar anatomy. This contrasts with many heterosexual encounters, where women's pleasure is often deprioritized.

Sex education fails to prioritize pleasure or women

The sex negativity and sexism that create traditional sexual dynamics and societal expectations that deprioritize women and their pleasure also creates woefully lacking sex education that doesn't center women or pleasure.

Sofie Roos from Passionerad notes that most sex education focuses on protection and different ways to have sex without discussing orgasms. She believes we should talk more about female masturbation, exploring how women can pleasure themselves through the clitoris, G-spot, and vaginal penetration.


"This helps women and girls understand their bodies and what makes them orgasm, knowledge they can use throughout their sex lives," says Roos.

Queen, author (with Shar Rednour) of The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone, notes that cis women (especially heterosexual ones) who haven't had good, orgasmic sex may not even know when they are appropriately aroused.

"The vagina responds to pressure, motion, and fullness, but only if the person attached to it is appropriately aroused before intercourse begins... Ideally, we should have this knowledge and communicate it to partners of any gender," she says. "But we don't always have it; our partners may not be receptive or might rely on straight porn for guidance. It's not a documentary! But who tells youth that? Too few people are active in the 'talk sense and media literacy to teens' field."


The orgasm gap, the term that refers to the vast disparities between how often men orgasm and how often women orgasm, exists partly due to male-centric sexual norms and inadequate sex education on female pleasure.

Roos says, "It's really normal—one of the top three reasons couples seek my professional help. I meet many new couples every month who struggle with the woman not cumming during sex, which leaves both partners unsatisfied."

Roos has observed that many men don't understand why their partners can't reach climax, which is completely unsurprising when you consider that they've never been taught how to give women pleasure. For example, Roos says men are too rough and insensitive during penetration or fingering, but they don't even know that's the case. So, they think they're doing all the right things and their partner still isn't getting there.


Sex education also fails to teach men and women, or people with penises and people with vaginas, how differently arousal works for different people.

"You can think of a man like a dry piece of tinder wood," Roos explains. "It lights off really intensely and quickly, and then it's over. The lust goes away, and the horniness is reset back to zero. That's how a majority of men feel after cumming." In contrast, women are more like wet wood. "It takes a long time to start burning, and when it finally does, it goes on for a long time."

Of course, this doesn't apply to all men or all women, or all people with penises and all people with vaginas. But it does apply to a lot of them, and this analogy highlights the differences in sexual response and the overall need for more understanding and patience during sexual encounters.


To have more orgasms, have more sex the way lesbians do

According to Queen, although a lesbian or bi/pan woman or trans/non-binary person with a vulva does not necessarily know exactly what a vulva-having partner might want sexually, they will likely know about the clit since they have one.

"What is commonly called 'lesbian sex' is generally pretty darned clitorally-focused, even if there is a strap-on in the room or on the partner," says Queen. "I'm not going to say 'Women are better at cunnilingus,' but I will say that many women ARE better at cunnilingus and really like to do it."

For those who want to know more about how lesbians, bisexual/pansexual women, or  transgender/non-binary people with a vulva have sex with another vulva, Queen recommends GirlSex 101 by Allison Moon and KD Diamond. 

These insights suggest it's time to revamp our approach to sex ed so men and people with penises know almost as much about the anatomy of women and people with vulvas as women and people with vulvas do.

To close the pleasure gap, Roos recommends that heterosexual couples spend more time on different types of sex than just penis-in-vagina, much like lesbian couples have been doing for years. Roos suggests incorporating oral sex, touching such as fingering, or sex toys like a couple's vibrator or sex machine into foreplay to significantly increase the chances of a woman reaching orgasm.

By prioritizing mutual pleasure and addressing both partners' needs, we can enhance sexual satisfaction for everyone. This research emphasizes the importance of communication and education in closing the orgasm gap.

Ryn Pfeuffer

Ryn Pfeuffer is a versatile print and digital writer specializing in sex, lifestyle, and relationship topics. She got her start in the mid-90s at the Philadelphia Weekly, managing a 10-page section of the newspaper and more than 500 lonely hearts.Her professional stock skyrocketed when she started writing a saucy (and pre-Carrie-Bradshaw-era) dating advice column called “Ask Me Anything.” She appeared regularly on local radio stations and late-night TV as an expert on everything from grooming...

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