Fun fact: lesbians are orgasming. They’re orgasming a lot. Study after study shows that women in same-sex relationships are having more orgasms than any other women — one survey of 55,000 people found that while 86 percent of lesbians always or usually orgasm during sex, the same was only true for 66 percent of bisexual women and 65 percent of straight women. And if that massive survey isn’t enough proof for you, other research has found similar results so, no matter how you cut the mustard, lesbians are having more orgasms than straight women. Bisexual women tend to fall near straight women in terms of orgasm frequency, but then again mostbisexual women are in relationships with men.

The bottom line is that women having sex with men just aren’t having enough orgasms — so what’s holding them back?

Firstly, it’s important to note that orgasm is not the end goal for everyone having sex — and that’s totally fine. Some people are asexual, some our anorgasmic, and some people just aren’t that bothered about having one. They get something else out of the sexual experience and that’s great. For some people, though, having an orgasm is important — so why aren’t straight women and bisexual keeping up with lesbians? Well, there are a few problems.

Male orgasm is seen as the main event

Look at the end of (almost) every sex scene — porn, movies, erotica — almost every straight sex scene ends with a male orgasm. That is portrayed as the big finish, the main event. But what if a woman hasn’t finished yet? So often, it’s expected that if a woman orgasms first, she’ll continue with sex until the man finishes, whether that’s penetration or a handjob or a blowjob. But if the man finishes first…? There are some good men out there who are interested in women’s orgasms, who will go down on her or use a vibe or whatever she needs to get off. But more often than not, they think the sex stops with their orgasm. And that’s a real problem. With lesbian sex, orgasm is not the end point. In fact, you can go back and forth and back and forth with both of you having orgasms basically until someone dies. It’s kind of amazing — although also kind of exhausting. But everyone’s getting off.

There’s too much focus on intercourse

When we talk about “sex”, we often are just referring to penis-in-vagina sex. If male orgasm is seen as the big finish, penis-in-vagina penetrative sex is seen as the true sex act. Fingering, oral sex, toys — these are all relegated to “foreplay” or “fooling around”. Even words like “fooling” and “messing” imply that these acts are just silly compared to the real thing. Well, fuck the real thing.

Only around a quarter of women can orgasm from penetration, so why isthat the real thing? We don’t spend enough time on other types of sex, the types of sex straight women need to orgasm. Meanwhile, for lesbians, oral sex, fingering, and toys are often the bedrock of their sexuality — is there any surprise they’re getting off more? They’re getting the clitoral stimulation, the thing that most women need to finish. But all of these options are available to straight women, so what’s stopping them from getting what they need?

Women don’t feel empowered to ask for what they want and need

I will raise my hand up and say that I have pretended I was enjoying sex that was simply not good because I didn’t want to make a fuss. I’m not proud of that. Women are socialized to not ask for what they need, to avoid looking like a “bother” or a “burden”. I don’t like admitting that I’ve given into that socialization, but I have. We’re taught, innately, that our sexual pleasure isn’t as important as a man’s — in fact, some women believe that sex isn’t about their pleasure at all, that it’s something that they put up with for their partners. But even if you do know what you like, even if you’re a deeply sexual person, as a woman you may feel like protecting your partner’s ego or feelings is more important than you having an orgasm. It’s not.

When it comes to lesbian sex, you start on an equal playing field. Not only is there a home court advantage, but normally both partners are interested in the other’s orgasm and pleasure. Genuinely. It’s not rocket science — it’s stimulation. But straight women aren’t always told they can ask for what they want.

This is all made worse by the fact that female orgasms are often portrayed as “mysterious” or “elusive”, despite the fact that they aren’t — the lesbian orgasm stats show that. Yet some people give up trying to find the female orgasm because we act like it’s trying to catch a freaking unicorn. But how long it takes or how difficult it is to orgasm varies from person to person, not by gender. How many terrible lock-jawed blowjobs or terrible handjobs that never end have women had to give? We’ve definitely earned our orgasms.

Faking cycles are real

If you’ve never ended up in an orgasm faking cycle, you probably know a woman who has. You fake the first one because the sex is awkward or bad, because you want your partner to feel good about themselves, or just out of politeness. But then, there’s an expectation of orgasm. So you do it again the next time — and again the time after that. And the longer you do it, the more awkward it is to get yourself out of. So, soon you’re not having any orgasms, your partner thinks they know what you want (even when they don’t have a clue), and it’s not really working for anyone. It’s no surprise that straight women have way lower numbers than lesbians if you think about these cycles they can get locked into.

Lesbians are having a lot of orgasms — and that’s a great thing. But there’s no reason straight and bisexual women can’t be having just as many. If your partner cares about your pleasure and you feel open enough to be honest about what you need, then the opportunity is there. But we need more honest communication and more emphasis on sex acts beyond penetrative penis-in-vagina sex. We need to be more like lesbians. So let’s change the thinking. It’s not foreplay — it’s necessary. And our orgasms depend on it.

Originally posted on Bellesa Collective