Can Every Woman Orgasm?

No.

That’s the short answer. This deserves a long answer however, as it is a question I almost always get when I’m speaking to Christian women’s groups. And that’s part of why it’s so hard to answer, because it isn’t just about physiology but mostly about acculturation. The stats are as follows, 10-20% of sexually active women have never experienced an orgasm. If you narrow the group to cis-gendered heterosexual married Christian women then the number jumps to 20-25%, which is 1 in 5 or 1 in 4! It comes from cultural norms not just in the Christian segment of society however. In America, if a man doesn’t orgasm it’s treated as a medical malady, whereas lack of female orgasm is viewed as normal.

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More stats, homosexual married women report pleasure at a 92-96% rate. That’s probably a more accurate window into what percentage of women have the physical ability to orgasm. Think about how we learn what sex is. We get most of our instruction from culture. From movies and TV shows, from friends, from various forms of sex ed, we get a complete hodgepodge of both factual and misleading information. Lesbian women don’t see their sex in pop culture, it’s not included in sex ed as there’s no reproduction involved, so they don’t have as many preconceived ideas about what their sex is “supposed” to look like, and that’s to their advantage on this specific topic. They’ve had to figure it out for themselves and as a couple. This leads to higher female orgasm rates, as with any skill, be it typing or braiding your daughter’s hair, arousal with a partner (or without) is something you can get learn how to do and get better at with practice.

By the time men get to partnered sex they are orgasm experts. They know exactly what gets them off, what doesn’t, what pressure, duration, tempo, etc works best for their bodies. Most women arrive at partnered sex having never had an orgasm. Then we somehow expect men to know how to do something that we ourselves don’t know how to do! And provide it without being able to feel what’s going on from the inside. It can take time to figure out, allow it to take time; female rates of pleasure increase the longer the relationship is, and also increase as women age. Those things aren’t physiological, those are women and couples learning and honing a skill.

Are there women who cannot orgasm? Yes, and men as well. The vast majority of those individuals however have a medical reason for this inability, the most common is pain, others include disease and side effects to medication. If you’re in that boat, talk to your doctor; they are trained in helping you find solutions, even if they don’t always ask about your sex life. If you’re not in that boat, it might be time to explore your body more with your partner. And if masturbation is something you feel comfortable with it might be time to take matters into your own hands… or fingers… or vibrators.

sexual healthAdrienne Dahms