'The Bachelor' Highlighted a Women's Sexual Health Issue

February 28th 2017

ABC’s "The Bachelor" is known for showcasing sexy romances on the small screen, but last night’s episode was a step in a different direction.

Finalist Raven Gates revealed some personal information that highlights a much bigger problem for straight women in America: she has never had an orgasm.

“I’ve only been with one person,” Gates told prospective TV boyfriend Nick Viall. “My last boyfriend...My ex, I was intimate with, never made me orgasm.”

While the scene inspired virginal record scratching, her situation isn’t entirely unique: heterosexual women are the least likely to have an orgasm out of all people.

According to a recent study on the differences of orgasm by gender and sexuality, heterosexual women came in last place of all people in terms of successfully achieving orgasm. Heterosexual men were the most successful, almost always achieving orgasm, followed by gay men, bisexual men, lesbian women, bisexual women, and—finally—heterosexual women.

To illustrate how stark the difference is, 95% of heterosexual men were successful in achieving orgasm while intimate compared with 65% of heterosexual women.

This phenomena of varying pleasure is oftentimes referred to as the “orgasm gap” and corroborates a similar study conducted by Indiana University's Center For Sexual Health Promotion in 2010.

"There are actually multiple orgasm gaps," lead author of the recent study, Dr. David Frederick, shared with the Chicago Tribune. "The gap between all men and all women—meaning all groups of men orgasm more frequently than all groups of women—the gap between lesbian women and heterosexual women, and the gap between lesbian women and all men."

For those seeking to fix this problem, Dr. Frederick believes that “receiving oral sex is by far the strongest predictor of how frequently women orgasm” followed by the duration of sexual activity.

Dr. Carol Queen, sexologist at Good Vibrations and author of The Sex & Pleasure Book, sees this problem stemming from a mis-education about female anatomy.

“Heterosexual women and their male partners all got terrible sex education, for the most part,” Dr. Queen told ATTN: by email. “There is a high degree of belief that what’s most pleasurable for the man is equally/most pleasurable for the woman — and that boils down to intercourse, the very definition of what sex ‘is.’”

“Problem is, those acts—manual, oral, vibrator stimulation of the clitoris—are what cause most women to orgasm—not vaginal penetration," Dr. Queen said. 

The reality, as Dr. Queen points out, is that nearly 80 percent of women have difficulty achieving an orgasm from vaginal penetration alone. This issue is much more nuanced than it seems.

Looking toward a solution, Dr. Queen feels that we are too preoccupied with orgasms defining successful, good sex. Moreover, a lack of orgasm can have devastating effects on a person’s mind.

“Orgasm is not the only reason to have sex, and a person can enjoy sex without orgasm,” Dr. Queen explained. “But lack of orgasm can be disheartening and frustrating, especially if your partner is enjoying him/herself every time, and many women tend to feel there is something wrong with them, not the sex they’re having."

She continued: “It can affect self-esteem to a degree. Some women find the frustration turns to anger or resentment — not great in a relationship. It can make sex physically frustrating, too, especially if she gets close but doesn’t come.”

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