In a fairly robust survey of 24,000 students over five years, done by Paula England at New York University, results showed that 74 percent of women had an orgasm the last time they had sex in a committed relationship, versus only 40 percent during their last casual ‘hook up’. In contrast, 80 percent of men had an orgasm in their last casual hook up.
This study spawned a wide number of recent media articles. You can read one of them, from the Globe and Mail, here.
Some of the ‘speculations’ from this study were:
- Women are not free in a casual context to say what they need.
- Guys care more in a relationship.
- Practice with a partner yields better success.
- Women’s path to orgasm is widely varied, not just derived from intercourse.
- Women are still stigmatized for wanting casual sex.
- We’ve been sold a bill of goods that the sexes can participate equally in hook up culture.
- Maybe women are just as satisfied from the hook up, despite no orgasm.
- Women may feel the quality of the sex is “weirdly irrelevant”.
- Women are more focused on giving pleasure, than receiving.
While there is likely truth in all the statements above, the study, and the tenor of the interpretations, left me feeling uncomfortable. It seems to ramp up a debate that shouldn’t be a debate.
In a world where a huge percentage of young people are conditioned by the narrow spectrum sex of porn, there is a lot of distracting debate about the wants of men and women.
One of the women quoted in the Globe and Mail article, Vanessa Martini, says this: “You have to balance a lot of things in your brain, like what’s more important to me – just getting off, or do I actually want to have a connection with this person?”
Most porn is about just getting off. And if we believe what the endless videos portray, there is a lot of pleasurable ‘just getting off’ happening. I think, however, that Martini’s inner debate about connection is significant.
Women intuit far more easily than men about connection. Just look at the bonobos, or the characteristics of matriarchal societies. There is no more intimate connection between a man and a woman than the physical union of penis in vagina, with the divine, generative power of sexual energy flowing between the partners, whether they acknowledge the divinity of it or not. There IS connection. Period.
Women get this, much easier than men, on a deep level. And when this connection is not acknowledged, there is dissonance. So for both women and men, it is not a question of do I want the connection or not, it is do I want to ignore the connection or not.
Women want to have sex at least as much as men. Perhaps more overall, since their sexual engines can keep going... and going... once at full throttle. But here, for me, is the important point. Women, whether they are having casual, hook up sex or not, want loving, honoring sex. They want to embrace the connection, even if it is only in passing, whether they will see their sexual partner again, or not.
Loving sexual energy is in all of us, male and female. Men, despite the cultural influences that bury their honoring desire even deeper than women, intrinsically want to express their sexuality in a full spectrum, loving way as well. Making a connection with another human being is not something we need to be afraid of. It is natural. It is divine. And we can embrace it.