The Orgasm Gap in Porn is Bigger Than We Realized

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Porn has been criticized for a lot of reasons, but one of the most common complaints lodged against it is that it isn’t realistic, especially in the way it depicts women’s sexuality. For example, some have described it as “a fantasy world in which women…always experience orgasm.” While there’s a lot of truth to the general idea that porn doesn’t provide an accurate depiction of sex, you may be surprised to learn that this specific critique does not appear to be valid. In fact, research suggests that, rather than the female orgasm being ubiquitous in online porn, it’s actually pretty uncommon.

In my latest article over at TONIC, I describe the results of a new study published in the Journal of Sex Research that exposes that orgasm gap in the world of internet porn. The short version is that a team of scientists coded the 50 most popular video clips of all time on Pornhub for orgasmic content. What they found was whereas nearly 4 out of 5 men shown in these videos reached orgasm, less than 1 in 5 women did.

An orgasm gap was far from the only thing they discovered, though. This study also revealed that female orgasms tend to be depicted in a way that’s very different from male orgasms—a way that might give viewers the mistaken impression that female orgasms are always very loud and very obvious. Moreover, the sex acts observed prior to women’s orgasms in porn aren’t necessarily the same sex acts that lead most women in the real world to orgasm.

So, while the results of this study refute the common critique that women “always” orgasm in porn, they simultaneously argue for a different kind of critique: the manner in which women are shown having orgasms in porn doesn’t match up with reality.  

For complete details on the study and its implications, check out the full article over at TONIC.

Want to learn more about Sex and Psychology ? Click here for previous articles or follow the blog on Facebook (facebook.com/psychologyofsex), Twitter (@JustinLehmiller), or Reddit (reddit.com/r/psychologyofsex) to receive updates. 

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