The Orgasm Myth That Won’t Die

I was out speaking recently at a medical school and somehow I forgot to give the statistic that I ALWAYS use when I speak. You know, that doozy where I tell people that only 30% of women orgasm from intercourse alone. I forgot to give the statistic, but I truly thought it was no big deal because nearly every woman’s magazine and talk show seems to mention it once a month.

But then, you know what? Two separate women from the talk emailed me privately to ask if there was something wrong with them because they don’t orgasm from intercourse. And these were medical school students!! And I realized that somehow, the “intercourse leads to orgasm” myth is still alive and well, despite my (and every sex therapist I know) best efforts.

Listen carefully now:

  • 30% women can orgasm from the stimulation of a penis alone.
  • 70-80% can orgasm from a hand or a mouth.
  • 92 -96% can orgasm using a vibrator.

There have been numerous studies on this. Time and again the statistics come out close to these numbers. What is striking is that there is always some concern that women will lie and say that they do have orgasms from intercourse, even if they don’t, because there is so much pressure to say that you do. In general, sex research is always complicated because it is expected that respondents lie in order to appear “normal”, or what they think of as normal. They lie to the questioner, they lie to themselves, and they even lie to the questionnaires. So, if anything, these numbers are inflated, and less than these percentages are correct.

So how is it that a myth that has been debunked so many times, keeps rearing its head? Is it the movies that keep portraying hot sex scenes which show intercourse with the man on top and the woman having an orgasm? Or is it just men who can’t accept that their penis is not the be all and end all of giving women pleasure? Is it that we still insist on seeing “intercourse” as the only way to have “real sex” and “real sex” should lead to orgasm, shouldn’t it? Or is it we, women, who want to keep the romantic pictures we had as young teenagers alive?

Whatever it is, it’s time to accept once and for all that intercourse is the least effective way to reach orgasm. That is not to say that there aren’t many reasons to have intercourse. And intercourse can be fun and pleasurable and emotionally fulfilling. But it just isn’t going to be a great way to have an orgasm. Ever.

If you find that you are having trouble achieving orgasm when using any stimulation, contact us for a free phone consultation to find out how we can help.