But the expectations surrounding female orgasm can be particularly distressing to women who don’t always experience it. In fact, many women don’t experience an orgasm during sex until their 20s or even 30s, and the number of women who say that they always or nearly always have one during sex is declining.

And when depictions of sex in the media are thrown into the mix, the gap between expectation and reality widens even further. How the female orgasm is depicted in pornography, for instance, does not tally up with reality, as mainstream pornography promotes and perpetuates many unrealistic expectations regarding women’s orgasm.

The female orgasm is indeed important to achieve for a woman, but there is undoubtedly an orgasm gap between men and women and it’s quite big: in the U.S., among a nationally representative sample, only 64 percent of women said they’d orgasmed at their most recent sexual encounter versus 91 percent of men, and many of these men are unaware entirely if their female partner orgasmed.

So, while it is true that female orgasm is absolutely important to reach, perhaps it’s not true that it should be the ultimate goal in a sexual encounter (and the number of women faking it speak for itself). So let’s try to understand the issue better.

The importance of pleasure-oriented sex to get female orgasm

female orgasm

We lack proper education

When it comes to sex, most of us haven’t had anything close to an adequate education. If anything, we were taught directly or indirectly to focus on a goal, namely, orgasm, and more pointedly, the male orgasm or ejaculation.

This “sex education” is not really an education because it’s an old, patriarchal paradigm that was created in a traditional, fear-based fashion. It focuses on sexually transmitted infections – what they are, how to avoid them, and so forth — and less on the pleasure of the sexual act itself, not to mention the female orgasm. And in a worrying way, porn has often become the new sex ed.

One false image portrayed in porn, and mainstream media, is that it is normal, indeed ideal, for women to orgasm from intercourse. This false belief is a main culprit in women not getting the stimulation they need to orgasm.

A patriarchal heritage

The female orgasm gives a sense of “achievement” to men according to a new study published in the Journal of Sex Research, and this would explain why instead of focusing on female liberation and pleasure, narratives around achieving female orgasm have made it all about male validation.

According to the study, men don’t feel the sense of satisfaction that comes from giving someone else pleasure — but the kind that comes from self-validation: the participants said that making a female partner orgasm enhanced their feeling of masculinity, according to the study’s authors, Sara B. Chadwick and Sari van Anders.

Moreover, it is very common to see sex as goal-oriented. Goal-oriented sex centers on male ejaculation with that being of primary importance. Of secondary importance is either avoiding or inducing procreation. Female orgasm is not the focus in goal-oriented sex, as it’s clear that it prioritizes the man’s orgasm in a hetero-focused or designed relationshi.

Because the male orgasm is crucial to procreate, our society has built this idea that the male orgasm is crucial for sex; that sex begins with a hard penis and ends with a flaccid penis. Because women don’t have to orgasm to create life, it took a different level of societal importance.

The importance of a pleasure-oriented approach

Some limited types of sex can lead to procreation, it’s true, but the majority of sex has nothing to do with procreation and is instead about desire as well as pleasure. This is where the hetero world can learn a great deal from the gays. In fact, the orgasm numbers for women skyrocket in same-sex partnerships compared to heterosexual relationships.

When you are with a same-sex partner, there is nothing to prove — it’s just about what feels good, and that is when naturally more orgasms and more pleasure occurs. Without having rigid, “finish-line-driven” sex goals that govern your sexual experiences, you’re able to be more exploratory.

Pleasure-oriented sex is a form of intercourse that emphasizes affection while staying far from the edge of orgasm. Climax is not the goal and ideally does not occur while making love.

Shifting to pleasure-oriented sex can also provide some symptom relief for people who have experienced hypoarousal, decreased desire, premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation, and anxiety. Typically, a traditional way of considering sexual anxiety is to frame it as “performance anxiety.” However, sex need not ever be a performance.

How to achieve the female orgasm

The keys to achieving female orgasm more often are indeed in the mind and in the relationship. Sexual self-esteem is indeed important, and it includes how sexually skillful and how good in bed women consider themselves. Other positive factors of orgasmic capacity are the ability to concentrate on the moment; mutual sexual initiations; and a partner’s good sexual techniques.