Orgasm Gap, Explained – Why Men Can’t Feel a Woman’s Orgasm

On today’s edition of “Men Like to Think They Know Everything,” we’ll be launching an investigation as to whether or not a man can actually feel when a woman is having an orgasm, as some claim to experience.

For starters, I’m not talking about whether a guy can feel his partner’s leg’s shake or the aftermath of an orgasmic body convulsion. I’m talking about if a man can physically, anatomically, physiologically, feel a woman’s orgasm, on his penis, while it’s inside of her vagina.

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This was first brought up to me when a friend told me he possesses this super power (my words, not his). He explained that it doesn’t happen every time or even with every woman, but when it does, he can absolutely feel a woman’s orgasm with his penis.

Other men have claimed to have similar experiences:

  • “Yes, I have felt a woman orgasm. It varies from woman to woman, as it’s mainly to do with how strong their pelvic muscles are. It feels like a tightening and relaxing around your penis, like a pulsing action.” —Brett, 39
  • “Yes, when I’ve felt it, it’s a combination of feeling things suddenly contract or convulse inside, plus a change in the wetness.” —Zach*, 29
  • “For me, it feels like an intense tightening of the muscles throughout her body.” —Hayden, 25.

    Weird flex, right? But sorry to say, I call major, major bullshit.

    Here’s what experts have to say:

    “There’s no definite way for a woman’s partner to know if they have had an orgasm. Not all women experience orgasms in the same way—and every orgasm may look, feel, and sound different for the same person,” says Janielle Bryan, a public health practitioner, sex educator, and professor whose work focuses on community health and health equity.

    The tightening feeling men describe is most likely due to a woman’s contractions of the pelvic floor muscles and vagina, says naturopathic doctor and sexologist Jordin Wiggins, MD. “The rhythmic contractions of the pelvic floor (or the pubococcygeus PC muscles), help women experience orgasm, but many women can orgasm without the contractions—and once again, these contractions are not a guaranteed sensation,” she adds.

    In other words, it’s totally normal for men to feel something down there, but it doesn’t automatically = an orgasm. (And before you ask, wearing or not wearing a condom makes no difference, confirms Dr. Wiggins).

    “It’s totally normal for men to feel something down there, but it doesn’t automatically = an orgasm.”

    That said, ob-gyn Kim Langdon, MD, says whether a man can feel a woman’s orgasm depends entirely on the penis itself—specifically, its size and how sensitive the nerve endings are. “The bigger, more girth-y penises have a better chance of filling the vagina, and thus, may detect changes. Penises can sense pubococcygeus muscles at the time of orgasm, and it’s likely more lubrication that he can feel,” she says.

    But, again, since orgasms come in all shapes and sizes, there’s no for sure way to confirm that what a penis is or isn’t feeling is actually an orgasm.

    Let’s take a look at how this belief actually contributes to the orgasm gap.

    It’s very likely men may be mistaking a slight vaginal contraction or kegel pulse as their partner’s orgasm. This is bad bad for multiple reasons, but mainly because it increases the orgasm gap.

    According to a study cited by Dr. Wiggins, when asked post-sex, 85 percent of men believed their partner had an orgasm. And yet, only 64 percent of women confirmed that they did. Obviously a lot of factors could’ve played into why a man perceived his partner to have an orgasm in this study, but the one thing that I’m pretty damn certain of: Men like to think they’re better than they are.

    Men convincing themselves a vaginal pulse they barely felt with their pecker is an orgasm means that’s one less thing they actually do to ensure their partner’s pleasure. And unfortunately, almost exclusively in heterosexual relationships, it’s a lot easier to pretend like your partner had an orgasm than to actually check-in with them and make sure they did.

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    Because while vaginal contractions are certainly a sign someone could be reaching or near an orgasm, only 29 percent of women say they consistently orgasm from penetrative sex alone, says Dr. Wiggins.

    Knowing that, unless these boys are using a vibrator on the clitoris in addition to the penetration, I’m sad to report that these men are most likely not feeling a woman’s vaginal orgasm. What they are feeling: a make-believe stroke to their ego.

    So, instead, let’s focus on communicating instead of guessing when women have an orgasm.

    I’m really trying not to make this an “I hate men” article because *in Cher voice* I love men. I think men are super cool! And I’m fully aware some guys are equally as into achieving their partner’s pleasure as their own.

    But maybe, just maybe, instead of assuming that what you felt from your partner is an orgasm, we could just use our communication skills instead? And ask them?

    Take the advice from an expert: “If you’re wondering about the quality of a woman’s climax: ask her how she felt. Don’t attempt to make a judgment based on her spasms. Only she can express her orgasms,” says Mia Sabat, sex therapist at Emjoy.

    When asked what makes a man think they can feel a woman’s orgasm, Dr. Langdon responded: “Men are just naturally brilliant, know-it-alls who think and feel the best with their penis.” And as much as I want men to care about orgasms, acting like the Einstein of the female climax is just so not the move.

    I don’t pretend to know everything about a penis and/or the sensations that come from a male orgasm, so I’d appreciate it if men stopped mansplaining mine.

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One thought on “Orgasm Gap, Explained – Why Men Can’t Feel a Woman’s Orgasm

  • September 12, 2020 at 9:14 am
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    Reply

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