Women: Climax Less Likely in Relationship Sex

Researchers at Indiana University recently released the most comprehensive sex survey since 1994. They made some surprising discoveries. Among them: men are more likely to enjoy sex and reach orgasm if they are in a relationship than if they are not. But women have more difficulty with arousal and bodily response when they are in a relationship.

This goes completely against stereotype. It also goes against what women and men report about their preferences.

What’s going on?

Today let’s explore women. We’ll look at men in an upcoming post. 

When I’ve asked who likes sex better, males or females, I repeatedly get the same response from women. It begins with “Women enjoy sex as much as men, but…”

          Some of us prefer to be with someone we love and who loves us back rather
          than some crazy one night romp with a random person.

          Women place more emphasis on the emotional aspects of sex.

          Women like sex more when it has depth and meaning. It is much more intense
          and romancing to women when they are in a relationship.

Researchers at University of Texas, Austin concluded that for women, sexuality is more linked to love, emotional bonding and connection. 

Yet recent data suggest something different.

Indiana University researchers asked women and men about the last time they had sex: Were you with a relationship partner or not? What activities did you engage in? Did you have an orgasm? How much did you enjoy the sexual experience?  

Finding: Women were less likely to climax when they were in relationships.

What’s going on? Here are some possibilities.

Women who really love sexuality may be more likely to have sex with different partners, affecting the average.

What about more typical women? Women need to feel sexy and desired to get aroused. They want to feel chosen. With a new partner, a woman will feel she’s been chosen because she’s so attractive. But in committed relationships it can seem that her partner is simply trapped into having sex with her. Not a big turn-on.

Men also seem to experience a slight drop in interest over time with long-term partners, and women may sense that, leading to an even bigger drop in their own libido.

Why a bigger drop for women? Marta Meana, a psychology professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, says women have a lower sex drive (influenced by a culture that represses women’s sexuality) and need a bigger jolt to turn on libido. “If I don’t love cake as much as you,” she told a New York Times reporter, “my cake better be kick-butt to get me excited to eat it.” Something for men to think about.

At the same time relationship is helpful because women (and men alike) need to feel relaxed in order to climax. The Indiana University data isn’t clear on whether the more-aroused women were having sex with men whom they saw as potential committed partners – the beginning of relationship. In that case they might have felt an excitement at feeling chosen, but also safe enough to create the necessary comfort to climax.

But sex isn’t just about orgasm. The emotional component of feeling loved and connected creates a rich, multidimensional experience which may be what so many refer to when they say they want more than a quick roll in the hay.

Meanwhile, some advice for men: let your lady know she’s desired and chosen.

Georgia Platts

Popular Posts on BroadBlogs
Surprises in Indiana University Sex Survey
Why Don’t Women Like Sex As Much As Men?
DO Women Like Sex Less Than Men?
Sex Lessons from Mom and Dad

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych, women's psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State University. And I have blogged for Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos.

Posted on December 13, 2010, in gender, men, psychology, relationships, sex, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Interesting read.
    Something else to consider is that perhaps in a relationship, both counterparts become complacent. The man has the woman – he doesn’t have to try as hard.
    Year 1 maybe he’s doing everything he can to get his woman to climax every time they have sex – fast forward 3-5-10 years and maybe he’s become lazy and she’s given up trying.

    Something for all of us to try to avoid at all cost! Sex should always be amazing – whoever you choose to be your partner.

  2. This is interesting- the other post said men are more likely to climax when in a relationship. It’s funny how it works because we are always hearing about how men are sometimes scared off by commitment, and how their sex drive is much higher and usually desire multiple sex partners, whereas women tend to want sex on a more emotional level. I would think that it would be the other way around in this case.

    Men feel more comfortable when having sex with a significant other because there is no pressure to be impressive or anything of that sort (in some ways). In other words, if they’re having sex with women they barely know, they will be trying to hard to live up to expectations that they will stress out in the process and maybe not perform as well. Women on the other hand, because they are so sexually repressed, might see this as an opportunity to “let go” and feel less pressure because they are not in an emotional relationship and are aware that the sex is mutually for fun. There is also no worry because the guy they have sex with is probably not too much of a potential interest (atleast not emotionally) and they don’t have to really impress the guy.

  3. This is actually very interesting. Perhaps it has to do with something not often considered which is that semen is actually a precious fluid not to be wasted. In a relationship with the intention to make a child, it is more likely to lead to ejaculation whereas if it is not a relationship, why ejaculate? Granted many people do not know they can choose not to ejaculate.

    Maybe in relationships men are putting in less effort and thus women are not getting an orgasm. When it’s the first time, men might put in more effort to impress and are more excited by the woman.

  1. Pingback: rabitvibrator.com − Vibrators and Women’s Sexuality: Out of the Closet? − rabitvibrator.com

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