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A Lesson from Gay Men

A Lesson from Gay Men 

This has got to change: straight women report fewer orgasms per sexual encounter than any other group — straight men, homosexual or bi men, and gay or bisexual women. This is according to a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior in 2017. Following the release of this provocative study, hundreds of articles appeared in the mainstream press to explain this so-called orgasm gap.

Some of the advice that floated around the internet in the wake of this study boiled down to the suggestion that in heterosexual relationships, a man should delay his orgasm until the woman has hers. “She comes first!” they declared. Let’s unpack that. There’s an overlooked implication in there that as soon as a man comes, sex is over.   

Granted, men have a much stronger refractory period than women do, and some men are very nearly incapacitated by oxytocin post-orgasm.

We’ve all seen the scenes in movies where the men roll over and immediately go to sleep after orgasming, the woman staring at the ceiling.  Usually she meets her true love in the next scene, right?  But I have to ask, if this is just what women have to put up with from men because of the way they are wired (so you better get yours first), what do gay men do?

You’ve got 2 men having sex and one has an orgasm and falls dead asleep… the other does what?

Take a closer look at the orgasm gap from the study. It details how often people have an orgasm in a typical sexual encounter, according to survey questions: heterosexual men, 95%, gay men, 89%; bisexual men 88%; lesbian women, 86%; and  bisexual women, 66% and heterosexual women at the bottom at 65%.

Notice that homosexual men are having fewer orgasms when they are having sex with men (89%), than heterosexual men are having with women (95%). Why would that be?  

I wonder if there is a difference in the way homosexual men treat the refractory period. Presumably gay men also confront the issue of desiring an orgasm after their partner has reached climax and fallen asleep.

I conducted an informal survey among homosexual men on Reddit and GayForum and got a few very interesting responses. Here is a representative comment:  “The refractory period is definitely a real thing and the impact is stronger in some men than others. I’m definitely a roll over and fall asleep immediately type. I’d say it’s extremely common for gay men to be responsible for their own orgasms. It’s really common for one person to come and then the other either not come or finish themselves off. In a relationship, it’s pretty common to sort of trade off who that is.”

It may be that in sex between homosexual men it is common for one partner to masturbate themselves to orgasm after the other has reached climax, or tacitly agreed to forego orgasm this time, knowing it will be their turn next time.

Another man stated: “Usually I can go more than once, but my husband goes down hard after finishing. So we usually deal with me first, then him, and if I’m still up for it, I can go again with minimal help from him.” 

Consider that “go again with minimal help from him” — it sounds like the writer is masturbating and his partner is aiding with some form of auxiliary stimulation. This sounds like excellent advice to give to a woman who is unsatisfied after intercourse with a man who is then unable to continue stimulation: give yourself an orgasm while the man watches or assists.  

Or after the woman orgasms, if she feels like snuggling down and enjoying the afterglow, maybe she should could tell the guy, catch you next time, bro.                      

Sooo many articles focus on encouraging women to be more communicative to a partner about how he can “give” her an orgasm (that’s the vernacular — ugh!), and encouraging men to do more of the activities that lead to orgasms for women (which is great advice).

How about let’s encourage women be more like homosexual men —  take responsibility for our own pleasure, and stimulate ourselves to orgasm if a man has orgasmed and is relatively incapacitated or newly uninterested.  

Perhaps in the process, men would learn what satisfies women through observation, become more accepting of sexually-empowered women, realize the benefits of taking turns, and potentially even become more highly-motivated to assist.  Let’s bring our own numbers up, ladies, and close that orgasm gap!

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Going with a Gay Flow

Going with a Gay Flow

Homosexual people have a lot to teach heterosexual culture about sexual flow. Take for instance, “foreplay.” I have a real pet peeve about this word. What exactly is it before

Calling an activity FOREplay implies that intercourse is a necessary component of sex, and that anything that happens before it is just the warm-up band for the headline act.

Penis and vagina intercourse is over-valued in heterosexual culture, even though only 20% of women reliably climax that way.

Take a look at this graph where kissing (green) leads to foreplay (yellow) leads to oral (purple) leads to sex (blue). What exactly are those activities labeled “foreplay”? Could they maybe also happen after that activity labeled “sex”?  

Heterosexuals use the words “sex” and “intercourse” often synonymously. In the Graphic Sex Project collection, I’ll see a graphs that include a whole smorgasbord of sexual activity, and then one cube labeled just “sex.” Or maybe “actual sex.” I want to break it to those people – all that other stuff is sex. And the order of them isn’t set in stone. 

Sixty percent of college students surveyed do not feel sex has happened if it doesn’t include intercourse. 

Where do they get this idea? Movies for one – straight sex in movies is practically all intercourse (and when the guy comes, it’s over). Two, the emphasis on “virginity.” The perennial question “have you had sex yet?” Never mind that you’ve been doing oral and manual and orgasming together, and being naked together and everything else, but in the minds of many you haven’t had sex yet unless a penis has entered a vagina. Some misguided young people think they are still a virgin if they’ve only done anal sex.

Queer Culture and Sexual Flow

Queer culture has a much broader conception of sex, encompassing all sexual activity, not just intercourse, of course. From the graphs I’ve collected in the Graphic Sex Project, I’m starting to see some interesting trends in the words people use. Very few LGBTQA people use the word foreplay compared to straight people, who use it a lot.

Mutual manual stimulation may be classified as “just making out,” among heterosexuals, whereas mutual manual stimulation is the most common activity among homosexuals and is certainly defined by the participants as sex. As one homosexual man stated in the informal survey I did on Reddit, “It actually helps quite a lot there isn’t as rigid a structure in mind and the end goal isn’t necessarily mutual orgasm.”  I love that. Hetero people take note.

Why does it matter?

Because when you prioritize PIVI in your language, it becomes prioritized in your head. And PIVI is the activity most likely to lead to orgasm for men, and the least likely to lead to orgasm for women. And that, my friends, is a good way to end up with an orgasm gap. 

When your concept of the sexual story arc is do some foreplay leading up to the big moment when intercourse happens, culminating in the man’s climax, the implication is, ok, now sex is over. Take a look at the graph at the top of this post and see if you think that’s what’s going on there.

In 700 graphs in the Graphic Sex Project I’ve only seen the word “afterplay” once. The man’s march to orgasm has framed the sexual experience.

If you drop the word foreplay, then it opens up the possibility that some of that stuff could happen AFTER intercourse. Or hey, maybe intercourse doesn’t have to happen this time at all. Maybe we could just play with each other junk back and forth for hours! 

It’s not all just about getting the penis into the vagina, straight people!