The Depressing Truth About Women's Orgasms In Porn

Photographed by Lula Hyers.
We've had plenty of discussions about the orgasm gap, but new research shows that the gap might be even bigger in the world of online porn than it is for the rest of us. What's worse? The lack of orgasm equality in porn might even be impacting our IRL orgasm equality.
According to a new study published in the Journal of Sex Research, the most popular porn videos show very few instances of women orgasming compared to showing men orgasming. In fact, researchers found that only 18.3% of women, compared to 78.0% of men, were shown reaching orgasm.
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For the study, scientists looked at the top 50 most-viewed videos on Pornhub, and looked at male and female orgasms in each video, as well as indicators of orgasms that took place (such as heavy breathing and moaning). For specificity's sake, they also noted which sex acts in the videos led to orgasms.
Each of the videos analyzed showed at least one man and one woman, but out of the 60 women showed in all the videos, only 18% were shown having an orgasm, while 78% of the 50 men in the videos were shown having an orgasm.
Though the researchers also found that 13% of women had "ambiguous" orgasms — it wasn't clear whether or not they had climaxed — there was still a massive orgasm gap even if you factor this group in.
Of the women who were shown orgasming, 45% did so through vaginal intercourse, and 35% did so through anal intercourse.
According to researchers, these findings could contribute to the idea that male orgasms should be a priority over women's.
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"Representations of male and female orgasm in mainstream pornography may serve to perpetuate unrealistic beliefs and expectations in relation to female orgasm and male sexual performance," the authors wrote.
Plus, the findings perpetuate the idea that orgasms primarily happen through vaginal or anal penetration, when we know that there are plenty of ways for women to achieve orgasm.
While 50 videos from one website is a relatively small sample to study, Pornhub is one of the biggest online porn websites, and its most popular videos are pretty indicative of what many of us are watching. Still, it's surely not characteristic of all porn.
That being said, the study still highlights the very real orgasm gap that still occurs — and points to what might be contributing to it. We're not saying that porn is the reason for the orgasm gap, but it's true what they say: representation matters.
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