You’ve probably heard of the wage gap. But have you ever heard of the pleasure gap?
We all know that both men and women suffer from harmful stereotypes when it comes to their bodies and sexuality. There’s a perception that men have a higher sex drive than women, so that women’s pleasure takes a backseat to a man’s biological ‘need’. Some people think and behave as though women’s bodies are designed solely for sexual pleasure, and many women feel embarrassed of their bodies and needs to the point that they avoid dealing with them. A lot of mainstream porn tends to reinforce these stereotypes, showing women howling with pleasure from penis-in-vagina stimulation alone. (That doesn't mean all porn is bad: we've got a great list of films where everyone is actually enjoying themselves, if you're in the market!)
Real talk: Women can like and need sex just as much—and sometimes even more!—than men, and they shouldn’t have to rely solely on old fashioned ideas of heterosexual intercourse, to provide it. The large majority of women need (!) clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm, but are either embarrassed or don't know how to make that happen in partnered sex. Everyone is different and that’s a good thing! What’s wrong is the idea that your biological gender, or your gender identity, should determine your access to pleasure. Quite frankly, this tends to privilege straight cis men over women, queer, trans and non-binary individuals, and we believe that sexual pleasure is a right that everyone deserves.
If you consider orgasms to be an indicator of sexual pleasure, then it’s one of the widest chasms in the pleasure gap. While 95% of men polled by Psychology Today said they regularly orgasm with their partner, less than 61% of women did, though that number jumps to 75% for lesbian couples. And when that encounter was a first-time hookup? Yeah, less than 5%. Five percent! While women don’t always prioritize orgasms as the ultimate goal of sex (especially with a Tinder hookup), those are still some pretty crappy numbers.
When it comes to masturbation, FiveThirtyEight found that while over 90% of men have masturbated by the time they’re 20, only about 75% of women could say the same, despite the fact that the majority of sex toys are marketed to women. Unfortunately, there are still social barriers in place that prevent many women from accessing information and safe, healthy experience, leading to feelings of shame and embarrassment about their sexuality, even in private. The fact that sex toys are considered 'adult products', stigmatizes them and makes them inaccessible to younger women exploring their sexuality.
One way we at Nox hope to close the pleasure gap is by encouraging all people to communicate with themselves and their partners, and the use of toys, information, aphrodisiacs and erotica to get in the mood. We want to help you open your mind to all the awesome ways you can experience your sexuality. There's definitely no shame in using tools as a means to an end, if that's what you're after! Giving and receiving pleasure are both important, and while you should try to ensure that your partner is comfortable and enjoying themselves, you need to enjoy your sex life, too. Don’t be afraid to prioritize your own orgasm, even if that means asking for specific things, or taking more time, or bringing a toy into the mix. Any good partner, casual or otherwise, will meet you halfway!
Our friends at Dame Products designed the Eva II with just that in mind—they wanted to create a toy for couples that improved a female partner’s experience. That said, this toy can be used by anybody, whether solo or in coupled sex with a penis or a strap-on. The large-walnut-sized Eva is worn hands-free over the clitoris, by tucking the flexible arms inside the outer labia for a comfortable fit during penetrative sex, or some dildo play. For a lot of vulva owners, this toy is complete game changer. Allowing them to experience orgasmic pleasure in new positions rather than their one 'tried and true go-to'.
If the Eva II isn't right for your body, explore our piece on Positions for Partnered Sex with Toys to get an idea of what might be best for you.
Speak up in defence of your own pleasure—trust us, both your body and your mind will thank you!