Orgasm has been shown to be a significant component of sexual satisfaction within a romantic relationship. Although most men routinely experience orgasms during partnered sex, they may be more elusive for women during sexual activity with a partner. In fact, representative studies from countries around the world show that approximately two-thirds of women report reaching orgasm in their last partnered sexual encounter, and the remaining one-third do not.
This statistic notwithstanding, some women are able to experience multiple orgasms during one sexual encounter, which is a less common occurrence in men. Research on factors related to partnered single orgasm/multiple orgasms among women in long-term relationships is somewhat limited. As such, the authors of a recent study leveraged a nationwide representative survey of German women in stable heterosexual relationships to explore the sexuality- and relationship-based factors related to experiencing orgasm during partnered sexual activity for this population.
The German Health and Sexuality Survey (GeSiD) was a voluntary questionnaire that was administered through laptop-assisted personal interviews in participants’ homes between 2018-2019. A total of 4,955 German residents were surveyed: 2,336 men and 2,619 women between the ages of 18-75.
For the purposes of the present study, the authors included only female participants who were in a heterosexual relationship at the time of the study and who had had sex with their partner in the previous 12 months. After excluding the respondents who did not meet these criteria, they were left with 1,641 participants.
In the GeSiD, orgasm experience was addressed through the question: “Did you orgasm the last time you had sex?” with the options of “no,” “yes, once,” and “yes, several times.” Those who did not respond to this question or who did not know were excluded from the analysis. Orgasm experience was then examined in relation to the following variables: demographic data, number of sexual practices, frequency of partnered sexual activities, frequency of masturbation, relationship satisfaction, feelings of love, perceived closeness to partner, and general sexual satisfaction.
The following is a summary of what the authors found regarding the women’s single and multiple orgasm experiences during partnered sex:
- All of the sexuality-related factors, including number of sexual practices, frequency of partnered sexual activities, and frequency of masturbation were positively associated with one another.
- Similarly, all of the relationship-related factors such as relationship satisfaction, feelings of love, and perceived closeness to partner were strongly positively correlated with one another.
- Greater frequency of partnered sexual activity was associated with higher scores across all relationship-based factors. On the other hand, higher frequency of masturbation was associated with lower relationship satisfaction and less perceived closeness.
- With regard to orgasm, frequency of sexual activity, relationship satisfaction, and feelings of love and closeness were positively associated with the likelihood of experiencing orgasm during the respondents’ last partnered sexual encounter.
- A higher number of sexual practices and greater frequency of partnered sexual activities were both associated with a greater likelihood of having multiple orgasms during one’s last sexual encounter with their partner. Perhaps unsurprisingly, experiencing multiple orgasms was associated with higher sexual satisfaction.
The results of this study suggest an association between relationship quality and frequency of sexual activity and the likelihood of experiencing orgasm or multiple orgasms during partnered sexual activity for women. Additionally, engaging in a number of different sexual activities (including oral sex and manual stimulation) correlated with higher frequency of experiencing multiple orgasms. The authors suggest that women who are having difficulties reaching orgasm during partnered sex may benefit from addressing any relationship issues they may be having, engaging in partnered sexual activities more frequently, and trying various sexual practices.
Cerwenka, S., Dekker, A., Pietras, L., & Briken, P. (2021). Single and Multiple Orgasm Experience Among Women in Heterosexual Partnerships. Results of the German Health and Sexuality Survey (GeSiD). The journal of sexual medicine, 18(12), 2028-2038. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2021.09.010