NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Sex Research: Heterosexual Women Often Find Hookups Less Sexually Satisfying Than Men

While sexual hookups can be fun and exciting, it's often a lot less sexually satisfying for heterosexual women than it is for men.

Sex Research: Women Often Find Hookups Less Satisfying

What Are Hookups?
Sex researchers have often found the definition of hookups to be elusive.

For instance, researchers at the University of Montana found so many different definitions of hookups among college students that the concept was unclear.  

They discovered the definition of hookups might be strategically unclear so that people aren't revealing too many details about their sexual encounters.

Sex Research: Women Often Find Hookups Less Satisfying

But based on their findings, the researchers came up with their own definition of hookups:  

Hookups are sexual encounters, which can involve vaginal, anal or oral sex where the two people are not in a serious or even a dating relationship. 

There are no spoken commitments and no expectations about the future--although, based on my clinical experience, this can be a problem if one or both people become emotionally attached, especially people with an anxious attachment style (see my article: How an Anxious Attachment Style Can Affect Your Sex Life - Part 1 and Part 2).

Hookups are spontaneous sexual encounters that are often fueled by alcohol. There is often no consent, no communication about sexual health and no communication about sexually transmitted infections (STIs).  

In addition, there is often no condom use during hookups, which puts both people at risk for STIs whether the sex was penetrative or oral sex (Yes! Both men and women can contract STIs from oral sex!). So, in terms of sexual health, this places both people at risk.

Sex Research Reveals That Hookups Are Unlikely to Be Satisfying For Women
According to sex research presented at the annual meeting of the International Academy of Sex Research, heterosexual women are much more likely to have an orgasm in a serious relationship with a man than during a hookup (although, in terms of orgasms, the data isn't great for heterosexual women in serious relationships, as discussed below).

Sex research performed by Kim Wallen, a professor of Endocrinology at Emory University, revealed that, despite sexual liberation, the sexual playing field isn't equal between heterosexual men and women, when it comes to sexual satisfaction during hookups.  

This research is backed up by sociologist Paula England of New York University: Women were less than half as likely to have an orgasm during intercourse or oral sex during a hookup as compared to men.  Specifically, her study revealed that only 40% of women had an orgasm during hookups.  

What is the "Orgasm Gap" Between Heterosexual Men and Women?
In general, even among heterosexual couples who are in a committed relationship, there is an orgasm discrepancy, also known as the orgasm gap or as orgasm inequality.

According to researchers from the Archives of Sexual Behavior, who assessed sex research involving 52,500 adults, 95% of heterosexual men said they had orgasms during sexual intercourse but only 65% of heterosexual women said they had orgasms.

According to Laurie Mintz of the University of Florida, who is a sex educator and a psychologist in private practice, the orgasm gap is a cultural problem--not a problem to be blamed on men or women.  

The orgasm gap has been attributed to lack of understanding, among both heterosexual men and women, about women's anatomy, including the importance of the clitoris in terms of women's sexual satisfaction.

Why Do Heterosexual Women Often Find Hookups Less Sexually Satisfying?
One reason why heterosexual women don't find hookups as satisfying as men is that women are less likely to express their sexual needs during these sexual encounters (see my article: Finding Your Sexual Voice).

In addition, according to Sean Massey, associate professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality at Binghampton University of New York, many men might be more focused on their own sexual satisfaction during hookups and less concerned about pleasing their female partner.

Can Hookups Be Safer and Sexually Satisfying For Heterosexual Women?
According to Debby Herbenick, sex educator at the Kinsey Institute, an institute that focuses on sex research, hookups can be more fun and sexually satisfying for women.  

Getting Help in Sex Therapy
Sex therapy is a form of talk therapy where there is no physical exam, nudity or sex during therapy sessions (see my article: What Are the Most Common Misconceptions About Sex Therapy?)

If you're having sexual problems as an individual or as part of a couple, you're not alone.

Many individual adults and couples seek help in sex therapy for a variety of issues (see my article: What Kind of Issues Are Discussed in Sex Therapy?).

If you're having a problem with sex, seek help from a licensed mental health professional who is a sex therapist so you can have a more fulfilling sex life.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

I am a sex positive therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.