If you've ever had sex with a dude, then seen him orgasm, roll over, and be completely uninterested in getting physical for the next 30 minutes while you lie there wondering how long until you can take your vibrator to the bathroom, you know that intercourse is different for men and women.
No, your gender identity doesn't dictate what your experience of sex is like, but how you're socialized definitely plays a role. And while every individual is different—and men and women are more similar than our grandmothers' dating tips make it seem—there are some key differences about how men and women get it on (even as we recognize that not every man has a penis nor every woman a vagina).
1. Women are better at the multiple-orgasm thing, but it's not impossible for men.
As sex therapist Barbara Keesling, PhD, previously told Cosmopolitan.com, if you're a woman and "you can have one orgasm, you can have multiple orgasms." Score. While men, on the other hand, usually need to wait out a refractory period before round two, a rare few men are able to experience multiple orgasms in which they ejaculate. And although not everyone agrees that a male orgasm without ejaculation is a "true" orgasm, techniques for achieving multiple non-ejaculatory orgasms abound, for example in tantric sex practices. Overall, there's very little research on multiple male orgasms, which is surprising considering that the global boner pill market is worth a cool $5 billion. I guess "enough" is as good as a feast.
2. Guys fake orgasms too—they just do it less often than women.
A 2010 study of 180 male and 101 female college students showed that of students who had had vaginal intercourse, 28 percent of the men and 67 percent of the women had faked it before. And a recent study published in Sexual and Relationship Therapy shows that the most common reason men faked orgasms was to boost their partners' egos. Women are more likely to fake orgasms to end bad sex. Sigh.
3. Oral sex seriously narrows the orgasm gap.
As Carol Queen, staff sexologist and researcher at sex toy shop Good Vibrations, previously told Cosmopolitan.com, 70 percent of women rarely or never have orgasms through vaginal intercourse. Compare that with the 74 percent of men who climax every time. Depressing, right? The picture changes, though, when we expand the kinds of sex we're looking at. In a 2009 study of 1,931 U.S. adults, 90 percent of men reported climaxing in their most recent sexual encounters, while just 64 percent of women did—but that figure jumps to 81 percent of women if those encounters included oral sex (92 percent of the men and 98 percent of the women in this study said that their last hookups were with people of the opposite sex). And while research suggests that women of all sexualities are having fewer orgasms than men in general, women who have sex with women have significantly more orgasms than women who have sex with men, possibly because they're spending more time on the acts that are more likely to get them off in the first place.
4. Women take longer than men to orgasm during vaginal intercourse.
However, it takes women about the same amount of time to orgasm through masturbation as it takes men to orgasm through intercourse. Funny how that works. There's no hard-and-fast rule for how many minutes of vaginal intercourse it takes a woman to come, but 20 is a commonly cited average number. Men can generally come within five minutes of starting the act, which, according to research by none other than Alfred Charles Kinsey, is about the same amount of time women need to come when they're touching themselves. (Again, there's no "normal" here—if it takes you more or less time, you do you.)
5. Women can be turned on by sexual scenarios with people of all genders (but that doesn't mean their orientation isn't whatever they say it is).
Studies have shown that straight and gay women have similar physical responses to films of female-female, female-male, and male-male sex, regardless of the gender they sleep with. Men's arousal, meanwhile, is closely aligned with their stated preferences. A 2015 study from the University of Essex reiterated that straight women in particular get turned on by videos of both attractive men and attractive women, while straight men and gay women are more likely to be aroused only by the gender to which they say they're attracted. (This study was breathlessly reported on as evidence that women are "never straight," but orientation is about so much more than how wet you are.) It appears that it's not the gender of the people but the sensuality of the scenario women are viewing that determines whether they'll be aroused: Research suggests that viewing naked men in neutral poses, for example, isn't enough to turn most straight women on.
(This in no way detracts from my love of "hot guys with/doing things" Instagram accounts. There is no wrong time to enjoy a shirtless man hanging out with a kitten.)
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.