The experience of sexual pleasure is complex. Gender is complex.
So, the answer to the question of who feels more pleasure, males or females, is – you guessed it — complex.
We’re taking a deep dive into the murky, exciting world of how sexual pleasure might work for different sexes.
But first, let’s clarify what we mean by “different sexes.”
Taking our cue from the Yale School of Medicine’s working definitions, sex refers to the physical attributes you are born with – we’re talking strict biology baby.
These include your chromosomes and reproductive organs.
In most cases, sex means male or female, but there are variations, like being intersex.
Gender refers to the socially constructed roles that are expected of us in society.
Gender identity is how one feels on the inside, as well as how you choose to express that feeling on the outside.
For now, we’ll talk about biological sex, understanding that there’s a lot more that goes into sexual pleasure than what kind of genitals you have.
Your sex and gender may not be aligned, and we all have unique experiences of our sexual selves.
In this article: 📝
- What does sex feel like for women?
- What does sex feel like for men?
- Ejaculation vs orgasm: is there a difference?
- Does sex feel better for men or women?
- Who feels more pleasure: male or female?
What does sex feel like for women?
If you’re looking for easy answers here, they don’t exist.
We’re dealing with a topic that encompasses a wide spectrum.
You’d be forgiven for thinking sex refers only to the penis-in-vagina tryst.
But really, sex is anything that feels sexually gratifying for both consenting adults, whether it’s hand or oral sex, anal intercourse, or using sex toys.
Really, sex is the height of intimate bodily exploration and that can look different from one couple to the next.
To better enlighten you, let’s take the most common body parts people associate with female physical pleasure one at a time:
If you immediately think of the clitoris when considering female sexual pleasure, there’s good reason.
It’s a powerhouse that has thousands of nerve endings.
(Sadly, it doesn’t get nearly enough press for all the magic it has to offer.)
When you are aroused, blood flows to the clitoris tissue under the skin of your labia.
(Yep, clitoral erections happen.)
And then, when you reach climax, there’s a release of this pressure.
For some, this is accompanied by a release of fluid, often called squirting, similar to male ejaculation.
As with the neighboring clitoris, the vagina experiences a rush of blood flow to the general region when you are aroused.
Your vagina then kicks into action by making a natural lubricant.
And as this study explains, technique and position both matter — and are unique to individuals.
Some women enjoy a “rocking” feeling, for example, while others like to be penetrated from specific angles.
While sex is often defined as penetration that leads to vaginal orgasm, this is simply not the case for a great deal of women.
A 2017 study showed that as many as 37% of women need some sort of clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm.
Only 18% said that vaginal stimulation was enough.
Even more telling, a further 36% agreed that even if clitoral stimulation was not needed, orgasms felt better.
We’re guessing this may not be the most shocking revelation to some of you…
Now for some breaking news: nipple orgasms are a thing.
And whether your nipples bring you to climax may not even be the point.
You might want to invite them to the party anyway.
According to this study, nipples may light up the brain in the same way genitals do.
When it comes to the topic of orgasm for women, there’s no one-size-fits-all experience.
While we know that orgasms have physiological and psychological effects and are generally a whole-body experience, it certainly varies between individuals.
So unique is every adventure that women have linked orgasm to everything from crying, to panic attacks, to laughter, to foot pain.
And because of the potential for women to have multiple orgasms — studies report that anywhere from 14% to 43% of women do — sex can be far less of a linear journey.
We’re not just traveling from arousal to orgasm, but perhaps round and round the circle.
Hence why you should never skimp on the foreplay
So how does all this differ from how men experience sexual pleasure?
Let’s take a look.
What does sex feel like for men?
Let’s start with the basics of males’ physical, sexual response.
When aroused, the blood vessels in the penis dilate.
Blood flows in and gets “trapped,” and that pressure creates an erection.
Stimulation is next, and this can come in many forms.
The friction created from touch or penetration leads to a build-up of sexual tension, which climaxes in ejaculation.
You might have noticed that the male sexual response is mostly centered around one organ – the penis – while the female sexual response seems to involve a few more parts.
This can sometimes make it easier for men to experience sexual pleasure because it’s simpler to have one spot to focus your energies.
Also, the penis is very easy to find, unlike the clitoris.
But, as with women, all men have differences in what they find pleasurable.
So while we know that nipple stimulation is important for women, 52% of young men in this study also reported feeling aroused by it.
Ejaculation vs orgasm: is there a difference?
It’s worth mentioning that ejaculation and orgasms are considered distinct physiological processes.
It’s perfectly possible for a man to orgasm without ejaculating – what’s called “dry ejaculation” or a “dry orgasm.”
There’s even a practice called semen retention, where a person with a penis purposely avoids ejaculating or learns to orgasm without it.
And while less common, multiple orgasms is something that some men experience too.
So while it might seem like men are easier to satisfy sexually since they are often “one-and-done” in terms of orgasms (unlike women, who might need to climax multiple times to feel satisfied), this isn’t the case for all men.
Does sex feel better for men or women?
There is no real answer to this question. In truth, we probably could never say that sex feels better for either men or women as a whole.
Sexual pleasure is made out of many ingredients for both men and women.
Sure, one is our bodies and how they respond when touched, but there are other parts of this story.
In fact, a 2016 study suggests that it’s the brain that might be the sexiest part of us – the greater the attention, the greater the pleasure.
The truth is, in terms of pleasure, male and female responses actually have a lot in common.
When we orgasm, oxytocin (the so-called “love hormone”) and dopamine (the “feel-good chemical”) are released in large amounts.
Both are also likely to experience changes in blood pressure, respiration rate, and heart rate.
Our skin also becomes more sensitive to the touch.
And if you’ve noticed that you blush after sex, that’s because that blood is flowing through you more rapidly.
While there are reports that sexual desire is higher in men than in women, many social and psychological factors likely make this answer not that cut and dry.
It may well be the case that the gender differences in sexual desire is based entirely on outside influence.
Let’s be real, knowledge of female desire is still sadly lacking.
But it doesn’t mean it’s non-existent.
Who feels more pleasure: male or female?
Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to the question of whether males or females feel more pleasure.
One thing that we do know is that communication between sexual partners is a crucial ingredient in enhancing the sexual pleasure of both.
We all like different things, and communicating those needs can go a long way to getting them met.
If you’re really interested in the question of whether men or women feel more pleasure during sex, the best thing to do might be to find a partner and try to out-pleasure each other.
Plus, it’s never too late to spice things up in the bedroom
Better yet, indulge in some solo love
Who knows what you’ll discover!