Would you have a sexual relationship with someone, even if it wasn’t very enjoyable?
Which matters more to you in bed: his pleasure or your pleasure?
How much do you know about your own female anatomy and how it works?
Those are questions that Dr. Laurie Mintz addresses in this week’s YBTV interview.
Dr. Mintz is a professor at the University of Florida and the author of the must-read book Becoming Cliterate. It’s the kind of book that shakes up everything you thought you knew about your body. If sex has ever not been very good for you, you’re not alone and you’re not broken. Dr. Mintz offers simple ways to make intimacy work for you.
Get ready to find out why sex isn’t always as good for women as it is for men—and how to change that. Join the revolution for pleasure equality! It all starts with becoming cliterate…
(This interview contains some explicit language. Viewer discretion is advised.)
What You’ll Learn
The clitoris has been lost and found, lost and found again over time, and my mission is to make sure it doesn’t get lost again.”
Who has better sex: men or women?
It’s a revolutionary question, especially when the answer is so stark.
“About 30% of people are reporting pain at their last instance of penetrative sex without saying anything—without saying, ‘Stop,'” Dr. Laurie Mintz reports.
Why? Well, one reason is how we’re doing it.
“The average amount of time young people in heterosexual relationships spend before going right for the genitals is 5 minutes, and it generally takes us [women] a lot longer to get lubricated, warmed up [and] excited,” she says.
But there’s an even bigger issue. Why aren’t women saying anything when they’re uncomfortable during a sexual encounter? Is it because they’re going through with it for their partner’s sake … and not prioritizing their own pleasure?
“We have to start thinking about sex not as something you do for men, but something we do for ourselves and that we enjoy and that our pleasure is important,” says Dr. Mintz.
It all starts with closing the orgasm gap.
The orgasm gap, simply put, is the fact that during heterosexual sexual encounters, the men are having way more orgasms than the women are.”
Dr. Mintz cites a study that found that “91% of men versus 39% of women said they usually always orgasm during a sexual encounter.”
She’s done her own research that paints an even direr picture. In hookup sex, “55% of men versus 4% of women say they always orgasm.” She adds that “the gap gets better but doesn’t close in relationship sex, where it’s still about 3 male orgasms to every 1 female orgasm.”
Her aim is to educate women about their own sexual anatomy. Learning how your pleasure works helps you figure out what you need in bed and use that to guide your partner.
Those sex ed classes back in high school may have taught you information about your own body that’s now outdated. “My students are shocked because they never learn about [the clitoris] in high school sex ed,” Dr. Mintz says. “In the absence of good sex ed, they’re relying on porn images of sex.”
Young people don’t always know that the way porn portrays sex is not how it works in real life. “Women are feeling like, ‘Oh, that’s not happening for me, I’m broken.’ I had one young woman tell me, ‘I thought my vagina must be broken.'”
That’s why she believes we need to become cliterate.
Cliterate is “a play on literate and the clitoris,” Dr. Mintz says. “Basically, what it means is we need to stop believing cultural lies about our bodies. And the biggest cultural lie that persist is that we should be able to orgasm from penetration alone.”
This myth reflects the historical emphasis on male pleasure rather than female pleasure. “It’s an overvaluing of men’s most reliable route to orgasm—intercourse—and a devaluing of women’s most reliable route to orgasm—clitoral stimulation.”
96% of women need clitoral stimulation, and no wonder. “The clitoris is not just like a little magic button or nub; it’s a vast internal organ … full of erectile tissue,” Dr. Mintz explains.
She continues, “If you think about the words we use for sex, we use sex and intercourse as if they were one and the same. We relegate everything before to foreplay, as if it were just a lead-up to the main event. Most importantly, we call our entire genitals the vagina, and, by doing so, we’re linguistically erasing the part of ourselves that gives us the most pleasure.”
This is why Dr. Mintz believes “we need a new sexual revolution for pleasure equality.”
We need to view sex as a mutually pleasurable encounter between two consenting adults where both parties’ pleasure is equally important.”
What would be different for you if you genuinely believed “your pleasure is equally as important as your partner’s pleasure”?
To find out, get your copy of Becoming Cliterate and join the revolution!
Jump to Topics of Interest
2:20 The orgasm gap
3:45 Becoming cliterate
5:18 Where we learn about sex
6:55 The structure of the clitoris
9:10 The problem with language
10:38 Pleasure equality
12:02 The new sexual revolution
13:06 Why desire declines in monogamous relationships
15:02 Trysts: the power of planned sex
16:35 Why bedtime can be the worst time for sex
17:41 The more foreplay, the better
19:06 How long should sex take?
20:52 Take responsibility for your pleasure
Dr. Laurie Mintz
Dr. Mintz is a professor at the University of Florida, where she teaches “Psychology of Human Sexuality” to hundreds of undergraduate students each year. She’s also a therapist and an author, with a blog on Psychology Today and two books, Becoming Cliterate and A Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex.