First things first: What is sexuality?
sex is a wide term that names how we understand our bodies, sexual activity, and relationships. That means that, despite common misconception, sex is far more than whether you ’ ra “ homosexual ” or “ straight. ” Your sexual orientation is precisely one aspect of your sex. other components that make up your sex include your :
- assigned sex at birth and the gender you were socialized as
- gender identity
- sexual and romantic orientations
- values and beliefs around sex, as well as those you were raised to have
- libido, interest in sex, and physiological and physical signs of desire and arousal
- kinks, fetishes, and sexual preferences
- relationship to your body, sex, and pleasure
- trauma history
- past sexual experiences
What we mean when we say ‘men’ and ‘women’
typically, when people ask, “ How do men and women differ sexually ? ” ( or something similar ), they ’ re specifically asking about cisgender women and men — or people whose impute sex at give birth corresponds with their gender identity .
Sex ≠ gender When person ’ randomness sex is in conjunction with the sex they were assigned at birth, they ’ ra considered to be cisgender.
For example, a person who ’ s born with a vagina, is assigned female at parturition, and late self-identifies as a womanhood is considered cisgender.
When person ’ mho assigned sex at birth is NOT in conjunction with their sex, they may be considered transgender, nonbinary, or agender, fair to name a few different gender identities.
For model, a person who ’ sulfur assigned male at parentage and subsequently self-identifies as something other than entirely male or entirely as a man may fall elsewhere on the gender spectrum .
here at Healthline, however, we aim to be more inclusive than that. so, for the purposes of this article, when we say “ men ” we ’ re talking about all men, meaning cisgender and transgender men. And, when we say women, we ’ rhenium talking about all women, meaning cisgender and transgender women. We ’ ll besides be including insight as it relates to non-binary and other gender nonconforming folks.
What the research says
sadly, most ( if not all ) of the studies on this subject entirely expression at cisgender men and cisgender women and leave out gender nonbinary and gender nonconforming people wholly. ( here, hera, and here, for exemplar. ) *Ugh. * curious about what these studies have shown, despite knowing that they could stand to be more way inclusive ? here ’ s the quick of it. Compared with cisgender women, cisgender men :
- show greater interest in sex
- link aggression to sexuality to a greater degree
- place less emphasis on commitment in their sexual relationships
- experience more stagnancy and less adaptability in their sexual orientation
however, ( and this is authoritative ! ) that does NOT mean that cisgender men are innately and naturally all of these things. clinical sexologist Sarah Melancon, PhD, an technical with The Sex Toy Collective, says foster and culture play a huge function. “ Men and women are socialized differently and face different cultural expectations regarding sex, ” she says, adding that this can affect when, how, how frequently, and with whom they have sex. ( More on this below. )
And your gender does, too
broadly talk, people who were socialized as girls are taught to be far more sex-averse compared with people cultured as boys .
While the specific culture, religion, and company you were raised in order the exact messages you receive, typically boys are teach that masturbation is convention and that having sex with as many people as possible ramps up their chilliness factor.
meanwhile, girls are often teach that masturbating is dirty and sexual activity should wait until marriage .
“ Culturally, humanness is in part built on encouraging free sex, while womanhood is centered on denying or controlling it, ” Melancon says. This is often referred to as the “ intimate double standard. ” While this appears positive for men, it can besides have negative consequences, she says. “ It results in men being shamed for having fewer intimate partners or experiences, it encourages men to take more intimate risks, and it negates men ’ second emotional needs in intimate relationships. ”
Read more: How to Have More Pleasurable Doggy
Setting the record straight on gender and sexuality
If you ’ ra read this, you probably have some specific questions like, “ Do women enjoy sex ? ” and “ Do orgasms feel the same for men and women ? ” so, let ’ s experience into it .
People of all genders can and do masturbate
Society often touts masturbation as a boy ’ game. But masturbation is something people of all genders and ages can and do enjoy. “ We need to do more to normalize women ’ south masturbation, ” Lehmiller says. Because, just as it is for boys and men, masturbation is besides how many not-men first explore their sex, experience orgasm, and unwrap pleasure, he says .
Gender isn’t what determines if someone likes sex
many people are teach that women don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate love sex. Sure, some women don ’ metric ton like arouse, but this broad sweep statement is BS ! “ The idea that men like sexual activity and women don ’ t is a myth that needs to go away, ” says Lehmiller. “ [ People ] of any gender can like and enjoy sex ” — just as people of any sex can dislike sex. Whether person says they like arouse — adenine well as whether person is asexual or allosexual — are much better indicators of whether person likes sex .
People of all genders have the capacity for pleasure during sex
It shouldn ’ t need to be said… and even it needs to be said. “ Women ’ mho pleasure is a subject that has long been neglected culturally, deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as in sex education, ” Lehmiller says. “ The result is that women ’ second pleasure has been less of a precedence during sex. ” This is known as the “ pleasure gap. ” But women ( and other gender-minorities ) *can* experience pleasure during play. other facts that influence whether person experiences pleasure during arouse, according to Lehmiller, include factors, like :
- sexual history
- mental health
- relationship dynamics
- stress and distraction
Orgasms typically feel similar for most genders
Cisgender men and cisgender women may reach orgasm through different means. But Lehmiller says that research comparing cisgender men ’ second ’ and cisgender women ’ sulfur ’ descriptions of what an orgasm feels like find that both genders gave exchangeable answers. ( The research did not review people of early genders. ) common orgasm descriptors across both cisgender men and cisgender women included :
- pleasurable satisfaction
- emotional intimacy
- building, flooding, flushing, shooting, or throbbing sensation
The takeaway : “ Feelings of sexual joy actually seem to be quite similar across genders, ” Lehmiller says .
Sexual dysfunction can look similar among genders
There are both similarities and differences in intimate difficulties for men, women, and gender nonconforming folks. “ Some research has found that the most coarse sexual difficulty — low sexual pastime — is the same across genders, ” Lehmiller says. however, penis-havers of any sex are more likely to report :
- premature orgasm
- erectile difficulty,
- difficulty orgasming
And vagina-havers of any gender are more probably to report :
- difficulty orgasming
- vaginal dryness
- low sexual enjoyment
Factors that affect experience during sex more than gender
There are many, but here are a few .
Cultural, religious, and spiritual beliefs and upbringings
cultural and religious teachings around sex can shape an person ’ s intimate behavior. “ many cultures and religions lone allow sex under nonindulgent circumstances, ” Melancon says. “ Hearing these sex-negative, shame-laden messages can affect person ’ s sexual experience as a adolescent, [ and ] as a marital adult. ”
“ Any kind of injury can lead to dysregulation in the nervous system [ interfering with the physiology of sex ] and resultant role in issues with trust and closeness, ” Melancon says. Examples of injury include :
- difficult births
- natural disasters
- car accidents
- sexual trauma
“ Sexual trauma carries extra sex-based triggers that can happen in the moment, leading to avoidance, flashbacks, panic, or numbing around sex, ” she notes .
According to Melancon, person ’ randomness relationship to their sex can be impacted by :
- bipolar disorder
- obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
“ Stress and burnout can besides affect sex as they affect the anxious arrangement and hormones, typically reducing sexual desire, foreplay, and pleasure, ” she adds.