By Kristen Mark, Ph.D.
I recently received an email from a reader who was concerned that he wasn't able to have an orgasm at the same time as his partner. Frustration was the primary theme in the email. And we all know what frustration during sex can do for orgasm: it certainly does not create fireworks.
We are bombarded with images of what an orgasm should be like in the media. Whenever there is a sex scene in a movie or TV show, simultaneous orgasm is almost a guarantee. The only time it isn't is if the focus is on some sort of "problem" under the sheets, as if not coming simultaneously should signal trouble.
In our survey on orgasm, Ian Kerner and I found that simultaneous orgasm isn't much of a regular occurrence, with 13% of men and 11% of women reporting that they often experience simultaneous orgasm, and 2% of men and 1% of women reporting they always experience simultaneous orgasm with their partner. To be honest, I was actually surprised it was even this high!
The messages we are getting from the media are inaccurate (what else is new?!), and this particular reader I spoke of above shouldn't be left disappointed after a perfectly satisfying sexual experience because of unrealistic (but ingrained) expectations. Sex is all about expectations, and if your expectations are that you're going to experience simultaneous orgasm every time, you're bound to be disappointed.
By focusing on making sure you come together, you really lose part of the fun of sex. Sex is always better when you are focusing on each other, not the outcome of the event.
Also, when you place unrealistic expectations on your partner in bed, you're likely to hurt your partner's feelings if you are disappointed. In fact, 70.6% of the women we surveyed said they faked orgasm to spare their partner's feelings. Don't give your partner a reason to need to spare your feelings. Take the focus away from orgasm, and shift it toward being intimate with one another.
Overall, sex just shouldn't be about orgasm. I know, I know, we are bombarded with images in the media that tell us sex IS about orgasm, but don't believe that hoopla! Focusing on orgasm is bad enough, focusing on simultaneous orgasm bumps up the pressure even further.
Now, if you happen to have an orgasm simultaneously by chance, that's great! Just don't make it the focus and goal of the sexual event.