You've heard of the gender pay gap and the thigh gap, but a new gap has been brought to light and this the orgasm gap. The orgasm gap is the phenomenon in which women experience orgasms during a sexual encounter at a significantly lower rate than men.

In a survey conducted by the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB), 85 percent of male respondents reported orgasming during their most recent sexual encounter with a partner, while for women that number was down to 63 percent. The NSSHB also found that it is more difficult for women to orgasm from just penetrative sex. When a woman experienced a sexual encounter that consisted of a variety of sexual acts, she was more likely to orgasm.

We know this gap exists and we need to look at its causes so we can close it. The reason for this orgasm disparity has a lot to do with our social norms regarding sex.

Sexual scripts direct the way men and women should act during a sexual or romantic encounter. In these sexual scripts, the male orgasm is often prioritized and they insinuate the idea that sex ends with male ejaculation. It also continues the idea that women can easily orgasm from penetrative sex alone, which we know from statistic evidence and first-hand experiences that this is simply not the case.

Additionally, men are told to seek as many sexual encounters as they can, while women should keep their body count low. Masturbation is something normalized for men starting at an early age, while female masturbation is often considered grotesque. These ideas enable men to have more sexual experiences, therefore, they are more likely to know what they like in bed and what feels pleasurable. Women are shamed for engaging in such behaviors and do not get to explore their sexuality and desires to the extent that men do.

The way we educate young folks on sex fails to include the idea that sex should be something pleasurable. Even when it aims for sex positivity, the discussion largely focuses on having safe sex. This is, of course, is very important to teach to reduce the risk of getting STDs, prevent unplanned pregnancy, and establish what consent looks like. However, we don't educate people on orgasms which should be considered equally important.

We don't teach young women to feel confident enough to ask for what they really want in bed and gratify their sexual desires. Instead, many women base their sexual satisfaction off their male partner's sexual pleasure. The cultural joke of young men unable to give young women orgasm from sex again shows how common it is that women experience fewer orgasms than men and that is almost expected that the women will not orgasm during a sexual encounter.

Women should also be encouraged to experiment with what they like by masturbating and they shouldn't be shamed for having sex because it helps women understand what feels pleasurable for themselves. We should teach women to feel comfortable with telling their partner what makes them feel good and we should teach men to be receptive of that.

The orgasm gap can be closed. We just have to adjust our norms around sex. Don't be afraid to stray away from sexual scripts and try to switch things up in bed. Women, you should feel empowered to ask for what you want in bed to fulfill your desires. Sex should be an experience in which both partners should feel completely satisfied.