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Anti-Climactic: Investigating How Late Adolescents Perceive and Deal with Orgasm Difficulty in the Context of Their Intimate Relationships

18 October 2018
Karolanne O'Keefe

Publication Date
July 2018

Original Abstract
There is a long history of survey research indicating high rates of orgasm difficulties among adults. We sought to investigate how male and female heterosexual late adolescents perceive difficulties with orgasm, whether gender differences were apparent, and how they tried to resolve these difficulties (if at all).

We conducted semi-structured interviews with 53 heterosexual male and female adolescents, aged 18–21 years. Interviews were guided around the question of when sex was not as good as they thought it should be, with subsequent open-ended probes questioning them about specific difficulties around sex, including difficulty having, reaching, or timing orgasm, their feelings about these difficulties, and any efforts they took to resolve these difficulties.

The majority (71%) of young women and a third (33%) of young men reported having difficulty reaching orgasm in partnered sex, whereas 38% of men also reported ejaculating too quickly. Themes that emerged included reports of not being taught about pleasure in school or at home, that sex was completed after the male partners' orgasm, and some participants resorting to faking orgasm when feeling that they were taking too long. Resolution of orgasm difficulty tended to occur in the context of communicative relationships for both the young men and women in the sample.

The results of the study provide insight into issues with orgasm for young people specifically, and the role of communication in sexual problem-solving, which may be applied in sexual health education contexts, including online forums.

A, Cormier, L. and O’Sullivan, L. (2018). Anti-climactic: investigating how late adolescents perceive and deal with orgasm difficulty in the context of their intimate relationship.The Canadian journal of human sexuality. DOI: 10.3138/cjhs.2018-001.

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sex, sexuality, youth, sexual relations, privacy, orgasm, couple, teenagers, adults, behaviors, problems, communication, perceptions


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