The ongoing sexism that still lives on in our society is unacceptable — and now there’s recent research to suggest that it’s even ruining our collective sex life. The journal Archives of Sexual Behaviour published a study showing that women who regarded their partners as sexist and selfish were less likely to orgasm during sex.
The kind of selfishness we’re talking about here isn’t just someone who has trouble sharing the last slice of apple pie. Rather, the authors of the study found that the perceived selfishness was actually tied into hostile or benevolent sexism. Hostile sexism is defined as an ‘overt disdain for women,’ but benevolent sexism is a bit more complicated than that.
One author explained it this way: ‘Benevolent sexism assumes female passivity and romanticizes the belief that women should be reliant on men. In this way, benevolent sexism is argued to be a form of legitimizing myth, whereby prejudicial attitudes toward women are justified through the guise of care and protection.’
In the study, there were two groups (one group had 339 women, the other had 323 and they were recruited from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, according to Fusion) of women who participated. The researchers measured the sexism present in the relationship, then looked at the woman’s level of ‘perceived male sexual selfishness.’ Afterwards, women were given the chance to talk about how often they orgasm, whether their male partners were preoccupied with their own pleasure, and how concerned the male partner was with ‘getting off.’
The results proved a very obvious connection between benevolent sexism from the man and fewer orgasms for the women. ‘Women’s benevolent sexism significantly predicted perceived male sexual selfishness, such that the more women endorsed benevolent sexism, the more likely they were to perceive men as sexually selfish,’ Emily Harris, a researcher at Queensland’s School of Psychology. Fusion succinctly explains, ‘when women buy into their partners’ sexist beliefs, they pay a price in the bedroom.’ The price = fewer orgasms.
So although benevolent sexism itself wasn’t the direct cause of fewer orgasms, it was the very thing that resulted in women seeing their partners as selfish, which, in turn, led to less sexual satisfaction.
Researchers also studied how often the woman would be willing to ask for pleasure in sexist relationships, and the answer was pretty much the same. The more sexism they encounter from their S.O., the more selfish they see their partner to be, and the less likely they are to request sexual pleasure.
If you’re in a heterosexual relationship, now might be a good time to check in and see how sexist or selfish you view your partner to be. Because your orgasms might be at stake!
From the editors of Hello Giggles