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Why Do We Think Simultaneous Orgasms Are the Holy Grail of Sex?

According to Hollywood and most porn, climaxing in jubilant unison is the only way to cum. But is synchronized splooging real, or just another horny myth?

Picture any given sex scene in any given TV show or movie. The couple kisses as they slowly saunter into a dimly lit bedroom. They fall back onto a luscious king-size bed. She laughs as her back hits the sheets, and he traces kisses down her neck, whispering sweet nothings in her ear. They undress — she’s still in her bra, natch — and the lights somehow get even dimmer. He slowly, almost imperceptibly thrusts atop her, and she softly moans. Things go on like this for a few minutes, after which they break apart with a soft, mutual gasp, their eyes gazing longingly into the other’s.

They’ve cum together, it seems, in beautiful, perfect harmony.

‘The idea of simultaneous orgasm is the idea of a happily ever after’

According to Hollywood (and porn), simultaneous orgasms are the only way that human beings get off. But in real life, they’re neither common nor particularly desirable — despite research that states simultaneous P-in-V orgasms are associated with greater life satisfaction and better mental health, only about 35 percent of women and 38 percent of men have them (and they do so “rarely”). Likewise, Toronto-based sex therapist Rob Peach says he’s “never in [his] years practicing as a sex therapist, been approached or have ever had a couple identify this as either something that they want to achieve or something that they’re having difficulty with.”

It’s not hard to see why. In heterosexual sex, women tend to orgasm less often than men, bisexual women and lesbians, meaning that if it’s a cishet man they’re fucking, they’re less likely to orgasm period, let alone in unison with their grunting, ejaculatory counterpart. Women also take, on average, at least 13 minutes to cum, while men take an average of five minutes. Do that very simple math, and during a typical heterosexual interaction, there may be least eight minutes of time between his orgasm and hers.

That’s not to say their climaxes don’t line up some of the time — read any Reddit thread and you’ll see that they do — it’s just that it’s nowhere near as commonplace as your average screenwriter would have you believe (though, the regrettably scant amount of research that exists on this topic suggests that synchronized cumming may be easier for queer couples).

So then, why do we go around promoting it as some sort of holy grail of pleasure?

“The idea of a simultaneous orgasm is the idea of a happily ever after,” Peach reasons. “It’s something that Hollywood and porn have offered up, and people have just run with it. Some magazine writers have latched on to it too, and so, this notion got created. Plus, we all fall for these narratives hook, line and sinker.”

Cumming together ‘felt more like work’

Consider, too, the plethora of romance novels detailing simultaneous orgasm after simultaneous orgasm in colorful language that always somehow seems to reference fruit. There’s Rebecca Brandewyne’s Desire in Disguise, which includes the line, “Almost simultaneously Noir felt himself burst like a ripe melon within her, spilling his seed.” In True Confessions, Rachel Gibson writes ever-so-poetically, ‘‘The strong contractions of her orgasm wrung a release from him.” And in Dream a Little Dream, Susan Elizabeth Phillips describes it as follows: “When they came together, both of them knew that only God could have designed something so perfect.”

Unsurprisingly, this study — which analyzed a series of romance novels published from 1989 to 2009 — describes the genre’s use of simultaneous orgasms as “the evidence of true love” and “a form of merger.”

That said, while simultaneous orgasms are far more difficult to achieve IRL than on screen or on the page, some couples are pulling them off — albeit after a lot of effort. Kaitlyn Yang, a 36-year-old administrative assistant in New York, says she and her boyfriend tried “I can’t even remember how many times,” but eventually got there. “It was pretty awesome — just finally pulling it off and being connected in that way,” she tells me. “But it felt more like work and less like this cool sexual adventure.”

Peach backs this up, explaining that there’s a certain level of distracting calculus that needs to happen in order to cum at the same time as your partner. “This isn’t typically something that happens spontaneously — it involves some measure of planning and communication,” he says. “It results in one or both partners not being fully present. Because in the back of their head, they’ve got a plan that they’re trying to execute in order for the orgasm to happen when it’s desired, which can take them away from the moment.”

Mutual orgasm: Try not to overthink it

If you still want to try it, though, Peach says the key is to know your partner’s arousal tells and what excites you, too — the more familiar you are with the signs and symptoms of your partner’s climaxes, the better prepared you can be to synch up your own. Verbal communication is also important, as per Peach — after all, if both of you can communicate when you’re getting there, that’s half the battle.

That doesn’t mean you still won’t have to edge a bit, however. This Reddit thread is full of stories of men “holding it back” until their female partners are ready to cum. If one of you needs to speed things up to match the other person, sex toys can always offer very useful assistance. Yet at the same time, try not to overthink it. The more in your head you are about getting off, the less present you’ll be, and the harder it’ll be to enjoy what’s happening.

All of which is to say, a simultaneous orgasm shouldn’t be a do-or-die goal. If you’re at the stage where you and your partner are achieving orgasms but you feel like you’ve failed because they’re taking place minutes apart, you’ve lost the plot. It truly is nothing more than one of those rare instances where timing really is everything.

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