Objective: Various sources of evidence suggest that men and women differ in their experience of sexual pleasure. Such gender differences have been attributed to men’s higher innate sex drive, supported by evolutionary psychology perspectives and gender differences in reproductive strategies.
Method: This paper presents biopsychosocial evidence for gender similarities in the capacity to experience pleasure, and for substantial gender differences in opportunities for sexual pleasure.
Results: We conclude that sexual activity, in most cultures, is less pleasurable and associated with greater cost for heterosexual women than for heterosexual men, even though they do not differ in the capacity for sexual pleasure.
Conclusion: Since gender differences in experienced sexual pleasure are not a biological given, a more critical discourse of sexual pleasure might create awareness of current inequalities, help lift restrictions for women’s opportunities for pleasure, and could reduce gender differences in the cost of sex. That would truly serve sexual justice around the globe.
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