Something that I know plagues straight people, but has recently been coming up as a concern in gayladyland, is whether or not two women can have simultaneous orgasms, and then people trying real hard to make it happen.
Obviously you can, and like anybody on the internet who says “You can’t do that, that’s not real” (see: scissoring, fisting, squirting, getting off by being the strap-onner, galloping through the clouds astride a unicorn) the rest of the internet will punch back and insist “It is too real, and you’re being mean.”
So yes, you can have simultaneous orgasms with your girlfriend, it is an achievable thing, but here are a few reasons why you may want to reconsider framing it as the sexiest thing that ever happened to anybody.
Two people do not get to an identical place of being turned on, being turned on by the same things, and have the exact same physiological response to the same kind of stimulation at the same time. That’s just not very technically likely.
People, and especially queer women, aspire to this out of a desire for intense connectedness, but the reality is that your level of interconnectedness at any moment does not mean you are experiencing the same thing at the same time. Even if the two of you are going for a walk holding hands and enjoying the pretty view and the sunshine, you are still not experiencing the same thing, because you are not the same person. Sex only makes the points of connection and disconnection more infinite.
Lesbians striving for a simultaneous orgasm is about perfect symbiosis and connectedness. We developed this idea culturally that a couple with perfectly calibrated sexual chemistry will get off at the same time when they’re having sex.
Unfortunately, when it happens, it’s often accidental or the result of a lot of striving and pressure. This is not an isolated event of how our bodies don’t respond to the expectations we heap upon it. Many women don’t get off by only being penetrated, but we have this idea culturally that women will get off if they really love the partner they’re with and if the dick in question is really adequate. This is just isn’t true.
The truth is: most women don’t have an orgasm from solely penetrative sex, and most women don’t have simultaneous orgasms with their partner. Why? Because it’s tough, and it’s one of those things you can focus on during sex that makes the whole thing harder to keep your head in the game. When you are focused on whether or not you are doing sex right, it makes it really hard to be present in your body and in your connection with your partner. It’s hard to admit that these things can distract and derail you, but getting in your head about how good you are at sex is also a common problem.
Concordance vs. Nonconcordance
Nonconcordance is this thing that essentially means: sometimes our genital response to sexual stimulation makes it seem like we’re getting turned on, but we actually aren’t there mentally. While you personally have a body that never rebels, and all your physiological responses are perfectly aligned to your mental state, but you are a rare creature. There are many folks for whom these two things are somewhat adrift.
You may have a memory of a time that you hooked up with somebody and you were really there mentally, but your body was having a hard time responding, or another time when you felt bored and annoyed, but you got off really quickly. Being turned on is about more than just getting off quickly.
Context Matters More Than Cunning Linguists
In Master’s and Johnson’s studies in the 1950s, they had research participants masturbate to orgasm and then rate their orgasms from one to five(poor to excellent) while researchers tracked the intensity of the contractions of their pelvic floor, ie how intensely their physiological experience was of their orgasm. What they found out is that there is no correlation to intense or satisfying someone feels about their experience and the actual biological facts of what just played out.
All of this is to say, that how intensely satisfied someone feels is more about their emotional/intellectual experience of the event than about your technical proficiency. Though obviously that matters as well, but effort and enthusiasm make up a large part of technical proficiency. Science supports that you having an emotionally connected and physically symbiotic sexual encounter with somebody is most importantly about how you feel in the moment, and how engaged and present you feel.
So go ahead and let go of whatever ideas you have about what sex is supposed to look like, and shift your focus if you can to where you feel present, where you feel engaged, where you feel confident and secure, and what sounds like fun.
Much appreciation to Emily Nagoski and her book “Come as You Are” for reference.
Maria Turner-Carney is a therapist and writer living in Seattle. You can follow her work at seattlefeministtherapy.com/blog.