Do feminists have better sex? Yes, they do.

You might’ve heard the stereotype that feminists are just angry women who need to find a man who can satisfy them sexually. It is an old trope that has been with us since at least the 1970s.

Unfortunately, just when we think we may have moved on from toxic myths like these, rhetoric reminds us they are still very much around.

United States Sen. Ted Cruz tried to revive this cliché in recent comments at a conservative conference. He suggested that liberal women are sexually unsatisfied because liberal men are too wimpy: “If you were a liberal woman, and you had to sleep with those weenies, you’d be pissed too.” He implied that they will only achieve sexual satisfaction by submitting to domineering men.

I have conducted research on the topic of feminist identity and sexual behavior, and I’ve got news for Cruz and anyone else worried about women’s sexual satisfaction. There is no sex drought for feminist women; they have sex just as often as non-feminists. In fact, feminist women report their sex is more cuddly, loving and pleasurable — some might say better — than those who are not feminists.

Thanks for your concern, Sen. Cruz, but we’re doing just fine.

Feminists report having better sex

In 2022, I surveyed a representative sample of 2,303 adults across Canada and I analyzed the responses of the 1,126 women who took part. Respondents were asked about their sexual activities, both alone and with a partner.

I found that women who identified as feminist and non-feminist both reported high levels of sexual satisfaction. However, women who claimed a feminist identity were more likely to report their most recent sexual encounter included kissing and cuddling than non-feminist women.

Among women, 57 per cent of non-feminists said their most recent sexual encounter included kissing and cuddling, compared to 68 per cent of feminists. This data suggests that feminists are not sad and lonely, but they are engaging in loving, enjoyable sex to a greater extent than non-feminists.

The clitoris is where it’s at

One difference between feminist and non-feminist women that stood out the most in my research relates to the pleasure centre of the female body: the clitoris. Feminists were more likely to report receiving clitoral stimulation in the form of oral sex from their partner: 38 per cent of feminist women, compared to 30 per cent of non-feminist women, said they received oral sex in their last encounter.

Clitoral stimulation is the path to sexual pleasure and orgasms for women, feminist or not. However, sometimes sex — especially in heterosexual couples — pays more attention to male pleasure, focusing primarily on stimulation of the penis through vaginal penetration. Clitoral stimulation, such as with mouths, hands or sex toys, gets less attention. Sometimes we give short shrift to clitoral stimulation, relegating it to foreplay, or somehow outside of what counts as “regular sex.”

Shouldn’t women have as much access to sexual pleasure as men? There is abundant evidence, in the case of heterosexual couples, that there is a gender gap in orgasms, with women having fewer orgasms than men. A feminist sensibility might consider it obvious that women should have as much sexual pleasure as men, and their sexual behaviors reflect that ideal.

Why might feminists have better sex?

Many women see feminism as a source of self-actualization and empowerment, and the link between feminist identity and better sex might be quite simple: Feminists know what they want in bed and are more likely to feel empowered to ask for it.

Feminists are more likely to be in social circles with other feminist friends, and they might be more comfortable talking about sex and pleasure, giving them a chance to discover what they want from sexual encounters. Indeed, my survey also found that feminist women also pleasure themselves more frequently than non-feminists.

Perhaps they are more likely to have sexual partners who are also feminist. We know that feminist men who have sex with women are more likely to give oral sex to their partners, tending to the clitoral stimulation of their sexual partners to a greater extent than non-feminist men do.

Heterosexual feminist women might be more likely to have feminist men partners than non-feminists do, so they might have greater access to more generous lovers. Women who have sex with women are also more likely to receive oral sex than women with men partners.

Whether it is through personal empowerment, better communication or sexual partners who are willing to give them what they need, feminists are having sex that is kissy, cuddly and stimulating.

So, contrary to Cruz’s pronouncements on the subject, feminists have sex just as often as non-feminists, and the sex they have is often loving and pleasurable. It’s time to let go of hateful stereotypes. Let’s lean into the idea that satisfying sex should be available to everyone.The Conversation

Tina Fetner, McMaster University

Tina Fetner, Professor, Sociology, McMaster University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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