Why do women who have anal sex get more orgasms?

Science, technology, and life.
Oct. 11 2010 7:51 AM

The Riddle of the Sphincter

Why do women who have anal sex get more orgasms?

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Again, anal sets a higher bar. Women who don't much feel like having vaginal sex often do it anyway. Women who don't much feel like having anal sex don't do it. So disinterested women dilute the orgasm rate for vaginal but not anal sex. The same could be said of orgasms: Women who don't get orgasms from vaginal sex keep doing it, but women who don't get orgasms from anal sex stop, thereby reducing the anal-sex population to women who really get off on it.

9. Love and trust cause orgasms and anal sex. One woman writes:

The more I love and trust someone, the more likely I am to have an orgasm while with him—and the more likely I am to be okay with pushing society's "norms" with him. Similarly, the more he proves that he knows what he's doing, the more likely I am to let him do something that could potentially really, really hurt me.

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This is the most uplifting theory. It implies that the sample of women who report regular anal sex is heavily biased toward intimate relationships. The data (Table 4, page 284) strongly support this. Compared with women who are single and dating, women in a relationship are only about 50 percent more likely, at best, to report vaginal sex in the last 90 days. But they're two to three times more likely to report anal sex. And women who live with their boyfriends are more likely to report anal sex—but not more likely to report vaginal sex—than women who don't. Anal sex, more so than vaginal sex, seems to correlate with intimacy and commitment. (Did I mention you should use a condom especially if you don't know your partner well? Use a condom.)

10. Male assertiveness causes orgasms and anal sex. This is a macho inversion of the love theory. A commenter at a misogynous Web site puts it this way:

Also, women are more likely to acquiesce to buttsex demands from the highest-quality men. Anal sex is associated with orgasms, but mostly because both anal sex and orgasms occur more frequently with alphas.

Flame away, ladies.

11. Anal includes manual. Several commenters at Slate and other venues report that in their experience, women got orgasms only with a bit of simultaneous Christine O'Donnell. One man writes:

My experience with women I asked and were willing to try is that 5 women loved it, 1 was accepting but it didn't do anything for her, 3 disliked it. All of the ones that liked it had fairly intense orgasms (no surprise there) but only if their clitoris was stimulated at the same time. It could be that the pleasurable attraction for the women is due to it being a position that allows easy access for addition stimulation.

The survey backs this up: Of women who had anal sex in their last encounter, 31 percent said they also had "partnered masturbation" (Table 4, pages 355-6). To the extent that this factor explains the happy endings, the anal orgasm data are inflated.

12. Anal sex requires more foreplay and patience, which increases the odds of orgasm. One commenter observes that anal sex is "a more drawn out experience, what with prep work." This is more complex than the manual-stimulation theory. The best way to understand it is to look at the data in negative terms: While only 6.5 percent of women who had anal sex in their last encounter didn't report an orgasm, 30 percent of women who had vaginal sex didn't report an orgasm. Maybe that's because nature makes it easier to have vaginal sex even when the man is hasty and self-absorbed. Anal sex requires more attention to the woman's mind and body.

13. Internet porn is spreading the idea. According to a male commenter,

the most recent increase in the prevalence of anal sex is mostly due to the near simultaneous rise in access to high-speed Internet … [When people] see these fetishes carried out frequently in pornography they may slowly begin to feel more comfortable about their suppressed fetishes and even muster up the courage to find someone who shares the same fetishes.

On its face, this theory would explain only the prevalence, not the orgasms. But prevalence could increase the rate of reported orgasms by boosting the number of couples who discover they like anal sex, thereby increasing the odds that a woman who had anal sex in her last encounter (i.e., the sample of women who provided the orgasm data) did so because she likes it, not just because her partner asked.

These are just a few of the answers people have come up with. I'm excluding the vicarious pleasure theory (which doesn't explain why anal sex outscores vaginal sex and fellatio at delivering female orgasms) and the virginity preservation theory (which, given the ulterior motive, would predict a lower, not higher, orgasm rate). I also found a few amusing disputes between women and gay men over how to do anal sex and whether women can directly get orgasms from it. And I took some criticism from the pegging community for ignoring straight men who like to be penetrated. Sorry, gents. Some other time.

The most interesting thing I learned from reading dozens of testimonials is that many sodomy enthusiasts have a slight  anal superiority complex. They don't mean to boast. It's just that they're more adventurous, enlightened, and fulfilled than other folks are. They're less uptight and more comfortable with themselves. They're better lovers, or their lovers are better. And this attitude is starting to irk some anal virgins. "There are plenty of women who are in tune with their bodies and not sexually repressed and still don't like anal sex," protests one woman. She notes that in her Reddit community,

[P]eople who do not enjoy certain acts are really frowned upon, and it's bugging me. If you're not causing anyone harm, and you and your partner are happy and satisfied, then all should be well. … when one partner is not satisfied it's a whole different story, but it still wouldn't be up to us to judge the more vanilla partner.

So if anal sex goes mainstream, be nice to the vanilla holdouts. And don't be surprised if the revolution is short-lived. As women embrace sodomy, it may lose its taboo appeal for men. Lots of men are coming forward to say they don't like it (examples here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), and some seem to have been turned off to it by women who wanted it. With buggery on the daily menu, men might start begging for vaginal sex, or even kissing. Won't that be something.

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