Many women experience intimacy issues in the bedroom, but Rachel Bilson wants them to know they're not alone.
In a chat with comedian Whitney Cummings for Bilson's Broad Ideas podcast, Cummings opened up about her sex life, and how she had been unable to orgasm during relations with a partner until recently.
"I have not had an orgasm from sex until I went off birth control," Cummings said. "Never had it in my life until I turned 40 ... But I could do it with my hands."
Bilson, in turn, shared that she had also struggled achieving climax until her late 30s, adding: "It didn't happen for me until I was about 38. Isn't that crazy?"
While it may seem like a shocking admission to some, for many women, it is the unfortunate reality. According to a paper in the National Library of Medicine, more than 90 percent of men usually experience orgasm in their intercourse, whereas only around 50 percent of women say they reach climax. Among women, 9 percent have never had an orgasm.
Despite increased rates of masturbation and sexual exploration among women in recent decades, women have not experienced more frequent orgasms. The study stated that even "improvements in gender equality and sexual education since the 1970s have not helped women to become more orgasmic."
Instead, what's holding back the Big O is more entwined with the social roles expected from women. Whether they are 18 or 81, women often put their partner's pleasure above their own, the paper found. Women's pleasure is usually reliant on the emotional intimacy of a relationship, and how secure they feel in communicating.
"The keys to their more frequent orgasms lay in mental and relationship factors. These factors and capacities included orgasm importance, sexual desire, sexual self-esteem, and openness of sexual communication with partners," the report reads. "Women valued their partner’s orgasm more than their own."
The study proposes rectifying the gender orgasm gap by "promoting female orgasms," as it "could create a positive circle that would favorably increase female sexual pleasure."
"Women assumingly would value their own orgasms more if they would get them more easily and more frequently," it explains. "Sexual pleasure can increase female sexual motivation."
For Bilson, the first step is being able to speak openly about sexual experiences and desires. A more sex-positive culture could lead to more pleasure for women, and encourage them to advocate for their desires in the bedroom.
"Growing up in a household that was so sex-positive and free and candid...definitely made me more obviously open talking about things," she previously told Yahoo. "These are the things women go through, and there's nothing connected to it that feels like, 'oh, I shouldn't be talking about this.'"
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