Most men on the planet overestimate their lovemaking abilities — and more often than not, we’re the last ones to realise it. Case in point: the anonymous man who posed a hilariously naive question to the Guardian‘s Sexual Healing advice column, which went viral earlier this week.
In his letter, the dude told columnist Pamela Stephenson Connolly that he thought he enjoyed a great, healthy sex life with his girlfriend — until he discovered that while he was taking his usual post-coital shower, his girlfriend was getting herself off on her own. “I think she is insatiable,” he wrote. “What should I do?”
Of course, pretty much anyone who read that question would have immediately known what the issue was: this guy’s girlfriend wasn’t insatiable, he just wasn’t sufficiently getting her off. But Connolly had a different theory. She told the guy that some women simply want an extra orgasm after sex, and he shouldn’t think anything of it.
“Sex with you could be fulfilling for her in myriad ways that cannot be reproduced during masturbation, yet she just happens to want that extra one,” she wrote.
Twitter was far less kind.
Okay, look: we don’t know this dude’s life. There’s a chance that he is an incredibly attentive lover, and that his girlfriend actually is insatiable and desperately wants another orgasm. But I think we can reasonably assume that for the most part, if your girlfriend is sneaking in surreptitious J.O. sessions after you have sex, it’s probably because you’re not getting her off.
To be fair, this problem isn’t exclusive to this one advice column. Research shows that the “the orgasm gap,” or the gap between how many orgasms men vs. women have, is a huge problem. According to one study, 95% of heterosexual men reach orgasm in bed, compared to only 65% of heterosexual women. That’s in large part because many women can’t have an orgasm via penetration alone, and can only climax with clitoral stimulation. That’s why foreplay is so important: there’s a strong possibility she can’t get off without it.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to rectify this: 1) spending a good amount of time on foreplay, and 2) communicating with your partner. A study conducted by the Archive of Sexual Behaviour found that there are a few behaviours associated with a “greater number of orgasms for women in bed, such as “asking for what they want in bed” and “praising their partner for something they did in bed.” Asking your partner for what she wants and encouraging her to provide consistent feedback is the only way to go here.
Good luck to you all. And remember, if your girlfriend is masturbating in the other room after you’ve just finished, it’s probably not because you’re really, really good at sex.
This article originally appeared on Men’s Health