Nature and nurture. From an evolutionary perspective, men are hardwired to want to orgasm because it’s necessary for reproduction, says Dr John Bancroft, a senior researcher at the Kinsey Institute.
“It isn’t the same for women; they don’t need to have orgasms in order to procreate.” Hormones play a major role: just as our impulses are different post-coitus with men drifting off to sleep and women’s bodies already ready for orgasm two, so arousal hormones work differently in men and women.
And socially, there’s also the taboo(s) associated with masturbation, particularly among women, and this old stereotype that men just do it more perpetuates the problem.
But, thanks to mainstream culture – with the increasing visibility of sex toys and shows like Sex & The City and Girls displaying bolder female sexuality – this is changing.
In fact, the 2010 US National Study of Sexual Health and Behaviour found that 56% of women masturbated in the course of the year; Albert Kinsey, in his landmark 1953 survey, estimated that only 20% did.
Related: 7 Secrets of Female Masturbation
Curious if your partner is among that pleasure-seeking 56%? Ask her. Whatever the answer, encourage her to touch herself the next time you’re in bed together. A 2009 study of vibrator users published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that 41% of women were willing to play while their partners were present.