Womanizer and The What: Survey about female sex and pleasure

Womanzier recently partnered with The What to explore women’s thoughts and experiences around sex and pleasure. We were especially curious about how woman’s sex lives have impacted their lives beyond the bedroom — and into the realm of work and career — because The What is home to some incredible and inspiring women.

Founded by veteran entrepreneurs Amy Parker and Gina Pell, The What is a weekly newsletter turned global community that’s all about “transforming the way women discover and share wisdom.” Since Womanizer is also all about transforming the way women discover and share — especially wisdom related to sex and sexual fulfillment — we thought this collaboration was the perfect fit.

Together with The What, we got to ask about aaaaaallllll kinds of things that most people would only talk about with their best friends (or on the set of Sex and the City).

Before we get into the good stuff, here’s who we talked to

More than 200 women, mostly US-based but with a sprinkling of international voices

Nearly 60% are married or common-law, 15% are otherwise cohabiting, 19% are single, and 7% are dating.

We heard from every age group from 18 to 65+ — with the biggest group being 45-54.

The group is incredibly impressive, career-wise — more than half are at the director or management level, 18% mid-level, and 24% are C-Suite or independent entrepreneurs.

Not surprisingly, income levels match their career heights; over half of the respondents have an annual income of $150,000 or more, and 95% make over $50,000 a year.

Here’s what we found out…

Overall, you feel pretty good about sex

We asked, “When you think of your own sexuality, do you have mostly positive, negative or neutral feelings/thoughts?” 63% said positive, 28% said neutral, and 9% said negative or other.

A large majority (72%) have discussed masturbation or self-pleasure with friends, but are also interested in having more open conversations about sexuality in general. We asked if you’d like to discuss sexuality more openly with friends and colleagues (because we are interested in work and life, after all) — 47% of you said a resounding yes, with an additional 12% who wrote into the “other” category to say: “Friends, yes. Colleagues, no.” Fair enough!

A resounding 87% of you have used a sex toy at some point in your lives. (Cue the confetti cannon!)

If you’re sexually unfulfilled, you’re not alone (and we’re not surprised)

While an incredible 45% of women reported feeling sexually fulfilled (woooo! Get some!), the majority of our respondents said they aren’t (55% of them).

While we’re dismayed by that statistic, we’re also not surprised. At Womanizer we’re all about helping as many people as possible reach their own personal version of “sexually fulfilled” — because there is still so much room to grow, for pretty much all of us. And we can’t wait for a future where every person responds to the question “Are you sexually fulfilled?” with a resounding, “Heck, yes!”

You have a few ideas about how you might reach sexual fulfillment (so do we)

We asked “What do you think can help you become sexually fulfilled?”

At the top of the list: the right partner. Whether single or already in relationships, a huge number of our respondents think that a good, giving partner could be the secret to a better sex life.

Runners up include:

  • increased sex drive
  • better self-image/feeling better about your bodies
  • better communication with your partners
  • casual sex
  • getting out of your heads and into your bodies
  • the Womanizer (we swear, it made the list!!)

So, we’re just going to go ahead and say it — a great partner will be an amaaaaazing source of pleasure and absolutely can help you achieve new heights in the bedroom. But there’s also a lot you can try on your own, or with a partner who might not be pushing all of the right buttons so far (or lately).

Trust us, we know. 😉

womanizer premium

We’re probably all in need of remedial (and updated) sex ed

Sooo, when it comes to sex and pleasure, you definitely didn’t learn (enough) about it in school.

We asked the question “Where did you learn the most about sex and pleasure?”

#1 on the list was “Friends/peers.” #2 on the list was magazines and books. But #3 is the most interesting.

#3 on the list, with a whopping 21% of respondents choosing it, was “Other.”

You’re curious now, aren’t you? What is this mysterious “other”?

Reading through the write-in answers, it’s almost mind-bendingly obvious: you learned about sex by having sex. You wrote in, talking about experiences with early boyfriends and lovers, plus a little solo exploration. Of course.

For what it’s worth, “school” was #7 on the list, in absolute last place (behind the internet, parents, and porn).

TBH, It might be for the best that school was so low on the list. We asked if your sex ed classes mentioned the idea that sex was meant to be pleasurable. An overwhelming 77% of you said nope. Just as bad, when we asked if your sex ed taught you about consent, 70% of you said no.

You believe that a great sex life can positively impact your career

89% of our respondents agreed that yes, a fulfilled sex life can positively impact your career. When we opened it up for comments, it became clear that sexual pleasure and fulfillment can be a massive source of confidence and empowerment that spill into other parts of your lives.

Many of you also mentioned thinking of sex as a vital part of your overall health and wellness — a category that needs to be maintained for feeling your best. Among our favourite examples of the impact great sex can have on your career? Being late for work after having a little morning fun (plus the bonus that comes with being self-employed and giving yourself the morning off).

On the other side of things, a lot of women commented on the all too real fact that your sexuality has sometimes been used against you — through harassment, having to hide parts of yourself for fear of negative repercussions, or being judged or treated differently based on your looks or sexuality.

Which takes us right into the next question, all about the S word

Shame.

We asked, “Have you ever experienced shame around your sexuality, masturbation, or sexual acts?” 62% of you said yes. 3% said “sorta” (okay, “other”), writing in to say you’d been shamed but didn’t feel shame, or you felt shame around other things that related but didn’t quite fit this category.

Interestingly, while you believe that being sexually fulfilled can have a positive impact on your career, you don’t think feelings of shame around sex have a corresponding negative impact on career (well, most of you don’t). We asked which parts of your life you think shame has an impact on, and here are your answers, ranked:

survey female pleasure sex

This one is really interesting — given that the potential positive impact of sexual fulfillment is clear, it seems like we might reconsider whether not feeling sexually fulfilled  (or feeling shame around our sexuality) might have a reverse impact. Maybe taking steps towards our own version of sexual fulfillment (because it’ll look different for everyone) will have a much bigger impact than we think.

Thank you so much to The What and your amazing community for sharing with us so vulnerably and beautifully! Having these conversations and uncovering these truths is key to unravelling everything that sits between women and a real sense of sexual fulfillment.

So here’s to that future where everyone can say an emphatic yes to the question, “Do you feel sexually fulfilled?”

While always making room for even more pleasure to be had, of course.

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