It's not surprising that married women have more orgasms.
Diana Landen: Men who love you are more likely to go the extra mile in bed. Women who trust their partners are free to let go during sex. A loving couple can open up and talk about what they really want.
But why do conservative Protestant women have more fun? According to the National Sex Survey, they are the most likely to always orgasm during sex. (Before you panic, most women of any religion orgasm "usually" or "sometimes.")
Maybe religious conservatives are more likely to be married when they have sex. Then again, maybe conservative Protestants know something about female orgasm.
To find out, I looked at "The Act of Marriage," a marriage manual by Tim and Beverly LaHaye. Tim LaHaye is best known as the co-author of the popular "Left Behind" series about the apocalyptic End Times. Beverly LaHaye founded Concerned Women of America, a group dedicated to bringing "Biblical principles into all levels of public policy." They are religious conservatives.
The advice the LaHayes give might not be what you expect. In fact, if conservative Protestant husbands are following it, it could explain why their wives are so happy.
Here are four key principles for female satisfaction from "The Act of Marriage: the Beauty of Sexual Love."
1. The clitoris is there for a reason -- use it. Or, as the LaHayes put it more eloquently, the clitoris "has no bearing on reproduction and is unnecessary for any other female function. Thus it is safe to conclude that God designed it to be used in lovemaking." Furthermore, they tell husbands, not stimulating the clitoris "has probably cheated more women out of the exciting experience of orgasmic fulfillment than any other one thing."
2. Do your Kegel exercises, ladies. Kegel exercises tighten the muscles around your genitals. They are easy to learn, completely free, and have no negative side effects. The exercises were developed to fight urinary incontinence, but women who did them began reporting improved sex lives as well. No doubt their husbands also appreciated the tighter muscles around the vagina -- not to mention their wives' ability to contract the muscles during sex.
The LaHayes quote extensively from Ronald Deutsch, who suggests that Kegel exercises would allow women to have orgasms during intercourse. Many modern sex therapists would disagree with this view, but they do agree that Kegel exercises can help you have stronger orgasms. The bottom line: with Kegels, you get better health, better sex for your partner, and better orgasms for you. You can't go wrong.
3. Take your time, gentlemen. The LaHayes' book emphasizes the importance of slowing down before and during intercourse. As they put it, "the more a culture is masculine-oriented and views sex as existing purely for male satisfaction, the shorter the time spent in the experience.... In cultures where women are cherished and their satisfaction is sought, lovemaking is a time-consuming art."
Specifically, the LaHayes suggest that a wise husband will not attempt intercourse before his wife's inner lips are swollen to at least twice their normal size. Being lubricated is not enough. After that, they advocate another 10-15 minutes of stimulation, either by hand or through intercourse.
4. Love. The LaHayes are religious conservatives, after all. For them, sex is the act of marriage. It is sacred. It is "the most thrilling, exciting, and fulfilling experience in the world." Like all things God created, it is "very good" -- so long as it is within marriage. The key to orgasmic love? According to the LaHayes, it is the kind of unselfish love that puts your partner's pleasure first.
These principles were not discovered by conservative Protestants. Nor are they new. They are good advice, though: caress the clitoris, do Kegel exercises, take your time, and love each other. If we all followed them, there would be a lot more happy women.