Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux in “Blue is the Warmest Colour”.
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Five theories as to why lesbians are more likely to orgasm than straight women

A recent study by the Kinsey Institute has found that lesbians are much more likely to orgasm during sex than either straight or bisexual women.

Merry early Christmas, lesbians. According to a recent study, we’re more likely to orgasm during sex than our straight female friends. Researchers at the Kinsey Institute (yes, the scale guys) surveyed over 6,000 men and women about their sex lives and, boo-yah, the lesbians were revealed to be quite good at coming. Not as good as men, apparently, but still not at all bad. The survey found that the probability of a lesbian having an orgasm during sex with a familiar partner is 75 per cent, compared to 62 per cent for straight women and 58 per cent for bisexual women. While it’s mysterious that bi women came bottom, I’d suggest that a survey of a few thousand people isn’t exactly exhaustive. But still, here are my five theories as to why The Gays beat other women at orgasms. And please note, my only authority here is that I’m a lesbian who sometimes has sex.



An obvious one. When two women bump junk, the chance of oral sex being involved is high. According to a survey by vlogger Arielle Scarcella, straight women are less likely to be into it, or (possibly more accurately) their boyfriends aren’t all that forthcoming. Scarcella didn’t so much find that straight women prefer penetrative to oral sex, as that they’re socially conditioned not to expect or even ask for the latter. There are two problems here. Firstly, oral sex is fantastic. Seriously, straight women, if you’re not getting it, you should go on sex strike or something. Secondly, women have just got to be better at it. Would you rather be shown around an aquarium by a marine biologist or a postman? Please pick the marine biologist. Also, let her go down on you behind the shark tank.



Have you ever found yourself picking up sex tips from terrible porn? If you’re a lesbian, I bet you anything you haven’t. To real-life gay women, the majority of lesbian porn is laughable. No less silly, of course, than straight porn. When I was at uni, my housemates and I used to play something called (catchily) “The Inappropriate Porn Music Game”. This involved playing YouPorn videos on mute, while choosing our own soundtrack. The more incongruous, the better. I’d worked out that porn wasn’t always about sex, way before watching a man hump a microwave to “Video Killed The Radio Star”.

I find that lesbians (and women in general, for that matter) tend to be a lot more cynical towards the sex industry. This includes the ability to spot a stupid sex tip a mile off. Men, I’ve been led to believe, are more naïve.


Using our words

Lesbians love talking sex nearly as much as straight men enjoy talking Carling and novelty boxers. The only good sex advice I’ve ever had has been from other gay girls. Get pretty much any lesbian a bit drunk, and you’ll find that she has more opinions on fingering than you thought humanly possible. This converts to excellent (and seriously explicit) communication, bedroom-wise.



I’ve had more than one straight friend tell me about an ex-boyfriend who wasn’t interested in making her come. And, if a society that treats women as secondary is anything to go by, I imagine that this is a common problem. It’s hardly surprising for sexist power structures to slug their way into bedrooms. After all, how else would we produce fictional sex bastards like Christian Grey? Remove that socially ingrained interplay, as you can do with a lesbian couple, and you’re left with two people who dearly want to make each other’s genitals happy.


Sticking it to The Man

When you’re constantly told that lesbian sex isn’t “real”, or that it’s some kind of novelty, it’s hard not to want to do a bit of debunking. So when two women have sex, they’re partly proving a point, even if the whole of society isn’t peering in through the window and jotting down notes. And it turns out that wanting to prove a point is mightily conducive to doing something well.

Eleanor Margolis is a freelance journalist, whose "Lez Miserable" column appears weekly on the New Statesman website.

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“A cursed project”: a short history of the Facebook “like” button

Mark Zuckerberg didn't like it, it used to be called the “awesome button”, and FriendFeed got there first. 

The "like" button is perhaps the simplest of the website's features, but it's also come to define it. Companies vie for your thumbs up. Articles online contain little blue portals which send your likes back to Facebook. The action of "liking" something is seen to have such power that in 2010, a class action lawsuit was filed against Facebook claiming teenagers should not be able to "like" ads without parental consent. 

And today, Facebook begins trials of six new emoji reaction buttons which join the like button at the bottom of posts, multiplying its potential meanings by seven: 

All this makes it a little surprising that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent a good portion of the noughties giving the like button a thumbs down. According to Andrew Bosworth, Vice President of Advertising and Pages at Facebook (and known simply as "Boz") it took nearly two years to get the concept of an approval button for posts off the ground.

In a fascinating Quora thread, Boz explains that the idea of a star, plus sign or thumbs up for posts first came up in July 2007, three years after "TheFacebook" launched in 2004. Throughout these initial discussions, the proposed bursts of positivity was referred to as an "awesome button". A few months later someone floated the word "like" as a replacement, but, according to Boz, it received a "lukewarm" reception. 

The team who ran the site's News Feed feature were keen, as it would help rank posts based on popularity. The ad team, meanwhile, thought "likes" could improve clickthrough rates on advertisements. But in November 2007, the engineering team presented the new feature to Mark Zuckerberg, and, according to Boz, the final review "[didn't] go well". The CEO was concerned about overshadowing the Facebook "share" and comment features - perhaps people would just "awesome" something, rather than re-posting the content or writing a message. He also wanted more clarification on whether others would see your feedback or not. After this meeting, Boz writes, "Feature development as originally envisioned basically stops". 

The teams who wanted the button forged ahead with slightly different features. If you were an early user, you might remember that News Feed items and ads collected positive or negative feedback from you, but this wasn't then displayed to other users. This feature was "ineffective", Boz writes, and was eventually shut down. 

So when Jonathan Piles, Jaren Morgenstern and designer Soleio took on the like button again in December 2008, many were skeptical: this was a "cursed project", and would never make it past a sceptical Zuckerberg. Their secret weapon, however was data scientist Itamar Rosenn, who provided data to show that a like button wouldn't reduce the number of comments on a post. - that, in fact, it increased the number of comments, as likes would boost a popular post up through the News Feed. Zuckerberg's fears that a lower-impact feedback style would discourage higher value interactions like reposting or commenting were shown to be unfounded. 

A bigger problem was that FriendFeed, a social aggregator site which shut down in April 2015, launched a "like" feature in October 2007, a fact which yielded some uncomfortable media coverage when Facebook's "like" finally launched. Yet Boz claims that no one at Facebook clocked onto FriendFeed's new feature: "As far as I can tell from my email archives, nobody at FB noticed. =/". 

Finally, on 9 February 2009, "like" launched with a blogpost, "I like this", from project manager Leah Pearlman who was there for the first "awesome button" discussions back in 2007. Her description of the button's purpose is a little curious, because it frames the feature as a kind of review: 

This is similar to how you might rate a restaurant on a reviews site. If you go to the restaurant and have a great time, you may want to rate it 5 stars. But if you had a particularly delicious dish there and want to rave about it, you can write a review detailing what you liked about the restaurant. We think of the new "Like" feature to be the stars, and the comments to be the review.

Yet as we all know, there's no room for negative reviews on Facebook - there is no dislike button, and there likely never will be. Even in the preliminary announcements about the new emoji reactions feature, Zuckerberg has repeatedly made clear that "dislike" is not a Facebook-worthy emotion: "We didn’t want to just build a Dislike button because we don’t want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts. That doesn’t seem like the kind of community we want to create."

Thanks to the new buttons, you can be angry, excited, or in love with other people's content, but the one thing you can't do is disapprove of its existence. Championing positivity is all well and good, but Zuckerberg's love of the "like" has more to do with his users' psychology than it does a desire to make the world a happier place. Negative feedback drives users away, and thumbs-down discourages posting. A "dislike" button could slow the never-ending stream of News Feed content down to a trickle - and that, after all, is Facebook's worst nightmare. 

Barbara Speed is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman and a staff writer at CityMetric.