We know how significantly the wage gap has impacted women in society, but have you ever thought about the orgasm gap? Model, actor and musician, Cara Delevingne has and in response, they are donating their orgasm to science as part of Planet Sex, a six-part television series, which the gender-fluid LGBTQ+ icon describes as life-changing. Produced by Naked Television (a Fremantle label) and Milkshake Productions for BBC Three, this “intimate and inclusive” series will take the 30-year-old on an immersive journey through the world of sex.
See Cara participate in her very own climax investigation in Germany, view vagina art in Japan, uncover the secrets of women-only sex clubs, participate in masturbatory masterclasses and discover insights into what ethical porn entails. Planet Sex sees Cara Delevingne explore big questions about human sexuality across a six-part series that examines critical societal issues like relationships, sex appeal, and the popularity of pornography. With episode one, titled “The Orgasm Gap”, dropping soon via SBS On Demand, viewers will get an unfiltered and authentic inside look into how little we truly know about sex.
“I felt like I knew so much about what was happening, what the stats were or what the general consensus was of people around the world,” said Cara to the BBC. “But I realised I knew way less than I thought about everyone else and also way less about myself.”
“Prepare for a shock.”
But what is the orgasm gap? Also known as the gender climax gap, it investigates the disparity of sexual satisfaction amongst heterosexual couples. “Well, prepare for a shock,” said Cara. “When it comes to the orgasm, there is a definite gender gap.”
“Scientists say that 95 per cent of straight men orgasm during intercourse but only 65 per cent of straight women do.” Moreover, data figures published by Forbes say 9 per cent of women said they always orgasm when they masturbate, compared to 6 per cent during sex. Another study also revealed that 20 per cent of women said they don’t orgasm, compared to 2 per cent of men.
Why? Because humans know very little about the female orgasm, with a recent study revealing the clitoris contains 20 per cent more pleasure-producing nerve endings than previously thought. And while this may be due to a male-dominated medical field, as suggested by Dr Blair Peters (lead study author from the OHSU School of Medicine), Cara reckons the blame comes from both sides.
“You can’t just sit there and blame men,” said Cara. “You also have to look at women and see how we’ve been trained to not ask for what we need, or not talk about what we want, or even know what we want. We always go for ‘less than’”, which, in her opinion, ultimately results in sex servicing men above women.
Though if you ask her, “Lesbians and queer women definitely seem to have it better.”
Assisting heterosexual women in their quest for sexual equality, The Orgasm Gap episode sees Cara donate a sample of her blood before and after orgasm to study the effects climaxing has on the body. Something Cara found much more manageable than “getting emotional”.
“I find (having an orgasm) way easier than getting vulnerable because that is science, and I’m excited by that,” said Cara. “Having an orgasm for my job, that’s easy. Being vulnerable and opening up, that’s way harder.”
Surprisingly, the experiment measures the level of endocannabinoids in her system before and after orgasm. Endocannabinoids are chemicals that boost the pleasure experienced during intercourse and decrease anxiety, just like the active component in cannabis.
“There’s no such thing as good or bad gay.”
In episode two, titled “Out and Proud”, Cara explores sexual orientation and how fluid these definitions are becoming. “In the past, it has been such a black and white topic where people would – and still do – say, “I’m 100 per cent gay”, or “I’m 100 per cent straight”, without trying the other side”, commented the queer community advocate, who during filming participated in her first Pride event.
“I’m not saying you have to go to Pride to be a “good gay”,” said Cara. “There’s no such thing as good or bad gay, but I just felt that there was more that I could have done with my voice and my platform.”
Episode three then dives into the wide world of online porn and whether or not it can be considered a good thing. Despite the educational value of the internet, Cara describes porn as “dangerous”.
“The internet and what it can be used for in educational ways is amazing, but that whole system and that whole world is so dark and so sad.”
When asked about porn often revolving around women just being there to please the man and “aggressive language”, Cara responded that women’s “whole mindset” needs to be changed. “Very strong women can love to be objectified, and that’s fine if that’s their choice,” she said. “But it’s how you can feel powerful in objectification without buying into this toxic culture.”
“Make sure that you pay for what you’re looking at.”
It’s this toxic porn culture that seemingly paved the way for “ethical” porn, which puts a big emphasis on consent before filming. “I loved that they were so open about it,” commented Cara, whose ‘sex party in the seventies’ fantasy would become the basis for a new film by ethical porn director Erika Lust.
However, Cara does raise one concern with porn that is difficult for even the most ethical pornos to overcome–money. “I don’t know many young people who want to pay for porn. That’s the problem here”, said Cara. “(Free streaming sites) are the ones which are male-dominated, and the people appearing in them get no rights.”
According to Erika, “if you want to make sure that the production companies take care of the performers, that they’re paid fairly, that they care about everybody involved, then you have to make sure that you pay for what you’re looking at.”
“Everything was so gendered.”
Episode 4, titled “What’s Your Gender?” dives into what it means to be a boy/man, girl/ woman. And just so we’re clear, “sex” refers to the biological and physiological differences between males and females, including their reproductive systems, chromosomes, hormones, etc. While “gender” refers to the socially constructed qualities of women and men – such as conventions, roles, and connections of and between groups of women and men.
During her youth, Cara felt different as a little girl, wondering why “everything was so gendered”. But nowadays, she loves “playing with the extremes of gender.”
“I love dressing up. My tits are huge at the moment, and I love looking like Jessica Rabbit sometimes. I also love wearing a red lip and a power suit or being a drag king for a night. I love playing those extremes of gender.”
But the episode gets personal when Cara is asked to imagine telling her friends and family that she would transition as a man. Comparing it to coming out to your parents, Cara said she found it difficult to “imagine what trans people have to go through a lot of the time.”
“It’s just horrible,” she said. “How dare anyone tell someone that they are less of a person than anyone else because of how they feel inside?” Being gender-fluid and queer-gendered, Cara doesn’t feel that pronouns should determine what a person wears. “If your pronouns are women’s pronouns (you shouldn’t) have to behave in or dress in a certain way. That’s kind of what I believe.”
“Your love is not a bind.”
Episode 5 steps away from changing genders to explore Monogamy and the rise of Polyamorous relationships, which Cara likens to having an open conversation. “To have a constant open dialogue and conversation is the way to stop things from leading to cheating and breaking someone’s trust.”
“There are no rules, that’s the thing. You can be in a monogamous relationship, and that might change. It’s just taught me that you’re not obliged to be with someone, your love is not a bind, and you can also be honest about the way you feel.”
The final episode, “Do You Think I’m Hot?” is about feeling more accepting of oneself. Discussing plastic surgery and getting older, Cara said, “it’s more that I love myself the way I am.”
“I really do think beauty is far more than skin deep, and I feel more of a beautiful person because I’m not a bad person rather than because of the way I look.”
Despite spending most of her career in front of the camera, Cara described her first present role as “very awkward.”
“Education is power.”
“I just was very, very nervous”, said Cara. “I had to strip back everything I’ve ever learned and just be myself, which is very energetic, inquisitive, curious and vulnerable.” She hopes to invoke similar feelings in those who watch the series, even if they “disagree”.
“I just want people to know the stats, to be educated”, said Cara. “Because, really, education is power. It’s something that can really free you. If we can change anyone’s mind to be more willing to accept themselves or someone else, that’s all I want.”
In its entirety, Planet Sex will be a series that explores several different and equally essential questions in the world of sex and dating. With attention-grabbing episode descriptions like Cara donating her orgasm for science and an ethical porn director creating a film inspired by Cara’s sexual fantasies, there are plenty of wonderous sensations to behold. But we’re sure there will be more than a few viewers who will walk away having learned much more than they ever expected to.