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I wouldn't ask "better", because that's subjective. But anyway, this is something I've heard again and again, and it sounds plausible, but I have never found any scientific studies in the area. I've seen people say that of course they do, and some say that it differs from person to person, but isn't gender specific. I can't think of any evolutionary reason why it might be so, and I've also considered a possibility that it might just be woman's reactions to orgasms that make it appear as though theirs are more powerful.

So, are there any studies in the area? If so, what are their results? Obviously, people can't have experiences as both, so I'm willing to accept that no one has yet come up with a suitable way to test this, if that is the case. On the other hand, I'd be surprised if no one had at least tried.

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better is subjective but powerful isnt? Is there some measure of power we should be using? At very least power is relative, and if so what are we ralating it to? A Mans orgasm? Back to a reliable measurement of power. –  Jamiec May 24 '12 at 11:02
    
Measuring the orgasm i an MRI scan comes to mind. –  Zano May 24 '12 at 11:17
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@Zano I don’t know about you but personally I feel a bit inhibited when lying in an MRI scanner. ;-) This is the problem with these studies, they don’t replicate realistic conditions. This makes their interpretation rather tenuous. –  Konrad Rudolph May 24 '12 at 12:12
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The is a question about electricity generated, right? :P –  Mark Rogers May 24 '12 at 14:40
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@KonradRudolph: I invoke rule 34 on MRI scanners. –  Zano May 25 '12 at 8:14

1 Answer 1

up vote 32 down vote accepted

Mah and Binik have an excellent survey paper on the research related to human orgasm. Section 1.3.2 is dedicated to comparing the experiences of male vs. female orgasms. While they report that most studies conclude that there is more variance in the qualitative experience of female orgasm, it is also claimed that

...the scant research comparing male and female orgasm experiences demonstrates striking similarity between male and female accounts and suggests that male orgasm experiences are not completely determined by ejaculatory events. In the studies of Vance and Wagner (1976) and Proctor, Wagner, and Butler (1973), medical students, obstetrician–gynecologists, and psychologists were unable to differentiate between descriptions of orgasm written by male and female students.
[Emphasis added by me.]

As far as duration, the physical effects actually appear to be longer in men:

Average contractile duration was 16.7 seconds in females and 25 seconds in males (cf. [Bohlen et al., 1980], [Bohlen et al., 1982] and [Carmichael et al., 1994]).

however, it should be noted that the neurochemical and hormonal effects (which are much harder to measure) may have different durations.

As far as whether or not women are more prone to having multiple orgasms, that is still a somewhat open question. It is clear that women are quite capable of multiple orgasm, however, there is still variance. Men have been observed to have multiple orgasms (even in the laboratory), however, there are not enough studies yet to make any conclusions about its prevalence. Furthermore, there is not even an accepted definition for what constitutes "multiple orgasm". From the survey:

The biological capacity for multiple orgasm in women appears to be upheld, though there are individual differences ( [Masters & Johnson, 1966] and [Sherfey, 1972]; cf. [Amberson & Hoon, 1985], [Bohlen et al., 1982], [Darling et al., 1991] and [Hite, 1976]). While male orgasm is usually followed by a refractory period, male multiple orgasm with and without ejaculation has been described in a few uncontrolled self-report studies [Dunn & Trost, 1989], [Hite, 1981] and [Robbins & Jensen, 1978]. Kinsey et al. (1948) reported the occurrence of multiple orgasm in just over 55% of pre-adolescent males but in substantially fewer adult males, about 3% of men over the age of 30. Male multiple orgasm was reportedly observed in one laboratory study (Robbins & Jensen, 1978), but only a single subject was involved, and results were difficult to interpret. Operational definitions of multiple orgasm vary greatly [Amberson & Hoon, 1985], [Dunn & Trost, 1989] and [Robbins & Jensen, 1978], and so interpretations about findings are difficult to make.
[Emphasis added by me.]

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The mind boggles at the ethical implications of arriving at the 55% statistic for pre-adolescent males... –  Benjol Dec 18 '12 at 8:54
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@Benjol Masturbation is a biological norm for pre-adolescent human males. –  kubanczyk Dec 18 '12 at 13:20
    
@Benjol and no one had to worry about IRBs back in 1948. –  ESultanik Jan 4 '13 at 0:04

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