The female orgasm can be a mysterious and intimidating prospect. Your partner may seem to be having a good time, but then she’s not finishing, maybe ever. And that can be a bit of a blow to the ego. Is there a mysterious code to achieving the female orgasm? And what makes it so complicated?
Turns out, quite a lot. The reality is most women don’t reach orgasm — at least through sex alone — says Emily Morse. sexologist, host of the Sex With Emily podcast and Hustler Hollywood Contributor. “Between 70-80% of women do not achieve orgasm from vaginal intercourse alone,” says Morse.
We have to get a lot more going in our sex equation. “Adding in extra clitoral stimulation either with hands, mouth or toys can certainly help women climax while with a partner either while having intercourse or through foreplay,” says Morse. Oral sex is also a winner, so is nipple stimulation. “Women’s brains process nipple and genital stimulation in the same region of the brain. So this can lead many women to experience nipple orgasms, as well,” says Morse.
When we orgasm, it is a response of the nervous system to sexual stimulation. Both men and women can experience orgasm under certain conditions, typically following genital stimulation, but there is a lot of variation in people’s orgasm experiences, says Justin Garcia, Scientific Advisor for Match.com.
“In scientific terms, orgasm is characterized by subjective feelings of intense sensation and pleasure, including a sudden discharge of accumulated erotic tension at sexual climax and a temporarily altered state of consciousness. Orgasm is generally comprised of a series of psychophysiological responses, including genital reactivity, involuntary rhythmic contractions of pelvic musculature, changes in heart rate and blood pressure, and neurohormonal activation/deactivation,” says Garcia.
The Different Kinds Of Orgasms
Women vary quite a bit on what type of sexual activities lead to orgasm. “Research is mixed on this, but the best evidence suggest that most women do not reach orgasm from penetrative intercourse alone,” says Garcia. “Women’s orgasm often requires clitoral stimulation, so stimulation of the clitoral glans (the visible part of the clitoris) by women themselves or by their partner, and this might include manual stimulation or by receiving oral sex, is quite effective in inducing orgasm. Some women experience orgasm just from penetrative vaginal intercourse, possibly by stimulating the internal part of the clitoral organ,” Garcia says.
“Clitoral orgasms are considered the most common of all orgasms for women and most say that they require some stimulation of this sensitive organ in order to climax,” says Dr. Jess, Astroglide’s Resident Sexologist, who explains some women experience clitoral orgasms during intercourse, but many positions don’t provide enough friction or stroking to take her over the edge. There is good news, however, as there are a few simple solutions: Get creative and involve cunnilingus, fingering and vibrator play into your next date, and you are more likely to lead her to orgasm, says Dr. Jess. “Or simply lend a hand and reach down during intercourse to add direct clitoral stimulation into the mix,” she says.
Vaginal orgasms are not invariably distinct from clitoral ones and there is a great deal of overlap between these interconnected erogenous zones, says Dr. Jess. “Research suggests that vaginal penetration alone results in orgasm for approximately one-third of women, but this figure may be misleading, as the vagina and clitoris are not only close neighbors, but are, in fact, connected by a number of nerve pathways and muscular structures! The corpora cavernosa of the clitoris, which are two sponge-like tubes that form the erectile tissue of its body are located around the vaginal canal,” Dr Jess says.
Women Who Never Reach Orgasm
The realities for women vary, says Garcia. “There are some women who never experience orgasm. There are some women who experience orgasm during masturbation but not with a partner. There are some women who experience orgasm during sexual activity but not from penetration. There are some women who only experience orgasm with penetration. There are many women who vary, from one day to another and from one partner to another, depending on other physiological and psychological factors,” Garcia says.
There has been a lot of new research on orgasm the past few years about the female orgasm, says Garcia. “We now understand that orgasm is a both a biological and psychosocial experience. Studies have shown that psychological state, including whether someone is distracted or if they feel ashamed about engaging in sex in the first place (e.g., the sexual double standard), might limit the ability to experience orgasm,” says Garcia.
“Further, new research shows that relationship context matters a lot too (i.e., Elizabeth Armstrong and colleagues have shown that women orgasm at much lower rates during sexual hookups than during romantic relationship sex).” So, tell her you love her, it may lead to better sex!