Happy National Orgasm Day! Yup, July 31 is the one day of the year dedicated to praising orgasms. Although fun holidays like this one and others in the same vein—National Margarita Day, anyone?—aren’t as established as, say, the Fourth of July, they’re still worth celebrating. And when it comes to National Orgasm Day, the best way to celebrate is by hanging out in bed (or in the kitchen, or on the living room rug, or some other inventive locale) and having an experience that redefines the word “climax.”
1. Make it a point to masturbate.
Touching yourself solo can help you understand exactly what you do or don’t like in a way partnered sex can’t. “Getting to know your own body and the type of pressure and friction that feel good really sets a template for knowing how to arouse yourself and have an orgasm during sex,” sex therapist and licensed marriage and family therapist Ian Kerner, Ph.D., author of She Comes First, tells SELF.
2. Fantasize without guilt.
Fantasies can help you forget about the anxieties of day-to-day life, feel less inhibited, and home in on your pleasure, Jessica O’Reilly, Ph.D., Astroglide’s resident sex and relationship expert, tells SELF. “Thinking about a sex act isn’t a sign that you want to live it out in real life, and fantasizing about people other than your current partner is not cheating,” she says.
Kerner agrees. “Don’t underestimate power of mental arousal,” he says. If you’re not sure what gets you going, O’Reilly recommends reading up on Literotica.com for inspiration.
3. Insist upon foreplay so you can get super turned on.
Foreplay primes your body to have the best orgasm possible. “For orgasm to happen, two processes need to occur in parallel,” says Kerner. One is vasocongestion, or blood flow, to the genitals, and the other is myotonia, or muscular tension, he explains. “You can certainly achieve the minimum amount of these necessary to have an orgasm, or you can push beyond that and generate even more vasocongestion, myotonia, and arousal than usual.”
Taking enough time to get as turned on as possible gives your body a chance to maximize these feel-good processes. That extra blood flow increases sensitivity, and the tenser your muscles are, the more likely you’ll feel a huge sense of release during orgasm. Kerner suggests thinking of your entire body as an erogenous zone instead of jumping into the wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am type of deal.
4. Get used to being a little bit selfish—not just in bed, but in life.
“Many of us are so concerned with pleasing our partners that our own pleasure becomes secondary,” says O’Reilly. “As you learn to accept help or pleasure outside of the bedroom, you’ll become more comfortable receiving pleasure during sexual activity with a partner.”
She recommends tactics like asking your partner for a quick massage without feeling like you always have to return the favor, accepting help other people offer up, and learning to say no when someone has a request that really inconveniences you (and that you actually want to say no to, we’re not trying to create a monster here). “Learning to accept help, support, and pleasure is essential to orgasm,” says O’Reilly.
5. Figure out exactly what your clitoris likes.
Kerner calls the clitoris “the powerhouse of the female orgasm,” and for good reason. “Think of the clitoris as the kindling in the campfire that gets the blaze going,” he says. Also, as O’Reilly notes, “Research shows that lesbians have more orgasmsthan women who have sex with men, suggesting that penis-in-vagina isn’t the ultimate path to orgasm.” While many women need direct clitoral stimulation to orgasm, that can mean different things to different people. Determine what it means for you, then make sure either you or your partner incorporates that during sex. “Even if you’re having intercourse, you can reach down and rub your clit with your fingers or a vibrator,” says O’Reilly. It’s also possible that your clitoris wants less action sometimes—learn to listen to her.
6. But don’t only focus on your clitoris—make sure to mind your mons.
O’Reilly suggests stimulating your pubic mound (aka mons pubis), too. “That fleshy area above your lips is primed to help you enjoy orgasm,” she says. “As you grind against it—use your hands or rub it against your partner’s pubic mound depending on what position you’re in—you simultaneously tug on the hood that covers your clitoral head and shaft.” It can create a kind of stroking motion that she likens to a penis getting a hand job. And beyond the pubic mound, definitely explore toying around with your labia, too.
7. Bring in the G-spot for reinforcement.
Many scientists think the famed G-spot is actually an internal extension of the clitoris, but all that really matters is that paying it attention feels really good for some people. The easiest way to tap into that pleasure is by inserting your index finger (or having a partner insert theirs) a few inches into your vagina, palm up, and curl your finger in a come-hither motion.
“Combining clitoral stimulation with G-spot stimulation can give you the feeling of that blended orgasm,” says Kerner. It may feel strange to mix those types of stimulation at first, but if you’re intrigued, remember that practice often makes perfect.
8. Switch up your sex positions.
“If you normally have sex on your back, flip over onto your stomach to discover new sensations,” says O’Reilly. She notes that a small 2011 study published in the Journal of Sex Medicine used MRI imaging with an interesting result: “The research suggests that the pleasure pathways related to the clitoris and G-spot are different,” she explains. Experimenting with different sex positions and the parts they stimulate might change up, and even amplify, your pleasure.
9. Don’t be too shy to use your hand or a vibrator during sex.
This can be the key to wait-what’s-my-name-again kind of orgasms, but you might be apprehensive about using one while you’re with a partner. “You can use a vibrator to enhance sex without being dependent on it,” says Kerner. One way to make both of you feel more comfortable is by starting to use it before intercourse begins, if it’s on the menu, and even using it on your partner to show them the light (especially helpful if you’re having sex with a guy). You can also use a vibrating penis ring or couple’s vibrator so your partner feels more included.
10. Lastly, do your Kegels.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: The pelvic floor muscles are the most important muscles many women forget to exercise. Kegels give your pelvic floor a workout, which can potentially lead to better orgasms. Here’s the right way to do Kegel exercises, plus a few tips for a regimen you can use regularly so your pelvic floor actually gets stronger.