The female orgasm can sometimes feel like an elusive thing. According to a study called Women’s Attributions Regarding Why They Have Difficulty Reaching Orgasm conducted by Rowland, Cempel, and Tempel, 10-40% of women report difficulty or inability to orgasm.
Although most women can masturbate their way to an orgasm, up to 50% don’t orgasm during sexual intercourse.
During the study, women were also asked to select factors that led to difficulties or inabilities to orgasm. “Stress and anxiety” was the most common reason with 58% of the women selecting that option. 48% of the women cited “lack of enough arousal or stimulation”. 40% gave the reason of “not enough time”.
Sometimes the reasons can even go beyond things happening in the bedroom. For example, there's a positive correlation between happier relationships and better sexual satisfaction. In come cases, the reasons could be internal. A 2010 study found that there was a correlation between a woman's body image and her sexual satisfaction.
Is it surprising that sexually satisfied women are also those who have high body esteem and don't think distracting "appearance-based thoughts" while having sex?
The female orgasm might seem complex, and yes, it can be. But it's also simpler than a lot of us think it is. So let's go deeper (haha... pun) into some ways you can help yourself get off when you're with a partner:
#1: Understand yourself and your body
Everyone's body is different. You might read articles that say "find the clitoris" or "find your g-spot" and yes, those work. But not everyone finds pleasure the same way. Some of us might get more aroused by kissing first, or perhaps having our nipples stimulated. Maybe even the act of giving your partner oral sex might turn you on.
Learn more about yourself. Get to know you, what you like, what you dislike, what kind of things you like to do in bed. Explore, and enjoy the exploration (just make sure everything you do is consensual). Figure out what turns you on.
#2: Ask for what you want
If you want something, ask for it. When you're in bed with your partner, tell them what you like. Communicate your desires. If you want them to keep going, there are many ways to say it: don't stop, right there, just a little bit more. Don't be afraid to get loud (unless you're in a place where loudness isn't the best).
Ask for an angle change, position change, whatever. You're more in control of your own pleasure than you think you are. If you can be a #girlboss in the boardroom, you can certainly be one in the bedroom as well.
Should we agree to stop calling it "foreplay"? The whole lead-up to when the penis goes into the vagina (or the equivalent of that) is part of the play too. And the sex is so, so much better when there's lead-up.
In a study where foreplay of married couples were examined, 1-10 minutes of foreplay led to 40% of the wives having an orgasm. This rose to 50% with 12-20 minutes of foreplay and to 60% when there was more than 20 minutes of foreplay. However, the study did also point out that it wasn't just the time spent but also the quality of the foreplay that was important.
#4: Remember the clit
This magical part of the body that seems to have no other purpose except for pleasure has about 8,000 nerve endings all concentrated on a very tiny area. When aroused, it can swell up to 300% of its normal size. If you're almost there and just need a little help to go over the edge, the clitoris just might be your emergency button. But again, not everyone is the same so figure out the best ways (and perhaps angles) to stimulate your clit to get to that O.
Sex is a two-player game. If one person's not into it, it can be hard to play. Imagine having sex with someone who's just lying there, perhaps not even looking at you, not making a sound. Doesn't sound fun. Even just moving your hips can make it a lot more fun for you and can bring you closer to that orgasm.
If you're not participating because you're not really into it, perhaps you have to ask yourself why. There could be some larger issues at play (pun unintended). Perhaps having a heart-to-heart conversation with your partner might help.
#6: Don't rush it
Sex isn't a race. There's no finish line to get to. You don't have to cum at 2200 sharp! Please, we're not in the army. Take it slow, don't pressure yourself. Enjoy whatever's happening and you're more likely to orgasm than if you keep telling yourself you need to "orgasm now!".
#7: Enjoy yourself
Stay present in the moment. Ignore the clock. Don't think about whether your butt is jiggling in a funny way or whether you've turned the porch lights on. Stop thinking about the emails you have to read or tomorrow's to-do list. There's a time and place for all that. Sex doesn't last forever so enjoy it while it's happening. You know how all these self-care and inspirational posts on Instagram tell you to stop and smell the roses? This is a rose, take it in!
Orgasm ≠ Sexual satisfaction
These tips are here to help, but they're not the bible on sex. Find what works for you.
And remember, orgasms aren't the end-all of sex, although they do feel great. It's possible to enjoy sex even if you don't have an orgasm, so don't pressure yourself to have one.