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The Female Orgasm

Despite cultural and scientific progress, there is still an air of mysticism and misconception surrounding female arousal and orgasm. Both men and women still struggle to understand what makes the female body tick.

The female orgasm requires a fair amount of patience and a grounded understanding of female pleasure and possible influences on a woman’s body. It is famously elusive, and just as famously a source of more frustration than the comparatively straightforward male orgasm.

What is it, and how does it work?

The orgasm is the peak of sexual pleasure—a series of muscle contractions brought on by continuous stimulation of one or several pleasure centres, during which endorphins are released into the bloodstream, resulting in a feeling of euphoria and relaxation (sometimes sleepiness), known as “the afterglow”.

To reach orgasm, men and women require different types of sexual stimulation, the specifics of which vary from person to person. In men, reaching climax during sexual intercourse occurs more reliably than in women, possibly because the female orgasm is not directly related to reproductive function—only the male orgasm is necessary for conception.


Sex does not guarantee orgasm for everyone involved.

Factors such as low self-esteem, lack of knowledge, feeling pressured or otherwise uncomfortable, lack of communication with one’s sexual partner, and conditions such as vaginismus, can seriously inhibit a woman’s ability to embrace sexual pleasure to a degree that allows her to reach orgasm. Most women experience their first sexual climax during masturbation. Studies show that about 10% of women report never having experienced orgasm at all.

While the ability to orgasm isn’t necessary for enjoying sexual intimacy, nor mandatory for a successful sexual relationship, there are some great perks that accompany it. Regular orgasms have been known to relieve stress and stress-induced symptoms (such as headaches), strengthen the immune system, aid sleep, and have a balancing effect on the body’s hormones.

Myths about female orgasms

Sex and female sexuality have long been taboo subjects. This has led to the perpetuation of staggeringly inaccurate myths and misconceptions surrounding la petite mort, held by men and women alike.

“Women climax every time they have sex.” Nope. Not by a long shot. Most men do, which might be why some people made the assumption that this applies to everyone. Being unable to come can be a real issue—the woman can feel pressured and insecure, and her partner may become increasingly frustrated and worried about performance. Some women fake orgasms for this reason, but that’s not a solution. Focusing on the journey instead of the “end goal” can be helpful when dealing with this kind of problem.

“Women are unable to reach orgasm at all.” False, although women do climax less frequently than men. Some find it difficult to climax in the company of a partner, and some never learn to orgasm at all. However, most women can and do orgasm fairly regularly, and tend to orgasm more frequently in long-term relationships.

“Penetration will suffice.” Most women need to stimulate the clitoris to orgasm, and although penetrative sex will most often do the job for a man, women need a little extra attention in all the right areas for that to happen. Women typically need around 20 minutes to reach orgasm. Taking things slow, engaging in foreplay, and focusing on the moment can help both partners relax and feel more comfortable with each other.


Open and honest communication is much more important than being skilled in bed. Establish an understanding with your partner, and the rest will follow.

“Orgasms are loud and obvious.” Porn and other media have popularised the idea of orgasms so intense, women can’t help but laugh, quiver, cry, scream, even lose consciousness. It’s nice to have proof that your efforts have paid off, but in reality, orgasms range from explosive to barely noticeable—depending on the way climax was reached as well as on the individual. In committed relationships, partners learn pick up on subtle signs that indicate their lover is enjoying themselves.

Physical stimulation

Most women require clitoral stimulation to get to the big O, but it is possible to reach climax through stimulation of other parts of the body. Different kinds of stimulation result in different orgasmic sensations that vary in length and intensity, are localised or a general bodily euphoria.

Clitoral orgasm. The clitoris is is estimated to have around 8,000 sensory nerve endings, and usually serves as the main source of female pleasure. The part visible on the outside of the body is the clitoral glans, which is roughly the size of a pea and is located at the top of the inner vaginal lips, just above the urethra. Internally, it extends down for about 9 centimeters into the tissues above and around the vaginal opening.

The only purpose of the clitoris is to provide pleasure, and it does so very well—if you know what to do with it. A small and concentrated pleasure centre, it may not always be easy to find, especially for those who don’t have one themselves. Some women have extremely sensitive clitorises and have trouble maintaining continuous stimulation without feeling like it’s “too much” or experiencing pain. Starting slow and building gradually in rhythm and intensity is always a good tactic, and lubrication is generally a good idea.

Cunnilingus, for example, includes lubrication in the form of saliva, and the tongue is softer than fingertips (which can have rough enough skin to be unpleasant against the clitoris). Most women agree that the most important part of clitoral stimulation is that it be steady and consistent, especially when nearing orgasm—but always, always communicate with your partner about what you’re doing, and listen to the feedback she gives.


Vaginal (G-spot) orgasm. The G-spot is the name given to the small, nerve-rich area typically 5-8 cm up the anterior vaginal wall. This kind of climax is notoriously difficult to achieve. Officially, there is some debate as to whether the G-spot orgasm even exists, but many women claim to have experienced it—it’s just that there’s a learning curve, and certain prerequisites that may apply to some women more than others.

It should be noted, however, that some women may confuse a clitoral orgasm with a vaginal one if the clitoral glans is inadvertently stimulated during penetration. Additionally, stimulating the G-spot might be stimulating the internal part of the clitoris, so the vaginal orgasm may just be a different kind of clitoral orgasm. It’s safe to say more research is needed on the subject.

There are several tools and techniques that can help achieve vaginal climax. G-spot sex toys have a curve to them that makes it easier to reach the anterior vaginal wall. Fingers inserted into the vagina, making a “come hither” or circular motion, are said to be effective, as are sex positions that facilitate putting pressure on that area. In some cases, stimulating the G-spot can lead to...

Female ejaculation. This is the expulsion of fluid through a woman’s urethra during arousal or orgasm. There are two types of female ejaculate—squirting fluid (colourless, odorless, expelled in large quantities), and ejaculate fluid (thick and milky, expelled in small amounts). Although collected in the bladder, these fluids are different from urine. Female ejaculation is a perfectly normal phenomenon, but not all women experience it—for those who do, the first time may come as a surprise.

Anal orgasm. The anus is among the most sensitive erogenous zones in the body. Contrary to popular belief, anal play doesn’t necessarily need to involve penetration. Most of the anal nerve endings are actually on the outside of the body—less invasive methods, such as rubbing or oral stimulation, may be the way to go if participants are inexperienced or hesitant to engage in penetrative sex.

Penetrative anal sex can be very painful for the recipient if they haven’t had a chance to relax. Feeling comfortable with the situation is crucial—the anus has an external sphincter, which can be voluntarily controlled, and an internal sphincter, which cannot, and will remain constricted unless the recipient is willing and relaxed. Forcing penetration can result in a trip to the hospital!


The anal walls are delicate and prone to tearing. Anal penetration without adequate preparation can cause irreparable damage.

There is definitely a psychological element to successful (read: pleasurable to all involved) anal penetration. It is strongly recommended that participants make plenty of time for relaxation, and take a gradual approach to stimulation and penetration. Some women may require clitoral stimulation in parallel to anal stimulation to achieve orgasm. Using plenty of lubrication is also important—unlike the vagina, the anus is not self-lubricating.

Even an “emptied” anus contains traces of fecal bacteria. Some people like use an anal douche before anal sex not only for hygienic reasons, but also to lessen the chance of any unfortunate accidents. Washing thoroughly with soap is a must after anal play, especially if you plan to engage in vaginal sex afterwards—the vaginal microflora is not equipped to handle the bacteria that reside inside the anus.

Other erogenous zones of the body can be stimulated to reach the height of pleasure. These vary from person to person, but there are some parts of the body that are more likely to be erogenous than others.

  • The mouth. There’s a reason kissing is such a big part of romantic culture.
  • Breasts & nipples are sensitive and will respond to touch. Some women can reach orgasm by nipple stimulation alone.
  • The labia. Both inner and outer vaginal lips may benefit from attention during oral sex, but not all women find it pleasant.
  • The cervix. Cervical orgasm can occur during deep vaginal penetration.
  • The U-spot, also known as the urethra, may be a source of pleasure because of its proximity to the clitoris.
  • The A-spot, or the anterior fornix, is located near the deepest point on the anterior wall of the vagina, just where it starts to curve upward.
  • The neck & ears are also well-known sensitive regions.

Blended orgasms occur when several erogenous areas of woman’s body are stimulated at the same time. It is believed that this type of orgasm is more intense and longer-lasting than a typical orgasm.

Multiple orgasms can be sequential (when the orgasm is followed by a pause, and then another orgasm) or serial (one orgasm after another with no rest in between).

Mental stimulation

Even when stimulating well-established erogenous zones, climax may be difficult or impossible to achieve without a complementary mindset. Emotional and psychological comfort are important components of physical pleasure.


Don’t participate in any sexual (including non-physical) activity that makes you uncomfortable. Your body, your rules.

In some circumstances, the right mindset can lead to orgasm without any physical stimulation. Associations with certain words, images, or situations are frequently utilized to induce and facilitate arousal and pleasure, and can become strong enough to trigger orgasm on their own. People often accompany touch with dirty talk, and a vivid imagination can make full use of a suggestive image.

Sexual fantasies, especially recurring ones, can provide a safe space for anything and everything that turns people on, even in the subconscious. Sensual dreams are fairly common. One can become increasingly aroused during an intense erotic dream and physically climax in their sleep, or wake up climaxing. During sleep, we process any information we’ve gathered during the day—that includes sexual frustration. The disconnectedness of sleep provides an opportunity for the mind to freely traverse sexual fantasies that might feel inappropriate in waking life.

When things get problematic

Pleasure is fluid. There are a billion things that can affect one’s experiences with a partner, or while pleasuring themselves. Sometimes these influences can make one lose interest in sex, or “block” the ability to orgasm.

Anorgasmia (or anorgasmy) is the medical term for consistent failure to orgasm despite of sexual stimulation—a psychosexual dysfunction that has psychological/emotional origins in stress, depression, anxiety, fatigue, fear, trauma, or other negative experiences.

There are different types of anorgasmia:

  • Lifelong anorgasmia—a total lack of orgasm.
  • Acquired anorgasmia—an acquired inability to orgasm.
  • Situational anorgasmia—an inability to orgasm except in certain circumstances.

Relationship issues are often to blame. A poor connection with one’s partner, unresolved conflicts, an inability to talk about one’s sexual needs and preferences, adultery and infidelity, and violence are more than enough to create this kind of psychological barrier.

Other situational factors, such as mental health problems, different stressors, alcohol abuse, poor body image, past bodily trauma or surgery, and religious or cultural beliefs that see sexuality and pleasure as shameful can also have a negative impact.

Aging or serious illnesses, such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease may interfere with pleasure, as well as the use of certain prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications, such as anti-allergic or anti-psychotic drugs, or blood pressure medications.

Your body is your oyster

One of the most important steps you can take towards reaching earth-shattering orgasms is loving yourself. Appreciating your body and mind makes it much easier to listen to the signals they’re giving you, which, in turn, makes it much easier to come.

You can track your sex life using WomanLog. Download WomanLog now:

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https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anorgasmia/symptoms-causes/syc-20369422