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How to Have An Orgasm

Types of female orgasm and how to have an orgasm. And find out why women fake orgasms.

... for both women and men

Hers: a female orgasm can be frustratingly evasive. While about 85 to 90 percent of women are capable of having an orgasm, according to Beverly Whipple, Ph.D., vice president of the World Association for Sexology, only about one-third have had one during intercourse. That said, it's important to remember that orgasm should never be the goal.

"In goal-oriented sexual interactions, each step leads to the top step, or the big "O" -- orgasm," says Whipple. "Goal-oriented people who don't reach the top step don't feel very good about the process that has occurred. Whereas for people who are pleasure oriented, any activity can be an end in itself; it doesn't have to lead to something else. Sometimes, we're very satisfied holding hands or cuddling. There would be a lot more pleasure in this world if people would just focus on the process."

Whipple also points out that the psychological ramifications of dissatisfying sexual interactions are not often suffered alone; they can cause distress in both partners. "If one person in a relationship is goal-oriented and the other is pleasure-oriented, and neither is aware of their own orientation, they don't communicate that with their partner," she explains. "A lot of relationship problems can develop. In my workshops with couples, I help them be aware of how they view sexual interactions and then communicate this with their partner."


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Types of Orgasm

Clitoral Orgasm

The most common, they result from directly stimulating the clitoris and surrounding tissue. What many people don't realize is that the majority of the clitoris is actually hidden inside the woman's body. Recently, Australian urologist Helen O'Connell, M.M.E.D., studied cadavers and 3-D photography and found that the clitoris is attached to an inner mound of erectile tissue the size of your first thumb joint. That tissue has two legs or crura that extend another 11 centimeters. In addition, two clitoral bulbs -- also composed of erectile tissue -- run down the area just outside the vagina.

O'Connell's findings, published in the Journal of Urology, show that this erectile tissue, plus the surrounding muscle tissue, all contribute to orgasmic muscle spasms. With so much tissue involved in a clitoral orgasm, it's no wonder they're the easiest to have.

Pelvic Floor or Vaginal Orgasms

These occur through stimulating the G-spot, or putting pressure on the cervix (the opening into the uterus) and/or the anterior vaginal wall. Located halfway between the pubic bone and the cervix, the sensitive G-spot -- named after its discoverer, German physician Ernest Grafenberg -- is a mass of spongy tissue that swells when stimulated. Because it's difficult to locate, experts have developed a few guiding techniques:

  • Lying on her back, the woman tilts her pelvis upward so that her vulva presses flat against her partner's pelvic bone. According to the Bermans, this allows the penis to make contact with the G-spot, simultaneously stimulating the clitoris. Putting pillows beneath her buttocks makes angling her pelvis easier.
  • Whipple suggests placing two fingers inside the vagina and moving them in a beckoning motion. The fingertips should stroke the frontal vaginal wall, just where the G-spot is located.

The Blended Orgasm

This can be attained through a combination of the first two.

HER BENEFITS

  • Pain relief: Orgasms help alleviate menstrual cramps. In addition, studies have shown that a woman's pain threshold increases substantially during orgasm.
  • Enhanced mood: According to University of Virginia researchers, orgasms boost levels of the female sex hormone estrogen, which in turn betters your mood and helps ease premenstrual symptoms. They also release endorphins, the body's natural painkillers and depression fighters.
  • Increased intimacy: Oxytocin, a hormone that promotes feelings of intimacy, jumps to five times its normal level during climax.
  • Easier rest: Oxytocin also induces drowsiness. For women, sleepiness comes about 20 to 30 minutes after orgasm. Men, on the other hand, usually drift off after only two to five minutes.
  • Less stress: Stress in women is highly correlated with arousal difficulties, lack of libido and anorgasmia, the inability to reach orgasm, according to one 1999 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Just 20 minutes of intercourse, however, releases the lust-enhancing hormone dopamine, triggering a relaxation response that lasts up to two hours.

HIS BENEFITS

Physiologically speaking, male and female orgasms are surprisingly similar. The related problems men and women experience, however, are distinctly different.

"There are men who can't orgasm, but I think it's less than 1-percent of men," says Jed Kaminetsky, M.D., a professor of urology at New York University and director of the school's male sexual dysfunction clinic. "That's a much less common problem than premature ejaculation."

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that premature ejaculation is even more common than erectile dysfunction, especially among younger men. As with most sex-related problems, it affects both partners -- some studies suggest that nearly 30 percent of couples report premature ejaculation as the most prevalent sexual problem in their relationship. One major obstacle to treating it is simply defining the problem to begin with.

"It depends on the relationship," Kaminetsky explains. "If a woman takes an hour to orgasm and the man can last 40 minutes, that's premature ejaculation for that couple." At the other extreme, one minute is too short an amount of time for most couples. "Not too many women are going to climax within a minute."

Kaminetsky also sees truth in Whipple's assessment of goal-oriented versus pleasure-oriented interactions. "Men are very goal oriented; they see a task and they want to successfully perform that task," he says. "Often that task is to make their partner have an orgasm. If the woman knows that, she feels like a laboratory animal -- it's not a very sexy thing. That's why women fake orgasms, which is a sign of lack of communication in a relationship."

next: Psychology of Sexual Dysfunction

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 23). How to Have An Orgasm, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, October 29 from https://www.healthyplace.com/sex/main/how-to-have-an-orgasm

Last Updated: August 21, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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