Female Orgasm – HealthyWomen

Emily Jamea, Ph.D.., is a sex therapist, author and podcast host. You can find her here every month to share her latest thoughts on sex.

The female orgasm has long been a topic of intrigue and, unfortunately, confusion. Despite being a pleasurable experience, many women or people with female genitalia find it difficult to achieve, especially during sexual relations with a partner. This complexity arises from many factors, including physiological differences, social expectations, and interpersonal influences. However, with understanding and exploration, women can learn to accept and improve their orgasmic experiences.

What happens during the female orgasm?

While some women may have a nipple orgasm, anal orgasm, or vaginal orgasm, the most reliable way for women to climax is through external clitoral stimulation. Because? Because the clitoris is like a mini penis (or maybe the penis is a big clitoris) and most of the sensation is in the glans at the top. Just as people with penises are less likely to climax if only the base of their penis is stroked, most people with clitorises need adequate stimulation of the clitoral glans.

Let me explain. When a fetus is in the womb, the genitals do not differentiate until 8-10 weeks. At that point, the tissue becomes the penis or clitoris. (In rare cases, the genitals remain ambiguous.) Additionally, there is another tissue that becomes the labia majora or the scrotum. As sex educator and author Emily Nagoski says, “We all have the same parts, just organized in different ways.” Unfortunately, in heterosexual couples, the focus is often on penile-vaginal penetration, which is a great way for biological men to climax, but not so much for biological women. This is partly why female orgasms have taken a back seat during heterosexual erotic encounters.

The other difference between male and female biological orgasms is that people with penises ejaculate, a process necessary for procreation. Women, on the other hand, do not need to have an orgasm to get pregnant. Unfortunately, here nature gave an advantage to people with penises. While there is some debate, most agree that, aside from sexual pleasure, there is no physiological or evolutionary need for the female orgasm. This means that women, compared to men, typically have to learn how to have orgasms.

Read: The science behind orgasms: what happens when you have it >>

society and culture

Society doesn’t have the best track record of being an advocate for female sexual pleasure. Culture plays a profound role in shaping attitudes, beliefs and behaviors around female sexuality and, as a result, the experience of orgasm.

Cultural taboos and negative religious influences have contributed to the stigma surrounding female sexual pleasure. Many religious traditions have specific teachings and norms about sexuality, often promoting modesty, abstinence before marriage, and traditional gender roles. These teachings can instill feelings of shame or guilt around sexual pleasure, making it difficult for women to accept their desires and enjoy orgasm. The virginity pledges that exist as part of purity culture largely focus on women. This leads to feelings of sexuality being a commodity that can be depleted, leading to feelings of shame and guilt.

Read: Why some women don’t have orgasms >>

The double standards surrounding male and female sexuality are deep and pervasive. Women who are “too” sexual are shamed compared to men who are praised for the exact same behavior. This discrepancy can create pressure on women to conform to restrictive sexual norms and inhibit their exploration of pleasure. Throughout history, women have received messages that men only want them for sexual pleasure or that sex is “for” a man, which completely diminishes the fact that women also have an interest in pleasure. sexual.

Finally, the media further perpetuates unrealistic stereotypes, reinforcing misconceptions about women’s bodies and sexual desires. The typical Hollywood sex scene shows women reaching climax (usually at the same time as their partner) in a matter of seconds, a reality that only exists on the big screen. This can contribute to feelings of inadequacy or insecurity and hinder a woman’s ability to experience orgasm.

Personal and relationship problems.

Unfortunately, sex education is still lacking here in the US and in many parts of the world. Many women cannot even accurately identify the parts of their genitals. Many feel uncomfortable looking at their genitals in the mirror or touching themselves with their hands. This inhibition on one’s own body blocks the trust and dedication necessary for pleasure.

When women are not comfortable with their own bodies or the appearance or function of their genitals, it is unrealistic to expect them to be comfortable with their partners. Unfortunately, many men (due to the same problems I described above) struggle to bring women to climax. They either believe that women should be able to achieve orgasm through penetration alone or they lack the skills to touch themselves in a way that creates arousal and pleasure.

But there is hope!

Here are 5 tips to increase your chances of having an orgasm alone or with a partner.

1. Minimize stress and practice mindfulness. Since orgasms don’t happen as easily in women or biological women, people with clitorises have to concentrate more intensely to get there. Create an environment that facilitates relaxation. When intrusive thoughts try to force their way in, return your attention to the pleasurable sensations in your body.

Read: Great Sex with Emily Jamea: How Can Mindfulness Improve Sex? >>

2. Self-exploration. Experiment with different types of contact. Start by massaging your entire vulva with your palm. It may be uncomfortable to apply too much direct stimulation to the tip of the clitoris before arousal has properly developed. Experiment with touching yourself both internally and externally to see if G-spot stimulation adds anything to your sexual arousal. Finally, experiment with different vibrators and toys until you find one that works for you. Variations in weight, material and frequency can vary greatly.

3. Fantasize. While sensual touch helps a lot, don’t underestimate the power of the mind. Fantasies are always accessible, safe and free! If you’re having trouble identifying a fantasy you like, try reading erotica or watching ethical porn (there are now many sites designed by women for women). Erotica (both internal and external) goes a long way to improving arousal, making it easier to achieve orgasm.

4. Communicate with your partner. As my colleague Logan Levkoff says: “There are no bad lovers, only bad communicators.” Women need to learn to explicitly explain (and ideally demonstrate) how they like to be touched. Women are more likely to reach orgasm when they spend more time kissing, after a full body massage, and through oral sex.

5. Experiment. Try different positions that allow easier access to the clitoris (either for you to touch or for your partner to touch). While going too far outside your comfort zone can inhibit arousal, the right amount of novelty can dramatically enhance it. Work with your partner to think of new things that are likely to increase arousal. The added benefit of novelty is that it improves concentration. When we are faced with something new, we are more likely to focus on it.

The female orgasm is a complex and multifaceted experience influenced by physiological, psychological and social factors. While it may be difficult for some women, understanding your body, exploring desires, and cultivating an open dialogue with your partners can improve sexual pleasure and make orgasms more attainable. Ultimately, every woman deserves to experience the joy of sexual pleasure and orgasm.

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