One of the most common— and frustrating— issues for women is learning how to orgasm. According to the Kinsey Institute, it’s estimated that roughly 70% of women never or rarely orgasm during partnered sex. Of the women who do come during sex, 40% of them need sustained clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm. Many women struggle to figure out how to orgasm because it rarely comes from penetration.
If you’ve never had an orgasm before, it can be hard to figure out what you’re trying to “go for.” For orgasm to happen, a person needs to experience the seemingly contradictory sensations of both arousal and relaxation. Many women have a hard time staying relaxed when they are excited. Often, excited states can feel a lot like anxiety, which creates emotional pressure and can shut down the experience of pleasure. So, what can you do to master this elusive combination?
Mastering How to Orgasm: Masturbate!
There’s no way around this one. The single best thing you can do to learn how to orgasm is practice touching yourself in a variety of ways. Create a private, comfortable space.
Use warm, clean hands. Relax and explore with touch. Some people enjoy using their fingers on their clits because you get more biofeedback when you’re able to feel the way your clit responds to your fingers and vice versa. Other women may have more success using vibrators. Vibrators come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and specialties. Some “bullet” type vibrators are small and create a light, gentle sensation. Others, like the Magic Wand are incredibly strong and thrummy. Consider trying a few different styles to see which kind you like best.
When you find something you like, your body will twitch or clench in reflex. It’s a warm, sexy, feel-good kind of clench, not a flinch. When you feel the twitch or clench, go with it. Let your muscles clench more. Feel them relax and contract. This might feel like an overall warm sensation that encompasses your butt, perineum, vagina and mound, even perhaps your upper thighs. This controlled contraction and relaxation will come in handy. If you have a hard time relaxing after a clench, practice exhaling with the release, pushing out through your vaginal muscles. Like yoga, breathe in when you contract and exhale as you relax.
Ramp up the pleasurable sensation (usually stroking/rubbing your clit, or grinding up against whatever you’re using) and keep clenching and relaxing your pelvic floor muscles. You should start feeling an echo chamber of sorts between the clenching and the stimulation you’re applying to your clit. You can take it down a notch, or keep ramping up (this is where a vibrator comes in handy).
Explore touching other parts with your free hand, to increase the pleasure, like your breasts or ass. Increase both the clenching and stimulation. You can control it by upping the intensity of the external stimulation (fingers/vibrator/etc.) and internal clenching. Keep playing until this kind of stimulation reaches a tipping point. When you notice that tipping point, it’s common to tighten many of your muscles and kind of reach for it. I think of it like the high jump. You run and you reach and you kind of throw yourself over the threshold.
Give yourself a break
One of the biggest barriers to learning how to orgasm is the emotional pressure to “perform.” The more attached we are to that outcome, the harder it can be to enjoy ourselves. So instead of going for orgasm like it’s a race to the finish line, give yourself the time and space to just enjoy sensation. Play with touch, discovering what feels good. While learning how to orgasm, follow the path of your pleasure, wherever it leads.
Focus on your clitoris
The fact is, the act most people imagine when they think of “sex” doesn’t create the sensation necessary for most women to orgasm. Most women need sustained clitoral stimulation to come, and when sex is only a penis entering a vagina, the clitoris is often left without a date to the party. Though you may enjoy penetration, the best way to approach orgasm is by touching your clitoris. If you don’t want to give up the sensation of penetration at the same time, consider a toy like the Rabbit vibrator that is both a dildo and a clitoral attachment combined. Even during Penis-Vagina sex, your clit doesn’t have to be left out of the equation. Use your fingers on your clit during penetrative sex, or consider getting a toy specifically designed for partnered sex, like the WeVibe.
Many women have a tendency to clench and hold their breath the closer they get to orgasm. Your nerves need oxygen to work. So keep breathing. Deep belly breaths are a wonderful way to oxygenate your blood while you explore sensation.
Take your time
Women’s bodies take longer than men’s to warm up and get ready for sex. This is just a fact of physiology. The problem is that many of us feel pressure to “keep up” with our partners’ arousal patterns. So when he’s hard, we feel pressure to be ready for penetration right away. Instead, give yourself time to relax into your pleasure. Don’t rush your arousal, and don’t let your partner rush you either.
Advocate for your pleasure
Most men have no problem orgasming with penetration alone. So the expectation is often that women should respond in kind with earth-shattering orgasms moments after penetration. But that’s just not how most women work. Talk to your partner about what you need from him to reach your excited state. Share your experiences from masturbating. Odds are it’s a good amount of foreplay, cunnilingus, dirty talk, and clitoral touch. If your partner isn’t confident about his skills, encourage him to expand his skillset so you can both have a wonderful time together.
Remember, you’re not broken if you have a hard time reaching orgasm or learning how to orgasm. The truth is, some people come into coming quite easily, and others struggle with it. You can talk to one of Juicebox’s trained sex and relationship coaches anonymously to get you there. Ultimately it’s a skill like any other. Sometimes you just need to practice. Luckily orgasmic practice is way more fun than piano lessons. Have fun!