How to orgasm
Womens orgasms are all over Hollywood and magazines but may be a rare or even non-existent event in your bedroom. So how do you have an orgasm, or even know if you've had one?
If you believe what you see on TV, a mind-blowing orgasm is an inevitable part of sex. After little more than a few thrusts, a woman will be moaning in sheer ecstasy and within minutes be coming with porn-star gasps galore.
The reality, however, is very different. Most women struggle to reach climax - at least during penetration. However, self-exploration and honesty can go a long way towards reaching the big O during foreplay and sex.
Masturbation and orgasm in women
If you can't give yourself an orgasm, you'll probably find it a lot harder to climax with a partner, but a little self-discovery can change that. Masturbation helps teach you about your body, understanding where your erogenous zones are, how you like to be touched, and generally what turns you on. There's no need to feel guilty about pleasuring yourself. It's entirely natural and healthy, and is one of the best ways to learn about your sexual response.
In terms of technique, exploration is the key as everyone is different. You can keep your clothes on and rub your pubic region; get naked and use your fingers to stimulate yourself; or invest in a toy. Do whatever feels comfortable.
"Many women find sex toys can help them reach orgasm both during masturbation and with a partner," says Nic Ramsey, founder of Tickled erotic boutique. "Some women like vibrating toys, which come in all shapes and sizes. Others prefer dildos: non-vibrating toys that can be used for penetration and G-spot stimulation. It's a case of what suits you."
For some women, fantasising can help make orgasm easier. Whether you rely on your own imagination or an erotic website or book, stimulating the mind can often stimulate the body. And there's no reason why you can't get yourself revved up in this way before a hot date, either.
Only 25% of women climax through penetrative sex.
How orgasm feels
From an 'erupting volcano' to a 'tiny pulse' orgasms come in all manner of sensations. However, they will generally include some of the following: spasming of the vaginal muscles (at 0.7-second intervals); a flushed face and/or chest; changes in breathing; increased vaginal lubrication; swelling of the nipples, clitoris and labia; and - of course - THE FEELING, which has been described as everything from a 'rush' to a 'pulsing', an 'explosion' to a 'wave'. Basically, you'll KNOW when it happens.
Reaching orgasm during sex
According to The Lovers' Guide, only 25% of women climax through penetrative sex, but this increases to 75% if the man spends more than 20 minutes on foreplay. Generally, women get most of their sexual pleasure from clitoral stimulation. Most men get theirs from penetration of a warm, wet orifice. This basic difference is the root of many sexual problems. However, certain sex positions can change this.
Firstly, choose a position that offers maximum clitoral stimulation. The 'woman on top' allows you to lean forward and rub your clit against your partner's body. During 'missionary' (man on top with woman lying on her back), putting your hands on the small of your partner's back will keep pressure on your clitoris and boost your chances of an orgasm, too. Be experimental and find out what works for you.
"I could never come through sex until my man put his thigh between my legs when we were having sex on our sides," says Emma, 21. "I had my first orgasm with him by grinding against him as we had sex, and now it's my favourite position."
Want to add toys? Using a small, bullet-shaped vibrator on your clitoris during sex can add extra stimulation, and vibrating cock rings offer the dual benefit of giving clitoral stimulation and helping men maintain their erection.
However, as most of the work towards orgasm happens before penetration happens it's best to be honest about what you like and dislike; and don't be afraid to tell your partner if you don't feel ready for sex and need more foreplay. That way, everyone's happy.
Changes in Orgasm
Orgasms can vary massively. One day, you might scream the house down - the next; your orgasm could be a spasm that leaves you thinking "Was that it?" Stress, alcohol, drugs and tiredness can all negatively affect orgasm, so keeping fit is important. Depression and certain medications can also have an effect. Do see your GP if you 'lose' your orgasm, it could be a sign that something else is wrong. But it's worth remembering that orgasms can also vary depending on your monthly cycle, so don't panic if it's less than mind-blowing. You can always try again tomorrow.
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