7 Truths about the Female Orgasm

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1. All Women Climax Differently.

Some of us have orgasms from clitoral stimulation only, others by stimulating the G spot, or Grafenberg spot, which is a sensitive, nerve-intensive area about two inches back inside the front wall of the vagina. And some women experience orgasm through both the clitoris and G spot, though rarely at the same time unless they are lucky enough to have been born with bionic genitalia.

Because our bodies are all unique, there's no fail-proof recipe for bringing on a female orgasm. We must discover what works for us through trial and error. Sloane, 21, in an attempt to enlighten herself and friends to all our female orgasmic capacity, took the matter into her own hands, so to speak. She reveals: "I ended up buying a Betty Dodson video about achieving orgasmic ecstasy, and I had a screening for friends. We served mango and angel food cake. The video talked about moving your hips, deep breathing, using your pelvic floor (pc) muscles, touching your clitoris and rocking your pelvis."

One thing to keep in mind as you explore the way your body works: G spot orgasms aren't more "sophisticated" than those triggered by the clitoris. Nor is one necessarily better than the other. Research shows that the nerve impulses resulting from various orgasms all look the same regardless of how they were precipitated. The result is generally three to five vaginal contractions followed by full-body release of muscle tension that leaves you more serene than an hour-long massage.

2. Orgasms Don't (Pardon the Pun) Come Easily.

Life would be so divine if orgasms were as predictable as our credit-card bills. Dream on. Unlike the case with men, who can't seem to relate to us on this one, female orgasms with a partner require harmonizing four components: mechanical know-how, savvy communication skills, a certain comfort level with the partner and complete mind and body receptivity. Bottom line: It takes practice, because even if we know every nuance of our clitoris or G spot, there's no guarantee we'll get the orgasm goddess dancing.

One of the reasons orgasms can be difficult to achieve is that we tend to need different types of stimulation at different times when we're making love. Small differences of touch make big differences with women. Sometimes we need harder pressure, other times more delicate strokes.

The clitoris has as many nerve endings as the penis, but they are concentrated in such a small surface area that sometimes even the slightest touch can be too much. What's more, the approach that worked magic yesterday may have little effect on us today. While it would be dreamy to have a lover who, in an osmosis kind of way, knows exactly where to touch us and with what degree of vigor, here in the real world there's no way our mate can know what is right on or all wrong . . . unless we start talking, which conveniently leads us to the next truth.

3. Our Partners Need Pointers On What Turns Us On.

What may have sent our mate's previous partner flying across the room from pleasure (although such images of our lover's past sexual encounters do horrific things to the esteem and therefore, in general, should not be conjured) may do nothing for us. Such is the nature of the unpredictable female erogenous zone.

Our job is threefold: First, we must realize that such differences are perfectly normal; second, we must educate our mates about the variances in female anatomy and orgasmic propensity if they don't already know; and third, we must explain and even (eek!) demonstrate what turns us on.

If you are bold, the direct approach, during or before the act of making love, is the most effective. Tell your partner outright, "I want to show you how I come." Then try to cast aside all modesty and get on with the show.

After your private showing, the transition from self-stimulation to partner participation can be somewhat tricky. Some sex therapists suggest trying this technique: First hold your partner's hand and guide his finger until you have an orgasm. Next time, guide his finger until you're close to orgasm, then let go and have him bring you to climax alone. Finally, let him go the whole way without your assistance.

As you're showing your partner the ropes, keep the lines of communication open, advises Bethany, 26: "Guys have no way of knowing if what they're doing is right, so it's up to us to let them know." With that in mind, keep talking while you're making love, telling your partner gently, so as not to seem demanding or critical, "That's not good now; do more of what you were doing before," or whatever it is that triggers your orgasm.

If you're so shy about expressing your sexual desires that the idea of putting on such a brazen demonstration is enough to make you want to run to a nunnery, try warming up to the conversation slowly, suggests Elena, 23. "One way to approach the subject is to ask your partner what he likes, and then tell him what turns you on. It can be awkward to say what you like, but if you can't talk about it with your partner, the sex might not ever improve," she says.

A final word of caution: Be very clear when describing what you need. If you're too subtle, your partner won't get it.

4. Intercourse, Alone, Doesn't Cut It (At Least, for Most of Us).

For many of us, foreplay is the real play when it comes to making love. Intercourse on its own is often more of a pleasant afterthought or an erotic prelude to what really gets us going, which, more often than not, is manual stimulation or oral sex. In fact, according to some estimates, close to half of all sexually active women don't have orgasms regularly through intercourse.

"Men and women's sexual experiences are very different from one another," explains sex therapist Dr. Dennis Sugrue, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School and president of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists. "There's a tendency in our culture for women to conform to the male sexual experience, which is intercourse. But intercourse is not an effective way for women to reach orgasm. The two major erogenous areas in women are the clitoris and the G spot, and intercourse isn't efficient at stimulating either."

Because of the female orgasm's rare appearance during penetration, it's pretty seldom that we're able to climax in unison with our mates, a feat that many men believe is the gold standard in sex. It shouldn't be, though, because such demands put a lot of pressure on both partners. Sure, it may be nice to strive for, and when it comes, we can howl at the moon in erotic harmony, but such events shouldn't be forced.

Of course, certain sexual positions -- girl on top, giving us all the control, and doggy style, to name a couple -- are better than others at hitting the right spots during penetration. And, of course, practice with an eager-to-please partner will help spur those wild horses to gallop across our pelvic floor.

Having a partner whose anatomy complements yours (meaning that your pelvic bones bump and grind in just the right spot, stimulating your clitoris in the process) will also improve your chances of reaching orgasm through intercourse. So will the simple act of manually stimulating your clitoris during penetration.

5. Not All Orgasms Have the Same Oomph.

Orgasms can be as varied as good wines. Some spark a quick flutter that doesn't stray far from the source, like a crisp sauvignon blanc on the tip of the tongue. Others ignite a full-body experience with a long, luscious finish, similar to an aged cabernet. However, one type of orgasm should never be considered more desirable than the other, especially because we just don't have a choice on which one will come. If stronger orgasms are valued more than the flightier ones, performance anxiety and frustration to achieve them will surely contaminate our enjoyment of whatever does end up coming. That said, some authorities on the subject contend that there are a variety of ways to enhance our orgasms. So, they're worth a try if you're curious. Kegel exercises, which involve repeatedly squeezing the pelvic floor (pc) muscles, much as you do when you really have to pee on your way home from an extended happy hour, are one technique to build those muscles that surround the vagina, rectum and urethra. This presumably puts the spark back in your orgasms.

Certain other techniques, such as almost bringing yourself to climax but then switching your source of stimulation from, say, your clitoris to your G spot, may also enhance your orgasms when you allow yourself to finally come. Breathing deeply into the abdomen (not something most of us stomach-sucking women are used to doing, especially when naked and within such close proximity of our lover) relaxes the erogenous area and increases the pleasure, as does rocking the pelvis. And, of course, many women are able to have multiple orgasms to double or quadruple their pleasure.

On the subject of multiple orgasms, according to sex therapists, most women are capable of having more than one orgasm within the same lovemaking session, but, like learning to have one, some practice and knowing a few trade secrets can help. For one, the clitoris is usually way too sensitive after our first orgasm to get direct stimulation again and doesn't want to be touched, so if you want to go for doubles, wait at least a minute before picking up where you left off. Then, when you're not so hyperaroused, continue on doing what you did when the first one arrived.

6. The Mind Has More Verve Than a Vibrator

You're probably well aware of the mind's uncanny role as gatekeeper to sexual release. A big part of our mental capacity to encourage or withhold those desirable pelvic rumblings revolves around trust.

To get into the orgasmic state of mind, we must, for instance, trust that our midnight cowboy (a) won't point and giggle at our unleashed display of sexual ecstasy in the nude; (b) will remain as concerned about the status of the condom as we are throughout sex; and (c) will consider the boundaries that we set prior to the act as holy as Monday-night football.

Orgasm is also more likely if our emotional connection with our partner is fully functioning. Foreplay, once again, is what sparks our emotional kindling. Eye contact, talking and loosening up the old erotic joints, so to speak, through gentle and suggestive massage, will help shift the mind into lovemaking gear. Without an emotional and mental connection to our partner, it's pretty near impossible to warm up the nether regions properly and give our orgasms even a fighting chance.

More often than many of us would care to admit, however, the mind starts wandering when our body and partner are otherwise willing. We start thinking about bills, errands we have to run, that nightmare project due tomorrow at noon. When such mental disasters strike, we can either kiss that orgasm goodbye or lasso those distractions and, once they're contained, refocus on the erotic here and now.

Easier said than done, but a few tricks are worth a shot. Nina, 26, concentrates on her boyfriend's sounds and his breathing if her mind dares to wander. Vanessa, 23, focuses on all the different sensations she's feeling, blocking her mind of everything else. Elena, 23, engages her partner in conversation, sometimes just talking about what they're doing, when her thoughts start to drift. Thinking about erotic images and scenarios or, better yet, sharing them with your partner will also get your mind in proper orgasm mode.

Due to our intrepid anatomy and all the other reasons previously discussed, many of us become stressed about taking so long to have an orgasm. Because so many of us have been socially engineered to please others (especially men) and think of ourselves and our own pleasure last, letting go and allowing our orgasms to come on their own accord can be psychologically challenging. This can cause all sorts of anxiety, all the more if we're simultaneously worrying that our mate is getting bored, discouraged or antsy for his turn.

Here is a little secret: Most lovers (unless they are sexually selfish) get exorbitant amounts of pleasure from watching and helping their mates become sexually activated. Most of them are not looking at the clock, either. So, don't feel guilty about all the attention being lavished upon you, and just ignore any notion that sex is only about pleasing your partner. Making love is all about giving and receiving.

7. Orgasms Aren't Proof of Good Sex.

Some women might wildly disagree, but the rest of us often find the tender caresses, the naked bonding, and the undivided attention that precedes or follows a hearty romp just as pleasurable as those spine-tapping pelvic throbs. Some men, too, might not be able to comprehend this female concept of passionate lovemaking, but that's their problem.

Sex therapist Dr. Dennis Sugrue, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School and president of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists explains a common dynamic: "The male ego often gets bruised if their partners don't have an orgasm. The issue gets even more complicated if a woman feels as though something is wrong with her if she doesn't climax. Truth is, it's not that common for women to have orgasms during intercourse. Lovemaking needs to be broadened to a fuller experience, not just limited to penetration."

Orgasms, however, are important to achieve with your partner on a somewhat frequent basis. After all, your mate is the only one who gets to see this completely sexual and vulnerable surrender, and sharing your orgasms with the person you love is a spiritual thing. Don't shortchange yourself if you're not getting them. It can be easy to convince yourself that orgasms don't matter in the big scheme of your relationship because it takes you so long to come and you can just masturbate alone later, but when you do that, you're denying yourself a truly unique and soulful connection with your partner.

-- just thought (you guys@might. like to know), November 16, 2000


Problems with the hubby?

-- Monica (try@hum.job), November 16, 2000.

I thought that was a good article. I had to laugh at the "mind wandering" part. Does anyone else remember a sitcom Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman? It was put out by the same guy that put out All in the Family. Was that Carl Reiner? Anyway, Mary Hartman had a dripping faucet in the bathroom off the bedroom, and everytime Mary and Tom had sex, the sound would go to that dripping faucet, getting LOUDER and LOUDER, as Mary's concentration became more and more focused on that distraction.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), November 16, 2000.

Study hard guys. There WILL be a test. =)

-- cin (cin@cin.cin), November 16, 2000.

I'm ready for the final exam.


and again....

3 O's are enough for tonight....right?

-- Swampthing (in@the.swamp), November 16, 2000.

"Study hard guys. There WILL be a test. =) "

IN YOUR DREAMS. Who would want to fuck a frigid bitch like you? You don't need sex, you need therapy!

-- LOL (take@your.medicine), November 16, 2000.

Ja, diss iss very goot but no vun cares about my G schpot. Tee hee hee.

-- (DrRuth@Heff's.pad), November 16, 2000.

I remember Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. I remember the show was hilarious (and apparently ahead of its time), but I don't remember specifics.

-- Patricia (PatriciaS@lasvegas.com), November 16, 2000.

frigid LOL!

if you only knew

but of course you never will =)

-- cin (cin@cin.cin), November 16, 2000.



-- kritter (kritter@adelphia.net), November 16, 2000.

Historic info mostly true and best learned in OJT if you're willing to pay attention. You can't teach this stuff.

-- Carlos (riffraff@cybertime.net), November 17, 2000.

Cin's not frigid. In fact, she's a slut with at least one kid born out of wedlock. She's one of those anti-choice people who just couldn't keep her legs together.

-- Gossipy Neighbor (gossip@neighbor.back.fence), November 17, 2000.

Very good article. But these days I'm so caught up with this political thing, it would probably take MSNBC's Brian Williams whispering a late-breaking update in my ear to do the trick.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), November 17, 2000.

While Cin has strong opinions, and while I disagree just as strongly with some of them, I fail to see the "humor" in attacking her personally on this thread. I find these vicious attacks to be childish and completely devoid of intelligence.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), November 17, 2000.

FS, I completely agree. But these trolls get off on attention, and negative attention would be just great with them. That's why I think the best course (this post notwithstanding) is for us all to ignore them as best we can.

Hang in there, Cin.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), November 17, 2000.

Thanks for hijacking yet another good thread you jerk-off trolls. Maybe if you would actually think about the material presented instead of fixating on your own inadequacies you could have better lives. You might even learn how to actually please a woman instead of just yourselves, you selfish A$$holes. And quit using Cin as a target to assuage your own frustrations, losers.

-- One Who Knows (-@immature.male.trolls.are.idiots), November 18, 2000.

You know, I've had an intense dislike for Cin every since she said three of my grandmother's children starved to death because my grandmother was selfish and ate while her children starved. And yet, as much as I dislike her, I don't think she deserves this treatment.

-- Tarzan the Ape Man (tarzan@swingingthroughthejunglewithouta.net), November 18, 2000.

Cin says some pretty nasty things to others. If she wants to act like a bitch, she will be treated like a bitch. What comes around goes around.

-- (that's the @way.it goes), November 18, 2000.

Did cin say:Study hard guys or Study hard,guys?

And on another subject,how are the cats doing?

-- meat be meat (nothing @bout cookin.cats), November 18, 2000.

Although I do enjoy the subject, this thread is not about me.

p.s. thanks eve, future, and one who knows for the kind words, btw.

-- cin (cin@cin.cin), November 18, 2000.

SURE BABY i'L RIDE YA HARD(HEHE) ALNIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WILL YA SUCK MY COCK??????? CAN I ASSFUCK?? !! NOTE THIS IS NOT MY REAL E-MAIL

-- horny guy (F00@HOTMAIL.COM), March 20, 2002.

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