By Sarah Z Wexler
The public convo surrounding the female orgasm has officially climaxed: last year, Nicki Minaj told a magazine that she demands one every single time she has sex (and thinks you should too); #GetCliterate blew up all over social media; and a provocative video series, Hysterical Literature – in which women are brought to ecstasy by a vibrator while trying to read a book aloud – has reached 19 million views on YouTube.
All this attention to our Os has done a world of good, it seems. For the first time ever, research shows that the majority of women typically come during sex – 89 percent of those 18 to 34 years old, to be exact, according to a new survey by Skyn Condoms. (In the not-so-distant past, The Kinsey Institute ball-parked this number as low as 20 percent.)
Still, we believe the peak of sexual pleasure can be hotter, stronger, more frequent, more ’gasm-y. Our mission in this session? To celebrate (and elevate) your body’s most powerful release.
Orgasm Lesson One: A guide to your lady parts
Forget GPS. Some of us could benefit from a little CPS. When asked in a study to point to the clitoris on a diagram of the female genitalia, 29 percent of women and 25 percent of men were completely lost, the majority of those believing it was located “on the front wall of the vaginal canal”. Nope! Considering it’s the epicentre of pleasure for most women, a tutorial is in order. So, lock the door, grab a hand mirror, and let’s inspect your ittiest bits.
Gently pull back your outer and inner vaginal lips, and up top you’ll see this little hood. Like the foreskin on an uncircumcised penis, it protects your glans clitoris (your big O spot) and “retracts when you become aroused,” says gynaecologist Dr Lauren Streicher, author of Sex RX.
Lift the prepuce and you’ll meet the external part of the clitoris – and the orgasm holy grail. This pink little nub contains 8 000 supersensitive nerves. The closer it is to your vaginal opening, the higher the chances you’ll get off during penetrative sex. If yours is spaced further away (we’re talking a difference in millimetres), try a rear-entry position while your guy rubs your GC with a hand or a vibrator, says Streicher.
These are the “legs” of the clitoris, which are connected to the glans clitoris. They’re located inside your body (like a muscle), so they aren’t visible or touchable from the outside. They contain erectile tissue and swell with blood when you become aroused. Unlike a schlong, however, they don’t rise when you get a lady boner.
This bitty dot located a smidge under the clitoris is where pee comes out – and possibly ejaculate for the 10 percent or more of women who “squirt” during orgasm. Streicher says we aren’t sure if the fluid is entirely ejaculate from the Skene’s glands, or whether it’s mixed with some urine. In any case, it’s not an erogenous part.
To put it bluntly, where the penis or dildo goes. “It doesn’t have nearly as many nerve endings or the same kind of sensitivity as the clitoris, though, which explains why most women don’t climax simply from penetration,” explains Streicher.
A vaguely defined structure near the vaginal opening, along the roof (closer to your stomach than back). Is it an extension of the clitoris or a separate structure? That’s up for debate. But stroking it can feel intensely satisfying.
Located about 10cm inside your vagina, where the vaginal canal ends (though this distance varies from woman to woman and also lengthens a few inches to accommodate a penis or dildo when a woman is aroused, says Streicher). A well-endowed partner (or sex toy) can stimulate it, and some women say that’s enough to make them peak.
Orgasm Lesson Two: The Kegel Challenge
Your pelvic-floor muscles control those incredible contractions you feel during an orgasm, so it’s in your best interest to keep them tight and toned (age, significant weight gain or pregnancy can zap them of their strength). A riot of new devices are designed to pump them back up. Our ready-and-willing testers gave them a go every day for a week. The results, below.
> Minna Kgoal
How it works: A balloon-like, buzzing device links via Bluetooth to an app that provides workout challenges and performance scores.
The verdict: “My pelvic muscles feel like they are getting stronger, but my Os are the same. I liked the app – I’ve always wondered if I was doing Kegels wrong.”
> Lelo Luna Smart Bead
How it works: This smooth, palm-size, vibrating pebble contains touch sensors that track your exercises and light up to plot your progress.
The verdict: “When I squeezed my Kegels during sex with my boyfriend, he popped off in, like, two seconds. Mine took as long as usual, and felt about the same.”
> Je Joue Ami Balls
How they work:
This set of three weighted balls (with strings for easy removal) progresses from large and light to small and heavy; you must squeeze to hold them in place.
The verdict: “My orgasms are slightly more intense. They last a little longer, and I feel like I ‘released’ something that I haven’t felt before.”
> Fifty Shades of Grey Beyong Aroused Ben-wa Balls
How they work: This set of four weighted balls (ranging from 15 to 55g) can be inserted vaginally on their own, or with the included cradle (which holds two balls at once).
The verdict: “I felt a post-orgasm sensation for longer than usual, and there was some pulsing of the muscle that occurred afterward.”
*Use these products with caution.
PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU HAVE PAINFUL INTERCOURSE, DO NOT USE THESE DEVICES. IT IS LIKELY TO CAUSE A HYPERACTIVE PELVIC FLOOR, MAKING THE PAIN WORSE.
Orgasm Lesson Three: Don’t be bullied into your big O!
A public service announcement from The Big Bang Theory’s Dr Mayim Bialik (yes, she’s a neuroscientist!)
“I’m all for female sexual empowerment. But this ‘women have to have an orgasm every time they have sex’ business is stressing me out. Not me personally. But generally speaking, it’s stressing me out.
“As a scientist, I can assure you that the female orgasm is one of the greatest incidental occurrences of biology. (Thank you, Mother Nature. Huge fan.) Procreation doesn’t need one to make babies; it’s a delightful side effect of intercourse. Research suggests that women whose partners take the time to help them achieve orgasm feel more bonded to them and may even have a better chance of getting pregnant. (I love those studies.) So, yeah, Team Orgasm all the way.
“However, the notion that ‘sexual equality’ means that every time your partner has an orgasm you should too is problematic. It creates an unnecessary pressure. You see, male orgasm is the finish line for the male experience. Women’s orgasm is a horse of a different colour. We can have orgasms before, during, or after sex and – thanks to the wonders of the female body – sometimes a few times in the course of one sexual coupling! (Shout out to Mother Nature again on that one!) But it’s not imperative for us to have one, nor does it define our sexual experience as a whole. Sometimes we may not have the focus, energy or stamina to make one happen, and that has to be okay. It’s still sex without the orgasm; that’s a biological fact.”
Our sexpert answers your burning Qs
Emily Morse, sexologist. Host of the podcast Sex with Emily and author of Hot Sex: Over 200 Things You Can Try Tonight.
What’s the weirdest way a woman can reach orgasm?
Some can have a “nipplegasm”, since stimulating the nipples releases oxytocin, causing vaginal contractions and an increase in blood flow to the genitals. Nocturnal Os are possible too. Having a hot dream during REM sleep spikes blood flow to your vagina, and boom! Even “mindgasms” can occur from deep breathing paired with erotic thoughts.
WAKE THE NEIGHBOURS
If I’m more vocal in bed, will that up my chances of having an orgasm?
Yes, research shows that women who speak up feel more pleasure, as do their partners. Doesn’t have to be dirty talk, per se. Even something as simple as “Oh yea” or “Don’t stop” can get the message across. Specifics? Bring it on. “I love it when you use your fingers while you go down on me,” or “When you swivel your hips, I lose all control.” This boosts your partner’s self-esteem by reassuring him that what he’s doing feels good; it also gives him intel on what you like and keeps you in the moment. If you’re too shy, moaning will communicate your needs.
Show & Tell: My best O-moment
We asked some brave women to fill in the blank: “I had my most epic orgasm when…”
“My boyfriend blindfolded me with his tie and went down on me. Not being able to see definitely heightened my other senses, plus it was totally out of character for him!”
“I applied a strong vibrator to my C-spot while stroking my G-spot with one finger. I could tell I was touching my G-spot because it felt spongy – different than the rest of my vagina. The combo felt so unbelievably good, it took me seconds to orgasm!”
“We were in the shower and my BF was using his hands to stimulate my clit (with lots of lube). The tingly sensations lasted forever, and the finale was epic.”
“We started with missionary sex, then he leaned all the way backward so that I was able to get on top. I ground into him with circular motions while he very slowly thrusted upward.”
“My partner teased out the foreplay as long as possible, bringing me to the brink of orgasming but then backing off a bit (and doing that over and over again).”
“My partner slipped a single finger in my backdoor while performing oral sex in front. Aaaahhh!”
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