It's National Orgasm Day and there’s a lot of talk about orgasms but how much do you actually know about them? What is an orgasm? How many different kinds of orgasms are there? What’s the difference between a male and a female orgasm? How to have an orgasm? What does an orgasm feel like? What's "the orgasm gap"?
A recent study from the Archives of Sexual Behavior assessed the sex lives of over 52,500 adult Americans and found that only 65% of hetero women usually orgasm during sex, compared to 95% of hetero men. There is your orgasm gap people. But, what are the reasons for this? I’m sure you’ve heard about this before and it’s often dismissed with statements like “well, it’s just normal that women don’t come all the time, because their orgasms are just more complex”. Then why is it that another study found that when masturbating, 95 percent of women reach orgasm easily and within minutes? This week we’re taking a closer look at the orgasm gap and the female orgasm in general.
I hope many of you have had the pleasure of experiencing an orgasm before. It’s probably one of the most sensational feelings a human being can have. But what actually, physically happens in a woman’s body during climax?
An orgasm is nothing more, or less, than rapid contractions of the vagina, the uterus, and the anus. But obviously, it is a bit more complicated than that. It is a complex combination of physical arousal and emotion. Sex and especially orgasms cause increased production of oxytocin, which is often referred to as the “love hormone”. Before orgasm, the brain releases oxytocin and also endorphins, which are our natural pain-killing hormones. The release of endorphins is also a stress reliever and it seriously boosts immunity! These are just some of the many health benefits that come with having sex and orgasms regularly. Some women also ejaculate during orgasm, also known as squirting. When a woman ejaculates she releases a liquid, and no it’s not pee. If you want to learn more about squirting check out this free explicit video guide to squirting by Kali Sudhra.
Masters and Johnson wrote a book that detailed the sexual response cycle and divides it into four different stages of pleasure. The first stage is called Excitement, which revers to initially being turned on. Excitement is followed by the Plateau, which is a repetitive motion that feels pleasurable. Next comes the big O. The orgasm is the ultimate peek of pleasure and release of excitement. Last but not least there is the Resolution, also called the refractory period. Research has shown that these stages are actually visible in the human brain, both for males and females: “By the time you actually experience an orgasm, more than 30 major brain systems are activated. It’s not a local, discrete event. There’s no ‘orgasm center'. It’s everywhere.” (Stromberg, VOX)
If you read up on this question you'll get answers ranging from 5 to 12 different kinds of orgasms. Some women can even have orgasms while they sleep or while working out! For this article though, I will focus on the 5 most common forms of orgasms.
Reached by stimulating the clit, these orgasms are often felt on the surface of the body, they're short lasting and can happen in bursts. like a tingly feeling along your skin and in your brain.
Also known as the "G-spot" orgasm, these are internal orgasms that are generally longer lasting, more "whole body" than a clitoris orgasm and can cause the vaginal walls to pulse.
Also known as a blended orgasm, this happens when both a clitoral and vaginal orgasm occur simultaneously.
As it says on the tin, this is an orgasm that’s achieved through anal stimulation and can feel like intense waves of pleasure through your whole body.
Remember the nipple orgasm? Well that is an erogenous zone orgasm. Other parts of your body, such as the ears, neck, knees, inner arms can still cause a pleasurable reaction when kissed and played with and for more sensitive people, this play can lead to orgasm.
In a study, less than 1 in 5 women reported being able to orgasm through vaginal stimulation alone and 75% of women need clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm! And even though anal orgasms are more common in men because they have a prostate and we don’t, it is absolutely possible for women to have an anal orgasm.
Back in the early 1900s, Freud, the so called father of psychoanalysis, decided for women all over the world that clitoral orgasms were a sign of sexual and psychological immaturity, and sometimes even mental illness. Please excuse my language, but Sigmund Freud can go f*** himself! Today we know that he was absolutely and entirely wrong and it’s time we give the clitoris the attention it deserves.
The first and most outrageous reason for the orgasm gap is a universal ignorance of the clitoris, fuelled by a sex education system based on Freud’s analysis of the female body and psyche. The brutal consequence of this approach is that most of us aren’t even taught what a clitoris is in school. Also in most porn movies on the free tube sites—aka young peoples' main source of sex ed—there is almost no attention paid to the clitoris. It’s an immensely false image portrayed in porn, and in mainstream media in general that it is normal and desirable for women to orgasm solely from intercourse. This false belief is one of the main reasons why women don’t orgasms as often as man do. They are simply not getting the stimulation they need to orgasm.
There’s also the common belief that clitoral orgasms are some sort of “second-class” orgasm and that only vaginal orgasms are the real deal. Well let me tell you the truth: most of these assumptions have been made by straight penis owners. And what works for men? Penetration. But these assumptions have failed to understand the sexual needs of women. They have failed to acknowledge that women need more than what men consider as great sex. We need more than just penetration. If you can not always reach climax during vaginal penetration then there is absolutely nothing wrong with you! Actually, the majority of women can not reach climax through vaginal stimulation alone.
And finally, in my opinion there is something else that’s wrong: our common definition of sex. Repeat after me: Sex is not just an erected penis in a vagina. We need to stop glorifying penetrative sex. Oral sex is sex. Anal sex is sex. Fingering is sex. Using sex toys is sex.
Faking orgasms is something many women do, even if they are with a steady partner whom they trust and love. So many of us do that it feels almost normal. Isn’t that just crazy? We are so used to putting our male partner’s pleasure first that we are willing to fake our own. How depressing is that?
Many women I asked about this tell me that they fake it to not hurt the other persons feelings. But if you ask a man how many times he had to fake an orgasm during sex to make his partner feel better you will realise that something is going very, very wrong here. Female pleasure is considered less of a priority than male pleasure and it needs to stop! We need to stop pretending to orgasm from boring and sometimes even painful vaginal penetration just because we think that this is the “normal” way to have sex and as long as the man climaxes, everything is great.
Many women are told that if they can’t reach orgasms during sex, it is their own fault. They are just not sexy and relaxed enough or even that there is something medically wrong with them. Don’t get me wrong, there should be absolutely no pressure on anyone that they have to experience an orgasm every time they have sex. Sex can be an incredibly pleasurable experience without climax, but we need to start prioritising female pleasure and stop thinking of the male climax as normal and the female climax as a nice extra that we should be grateful for if we achieve it every once in a while.
Unfortunately, I can not give you a manual on how to make yourself or your partner cum. Every body works differently and there is only one solution to the problem: practice!
If you're struggling to experience an orgasm with a partner, have you tried masturbating yourself? Can you make yourself cum? Have you figured out what you like? If not, cancel all of your weekend plans and get to know yourself. If you already know you can make yourself cum then it's time to talk to your partner! They can’t read your mind and communication is absolute key to achieve sexual satisfaction.
Men are taught to be straightforward about their needs when it comes to sex, but women are often taught to be shy and to see themselves and their bodies as the problem for their lack of orgasms. We need to learn how to ask for what we want and we need to start trusting ourselves and our bodies. So, if something isn’t working for you, start talking about it. And most importantly, stop faking it! For your own sake. Your orgasm is quite literally in your hands. Experimenting is required and orgasms with your partner won’t come without communication. It’s time we demand pleasure! The more myths and stereotypes we dismantle, the closer we get to mutual satisfaction.
If you haven't yet experienced orgasm or you'd like to experiment with your solo sex practice, I recommend reading the following resources: