An orgasm is a physical and emotional sensation caused by a series of rhythmic contractions of the pelvic floor muscles, the penis, the vagina, and sometimes the uterus as well. Orgasm typically follows a build-up of muscle tension and an increase in blood flow to the genitals, creating a feeling of sexual excitement.
Significant differences exist between men’s and women’s experience of orgasm. Males generally achieve orgasm easier than females, in part because of anatomy. Only about one third of women regularly have orgasms during sexual intercourse alone — most women need direct stimulation of the clitoris as well. Most men don’t have problems reaching orgasm because male orgasm and ejaculation are biologically built into the male sexual response cycle, explains Cynthia Lief Ruberg, LPCC (licensed professional clinical counselor) and a certified sex therapist in Columbus, Ohio.
While women might not have orgasms as effortlessly as men, orgasms can be as intense and satisfying for both sexes. Here are eight ideas to help you reach a better climax.
1. Concentrate on Your Breathing
Women can take physical and psychological steps to make it easier to have orgasms and make climaxing more reliable, Ruberg says. One physical step is to concentrate on your breathing. Many people find that if they vary their breathing pattern from slow and deep to short and quick it adds to sexual arousal and can help trigger orgasm.
2. Get in Touch With Your Body
Another way to have better orgasms is by becoming an expert on your own body, Ruberg says. Some women don’t climax because they’ve never learned what excites them sexually. When you’re having sex, pay attention to what kind of touch gives you the most pleasure, Ruberg suggests. Then tell or show your partner what you like — and what you don’t like. Remember, only about 35 percent of women achieve female orgasm through vaginal sexual intercourse alone.
3. Appreciate Your Body
“If people don’t like their bodies, they will probably be thinking about how they look during sex rather than being in the moment,” Ruberg says. Obsessing over your body’s flaws interferes with your sexual response. In the movies, men may get turned on by a perfect body. But in real life, “most men get more turned on by an interested or interesting partner,” notes Ruberg. You will have better orgasms if you “get your head out of the way” during sex, as she puts it.
4. Play With Toys
“Using sex toys, such as vibrators, can be a fun and useful way to help women reach orgasm,” Ruberg says, explaining that many women find that vibrators take the “work” out of reaching orgasm. “They also take pressure off one’s partner because having an orgasm becomes the woman’s responsibility,” she says. Some women may find that as they age they need sex toys more. “As you get older, you lose sensation as your hormone levels drop and toys can help with that,” Ruberg says.
5. Exercise Your Vaginal Muscles
Exercising the muscles that surround the vagina — squeezing or contracting them — helps bring blood to the pelvic floor and build arousal. Women who are able to contract and relax these pubococcygeal (PC) muscles can also increase their male partner’s pleasure and help bring him to orgasm. Men, too, can practice PC muscle exercises to increase the intensity of their orgasms and have better erections.
6. Try Different Positions
Sometimes, just breaking your usual routine increases your pleasure and leads to better orgasms. One of the best positions for a woman is for her to be on top. “Being on top allows a woman to take control of sex and maximize stimulation,” says Ruberg. Not only can you control the tempo when you’re on top, but you also can control the depth of thrusting. Another position that might lead to better orgasms is doggie style. Keep experimenting to figure out what works best for you and your partner.
7. Watch a Sexy Movie
Romantic scenes or fantasies can put you and your partner in the mood, thus making sex more pleasurable. “Some women are aroused by reading romance novels,” Ruberg says. “For women, it’s not always about the visuals. It’s more often about the imagination.” Men may need more visual stimulation such as a sex scene in a movie. Either way, setting the mood with sexy DVDs, romantic movies, or erotic stories may help you both have better orgasms.
8. Hang Your Head
Some women find that, if they hang their head over the side of the bed so that blood rushes to their brain, it heightens their arousal and triggers a better female orgasm. There’s another reason why this strategy may work. Sometimes women simply try too hard to have orgasms, says Ruberg, and “this position will be a distraction and may lead to female orgasm.”
The final key to better orgasms is to do “whatever works,” Ruberg adds.