Sex Column: Figuring out the female orgasm

There are things about sex that are simple. Kissing, oral and penetration are all pretty basic. Sure, they all require some amount of skill but they are things that, with enough practice, anyone can do well. But there are a couple things that do not happen for everyone, and forcing the issue just makes worse. I’m talking about one of my favorite things in the world: the female orgasm.

The male orgasm is a fairly straightforward sexual event. In the majority of situations, pulling the lever enough times garners a jackpot. But it’s different for women. The female sexual response cycle is slightly more complicated, involving subtle changes in anatomy and arousal.

This has led to debate about the difference between the vaginal and clitoral orgasm. There is a much cited and suspiciously unconfirmed statistic claiming that 75 percent of women are unable to have an orgasm from vaginal stimulation alone. But why would that be?

The answer turns out to be pretty simple. According to several recent studies and a majority of the world’s sexperts, there is no such thing as a vaginal orgasm. What was previously attributed to women being prudish about sex because they would not openly experience orgasms, turned out to be the side-effect of a combination of anatomical reality and sexism. Feminist writer Anne Koedt spelled this out in an article almost 40 years ago.

“Aside from physical stimulation, which is the common cause of orgasm for most people, there is also stimulation through primarily mental processes,” she writes. “Thus, while the cause is psychological, the effect is still physical, and the orgasm necessarily takes place in the sexual organ equipped for sexual climax, the clitoris.”

Ah, the clitoris. Although I do not have a uterus and am therefore unable to speak for the sisterhood, I do know that most of the pleasure women feel during sex comes from the clitoris – almost all the nerves are down there. Sexpert Dr. Trina Read, in an online article called “The Orgasm Debate,” discusses the vaginal and clitoral orgasm, which actually differ only in the kind of stimulation applied to the same bundle of nerves. Read brings up an interesting fact that some women who don’t experience orgasms may not know.

“Vaginal orgasms are usually described as ‘deep’ and ‘relaxing,’ and can be followed by a profound sense of calm. Orgasms during intercourse are often less acute,” she writes.

So ladies, you may have experienced an orgasm during sex and not even have been aware of it. But how do you achieve Dr. Read’s more “intense” clitoral orgasm?

You’re going to have to take the plunge and go shopping. Any good online adult toy store is going to stock about 100 different products that are specially designed to help women get off. Take a look around and think about what might be right for you, but keep it on the cheap for your first purchase. You can find a simple beginner’s toy for about $20. Use that to figure out what kind of stimulation rubs you the right way and then you can get a pricier device that will cater more specifically to your needs.

If you can arrange it, try this out with a partner. Sharing your first orgasm with someone you care about will make it that much better, and working together with your partner to discover what gets you off will help them do it in the future. Just don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work immediately. The worst thing you can do is force it, and adding a sense of urgency to the situation is the best way to make sure that it never happens.

If your partner can’t have an orgasm, don’t pressure them. It’s your responsibility to help them, not make them feel bad by complaining about it. So shut your mouth and lend a hand.

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