Three things make your toes curl:
- bloodcurdling embarrassment
- wearing pointy jester shoes
- Oh my goodness, how are you doing that with your tongue?
Despite having the only organ in the human body completely dedicated to pleasure, people with clitorises can find orgasms to be mysteriously out of reach.
Some of those looking to rock their partner’s entire world claim that the clitoral orgasm is a mystery that ranks alongside the Bermuda Triangle or where that missing sock goes on laundry day.
When mystery calls, though, science invariably answers. And this time, it’s wearing the sexiest lab coat imaginable.
Sex researchers have been asking some smart questions. With their help, we parted the legs of truth and revealed practical tips to help your partner come (to some positive conclusions about your technique, obviously).
And don’t worry, we’re not leaving folk with penises out — they tend to have an easier time of it, but that’s not true for everyone.
One study from 2019 suggested based on data that over 90 percent of people with penises regularly orgasm during sex, but that the figure is 50 percent for people with clitorises.
Well, that just won’t do, now, will it? Sex should be fun, sensual, and safe for everyone who tries it. And that includes whoever’s in your bed right now! (Okay, tip number one: Put the articles away and get to it.)
We’ve got a few tips that will have your partner soundproofing their bedroom as a matter of urgency. You’ll graduate from our walkthrough magna cum loudly.
While we’re on this sticky subject, we explain the awesome health benefits of a good, old-fashioned orgasm, what could be blocking the road to O-town, and how to get there.
Sexual contentment is a key part of human wellness for people who are active in that way. Plenty of studies are being done with the objective of offering tangible advice to help folks achieve a better sex life.
One such study indicates that 36.6 percent of women reach orgasm through clitoral stimulation. Compare that to the 18.4 percent of women who orgasm from vaginal sex.
Slow down there, partner. It’s not that easy. The researchers also found that specific types of clitoral stimulation are better than others, with up-and-down motions getting better results than circular movements overall.
Turns out, most people prefer a gentle touch on their clitoris over firm contact, and almost half of the women in the study said there’s one specific touch that sends them to orgasm.
So just ask! (We’re not leaving you hanging, but you also need to do some of the work yourself. There’s only so much complete strangers can tell you about what makes your partner tick.)
An innovative study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior offers a little more clarity on that most burning of questions: What makes an orgasm?
Using data from a diverse group of almost 53,000 people, researchers sought to discover who orgasms — and why.
This study is limited, though. It reports on people who identify as straight, gay, and bisexual, and there’s still a lot of work to be done in understanding how trans and gender non-conforming individuals experience sexual thrills.
Even outside of gender identity, orgasms are so personal. They feel different for everyone. You can feel any emotion under the sun after an orgasm, depending on the setting, your individual experiences, and how you’re wired.
And people have completely different, complex preferences that result in their sexual ecstasy peaking. Finding a universal rule is extremely difficult.
What the study achieved, however, is undressing three significant factors that are likely to result in orgasm. Combine this with learning your partner’s mind and body, and you’ll be in very good stead to start distributing pleasure like Oprah distributes cars.
(“You get an orgasm! You get an orgasm! You get an orgasm!”)
This “golden trio” can help ensure your partner has a great time every time.
Open wide, say “aaah”: More oral, please
This one is for the ladies: Women who receive more oral during sex are much more likely to reach orgasm.
They won’t necessarily get there through oral sex alone, though: The key to orgasm is to incorporate oral with a variety of other sexual techniques. As is so often the case, variety is the spice of life (and sexual satisfaction).
Just 5 more minutes… time is of the essence
In the study, both men and women said that they’re more likely to orgasm if sex lasts more than 15 minutes. Women are even more likely to orgasm if the session is longer than 30 minutes (or an hour).
Intense foreplay takes time. Quickies can be great fun, but if you want your partner to have an explosive experience, put the time aside and really explore.
If you’re a sprinter more than a marathon runner, we found a few exercises that can boost your stamina.
Happy relationship, happy quivering
Women who are happy and loved up are more likely to orgasm than those having difficulties with their partner. The study found relationship satisfaction to be one of the highest predictors of orgasm for women — which is not the most surprising discovery, when you think about it.
This is a tricky one, though. It’s unclear which factor feeds which.
Does a happy relationship promote a healthy sex life, or does a great sex life contribute to satisfaction with a partner? This is a Circle of Life we can get behind.
Name a better trio. (Apart from Hanson.)
These gold standards for giving orgasms are the main findings from the study. However, the researchers also stumbled on other factors that contribute to orgasms.
According to the study’s findings, women who frequently orgasm do more of the following:
- give new positions a go
- act on their fantasies
- ask for something they want during sex
- show expressions of love during sex
- let their partner know that certain movements feel good
- wear sexy lingerie
- include a variety of sexual acts
- sext their partner
A whopping 80 percent of women orgasm from this magical combination:
- oral sex
- vaginal sex
- manual (hand) clitoral stimulation
- deep kissing
Men who have more orgasms tend to do these things:
- wear sexy underwear
- receive a massage or back rub
- ask for something they want during sex
- praise their partner for something they did during sex
- take a bath or shower with their partner
- sext their partner
- set aside time for sex
Even though most people have specific motions or moves that make them not only tick but explode, there are actually stark similarities between what people of all orientations and genders want from sex.
According to the study, sexting can play a great supporting role in The Orgasm Show. If you’re not yet comfortable with sexting, we can help you get acquainted. 😉😘
Scientific conclusions: Practical, science-backed ways to help your partner finish
How does this help you make orgasms a regular part of sex, rather than an occasional happy accident?
Well, if you partner has a clitoris, here’s some changes you could make by the next time you sleep together:
- Take your time.
- Mix up your hand, tongue, and body movements.
- Go down on your partner (and stay down there)!
- Try something new, like an inventive position or a toy.
- Bring back the passion and eroticism of kissing.
- Ask your partner what they want.
Those with penises don’t struggle as much with orgasms, but some do. For biologically male partners:
- Take your time and be gentle.
- Offer them a back rub.
- Make sure you’re setting time aside for romance and affection, so your partner knows that you’re enjoying it and want them to feel good.
- Provide a safe, non-judgmental environment where your partner can let you know what they want and explore fantasies.
Most importantly, work on your relationship. You’re both more likely to orgasm if you’re happy. Communicate is rule numero uno for this. You should build good communication into the fabric of your emotional and physical relationship.
Communication is an essential factor for successful orgasms. If your partner knows which little touch sends them into rapture, you’ll find out much faster by asking.
The most effective search engine lies inside your partner’s pants and mind.
Not all relationships are rosy all the time, and you might have some stuff to work through before the sexual side can ignite fully. Enter communication, yet again: Most relationships are fixable through a supportive conversation.
Orgasms offer a host of benefits beyond the rosy glow and bounty of passion — there are perks aplenty for everyone to enjoy.
Here are a few of the bonus rewards orgasms bring into your life.
- In the throes of pleasure, your brain releases vast amounts of the hormone oxytocin — the “hug hormone.” Oxytocin helps promote bonding and stress relief, which explains that carefree, post-coital smirk on your face after a good squish.
Liu H et al. (2016). Is sex good for your health? A national study on partnered sexuality and cardiovascular risk among older men and women. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5052677/
- There’s a reason you feel sleepy after an orgasm. According to 2019 research, sex contributes to improved sleep — but mostly in people with penises, as they’re more likely to reach orgasm.
Lastella M et al. (2019). Sex and sleep: Perceptions of sex as a sleep-promoting behaviour in the general adult population. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6409294/
- If you get sick often, a useful and enjoyable prescription is more orgasms. They may boost immunity by increasing your white blood cells.
Haake P et al. (2004). Effects of sexual arousal on lymphocyte subset circulation and cytokine production in man. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15316239/
- Orgasms can help you live longer. Women who have more orgasms have longer telomeres, the insulating caps on your DNA that control how fast you age.
Cabeza de Baca T et al. (2017). Sexual intimacy in couples is associated with longer telomere length. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306453016310034See? The fountain of youth was keeping you moist the whole time.
- And men get unique benefits like improved protection from prostate cancer,
Leitzmann MF, et al. (2004). Ejaculation frequency and subsequent risk of prostate cancer. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/198487as well as cardiovascular disease, Hall SA, et al. (2011). Sexual activity, erectile dysfunction, and incident cardiovascular events. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2824175/
Sex can help you burn a few calories, too.
Science has been trying to answer this question for a long time. But it’s not all about what you’re doing with your fingers — in fact, sex isn’t all about you at all. Unless you’re masturbating.
Part of the issue is the different types of orgasm for people with clits in particular. Some reach orgasm easier through clitoral stimulation, and others prefer vaginal sex. An orgasm might be out of reach for some people unless they get both clitoral and vaginal pleasure.
Many people have psychological or physical barriers, especially if they’ve experienced sexual trauma or the effects of uncomfortable health problems, such as endometriosis.
Others simply get stuck in their head, dwelling on insecurities or fears. (If you’re one of the people who struggles to get all the way to an orgasm, or maybe never has, we’re here to help.)
Many women fake orgasms, and while many women fake with positive intentions — to preserve their partner’s feelings, mostly — it can lead to miscommunication and unrealistic expectations in the bedroom.
The National Survey of Sex Health and Behavior found that 85 percent of heterosexual men think their partner reached orgasm the last time they did it together — but 64 percent of heterosexual woman claim that they actually did.
If you find yourself faking it rather than making it, you may benefit from a bit of help. One of our writers tested out 7 popular clit suction toys. (Journalism can be a tough gig, you know.)
Now, you can set about overcoming any issues over coming. Let science be your wingperson.
If you communicate your own bedroom needs and listen to your partner’s, take time to really enjoy the moment, and maintain a healthy relationship the rest of the time, your chances at an orgasm are already pretty high.
You might feel that, when it comes to going down on your partner, you don’t quite feel ready to put your money where your mouth is. There’s an article for everything.