The female orgasm is still, after all this time, one of life's greatest mysteries. We know it's entirely different from the male orgasm. We know it's frustratingly elusive for some women. We know too many heterosexual couples still have the same tired conversation after sex. (Her: Did you finish? Him: Of course, did you? Her: Sorta... Him: ????????)
A recent study that looked at how (and how often) women orgasm found that female orgasms are even more complex than we think. Researchers polled 1,055 18- to 94-year-old women and the findings are pretty interesting.
Here are the big takeaways:
- When it comes to genital touching (a.k.a. "fingering"), 64 percent of the women polled said they liked an up and down motion, while about half said they liked circular movements. Since there's an overlap, some women clearly like both, and others don't like either.
- Over 75 percent of women said they liked to be touched in a rhythmic motion around the clit, and most agreed that light to medium pressure was best. The takeaway? Don't jam your fingers around like you're digging for your car keys. Be gentle.
- While 18 percent of participants said penetration alone was "sufficient for orgasm," 37 percent said clitoral stimulation was absolutely necessary in order to orgasm during sex. Another 36 percent said they didn't need it but it made their experience better. Basically, get to know the clit.
Overall, the study indicated that getting in touch with your sexual preferences—and being able to vocalize what you learn to your partner—is the key to a good orgasm. And the best way to figure out how you like to be touched is to practice on yourself. This means masturbating, which, for women, can still be somewhat taboo. The sooner we can shake the stigma and make female masturbation just as acceptable as it is for men, the better. Everyone deserves a mind-blowing orgasm, and hey, if you can do it for yourself, even better.
The study also emphasized how crucial the clitoris is to maximizing sexual pleasure for women during sex. But since it has nothing to do with reproduction and exists only for sexual pleasure, the clit is still largely ignored in sex education classes.
While we definitely need to restructure the way society thinks about female pleasure, it's a big project (though studies like this help). In the short term, if you have a clit, acquaint yourself with it. Figure out what feels good and what doesn't, and be open with your partner about it. It's always awkward talking about the dirty details, but as this study proves, every woman feels pleasure differently. Open communication is the only way to make sure you're getting exactly what you want.
If you don't have a clit but you're gettin' it on with someone who does, do your research and figure out where it is and what to do when you find. Because news flash: The G-spot (probably) doesn't exist. It's time to look outside the box.