There are few things in life as simple and pleasurable as an orgasm. Orgasms are free to have, can be done alone or with a friend, have been shown to relieve stress, improve sleep, and can maybe even add years to your life (after all, who doesn’t want to be an immortal sex goddess?)!
But for something so simple, orgasms can drum up a lot of complex emotions. Sex drive is deeply connected to your mental health, stress level, body image, and how you learned about sexuality as an adolescent. So while for some, reaching orgasm might be an everyday activity that comes quite naturally, for others, it might take a lot of work to get there.
Having an orgasm doesn't have to involve penetrative sex: Masturbation is a great way to learn more about your body and reach orgasm completely on your own. Think of masturbation as a physical manifestation of self-love, which is something we all deserve a little more of. Taking the time to explore your body and learn what feels good will not only help you have better orgasms on your own, but will also help you guide a partner. Not sure where to start? Set up a comfortable, private environment where you feel safe to let your mind wander and fantasize. If you start to feel self-conscious during masturbation, take a deep breathe, relax, and remember that you are in a private space and there is nothing shameful about feeling pleasure or fantasizing.
A lot of people also enjoy incorporating sex toys into their masturbation routine! There are sex toys that can be used externally, internally, or both simultaneously. Everyone’s body reacts to stimulation differently, and the possibilities with masturbation are endless. What matters most is finding out what makes you feel good!
The Different Kinds of Orgasms
In the past, people believed that clitoral orgasms were immature while vaginal ones were mature, (no) thanks to Dr. Sigmund Freud back in, like, 1905. This mainly meant the clit got sadly ignored for far too long and women were made to feel bad about how their bodies functioned if they weren’t having so-called vaginal orgasms. Thankfully other researchers eventually came around and said what we clit owners already know: all vaginal orgasms are clitoral orgasms, they’re not really distinct, and they’re awesome. If you’re coming from penetration inside your vagina versus direct external clitoral stimulation (oral, rubbing, vibrator, whatever it takes), it’s usually because someone or something is hitting some part of your clitoris the right way inside of you—usually the clitoral root. The clitoris is like an iceberg, the part you see, the clitoral nub, is only one small part of a large internal structure that wraps all the way around your vaginal opening. If your clitoris happens to be close to your vaginal opening, you may have an easier time having orgasms during penetration, however orgasm from penetration alone is rare. Studies show this only happens for about 30 percent of women.
You may have heard a lot about a little place called the “G-Spot”. Named after a German-born gynecologist named Ernst Gräfenberg, this refers to a small spot of erogenous tissue on the front wall of the vagina, basically where it wraps around the urethra. Since it’s internal, some people consider a G-spot orgasm a vaginal orgasm. If this is a sensitive spot in your body, you probably already know about it. If it’s working, keep at it. But if you feel nothing up around there, it might be of interest to learn that a lot of people agree with you and many doctors believe the G-spot is a myth. One recentish example: in 2012 a urology resident at Yale published an article in the Journal of Sexual Medicine saying the G-spot does not exist. He did the research and didn’t find the response to support it. And yet, other doctors swear it’s no myth, and the G spot is endlessly being studied, with ultrasounds seeking anatomical proof and more, in an attempt to locate it.
Why choose one when you can have the best of both worlds? Lots of people enjoy clitoral and vaginal stimulation at the same time. If you are alone, you can do this by using both hands, one fingering your G-spot, and the other rubbing your clitoris. If you are with a partner, try a position where they can touch your clitoris during penetration.
While we think the clit is lit, when you are in the right mood, there are many parts of your body that can heighten arousal. Breasts, inner thighs, ears, and your neck are just a few of the places that can be touched, caressed, and squeezed to ramp your body up for an explosive orgasm. Try lightly touching or squeezing your nipples while you massage your clit for a heightened sensation. Or have a partner whisper or breathe in your ear during intercourse to heat things up.
Communication is the bedrock that will make your bed rock. Don’t be shy or timid about saying what turns you on and turns you off. You are your biggest advocate when it comes to reaching orgasm, so make sure you express your desires to your partner instead of solely focusing on their pleasure. You and your partner should create an environment where you both feel comfortable expressing what you are into while respecting each other's boundaries and comfort-levels.
In the bedroom, saying “No” to what you don’t like is just as important as saying “Yes” to what you do. If your partner is pressuring you into doing something that turns you off, tell them you aren’t comfortable, and if they still insist, they are not practicing healthy boundaries, and you should leave the situation. Consent is required by law, so while exploration and experimentation are great, always make sure both people are enthusiastically on board with what’s on the menu.
There are as many different ways to achieve orgasm as there are reasons why you might have trouble getting there. If you are on any medications and have trouble reaching orgasm, or find you have decreased sex drive, talk to your doctor about it!
If you are struggling to reach orgasm for other reasons, don't put too much pressure on yourself. It can be easy to fall into a cycle of frustration from not orgasming, which leads to increased anxiety around sex, which leads to an even harder time having an orgasm! Who knew the circle could be such an annoying shape? 😕 Break the cycle by taking away the pressure around climax, and instead go back to focusing on the basics, like touching your body to find out what feels best to you. The more you can relax and let go of stigmas and preconceived notions about sex, the easier time you will have figuring out what really turns you on.
And like most things in life, the journey to having an orgasm is more important than the destination, so make sure you enjoy the ride. 🎉🎉