Are clitoral orgasms really different from G-spot orgasms?
Maybe you’re curious, or maybe just not quite sure whether your orgasm is, well, “normal.” No shame there—most of us have been fed a lot of confusing ideas about how women reach climax. (Case in point: The mainstream porn myth that most female orgasms occur through vaginal intercourse or anal sex.)
So it’s not surprising that female orgasm is one of the most popular topics people ask sex therapists about. To clear up the biggest misconceptions, we asked sex therapist Vanessa Marin, creator of the online course Finishing School: Orgasm With a Partner, and sexologist Jess O’Reilly, Ph.D., resident sexologist at Astroglide, to share the questions they get from clients—and their hold-nothing-back answers.
Q: How do I know if I’ve had an orgasm?
People usually respond to this question with something like “you’ll just know,” but it’s not always that easy. O’Reilly sees many women confused by porn that depicts female orgasms as always super intense, when really, they can be more subtle. “Not all orgasms are earth-shattering,” she says.
O’Reilly describes them this way: “An orgasm usually involves a buildup of tension that reaches a peak and is followed by a sense of release and pleasurable sensations. Your breath and heart rate will likely heighten building up to orgasm, and you might feel pulsing in your genital region (a.k.a. your pelvic floor) and a sudden pleasurable relief of tension.”
Q: How can I learn to orgasm?
If you’ve never had an orgasm, you’re not alone: One in-depth look at the female orgasm originally published by sex researcher Elizabeth Lloyd, Ph.D., back in 2005 found that 5 to 10 percent of women have never experienced an orgasm.
This doesn’t mean all hope is lost; research also shows women can learn to orgasm. All it takes is a little practice.
O’Reilly recommends looking at your genitals in the mirror to get more comfortable with your body; masturbating to figure out what kinds of touch you like; using vibrators for powerful stimulation; fantasizing (and exploring different fantasies through porn or erotica, if you’re into it); and making noise to stay present.
The most reliable way to have your first orgasm is through masturbation, says Marin. “Once you get a better sense of what your body responds to, you’ll be much better equipped to teach your partner specific details,” she says.
Q: I can only orgasm alone. How can I get there with a partner?
A lot of women find it much easier to orgasm on their own than with a partner, says O’Reilly. When you’re by yourself, you’re solely focused on your own pleasure and can touch yourself just the way you like. Getting there with a partner might involve a little translation (and some practice), but it’s totally doable.
Start by asking yourself what you do solo that helps you orgasm, O’Reilly says—and then thinking about what your partner does differently. Maybe, for example, you’re using clitoral stimulation on your own but trying to orgasm through only penetration with a partner. “You might want to consider whether or not you’re asking for what you want during partnered sex,” says O’Reilly. “Perhaps you’d benefit from introducing some of the techniques or approaches you use during masturbation to your partnered sex play.”
The obstacle could also be more psychological. “You may also need to practice receiving pleasure,” O’Reilly says. “If you’re too hung up on giving pleasure, it can detract from your own experience.” Getting out of your own head and into your body can help.
Q: How do I “get out of my head” enough to orgasm?
Getting out of your own head—where you’re thinking, Is my partner enjoying this? Do I smell weird? Did I send that email to my boss?—enough to focus on your pleasure is of course easier said than done. That’s why sex experts so often hear from women who have trouble orgasming because they’re distracted by their thoughts. Marin’s best advice? First, know this is normal. Getting too worked up can turn it into a self-perpetuating cycle. “What happens for many people is that they’ll notice a distracting thought, then get frustrated or upset with themselves for thinking distracting thoughts, then get even more distracted,” she says.
“Instead of going down this maddening distraction spiral, the best thing to do is simply acknowledge that mental distraction is the price we pay for having brains,” Marin says. “If you notice your brain starting to wander, acknowledge that you’re thinking about something different, then gently bring your attention back to the present moment.” Just call it mindfulness for sex.
Q: What if it takes a lot of time or effort for me to orgasm?
A lot of women struggle with feeling unworthy of time or attention when it comes to their sexual pleasure, says Marin. But sometimes orgasms take work, especially when you’re first learning to orgasm or having your first orgasms with a partner. That is more than OK—there’s no time limit for your orgasm.
The more practice you have (with a partner or solo), the easier orgasms will come, says Marin. But in the meantime, focus more on reminding yourself that “you deserve that time and effort,” she says.
Q: Is it possible for women to orgasm during intercourse?
If you don’t orgasm during intercourse, don’t sweat it—that’s totally normal. Only about a quarter of women regularly orgasm during intercourse, according to Lloyd’s analysis, and when they do, it’s probably because their clitoris is being stimulated simultaneously.
But can you learn to orgasm from penetration? “The reality is that penetration itself doesn’t create enough stimulation for the vast majority of women to reach orgasm.” Marin says. “Female orgasm is all about the clitoris, but the clitoris doesn’t get a ton of stimulation during intercourse.”
That doesn’t mean it’s not possible. “I like to make the distinction between orgasming from intercourse and orgasming during intercourse,” Marin says. To increase your chances of orgasming during intercourse, Marin recommends touching your clitoris, having your partner touch it, using toys, or trying a position like the Coital Alignment Technique that allows for clitoral stimulation.
Q: Is there a difference between a clitoral orgasm and a G-spot orgasm?
Many women feel vaginal orgasms are somehow “better” than clitoral orgasms, or even as if a clitoral orgasm doesn’t really “count” as much. This isn’t a real distinction, says O’Reilly; whichever feels more natural and pleasurable for you is all that matters.
In fact, it’s hard to tell if there’s really a difference between the two types of orgasms. “Orgasms do not fit neatly into categories based on a particular technique or body part,” O’Reilly explains. “The clitoral complex is not only located in close proximity to the vaginal canal, but parts of it actually surround the vagina, making it difficult to isolate the exact source of pleasure and orgasm.”
If you do orgasm through penetration, those orgasms may or may not feel different from clitoral ones. It’s possible that they will because different nerves are being stimulated, says O’Reilly. But if you orgasm only clitorally, that doesn’t mean you’re experiencing less pleasure than someone who orgasms through penetration.
Q: Am I the only one who has trouble orgasming?
Nope, but a lot of women don’t discuss it. “We teach women to be ashamed and embarrassed of female orgasm, so a lot of women don’t feel comfortable being honest about their orgasmic struggles,” Marin says. “There are so many women out there who haven’t yet orgasmed.”
First, remember that you’re in good company. And second, remember that an orgasm drought likely won’t last forever.
Originally Published: www.glamour.com