- Having an orgasm is an active, learnable skill, and figuring out how to orgasm is worth your time.
- When you orgasm, your happiness hormones shoot up, your immune system gets stronger, and you instantly feel more relaxed.
- Ways to orgasm more easily involve a high-tech suction device, strong kegel muscles, and thinking beyond the clitoris.
If orgasms don’t come easily to you, you’re not the only one. Hollywood makes it seem so effortless, but as most women know, it can take a lot of work to reach the Big O. Figuring out how to orgasm is worth your time — when you orgasm, your happiness hormones shoot up, your immune system gets stronger, and you instantly feel more relaxed.
Orgasms aren’t something that just happen to you — you can learn to master them.
“We make orgasm seem like more of a passive process, rather than an active, learnable skill,” says Vanessa Marin, sex therapist and creator of Finishing School: Learn How To Orgasm.
Whether you want to learn how to orgasm, have more orgasms, or increase the intensity of the ones you’re already having, read on.
Benefits of the female orgasm
“The main one is definitely just the pure pleasure,” says Marin. While pleasure is enough of a reason, orgasms carry loads of other benefits, for your body and your brain. These include:
- Boosts healthy hormone levels
- Lowers stress
- Releases oxytocin — aka “the love hormone” — which fosters trust, social bonding, and relaxation
- Releases estrogen, which works with oxytocin to flood your body with feel-good emotions and a sense of well-being
- Strengthens your immune system
- Lowers inflammation
- Helps you fall asleep
- Relieves pain
Ways to orgasm more easily (and more intensely)
1. Learn how to orgasm on your own
Your first step to more explosive orgasms is learning how to orgasm on your own, without your partner.
Figuring out how to get yourself off takes some experimenting. Commit to masturbating regularly while you explore what feels good for you. Some women like direct pressure on the clitoris, others prefer more indirect touch. Some like an up-and-down motion, for others circular works best. The only way you’ll know is if you practice. Masturbate, and often. Research shows that, for women, the more you orgasm, the more intense your orgasms become.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. When women find a technique that works, they usually don’t change things up, says sex therapist Megan Fleming, PhD, a clinical instructor of psychology in psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. Maybe it’s your hand that gets the job done, or a vibrator.
“What if you tried a different position?” says Fleming. “Experiment masturbating doggy style or straddling a pillow, on your stomach or on your back. Look at different angles and use your hands and toys.”
Another reason to try something new: Sex with a partner involves various positions and angles, and the better you know what works for your body, the more likely you are to orgasm during sex.
Don’t know where to start? Try OMGYES, an online site dedicated to female sexual pleasure. For a $39 flat fee, you can access more than 70 video tutorials of real women bringing themselves to orgasm in different ways (Hollywood star Emma Watson is a fan).
2. Use fantasy and erotic thoughts
Take the time to explore what fantasies turn you on. Does the idea of Jon Snow wearing a black cloak and nothing else rev you up? (Not a “Game of Thrones” fan? Never mind). Or maybe spanking does it for you. Or perhaps you don’t know what it is that gets you going. That’s okay — figuring out what works for you is part of the fun. Fantasies help get you aroused quickly, and can lead you to orgasm sooner when you think of them while masturbating or during sex.
You can find a lot of good stuff on the internet, if you’re willing to wade through some of the bad. On Literotica.com, explore thousands of free erotic stories that cover every kind of fantasy. Or for free erotic videos, there’s Bellesa.co, a porn site dedicated to women. If books are more your thing, check out some of these erotic short story collections.
Traditional porn is also an option. The thinking goes that “hardcore” porn doesn’t appeal to women, that the fairer sex responds better to soft porn (remember Red Shoe Diaries?) and more story-driven narratives. But research shows a different story. Women get turned on by a whole lot more than what people think.
In a famous 2004 study, researchers showed men and women a variety of sexual images — sex between a man and woman, women-only, men-only, and even sex between apes. Participants were hooked up to a device called a pleythysmograph, which measured swelling in the penis, or in the case of the women, blood flow to the vagina. They were also asked to indicate on a keypad how aroused they felt when looking at each image.
The men’s minds were in line with their anatomy — straight men were physically turned on by straight and lesbian sex, and gay men by gay sex.
The results for the women were completely different. It didn’t matter if they said they were gay or straight — on the whole, the women showed physical arousal when looking at all types of sex, including men with men, women with women, and even the copulating apes (the apes did little for men, gay or straight). What women said they were aroused by on the keypad didn’t align much with what was going on physically in their body.
The takeaway? Women can get physically turned on by a whole range of things, so don’t be afraid to explore.
And try not to feel any shame about your favorite fantasies. What turns you on in your mind isn’t necessarily what you want in real life, says Fleming, who lists threesomes and rape as common fantasies among women.
“Fantasy is not politically correct,” says Fleming. “It’s a place for your mind to play and explore.”
3. Try this high-tech suction device
In Dave Asprey’s book “Game Changers”, Emily Morse, a sex therapist and host of the podcast “Sex With Emily,” says to feel desire and to orgasm, women simply need more blood to flow to their vagina.
She recommends the Fiera, a small hands-free device developed by doctors. You attach it to your clitoris and it uses gentle suction to get the blood flowing. You use it for 5-10 minutes before sex, then remove it.
In a 2017 study of pre- and postmenopausal women, the Fiera increased the temperature of the clitoris and labia for up to 8 minutes, and the women reported feeling more frisky as a result.
Morse says that the women she works with report more sexual desire after using it for five minutes a day, and eventually they no longer need it.
4. Keep your “sexy pilot light” on
Picture this scenario: You work long hours every day and collapse into bed each night, barely having the energy to take your makeup off, let alone eat some semblance of a healthy dinner. You and your boyfriend haven’t had sex in close to a month. You can’t remember when last you masturbated. When he tries to get it on with you, you’re just not feeling it.
That’s no surprise, says Fleming.
“When sex isn’t on the mind, and you haven’t pleasured yourself or you haven’t orgasmed in days, weeks, months, or even years, you’re a cold engine,” she says.
Your goal is to “keep your sexy pilot light on”, says Fleming, so that when it comes time for sex, you’re already warmed up. It’s much harder to orgasm when you’re going from 0 to 100, versus already being halfway there.
“You want to always be simmering,” says Fleming. “Live in a sensual, sexual charge.”
Masturbating a couple of times a week is one way to do it, as is reading erotic literature or watching a sexy TV show on Netflix. Living sensuously also stokes the libido — treat yourself to regular cande-lit bubble baths, sleep naked, or take a dance class.
5. Strengthen those kegels
Kegel exercises strengthen your pelvic floor muscles — the ones you hold when you stop your pee mid-stream. Research shows that women with strong kegels experience stronger orgasms and greater sexual desire.
To strengthen your kegels, clench your pelvic floor muscles for three seconds, then relax them. Work up to 10 reps, 2-3 times a day.
You can also clench and release your kegels when masturbating or during sex to improve your orgasms, says Fleming.
6. Think beyond the clitoris
During sex, both partners all too often focus on just the clitoris, when other areas of the body can also help bring a woman to orgasm.
“It’s not just the clitoris,” says Fleming. “Some women can be orgasmic with nipple or anal play.”
Gently ask your partner to stroke or caress your erogenous zones, including your lower back, your inner thighs, or your neck. Again, practicing on your own will help you figure out what works for you.
“The more you know yourself, the more you can communicate to your partner,” says Fleming.
7. The Orgasm Shot (O-Shot)
You may remember the viral (and grisly) Instagram image of Kim Kardashian getting a vampire facial, which uses your own blood to rejuvenate skin tissue. The Orgasm Shot (O-Shot) claims to do the same thing, only for your vagina.
During the procedure, a doctor injects platelet rich plasma (PRP) — a concentrated version of your blood full of proteins called growth factors — into your clitoris and vagina. It aims to increase blood flow to the genitals, boosting libido and giving you better orgasms.
It doesn’t come cheap — a treatment will set you back upwards of $2,000. It’s also worth noting that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) doesn’t endorse the O-Shot, or any other “vaginal rejuvenation” procedures, calling them “unproven” and potentially unsafe.
If you’re curious about these types of procedures, watch this video about the Geneveve, a radiofrequency device that promises similar results to the O-Shot.
While there’s a place for technology, remember that orgasms are something you can get better at, and putting in the time to get to know your body is what really counts.
“I truly believe that the best ‘technology’ is your hands,” says Marin (she doesn’t endorse the O-Shot). “As a culture, we need to recognize that female masturbation is perfectly normal and healthy, and encourage women to take the time and make the effort to learn how to orgasm on their own.”
Read next: The Biohacker’s Guide to Better Sex