Despite how they make it look in sex scenes on TV, the female orgasm is more elusive than you might think. In fact, according to a recent study of more than 50,000 adults of all sexual orientations, only 65% of women said they usually, or always orgasmed during partnered sex (compared with 95% of men).
Then there are the 10-15% of women who never climax at all and the 75% of those who do, who can’t orgasm from intercourse alone. So, if want to get your due, begin your mission to the O-niverse with these practical expert tips – and whatever happens, enjoy the journey...
1. Take your time with foreplay
Your body needs time to get warmed up, so rather than go straight for the genitals, spend time exploring your other erogenous zones, advises Dorian Solot, sex educator and co-author of I ❤️ Orgasms: A Guide to More (£16.99, Hachette).
In a survey carried out for the writing of her book, it was found that neck, lips and thighs were the top three most popular erogenous zones. “However, they vary, so take time finding yours. If you're with a partner, enjoy just making out,” she says. “Not only is it fun, but it boosts the odds of an orgasm later.”
Charlotte Johnson, sexpert at Megapleasure.co.uk, suggests leading the way with some self-pleasure. “This helps your orgasm along and is a hint for your partner to join in,” she says. “If you do then have intercourse, you can continue using your fingers to pleasure yourself – double pleasure!”
Read more: Eight ways to know you’ve just had an orgasm
2. Focus on the clitoris
The female erogenous zone contains more than 10,000 nerve fibres with that magic button called the clitoris, being the star of the show. “Most women require focused, consistent clitoral stimulation, often for 20 minutes or more, so don’t be afraid for ask for the time you need,” says sexpert Alix Fox.
In fact, even during penetrative sex, a recent study revealed that 36% of women also needed clitoral stimulation in order to orgasm compared with just 18% of women who were able to climax through penetration alone.
“The clitoris is the same type of tissue as the penis,” explains Solot. “They grow from the same cell when we are embryos. So, trying to have an orgasm without involving the clit, is like a man having an orgasm without any stimulation of their penis. Maybe it can be done, but it's way more challenging.”
One of the most effective techniques for stimulating the clitoris, is adding moisture.
So, ask your partner to lick your clitoris or lubricate your own fingers with saliva to touch yourself – they will soon get the message.
3. Experiment with sex toys
“Sex toys like clitoral stimulators or ‘vibrators’ replicate the feeling of a tongue on your clitoris – and increasing the sensitivity of the genital area feels great,” says Johnson.
“Plus vibrators never get tired,” adds Solot, “and they provide an intensity of stimulation you can't get any other way.”
Experiment with using the vibrator on and around your clitoris, with different speeds and levels of pressure for a range of incredible sensations.
There’s nothing sexier than watching your partner get off at the same time, which is why Fox suggests trying a toy that serves you both, such as the Tenga SVR Smart Vibe Ring Rechargable Vibrating Cock Ring (£79.99 from Lovehoney), a vibrator that can be used as a penis ring, angled so it stimulates the clitoris during penetrative sex, as well as helping him to maintain a stronger erection for longer, by exerting mild pressure on the base of the penis.
4. Take it easy
Worrying that you and/or your partner are going to be disappointed if you don’t climax ramps up the pressure, which is going to send your orgasm into hiding.
“Try to remember that the whole point of sharing a sexual experience is to have fun,” says Fox. “Don’t let orgasm overshadow the whole shebang and you’re actually more likely to have one."
5. Don't worry about your body
Let’s be frank: you might find it hard to orgasm because you’re self-conscious about how you smell down there, so let’s allay your fears.
“It’s totally normal for vaginas to have their own musky, feral scent,” says Fox, “but a healthy vagina still smells pretty sexy. Infections and imbalances like bacterial vaginosis and thrush can cause fishy or yeasty odours, so if something genuinely smells wrong, nip to your GP.”
One way of feeling confident is to make showering together part of sexy foreplay.
“Please note, however, that the vagina is a self-cleaning wonder,” explains Fox. “You should never try to wash the inside of the vaginal passage at all as that can upset the body’s natural balance and actually cause infections that cause an unpleasant smell.”
Instead, just cleanse the outside of your bits, either using water or an uncoloured, unperfumed and pH-balanced product.
6. Say what you want
“Even an experienced partner needs feedback about what you need to be reach orgasmland,” says Solot. “You can communicate this with words (yes, it's OK and even recommended to talk during sex), moans, sighs, adjusting their hand or mouth, or classic-for-a-reason phrases like, 'Right there!', 'Don't stop!', or 'Yes, yes! Ohhh, yes!'”
7. Pay nipples some attention
Your nipples are a huge erogenous zone as the lovely sensations there travel to the same part of the brain as sensations in the clitoris and vagina.
“Try asking your partner to suck or lick the nipples to help arouse you both,” says Johnson.
“This helps the body to release the hormone oxytocin, increasing pleasure and the chances of an orgasm.”
8. Practice bedroom mindfulness
Everyone knows that anxiety and overthinking are passion-killers, inhibiting the big O.
“Don't start critiquing your thighs or analysing your facial expressions…” says Solot. “Your job is just to enjoy the sensations. What matters is inside, not what you look like on the outside.”
“Sometimes, well-meaning partners might be changing toys, angles and speeds every two minutes, and your orgasm doesn’t get chance to build,” adds Fox.
She suggests slowing right down and even wearing a blindfold to help you really zone in on the moment and body sensations and be “in the feeling, rather than the fretting.”
This, we like to call 'bedroom mindfulness’. It takes practice, but gets results.
9. Get on top or try scissoring
Having penetrative sex with you on top, is the best way for a woman to achieve orgasm because this position increases friction on the clitoris.
“For lesbian couples, 'scissoring’ (where two women intertwine their legs and rub their vulvas against each other) is great as this position stimulates both women’s clitorises at the same time,” adds Johnson.
Watch: 'Planet Sex': Cara Delevigne's climax studied by scientists