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The No. 1 Secret to the Female Orgasm

Practice (and comfort) makes perfect.


It was once assumed that women didn't have orgasms, or at least that they were very different from what men experienced. Thankfully, nowadays we know that women have all the equipment required to produce sexual pleasure - and that there's nothing wrong with enjoying it. Still, most statistics estimate that about 30 percent of women have trouble achieving  orgasm

Whether you're a woman who's diving into improving your sexual experiences, or you're a guy who's wondering why your lady isn't getting off as often as you'd like, you're probably looking for the big secret to female pleasure. That's a great start, but the answer goes deeper than you might expect ...

The Hidden Workings of the Female Orgasm

To discover the secrets to orgasm, you need to understand what’s going on under the hood (pun absolutely intended!). The most common way for a woman to reach orgasm is through clitoral stimulation, although some women also orgasm from stimulation of their  G-spot, nipples, or even less obvious erogenous zones like earlobes or neck. 

Orgasms are a full-body experience that includes rhythmic muscle contractions in and around the vagina, faster heart rate and breathing, raised blood pressure, and other exciting stuff like goosebumps or flushed, rosy skin. In fact an  orgasm activates almost every part of the brain, so it really can be mind-blowing! (Get some surprising facts about a woman's body in  10 Things You Don't Know About Vaginas.)

The Secret Is ...

Let's get this out of the way right off the bat: Health problems can get in the way of an orgasm. So, if something more than your sex life feels off, you should visit a doctor. In absence of a medical problem, however, a woman's orgasms, or the lack of them, go way beyond what's going on with her body. That means the main secret to a woman's orgasms is that they’re as individual as the woman herself. Learning to bring yourself or your female partner to a climax, therefore, can be a learning process, where's there's always room for improvement. Here are three common things that can boost a woman's orgasmic potential - and that couples tend to overlook. 

Set the Stage

Women using "too tired" as an excuse for not having sex is so common it's become a cliche. That's no doubt because it's true; 33 percent of women in the U.S. report being too tired for sex. And when you're not into it, an orgasm probably isn't happening. When you don’t sleep enough, your stressed, exhausted body isn’t prepping itself for orgasmic nirvana; it just wants to know when it can roll over and pass out.

According to statistics from sleep company Zeo, getting seven or more hours of sleep per night increases youthfulness and physical vigor, while a sleepless night reduces attractiveness by 4 percent and elevates a stress hormone called cortisol by 37 percent, leading more frustration, irritability and unhappiness. Sex is a great stress reducer and sleep aid, but the irony is that in order to really enjoy it, you need to be well rested. Setting the stage for sex means setting the stage for sleep, so don't be ashamed to make sleep a priority for both you and your partner. Better sex will surely follow. (See some other ways to lay proper groundwork in  8 New Year's Resolutions for the Best Sex Ever.)

Take Your Time

You might not have thought about this one, but feeling time-pressured is one of the top orgasm killers for women. This is especially true when it comes to oral sex, as sexologist Yvonne Fulbright explains in her bestselling book  The Best Oral Sex Ever - His Guide to Going Down.

This is where there's a big difference between men and women. Men can rush to the finish line - many women can't. In fact, most women need an average of  20 minutes of suitable stimulation before they achieve orgasm. Problem is, that 20 minutes can feel like a year when women spend it worrying - about their bodies, about their sexual abilities, or about whether their partner is getting bored. Women's bodies work differently than men's, which means that it takes more time to bring them to orgasm. Ladies, you aren't taking too long. And men, try to be patient - you can't hurry love!

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