Here at Cosmo, we're flooded with reader emails asking us about orgasms. The concerns we get asked most: "Why is it so difficult for a woman to climax?" and "What's going on when an O won't happen at all?"
So, we felt it was time to put this reassuring news out there: It's totally normal for a chick to have a hard time climaxing. "The female body is more complicated than a man's; it needs different touches and pressures to get to that point of no return. And, what works for one woman is different [from] what does the trick for another," explains Patti Taylor, PhD, author of Expanded Orgasm: Soar To Ecstasy At Your Lover's Every Touch.
It's not just a physiological issue either. "Women generally can't climax via purely physical stimulation like men can; they have to be in the right emotional state so they can truly let go," says Taylor.
The other bit of good news we are happy to report is that, although orgasms can be elusive, hitting the high note is hardly mission impossible--every woman is capable of it. Here, we lay out exactly how you can experience ultimate bliss, so you never lie there feeling frustrated.
Climax Clinic Step #1: Get To Know Your Private Parts
Whether by their own hand or during intercourse, guys generally have no problem getting off (lucky dogs!). As long as they have an erection and indulge in a few minutes of full-throttle stroking or thrusting, an orgasm is a pretty sure thing, explains Jane Bogart, director of student wellness at Columbia University Medical Center and author of Sexploration: The Ultimate Guide To Feeling Truly Great In Bed.
But, the female body isn't as simple. Sure, it feels good when your guy's penis glides back and forth inside your vagina. Yet these motions alone probably won't escalate your ecstasy level to the point where you can climax. That's because there's little or no stimulation of the clitoris, the tiny bliss button about half an inch north of the vagina that's the real key to achieving an O.
"The vast majority of nerves that give a woman sexual pleasure are located in the clitoris, not the vagina, so penetration alone likely won't trigger an orgasm," says Bogart. How about those movie scenes where the woman moans in orgasmic pleasure while her guy pounds away? Don't fall for 'em.
Another factor that trips up a chick's climax potential is that the clitoris is sooo incredibly sensitive, it's difficult to reach kingdom come unless you're hitting the right balance of pressure and speed for you. "The clitoris and the tip of the penis have about the same amount of nerves, but the clitoris packs them into a much smaller space, so it's way more responsive to even the slightest touch," explains Bogart.
(The fact that the clitoris isn't inside the vagina sure seems like Mother Nature's little joke, but here's why it's on the outside: If your man's penis thrusted against it with each stroke during sex, you'd be crying out in pain, not pleasure.)
Complicating matters further is that to orgasm, women need to be in a sexy mindset. "Many women worry so much about climaxing, they end up too stressed to actually do it," says New York City sexologist Betty Dodson, PhD. Also, teeny distractions--like loud music playing in the background or a looming deadline at work--can keep you from reaching the grand finale, says Bogart.
Climax Clinic Step #2: Give Yourself A Hand
Okay, so having an orgasm has the potential to be damn difficult. But, we're going to show you the secret to coming...again...and again. It's all about experimenting on your own. "It's a lot easier to learn what turns you on solo than to expect your guy to figure it out," says Bogart. "Also, they aren't mind readers, and even the most attentive man likely needs some direction."
When you have lots of downtime, are feeling stress-free, and don't expect any disturbances, settle into your bed or a warm bath, says Steve Bodansky, PhD, co-author of Instant Orgasm: Excitement At First Touch. Lock the door, light candles, put on soothing music--whatever it takes to get you feeling sensual. Then, start touching yourself. You can use a light caress or something more firm-—whatever feels best to you. Try grazing your hands from your breasts to your belly to your clit and then back again, establishing a rhythm that leaves you increasingly excited.
As you sense your lust level heating up, slow down and sample different motions on your clitoris. For example, instead of moving your fingers up and down, trace circles over it or try a light tapping motion. If that's too much direct pressure, make a V with your index and middle fingers and place them on either side of your pleasure point, sliding them ever so slightly back and forth so you're making indirect contact, says Taylor. And, don't hold back from using both of your hands--one on your clitoris and the other on your V-zone, your inner thighs, or your breasts.
Pretty soon, you'll sense that you're on the brink of something. This is a crucial moment, a point many chicks get to time and again, and yet they don't end up crossing the finish line. The key is not to fight it or hold back. One trick that will help send you over the edge: Visualize your body letting go--all the muscles relaxing and even the joints unhinging--and giving in to the wave of pleasure that's about to occur, says Taylor.
Another strategy: Focus on taking deep breaths. "When you get excited, it's normal to quicken your breathing, but long, drawn-out breaths help center you and keep you in the moment," says Taylor. Finally, don't be afraid to make some noise. You may think moaning and grunting sounds are silly and weird, but they may be your body's instinctual way of releasing and reveling in all that awesome sensation. Before you know it, you'll be beside yourself with bliss.
Climax Clinic Step #3: Direct Your Guy To Town
Now that you know what it takes for you to climax, it's time to teach your guy. "During foreplay, touch yourself in front of him until you orgasm," says Taylor. This way, he'll get an up-close-and-personal demo of what makes you reach your peak. After your O, ask him to mimic your moves with his fingers or his tongue during a second round. He'll love the challenge of getting you off again.
To show him how to make you climax during intercourse, start out in the woman-on-top position. "Not only does it allow you to control the speed and how much of him you take inside you, but it also leaves your entire body open to be touched, so he--or you--can caress your clitoris while you thrust," says Taylor.
Doggie-style also allows your guy to reach around and play with your passion button as he moves inside you. Missionary can also be an orgasm-triggering option: As he starts to grind while you're lying relaxed, contract your PC muscles (the ones you squeeze when you're holding in your urine stream). Each time you contract, your clitoris gets a jolt of stimulation and you move closer to orgasm.
And, go ahead and add lube to the action. "If you're on the drier side, lube is your friend," says Taylor. "Using it to supplement your own natural moisture makes for a smoother, more pleasurable ride that will allow you to focus on all the good things happening inside you."
Climax Clinic Step #4: Broaden Your Bliss Horizons
When you've mastered the basics, you'll be ready for more advanced O options. One intense example is the G-spot orgasm, named after the cent-sized spot located about an inch up the front vaginal wall. When it's caressed, this zone can bring on a climax that's more powerful than what you experience via clitoral stimulation.
Hitting this sweet spot requires a little positioning from your guy as he thrusts. Doggie-style can give you the right angle. "When you're on all fours and he isn't penetrating too deeply, his penis naturally hits the general area of your G-spot," says Taylor. Don't get frustrated if he doesn't graze it right away; you may have to test out different depths and angles.
Finally, treat yourself to what's called a blended orgasm, which combines clitoral and G-spot stimulation. All it takes is the simultaneous stroking of your G-spot by his penis and the massaging of your clitoris with your or his fingers. You can do it in woman-on-top as well as doggie-style, and it's even more explosive if you have your guy thrust, then stop and hold off while you play with your clitoris, and then you take a break and have him rub against your G again.
Eventually, you'll be so overwhelmed by the two different sensations that you'll have to do both moves at the same time...and you'll experience fireworks like you've never imagined.