The Ultimate Guide To Female Orgasm

December 19,2019

Struggling with orgasm? You’re not alone

Over the past 15 years, I’ve taught thousands of women how to have their first orgasms via my online course, Finishing School.

But almost every single one of those women has said, “I feel like I must be the only woman in the world who hasn’t had an orgasm yet.”

We’re all so afraid that there’s something wrong with us, or that we’re broken in some way. We worry that we’re more complicated or difficult than other women.

So much of this anxiety is due to the ways that orgasm is talked about and portrayed in the media, especially in movies and porn. You see articles saying that all you have to do to have an orgasm is just “relax” and “let it happen.” You see women having orgasms after 30 seconds of stimulation, women orgasming from penetration alone, and insane, over the top, earth-shattering orgasms.

But that’s just not how orgasm works!

When all you’ve been given is inaccurate information, you’re being set up to feel like a failure. 

So I want to share with you the truth about how orgasm really works. (And how it doesn’t.)

In this comprehensive guide to female orgasm, you’ll discover:

 

What is an orgasm anyway?

Want to know something crazy? There isn’t a universally agreed-upon definition of what an orgasm even is in the first place!

Most people will simply say that an orgasm is an experience of physical pleasure during sexual activity.

Sometimes an orgasm can feel like a peak experience of pleasure, but that’s not always the case.

The average orgasm lasts for anywhere from two to 20 seconds. 

An orgasm can feel like waves of pleasure, or it can feel like a single burst.

Orgasms sometimes bring a sense of relief or release, but not always! 

The same woman can have very different experiences with orgasm. Sometimes orgasm can feel wildly pleasurable, other times it can feel like a tiny blip. Sometimes she feels “done” afterwards, sometimes she doesn’t. 

Orgasms really are like snowflakes; no two are alike!

 

How female orgasm works

So what do you need to have an orgasm?

There’s so much bad information and advice out there, so it’s understandable if you’re super confused! 

Here’s the truth…

Women require clitoral stimulation to orgasm.

Most women feel like they’re supposed to orgasm from penetration alone, but the reality is that only about 20% of women orgasm from penetration.

I first want to acknowledge that you might feel pretty bummed to hear this news.

It’s completely understandable to feel frustrated, and I don’t blame you if you do. You’ve been socialized to believe that the clitoris is somehow a dirty word. That’s it’s something complicated, and weird, and even shameful. You’ve been socialized to believe that the “right way” to orgasm is through penetration.

So of course this news is going to feel disappointing. 

But the truth is that orgasm really boils down to the clitoris.

One of the coolest facts about the clitoris is that it’s actually far larger than most people realize. Most people think of the clitoris only as the nub of skin that’s visible to the eye, but the clitoris actually extends up into your body, and splits into two crura. Sort of like a wishbone! The “legs” of the wishbone are called crura, and they’re about 3-5 inches in length. Much bigger than just the little nub!

And here’s where it gets even more interesting – these internal parts of the clitoris are what are getting stimulated when a woman experiences internal pleasure or has an orgasm from penetration.

So some women orgasm by directly or indirectly touching the outside of the clitoris, while others can orgasm when the inner fibers of the clitoris are getting stimulated.

But the bottom line is that it all comes back to the clitoris in one way or another.

 

How many different types of female orgasm are there?

This is the point where women usually ask me, “But what about other types of orgasms?”

You’ve probably seen tons of different articles talking about all of the different kinds of female orgasm: clitoral orgasm, vaginal orgasm, G-spot orgasm, blended orgasm, cervical orgasm, A-spot orgasms, U-spot orgasms, anal orgasms. Heck, even breath, skin, thought, sleep, and nipple orgasms!

Most women feel really ashamed when they read about all of these different types of orgasm. I hear things like, “I can’t even have one orgasm… now I’m supposed to be having 15 different kinds?!”

But the truth is that female orgasm is really all about the clitoris. If you want to have orgasms – and especially if you’ve never had an orgasm before – you want to focus on the clitoris.

So-called “internal” orgasms (like vaginal, G-spot, and cervical) are actually  caused by clitoral stimulation. Remember how the clitoris extends up into the body? It’s a different part of the clitoris being stimulated, but it’s still the clitoris. 

When it comes to other parts of your body, you can experience pleasure in any part of your body. And it’s incredible to explore your body and find all of the different areas that bring you joy and delight! If your breasts bring you a lot of pleasure, that’s awesome! If you want to try to feel more pleasure in your thighs, that’s amazing!

But when we’re talking about straight-up orgasm, the clitoris is where you want to focus your attention.

 

How long does it take for a woman to orgasm?

The average woman requires about 20 minutes of focused stimulation to reach orgasm. That’s an average, so there are women who can reach orgasm in as little as 30 seconds, and others who need 30 minutes or more. But 20 minutes is the rough average. 

This particular fact is always shocking to the women I work with, because they realize how little time they actually give themselves. Most women get frustrated – and usually give up – if they don’t climax in one to two minutes.

The good news is that once you learn how to have an orgasm, you can bring that time down significantly. You learn how to get there much faster.

I’ve had clients who needed an hour to learn how to orgasm the first time, but over time, were able to make themselves orgasm in a matter of minutes. 

And here’s the thing about timing – however long your body takes to reach orgasm is however long your body takes to reach orgasm. It’s just what your body needs.

We all love instant gratification, but we also have to respect our body’s natural state. Would you get mad at your body for growing toenails too slowly or breathing too quickly?

Obviously, these are silly examples, but my point is that our bodies operate in certain ways and have certain needs. It’s totally fine to wish orgasm was as easy as snapping your fingers, but you also have to be realistic about how orgasm actually works. 

 

What orgasm feels like

The short answer: it’s a different experience for every woman, every time. 

Some orgasms feel massive and explosive, but others only feel like small quakes. Some orgasms feel centered around your genitals, and some orgasms feel like they spread throughout your entire body. Some orgasms are accompanied by a sense of relief or release, and some orgasms leave you wanting more.

You’ll never fully know the answer, because your orgasm will keep surprising you!

 

How to know if you’ve had an orgasm

If you’re unsure about whether or not you’ve had an orgasm, there are a couple of physiological signs that you can look for. 

One of the most obvious ones is involuntary muscular contractions in your vagina and rectum. You don’t get these contractions with every single orgasm, but they are pretty common, and tend to be the most reliable physiological sign that you’ve had an orgasm. 

If it feels like your muscles are pulsing, but you’re not doing anything to move them, that’s a good sign that you’ve had an orgasm. If you can’t tell if you’re having muscular contractions, you can insert one of your fingers into your vagina. You should be able to feel your muscles lightly squeezing down on your finger. You can also try pressing a finger against your anus, since your anus will also pulsate with those involuntary contractions. 

You can also look directly at your genitals to see if you can spot more subtle muscle contraction. A good place to look is at the clitoris itself – you might be able to see tiny little pulses. 

Another common physiological sign is an extra sensitive clitoris. Your clitoris might feel like it can not be touched or stimulated at all. It suddenly goes from feeling pretty good to feeling awful. If you feel a strong knee-jerk reaction to stop clitoral stimulation, that’s a pretty good sign you’ve had an orgasm.

Here are some other signs to look for:

 

I hope you enjoyed this ultimate guide to female orgasm!

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HI THERE!

I'm Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and writer specializing in helping you have more fun in the bedroom.

I have bachelor’s degrees in human sexuality and sociology from Brown University, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’m also a licensed psychotherapist. I’ve been working in the sex therapy field since 2002 and have been featured by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, and many more.

If you’re interested in improving your sex life, you can work with me via my online courses or personal coaching sessions. I look forward to supporting you in creating the sex life you’ve always wanted!