Feature Sex

The Pre-Valentines Orgasm Edition

February 9, 2016

The Things You Haven’t Been Told About Female Orgasm


As a women’s health coach, I am often in the unique and privileged place to hear the true details of women’s sex lives  …not the details, if you know what I’m saying, but I do get to hear the truth about a lot of things that I don’t think we necessarily talk about candidly with our girlfriends, let alone our male partners, when it comes to sexual response.

And considering the fact that we’re inundated with movies and TV shows in which the sex scene goes something like this: passionate kiss –> man on top of woman –> woman climaxes (even if she’s up against the wall), I thought I might add my two cents.

It is entirely normal to not ALWAYS reach orgasm in partnered sex

I am all for optimizing the ability to reach climax, as well as the quality of orgasms, but it’s worth mentioning that it is normal to not be able to achieve orgasm with a partner 100% of the time.

This is so common because (generally speaking):

1) Sex can be as much of a mental game as a physical one, and we cannot always get our head in the game.

2) Our physiological response, and even our anatomy, is different at different times of the month. If we don’t understand that, and our partners don’t understand that, it can be hard to get what we need to get across the finish line. (For tips on how to work with our changing physiology throughout the month for better sex, head over here.)

3) Partnered sex involves accommodating and blending the needs of two people (obviously), and a lot of times women will either sacrifice or fail to communicate their own needs. Reasons for this include: assuming (often incorrectly) that our partners won’t take the time to do what we need, not feeling comfortable or able to communicate exactly what we need, or simply not feeling like walking a partner all the way through exactly what we need.

Since many of us are acculturated to believe that we should be having mind blowing orgasms every time we jump into bed (or wherever) with our partner, it’s important to note that it’s totally normal not to.

That said, consistently being able to get up to the edge of an orgasm but not actually having one, experiencing weaker orgasms than usual, or inability to climax during a solo session can be indicators of low or imbalanced hormone levels.

It’s also important to note that here I am using “normal” in the following way: not unusual, common, and in the norm. I am NOT suggesting that this is the ideal that we should all conform to or accept. The truth is, having truly great, “gourmet sex” (to steal the term from Kim Anami) takes a bit of work. We need to take the time to get to know ourselves pretty fully, and then we need to be in the habit of openly and honestly communicating our needs to our partners.


SO, here are two super important things to keep in mind when exploring your own needs and communicating them to your partner:


Women are quite literally wired differently

Obviously women are wired differently than men, and individually we all have things that work for us more than others when it comes to sex. That said, women are physically wired differently from each other:

“Every woman is wired differently. Some women’s nerves branch more in the vagina; other women’s nerves branch more in the clitoris. Some branch a great deal in the perineum, or at the mouth of the cervix. That accounts for some of the differences in female sexual response.”

-Naomi Wolf, quote from Vagina

Physiologically, the nerves in a man’s pelvic region tend to cluster in the same points as other men (the most obvious point of which is the head of the penis). Women, on the other hand, have a lot more variation, which means that they’ll respond differently to stimulation of the clitoris; the A, C or U spots along the vaginal canal; or stimulation of the cervix. In other words, if your friend shares some amazing technique her and her partner tried, it may not work at all for you. Or if your partner received most of his sexual education with partners with a very different nerve wiring, he’ll need to be taught all over again.

On the other hand, increasing the physical fitness of the pelvic floor can lead to increased blood flow to all of these spots, making you more likely to derive pleasure from each and every one of them.

Engorgement first

Sorry, it’s just such a term, that I couldn’t resist the subtitle. Anyhow, blood flow is actually one of the most important keys for unlocking female sexual response, if you will. Afterall, you wouldn’t expect a man to reach climax without an erection. And what is an erection? Blood flow. Blood flow in the pelvic region helps to increase arousal, and also helps bring nerve endings to the skin’s surface, increasing sensitivity and response.

So the male sex organ becomes erect, and female sex organs become engorged. Engorgement occurs when enough blood flow hits the pelvic area and causes the clitoris and inner and outer labia to swell slightly (and you may even experience enlargement of your breasts and nipples). At this point, the cervix moves up into the body, lengthening the vagina to create more room for intercourse. (So if you don’t quite reach this point, certain positions may prove very uncomfortable as your partner hits your cervix more than he would otherwise).

The trick here is really making sure that you are not just aroused, but aroused enough for sex. It may take longer certain times of the month than others, or on more stressful days than others, so it’s all about determining what you need at the moment. Just remember the Tantric expression that men are like fire (they light fast and go out fast), while women are like water: they need some time to slowly reach a boil, but then once they do, they can sustain it for much longer.

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