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Sex + Relationships

The Big O – Female Orgasms in a Sex Negative Society

The female orgasm has always been somewhat taboo, even in the progressively sex-positive western world. I grew up hearing those around me imply that women who talked about sex and pleasure were raunchy, and that enjoying sex makes women “nymphos” or dirty in some way. 

Even in sex education, the topics of the structure of female sex organs and achieving pleasure (with another partner or via masturbation) were completely avoided. Most of the guys I knew as a teenager knew how, and were comfortable admitting to masturbating, but many of the women I know even now in my 20s still struggle with understanding their bodies and continue to feel uncomfortable exploring pleasure. 

Whether you’re in the category above, and feel like a foreigner in your own body when it comes to achieving climax, or you just want to intensify sensation and satisfaction in the bedroom, you’re in luck with this article – all of which can be read from the comfort and privacy of your phone!

Different things might work better for you than your friends.

You most likely don’t expect to like the same exact foods, music or clothing as your friends and other women, so stop expecting to orgasm from the same things as everyone else! Furthermore, most women (~72%) cannot orgasm from vaginal penetration, and there should not be shame associated with this. 

Experimenting with different toys and techniques can be really helpful when learning to orgasm more (or at all). Try new things, it is okay if you don’t like what your partner first tries or what you first suggest!

Don’t be afraid to help guide your partner.

After I became familiar with my body myself, one of the barriers I experienced with climaxing with a partner was their limited knowledge of my likes and dislikes in bed. Chances are, if you aren’t enjoying something, your partner doesn’t know, and won’t until you communicate this.

Of course, it is naturally daunting to open a channel of communication on something you have been raised to avoid discussing. Personally, I also experienced anxiety surrounding the fear that suggesting different methods and techniques to my partner(s) would offend them, or imply that I did not appreciate the efforts they were already making. Trust me when I say that although their ego may be a little hurt initially, a partner who cares about you and your satisfaction will be willing to learn and adapt to your body’s needs and wants, ultimately making them a better partner.

Try suggesting things you think or know work for you to your partner during sex. If verbal communication is intimidating, you may find it less daunting to gently guide their hands or any sex toys in the motion you want them to mimic (of course, after asking consent), as this will help them understand what they can do to make you feel good. 

Relaxation and comfort is KEY.

This may not be consistent for everyone, but in my experience, I need to be extremely relaxed to be able to focus on sensation and climax. I find it more difficult to really focus on intimacy when I am less comfortable with the person, and even when I am having a hard day and feel uncomfortable with my body image. 

Keeping this in mind when trying to reach that “O,” it might be beneficial to start with self-pleasure rather than with a foreign person. No worrying about the way you look or sound to a partner, no pressure, just you and yourself. Alternatively, a long-term partner you really have a high level of trust for might make you feel more at ease.

It’s okay if it takes time and effort!

On average, women take longer than men to orgasm. There is nearly a seven minute discrepancy between the average time it takes for men vs. women to orgasm, and oftentimes, sex seems to end with the male climax. 

This may be one of the biggest factors leading to low rates of climax in women. When I first became sexually active, I struggled a lot with the societal pressure on women to center intimacy around pleasing a male partner. With the idea that sex existed primarily for the satisfaction of my partner, rather than mutual pleasure, it was difficult for me to justify extending it past the male orgasm, even though like most women, it usually takes me much longer to climax. 

I think it’s important to address and eradicate the guilt associated with wanting to enjoy sex and orgasms as a woman. Sex is a two (or more) party activity, and weighing your partner’s and your own pleasure equally can help you learn to put aside that guilt and feeling of inferiority in the bedroom. It’s okay if it takes work to orgasm! You are always allowed to ask a partner to continue.

At the end of the day, climax is something that is different for every woman, and something that even might change as you age or with your menstrual cycle. Like anything else, learning to climax is a skill: one that many women are never taught and are uncomfortable with – hence the wide gap in orgasms between men and women. Try not to be intimidated, and enjoy the learning process, because sex CAN be about your pleasure too!

Lily is a sophomore at SUNY Geneseo studying neuroscience with intentions of progressing on to medical school. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, hiking, and trying new coffee shops.
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