Although the female orgasm has been around for millennia, it still appears to be one of the world’s best-kept secrets. We’re about to pop the lid.
In this 2018 study of newlywed heterosexual couples, 49% percent of wives reported consistently experiencing orgasm while 87% of husbands did.
But that’s not where this story ends. 43% of husbands misread how often their wives orgasmed.
And the plot thickens. According to this 2016 Finnish study, women value their partner’s orgasm more than their own.
Yep, when it comes to orgasms, the gender gap is real.
So where do we go from here?
For starters, we have the conversation.
In this article: 📝
- What does a female orgasm feel like?
- What happens when a woman orgasms?
- The benefits of female orgasm
- Female orgasms: a how-to guide
What does a female orgasm feel like?
Basically, the stars align, the planets rejoice, and all beings on earth lift their voices and sing.
An orgasm is the height of sexual pleasure — the top of the charts, the peak of the mountain, the winning spot of the podium.
It’s a super intense feeling that usually starts in the genitals and radiates out from there.
Your pelvic floor muscles — those are the ones between the tailbone and the pubic bone — contract every second about five to eight times.
Not only that, your heart and breathing rates go up, and your blood pressure rises.
You even change color — your chest, neck, and face can go red and be hot to the touch.
What happens when a woman orgasms?
The short answer? She has a great time.
And here’s what else.
Recent research using fMRI machines has helped us better understand what goes on in our brains when we orgasm. And this is what happens when we reach the peak:
- There’s a surge of dopamine. That’s the hormone that gives you feelings of pleasure and motivation.
- Extra oxytocin is made. Often dubbed the “love hormone,” oxytocin gives you feelings of connection. Everyone releases oxytocin when they’re orgasming, but women continue to release it as they bask in the post-coital glow. (On a separate note, it’s also the hormone released when you’re breastfeeding.)
- Many areas of your brain light up. Orgasm doesn’t just activate one part of your brain, but many. It’s an all-hands-on-deck approach.
- Your brain on sex looks a bit like your brain drugs. It also lights up in a similar way when you’re listening to music.
- Brain-wise, orgasm activity looks a bit like pain. It’s that intense.
- The logical part shuts down. Yep, makes sense.
The relationship between the penis and the orgasm is, well, quite blatant. It squirts. (Note that you don’t have to ejaculate to orgasm and vice versa, but they are usually connected.)
Also, your clitoris may get hard.
It’s an organ that is made of the same tissue as the penis.
For some clitoris owners, this is the most sensitive part of the whole body — and plays a crucial role when it comes to orgasming. (More on this below.)
The benefits of female orgasm
So what’s the point of all this orgasming?
Of course, it can be wonderful to experience, but beyond that, why does it happen? Well, tbh, we don’t really know.
Scientists have tried to uncover the evolutionary benefit of orgasms, but there’s by no means consensus on what these might be.
As this study tells us, there’s no direct relationship between female orgasm rate and the number of children you have.
In fact, whether it’s tied to reproduction at all is not clear.
Recent research suggests that orgasm may have previously played a role in stimulating ovulation. (Now we’re able to ovulate without prompting.)
Whatever its main reason for being, it certainly has benefits.
It may help you to:
- Keep your brain healthy. This 2017 study showed that because orgasm increases blood flow to the brain, it may help to shake things up in there.
- Bond with your partner. Remember that part about the oxytocin that gets released? Yep, it works.
- Destress. If you’ve tried orgasming as a stress reliever yourself, we probably don’t need to convince you of this one. Those hormone surges contribute to a feeling of overall wellbeing.
- Sleep. Orgasming may help you get the good zzzzs you need.
- Boost your immune system. There’s been some promising research on the effect of orgasming on your immune system.
Female orgasms: a how-to guide
No two bodies are alike, so this may take a bit of hands-on exploration, either on your own or with a partner. The goal is to find your own sweet spot.
Think of it in cooking terms. You don’t want it overdone or underdone, and you have to ensure that you use appropriate ingredients.
Rubbing (or sucking) too hard can lead you astray, as can not applying enough pressure.
Exploring your body on your own is one serious act of self-love.
Not only is it highly enjoyable, it may also increase your experience of pleasure with a partner.
(Want to know how often women masturbate, head here. Hint: no two schedules are alike.)
Toys are usually a welcome addition. If you’re new to the world of sex toys, we’ll help you get your head around them.
And then, location, location, location:
The clitoris and the vagina are the two main players when it comes to the female orgasm.
Vaginal orgasms are the type you get from penetrative sex.
The vagina is the channel between your uterus and the outside world.
It has a limited number of nerve endings and so may not be a one-way ticket to Pleasureville.
That’s where the clitoris steps in. Its nerve endings are plentiful.
When it comes to the clitoris, what you see is definitely not what you get.
The little knob on the outside is called the glans, and it’s kept safe by what is called the hood.
Those are the parts you can see. But then there’s the body of the clitoris. It reaches up to five inches inside you.
In this study, over one-third of women reported they prefer clitoral stimulation for orgasm. Another third said they at least want the clitoris to come to the party.
Rather than separate them out into “vaginal orgasm” and “clitoral orgasm,” it may just be worth celebrating the orgasm as a whole — and the different players who help make it happen.
You know what else is a thing? The nipple orgasm.
The high concentration of nerve endings in your nipples means that their stimulation can play an important part in this journey.
No matter where you’re focusing your attention, you may encounter the holy grail (for some) — the multiple orgasm.
Yep, that’s when they (and you) keep coming and coming. And if you’re lucky, the pleasure increases with each one.
According to recent studies, it might be easier to achieve multiple orgasm on your own than with a partner — especially for the first time.
And finally, you don’t have to orgasm to enjoy sex.
In this study, 21% of respondents said they can’t reach climax. So that’s totally normal too.
You do you. ❤️
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