How to Make a Woman Orgasm, According to Research

Women can achieve an orgasm in several different ways.

Scenes in movies and television typically depict women's pleasure as their partners only needed eight seconds before the woman finds herself on the brink of an orgasm. 

But in reality, a woman's orgasm is much more than that. In fact, there are many different ways that a woman can orgasm.

A clitoral orgasm is any orgasm that results from clitoral stimulation. In contrast, a vaginal orgasm is any orgasm that results from vaginal penetration. Sometimes, women can achieve orgasm by combining vaginal and clitoral stimulation. But an orgasm isn't always necessary to enjoy sex.

Also keep in mind that although a majority of people who have vaginal and clitoral orgasms are women, anyone with those body parts can achieve those types of orgasms.

Here's what you should know about a woman's orgasm, including how a woman can achieve an orgasm

Understanding Women's Orgasms

The truth is that the nature of a woman’s orgasm has been a source of scientific, political, and cultural debate for a long time. Researchers have tried to understand how women reach orgasm. It turns out that women can achieve an orgasm in several different ways.

Women commonly orgasm due to clitoral stimulation, also known as a clitoral orgasm. Other women orgasm from stimulation of regions inside the vagina, such as the G-spot, the cervix, or a combination of the two. The G-spot is on the front wall of the vagina, about halfway between the vaginal opening and cervix. 

Also, women can achieve those types of orgasms by masturbation or intercourse with one or more partners. But for some women, even if sex is enjoyable, orgasm can be difficult.

The Right Touch

According to one study published in 2018 in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, women achieve orgasms in different ways. But also, most women need some level of hands-on touching to climax during sex. The type of touch—the rhythm, motion, and pressure—varies widely.

In the study, the researchers surveyed over 1,000 women between 18–94. The researchers asked the women how much touching they needed to orgasm and what exact strokes produced the most pleasure, among other questions.

Clitoral Orgasm

While clitoral orgasms may be one of the most accessible types of pleasure, women prefer different types of touch to climax.

Direct Clitoral Stimulation

According to the 2018 study, 37% of women said they need clitoral stimulation to orgasm. In contrast, 36% of women said clitoral stimulation isn't necessary. But those women noted that clitoral stimulation makes the experience pleasing.

Also, when it comes to specific motions, the researchers noted the following findings:

  • Two-thirds of women said they prefer up-and-down motions directly on their clitoris.
  • Fifty-two percent of women reported enjoying direct circular movements.
  • One-third of women preferred direct side-to-side strokes.

The majority of women reported preferring light to medium pressure on the vulva. In contrast, 11% of women preferred firm pressure.

Indirect Clitoral Stimulation

Two-thirds of women reported enjoying indirect clitoral stimulation. Sixty-nine percent of women said they preferred touching the skin above the clitoral hood. Also, about 29% of women said they preferred being touched with the labia pushed together.

Additionally, 20% of women favored indirectly touching the skin on the right side of the clitoris, while 19.2% of women chose the skin on the left side.

Orgasm via Penile and Digital Intercourse

Penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI) is the most common heterosexual behavior in the United States. While many women participate in PVI, they do not always achieve orgasm.

In fact, the 2018 study found that only 18% of women said that vaginal penetration, penile or digital, alone was enough to reach orgasm. Some experts refer to that as a gender-based orgasm gap during partnered sex.

One study published in 2021 in PLoS ONE surveyed 3,017 women aged 18–93. The researchers asked the women about how they make vaginal penetration pleasurable. The researchers reported the following findings:

  • About 88% of women reported experiencing pleasure during penetration by “angling.” That move involves rotating, raising, or lowering the pelvis or hips during penetration to adjust where the penis rubs inside the vagina.
  • Three-quarters of women said “rocking” the base of a penis, so it rubs against the clitoris constantly during penetration, increased pleasure.
  • Nearly 84% of women often orgasm or increase their pleasure through “‘shallowing.” That move involves a penetrative touch just inside the vaginal entrance with a fingertip, sex toy, penis tip, tongue, or lips
  • About 70% of women found it pleasurable when their partner paired penetration with clitoral stimulation.

A Quick Review

While there's no formula for the perfect orgasm, research has found that some types of touch are more popular than others. Also, there are many ways to enhance pleasure during sex that may help you orgasm.

Try experimenting and show your partner what you like to find out which type of touch works best for you. Also, maintain an open dialogue with your partner about the type of touch you like.

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Sources
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  1. Pfaus JG, Quintana GR, Mac Cionnaith C, Parada M. The whole versus the sum of some of the parts: toward resolving the apparent controversy of clitoral versus vaginal orgasmsSocioaffect Neurosci Psychol. 2016;6:32578. doi:10.3402/snp.v6.32578

  2. Herbenick D, Fu TJ, Arter J, Sanders SA, Dodge B. Women's Experiences With Genital Touching, Sexual Pleasure, and Orgasm: Results From a U.S. Probability Sample of Women Ages 18 to 94J Sex Marital Ther. 2018;44(2):201-212. doi:10.1080/0092623X.2017.1346530

  3. Towne A. Clitoral stimulation during penile-vaginal intercourse: A phenomenological study exploring sexual experiences in support of female orgasmThe Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality. 2019;28(1):68-80. doi:10.3138/cjhs.2018-0022

  4. Hensel DJ, von Hippel CD, Lapage CC, Perkins RH. Women's techniques for making vaginal penetration more pleasurable: Results from a nationally representative study of adult women in the United StatesPLoS One. 2021;16(4):e0249242. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0249242

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