Perhaps you took a course on human sexuality in college. If you did, you likely remember one thing: the lecture on the female orgasm. Women want to have them, men want to deliver them.
But all too often, the fairer sex’s big-O falls among the ranks of the Abominable Snowman—great, even magical, in theory, but not something that’s often stumbled across.
If women are flummoxed by their orgasms, you’re thinking, what hope do you have?
Lots, it turns out. Sure, the female orgasm is fickle. But if you follow our 10 lessons about the female orgasm, you’ll have the knowledge you need to start studying—and finally seeing—it in the wild. (For step-by-step instructions, check out How to Pleasure a Woman from Men’s Health.)
So sit down, listen up, and whip out your pencil. Class is in session.
TAKE HER OFF THE CLOCK
Just as you’re concerned about lasting longer, many women are so self-conscious about taking too long that they end up faking orgasm or deciding to go without.
The solution? Stop obsessing over orgasms—yours and hers. A brain-imaging study by Swedish researchers shows that relaxation is the single most important factor in bringing a woman to orgasm.
So tell her she has all night. The better you convey not just tolerance for a lengthy buildup, but also appreciation of her sexual pleasure—orgasm or not—the easier it will be for her to unwind and explode.
Oh, and studies show that it takes 15 to 40 minutes for the average woman to reach orgasm. Going somewhere?
TURN HER ON WITH YOUR TALENT
The best sex starts long before the clothes come off.
Talent—more than rugged good looks or a chiseled midsection—is a powerful aphrodisiac, according to research by my colleagues at The Kinsey Institute. (Less surprisingly, poor hygiene and a messy home are among women's biggest turnoffs.)
So nail “Ice, Ice Baby” during karaoke. Or make her die laughing at your self-deprecating display of atrocious dartsmanship. Yes, humor is a talent, too.
WHEN SHE’S NAKED, SPEAK UP
Women who worry about the way they look down there are less likely to orgasm easily during oral sex, according to my research.
And a recent study published in the Journal of Sex Research suggests that women who feel embarrassed or ashamed about their bodies have less sexual experience and are less sexually assertive.
Clearly, you have everything to gain with flattery. If you love the way she looks naked—and you do, right?—share the news.
ALWAYS BE TENDER UP TOP
During foreplay, gently brush the tops, bottoms, and sides of her breasts; these areas are actually more sensitive than an unaroused areola and nipple. Gradually move in toward her nipples, paying attention to how she responds.
As things heat up, the nipples will become flushed with blood, and the sensory receptors will become primed for direct stimulation. You’ll kickstart the bloodflow and lubrication down below, starting her slow buildup toward orgasm.
LEARN HER KEY STROKES
One thing many women love during manual stimulation: a slow buildup.
Here’s how to do it: Lie next to her, lightly bracing the heel of one hand just above her clitoris. Now run your ring and middle fingers along the length of her outer lips. Graze the skin at first, adding pressure as the tension builds.
Cup the area around her clitoris with your palm to add indirect stimulation—most women are too sensitive to receive direct contact early on.
As she becomes aroused, brace your hand on her mons—her pubic mound, the fleshy area that covers her pubic bone—and tease the clitoris with the middles and tips of your fingers as you move your entire hand.
CHANGE YOUR ANGLE
Play Ponce de León and explore various types of penetration to figure out what turns her on most.
Your first stop: her G-spot, located about 1 to 2 inches up the front wall of her vagina. This spongy region swells during arousal. Try massaging the area slowly with your fingers. A lot of women find it mind blowing.
Not her thing? Just move on.
USE MOVES THAT MULTITASK
To maximize her pleasure, increase the amount of contact you’ll have with her most sensitive parts.
Here’s one move that will drive her wild: Ask her to lie on her back, with her legs stretched out. Now climb on top. Curl your arms around her shoulders, supporting yourself with your elbows and moving your chest up by her chin.
The goal is to bring the base of your penis in contact with her clitoris. Thrust slowly, focusing on up-and-down movement instead of in-and-out penetration.
Another great trick: Move your pubic mound in a circle or up and down against her clitoris. You’ll get a break from high-intensity stimulation, and she’ll receive focused attention where it often matters most.
LEARN TO SENSE HER ORGASM
Ease into oral sex—don’t just attack. First kiss her inner thighs and her inner and outer lips, then work your way inside using firm, broad strokes with your tongue.
Watch her hips for a clue to the rhythm she likes. Listen to her gasps and moans as you experiment with different techniques.
And watch for signs she’s close to orgasm, such as a subtle deepening in the color of her labia caused by increased bloodflow. Or rest a hand on her stomach and feel for the muscular contractions that immediately precede her orgasm.
FOLLOW HER LEAD
Once you reach your point of no return, you’ll climax even if you’re interrupted by a tuba-playing, thong-clad Bea Arthur.
But your lady could hit the “off” switch if you stop or change moves midway to orgasm. We love it when you try new things, and it’s important to vary your technique, but once you’ve found a winner, stick with it until she crosses the finish line.
LET HER FINISH FIRST
Stalking the elusive tandem orgasm is an admirable goal, but many women—especially those with sensitive clitorises—respond better to a “ladies-first” strategy.
If you rub the clitoris for a long time—during thrusting, for example—it can become too sore or desensitized to respond to manual or oral stimulation later. So satisfy her before intercourse.
Bonus: A woman’s orgasm threshold drops after her first one, so it’s often easier to bring her to climax through penetration after she’s already had one. How does that sound for an encore?
(Now that she’s satisfied, increase your pleasure with these 8 Tricks to Make Your Orgasms Even Better.)