Female orgasms are a mystery to many — even women themselves who aren’t having them and don’t know how to. In this week’s Sex Talk Realness, Cosmopolitan spoke with four anonymous twentysomething women about their experiences with making themselves come and helping the men they sleep with figure it out.
How old are you?
Woman A: 27.
Woman B: 24.
Woman C: 20.
Woman D: 25.
How old were you when you first had sex?
Woman A: 15.
Woman B: 17.
Woman C: 17.
Woman D: 17.
How old were you when you first had an orgasm?
Woman A: 15. I didn’t have an orgasm the first time I had sex though. My partner at the time helped me climax eventually through oral sex. He was a bit older than me and was not a virgin, but very gentle and made sure I was comfortable.
Woman B: 20. I think I was finally able to come because of who I was with and how much more comfortable I was with him than with anyone previously. Plus, we tried new positions and I was just more experienced in general by then.
Woman C: 17. I actually didn’t come the first time I had sex. I’d only had an orgasm via masturbating before I’d had sex with anyone.
Woman D: 18. My first orgasm happened while I was masturbating, using a vibrator. I wasn’t able to come the first time I had sex though.
What percentage of the time you’re getting intimate do you have an orgasm?
Woman A: About 90 percent.
Woman B: 43 percent.
Woman C: I always orgasm while masturbating, but if I’m having sex with men, I have an orgasm maybe 5 percent of the time. It’s extremely rare that I have an orgasm with a male partner. If I’m having sex with a woman, I probably orgasm about 30 percent of the time.
Woman D: During partner sex I orgasm about 10 percent of the time. While masturbating, it’s about 95 percent of the time.
Is it easier for you to have an orgasm while masturbating, during oral sex, or during penetrative sex?
Woman A: If I had to rank them, it’s easiest for me to come via masturbation, followed by oral sex, and then penetrative sex. It’s all relative though since I almost never have an issue achieving an orgasm. When it comes to masturbation, I can achieve multiple orgasms within a very short period of time because I do it so often. Oral sex is great, but it’s far better if I am on top. Penetrative sex is also very enjoyable and I can almost always orgasm if I am on top. With certain positions, such as doggy style with clitoral stimulation, I can achieve both an internal and external orgasm. Those are great, but after that I am usually ready to cuddle and nap.
Woman B: It’s much easier for me to have an orgasm while masturbating with a vibrator. I also orgasm about 90 percent of the time with oral sex, but the best orgasms come from intercourse with me on top.
Woman C: It’s definitely easier for me to come while masturbating. I know my own body really well and it’s easier to respond to my own needs than tell another person what they are.
Woman D: It’s about 1000 times easier for me to orgasm during masturbation. I’ve never orgasmed strictly from penetration, even though guys seemed to think I would. I adore really good oral sex, especially when they put their fingers inside me as well. However, I have a really hard time reaching orgasm just from oral because I feel like it takes me too long, and I start to feel bad that my partner is working so hard for so long. I also usually squirt when it’s really good and I worry about my partner’s well-being when I’m squirting in their face.
Have you ever had multiple orgasms?
Woman A: Yes. During solo play I can have about five orgasms in ten minutes.
Woman B: Yes, with oral sex as foreplay, then intercourse after.
Woman C: Yes, usually whenever I masturbate, but like I said, it’s even more likely to happen when I’m using a vibrator.
Woman D: I’m not sure, so I guess I haven’t.
Have you ever had nipple-only orgasms?
Woman A: Sort of. I was on top of my boyfriend and we weren’t grinding, but there was the gentle pressure from his package. He was using his hands to stimulate my nipples and I had one of the best orgasms.
Woman B: Yes, I have. Sometimes my guy bites my nipples and licks them and I’ll have an orgasm, but it doesn’t feel as great as a regular orgasm.
Woman C: No, I really don’t think my nipples are sensitive enough for that to happen.
Woman D: Nipple play doesn’t really do much for me, so I’ve never had a nipple-only orgasm, sadly.
Do you feel comfortable giving guys tips to help you have an orgasm?
Woman A: Yes, I do. Usually, they are completely up for being taught. I did have one partner that was slightly discouraged when I tried to give him advice. Fortunately, after I explained that it wasn’t so much about him doing something wrong as much as it was about what I liked we were in sync.
Woman B: I usually have no problem telling guys what helps me orgasm, because I usually date them for a while and am comfortable with them before we have sex. They’ve all been completely fine with it.
Woman C: Depends on who I’m with. I find that it’s a lot easier to tell women what you’d like them to do because they tend to be a lot more understanding. Guys will sometimes get offended or hurt. My current partner is super great about this because he always listens to whatever I tell him.
Woman D: While I was single, I had no problem giving the guys I was hooking up with a little direction in terms of where to go and what to do. I think it’s much easier for a man to take sex advice once you’ve been having sex with them regularly, instead of just that one time. When I’ve tried to give a one night stand a little advice they seemed to take it as an insult to their sexual abilities. I’ve been with my boyfriend for about 3.5 years now and we’ve also had some general conversations about what gets me off. That was helpful.
Do sex toys help your chances of orgasm? Which ones are most useful?
Woman A: They definitely help me to orgasm more quickly. I prefer the little eggs or silver bullets for clitoral stimulation. I’ve tried those rabbit-style vibrators that penetrated and had clitoral stimulation, but they were awkward to use and I ended up just using the clitoral stimulator part.
Woman B: I’m way more likely to have an orgasm if I use them. I usually just use a vibrator.
Woman C: Yes, I’m definitely more likely to have an orgasm with a vibrator when I masturbate. I can orgasm using my fingers too, but I’m more likely to have multiple orgasms if I’m using a vibrator. I use a small $6 bullet vibrator that I got off of Amazon.
Woman D: I really enjoy powerful bullet-type vibrators and they definitely make it easier to come. I’ve also tried rabbit vibrators, but I don’t think there’s enough clitoral stimulation in those.
Have you ever tried using that toy with a partner?
Woman A: I’ve only done that one time and we just played with the bullet toy after having a few drinks. It was fun for both of us, though I think I remember him saying that the vibration was weird for him and he wasn’t a fan. We had a great sex life without adding anything else to it so we never tried that again.
Woman B: I have tried it with boyfriends and they all really liked being able to watch me orgasm from the vibrator. We’d usually also have sex after.
Woman C: Yes, but my current partner prefers not to use it. I think he finds it insulting and emasculating. Female partners are generally much more accepting about using toys in bed, usually because they understand how difficult it can be to orgasm.
Woman D: My boyfriend is fully aware of the vibrators I own, but I don’t incorporate them into sex. I know it would hurt his feelings and I’d rather experience the physical closeness of sex with another human being and not get off than getting off with a vibrator alone.
What else have you tried to orgasm better or more frequently?
Woman A: Sometimes I’ll raise and slightly release my pelvic floor during an orgasm, which definitely intensifies the experience! It also works really well during solo or oral play. Also, I found that squeezing my inner thigh muscles really intensifies the experience.
Woman B: I almost always have to be on top to orgasm and my guy has to be pretty deep inside me, but I found I come more easily when he pushes into me from underneath and is leaning back on his elbows.
Woman C: Buying a vibrator was really all I needed. That helped a lot.
Woman D: I’m very quick to tell my partner when a certain position feels better than another. I also take note of what previous partners have done that worked well for me and tell my current partners to try that.
What do you do when a guy can’t give you an orgasm?
Woman A: I think it’s OK if he can’t give me an orgasm in the beginning because we’re just getting to know each other, but after that it needs to be addressed. If we’re just messing around, I will gently guide his hand to the right spot or simply verbalize what I’d like for him to do. I’ll usually say “try this” or “go up or down” or “to the left/right.” If it is during sex, I’ll say “go slower/faster” or “hold me here” and guide his hands. Other times I’ll ask if I can be in a certain position, like asking to be on top.
Woman B: During foreplay I tell them to slow down, and not just pound into me. I tell them to go deeper and pay attention to the clitoris. Sometimes I’ll put my hand down there with them and direct them. If they are going down on me I will gently direct their head where to go. Guys like when women are able to orgasm, so they’re open to the advice.
Woman C: Sometimes I just don’t bother telling them at all. I don’t feel like orgasms should be the end goal to sex all the time. Sometimes it’s nice to just be with your partner and make them feel good.
Woman D: To be honest, I’m a big advocate of faking it. I don’t usually fake it to get things over with, though I definitely have done that a few times. I usually just fake it when I feel like my partner deserves to feel like they got me off.
Have you ever squirted?
Woman A: I don’t know if this was squirting, but one time I experienced a lot of liquid coming from my vagina that was more than the usual discharge. I knew I hadn’t had a bladder accident because I knew that wasn’t where the liquid was coming from.
Woman B: No.
Woman C: Yes, usually after multiple orgasms.
Woman D: I squirt almost every time I masturbate. I actually have to put a towel underneath me. It’s usually only if I’m using a powerful vibrator. Squirting isn’t necessarily synonymous with orgasm though. Sometimes it happens before, sometimes not ’til afterwards. It’s only happened to me once while I was having partner sex and it was significantly less satisfying with someone else there.
What do you wish you’d known sooner about your ability to have orgasms?
Woman A: Nothing in particular. I remember having an orgasm in my sleep several times after I hit puberty, so I did some research and read up on it. I also read a lot of Cosmo.
Woman B: That you have to be comfortable and not self-conscious about your body. It’s hard to keep thinking, “OMG this is totally a bad angle. I probably look so fat and my boobs are flying around everywhere,” but that takes you out of the moment.
Woman C: That vibrators make everything better. I thought I legitimately couldn’t orgasm until I got a vibrator. Once I used one, it became possible to orgasm using just my fingers, which previously I wasn’t able to do.
Woman D: I wish I’d known that orgasms existed sooner. The first time I had one was when I was masturbating and I was terrified because everything I knew about sex up to that point had nothing to do with orgasms.
What advice would you give to people who are having trouble giving their women partners orgasms?
Woman A: Talk to her! Make her feel comfortable so she’ll open up to you. If she tells you to keep doing something, don’t go faster or slower or harder, just keep doing what you’re doing. Also, read books about female anatomy.
Woman B: Slow down, ask what she likes and what feels good to her, and give the clitoris plenty of attention.
Woman C: Listen, and pay attention to the clitoris. Don’t get upset or hurt if you can’t get her to climax because it’s difficult for a lot of women to get there. It’s also better if you’re dating for a long time because that means you have plenty of time to learn what she prefers.
Woman D: Listen to the women you’re with. Accept their advice and don’t feel discouraged if they give you some directions. Do not believe what you see in porn because that doesn’t really work for women. Also, during oral, don’t be afraid to really get in there and use your fingers as well.
What advice would you give to women who are having trouble orgasming?
Woman A: You have got to explore yourself and what you like first and foremost because then you can teach your partner what you like. Also, don’t be afraid to speak to a sex therapist because they know their shit. If that doesn’t work and you are able to come by yourself but not with your partner, you might need a new partner.
Woman B: Don’t be afraid to explore and tell your man what feels good.
Woman C: Seriously, try a vibrator. And don’t feel bad if you can’t orgasm with your partner. It’s not necessarily a shortcoming for either of you, and it creates a fun goal for next time.
Woman D: Take your time and try to get comfortable with your partner first. That makes a huge difference. Also, I recommend that everyone masturbate as often as possible. Once you figure out what gets you off, it’s so much easier to tell your partners what you like.