Late last month, condom company Durex revealed the most googled questions about sex. Many have straightforward answers. (No, you can't get rid of herpes. The "clap" is gonorrhea.) Other answers—"how long does sex last"—vary widely.
But arguably the most important googled sex question is "how to make woman orgasm?" There's a good chance that if you're looking for an answer to this, you want something that's fool proof, one size fits all—the ol' up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A of pleasuring a woman. Unfortunately, I am here to break the shocking news: All women are different, and everyone responds to different stimuli. Some lucky broads can get off with minimal effort, while others might require the use of toys—such as vibrators or dildos—to get the job done. For some, traditional intercourse might be enough, while others have specific fetishes or kinks that turn them on and get them off. Many women require stimulation of their clitoris (the sensitive erectile tissue located above the vagina) while others have a more erogenous g-spot (located several inches up inside on the front of the vaginal wall—another of the most googled sex questions). Some women are trans and don't have vaginas at all, and some women have disabilities or medical conditions that require a different approach altogether than what is found in traditional depictions of sexuality. It can, in a word, be daunting. So we turned to some experts.
"The first place I'd start is your attitude about pleasuring your partner," says Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and the creator of Finishing School, an online course for women helping them achieve orgasm. "We have these myths that female orgasms are very complicated and mysterious and difficult, and a lot of the women I work with tell me they don't want to burden their partners with it. They feel bad or guilty." Letting your partner know you care about them having a good time will help them feel more at ease, and will make them more comfortable communicating their needs to you.
That said, it's easy to suck the fun out of sex by treating it like it's a game that can be won (though sometimes that's hot too). "You don't want to be physically focused on making her orgasm to the point that you're putting pressure on her," says Marin. It's a problem she hears a lot about from women who hook up with straight men. "A lot of my clients will tell me, 'I'll be with somebody who's really going over the top about wanting to make me orgasm, and it feels more like he wants to do it to make himself feel good and feel like he's gotten a gold star rather than because he genuinely cares about my experience.'" This blows, and not in the sexy way. If you instead chill out a little and approach sex like an enjoyable activity that can be done with another person (or people), everyone involved will have a much better time.
This next step might feel like a copout because you will find it in almost every single relationship advice column, but that's only because it's essential: You need to communicate with your partner.
"We feel like if sex is good it should be completely wordless, that everything happens spontaneously and naturally and perfectly," says Marin. But it's not like that. Talking to your partner doesn't have to be a sterile, formal, or convoluted process. As Marin explains, it can even be downright sexy. "Ask your partner, 'What do you like?' or 'What can I do for you?'" she says.
Regularly checking in with your partner (but not too much!) is also a good way to ensure you have their enthusiastic consent—which of course we already know is mandatory for any and all sexual activity, but it's nice to be regularly reminded. And don't be afraid to express your own desires as well. This should be fun for you too!
Of course, there's a chance your partner straight up doesn't know what gets her off, maybe because she hasn't been given the opportunity to explore that part of herself much. Now is as good a time as ever to remedy that. The best way to get better at sex? Practice. Get down and dirty with your partner as often as you can any way that you can so can get familiar and comfortable with each other's bodies. There are a million resources out there to help people discover what gets them off. If you can afford it, check out the interactive educational website Omg Yes, which is filled with different tips and techniques from real women about what gets them going.
If you want to get your study on, Jackie Rednour-Bruckman, the executive vice president of the women friendly retailer Good Vibrations, recommends Vibrator Nation by Lynn Comella, as well as Good Vibrations's online guides to cunnilingus and vibrators. "Vaginal insertion can be lovely, but the majority of women will not orgasm strictly from this," says Carol Queen, PhD, Good Vibrations's resident sexologist and author of THE Sex & Pleasure Book. "Vibration is a really effective source of clitoral stimulation, but if you apply the vibe to the clit and it feels irritating, choose a milder vibe, or move the vibe away for a while and stimulate in other ways until you're ready for it."
Above all be patient, with your partner and with yourself. You might not blow each other's minds right away, but that just gives you an excuse to keep trying. Sex should be fun, so relax, take a deep breath, and go get 'em. We're rooting for you.
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