Be A Little Selfish
“Having a good orgasm is directly related to the art of receiving — a difficult concept for many women,” says sex and relationship therapist Kimberly Sharky, LMFT, CST. “Whether it’s directly accepting pleasure or just allowing yourself to not be a giver for a second, the goal is to make your pleasure just as important as your partner’s.”
Sharky recommends blindfolding yourself during sex. “If you take away your sense of sight, it gives you permission to pay more attention to what’s going on inside your body,” she says. And when something happens that you like, speak up. This doesn’t necessarily mean handing your partner an instruction manual, but just subtly letting him or her know how you like it. “If you love kissing on your neck, mention it. That may feel like a safer start than asking for something more sexually explicit,” Sharky says. “And when something happens that feels good, respond with either a moan or a touch.” Eventually, your partner will have your pleasure points down to a science, so you can relax and enjoy the ride.
It’s not uncommon to find your mind wandering during sex — maybe to an issue at work or to that strange mole on your partner’s back — but it’s physically impossible to have an amazing orgasm when you're making lists and checking off worries in your head. To get your head back in the game, Sharky suggests focusing on your breathing. “This gives your mind something to do, and it also calms your nervous system enough to allow for relaxation, which is crucial for an orgasm,” she says.
There’s no right or wrong way to breathe during sex, but pay attention to how your breathing changes your experience. Try inhaling and exhaling through your mouth to generate energy or through your nose to relax your senses. Also, experiment with how you breathe during an orgasm. While many claim that orgasms are better if you breathe through them, others swear they have a more powerful experience clenching their muscles and holding their breath. Test both theories to find what’s best for you.
An orgasm stems from rhythmic contractions of the pelvic muscles, uterus, and vagina. So, a stronger pelvic floor leads to stronger vibrations and, ultimately, stronger orgasms. You’ve heard of kegels, and there are many products and devices out there to make those kegels count —from balls to cones to the loop-shaped Magic Banana — but the truth is that all that clenching may actually be a waste of time. “There are no studies that show that kegels work on their own,” says Dr. Lauren Streicher, associate professor of gynecology at Northwestern University’s medical school. “For many women, their pelvic floor is so weak and dysfunctional that they need stimulation to go along with their kegels.”
To add a little vibration to your pelvic floor exercises, Streicher recommends Intensity, an at-home device that she insists is well worth the $200 price tag: “Don’t think of this as a vibrator; you can go buy a vibrator for $20,” she says. “What makes this interesting is that it ties the clitoral response to the tightening of the pelvic floor.” Not only will you have a great time strengthening and orgasming on your own, but it’s been proven to increase your orgasmic potential later as well. Trust me, this is one workout plan you’ll actually stick to.
Yes, this is a thing, and it’s the perfect way to kick your strengthening regimen up a notch if you're really struggling with having satisfying orgasms. “It’s like having a personal trainer for your pelvis!” Streicher says. Pelvic floor physical therapists specialized to treat many pelvic disorders, including issues with orgasm.
What will your new PT do? To determine what is causing any problem, she will gently applying pressure to various pelvic floor muscle groups and ask you to squeeze her finger. Biofeedback may also be used to record what your muscles are doing. This involves placing electrodes either externally or internally to register your muscles’ activity. Then, she will start the fixing process, which may utilize a combination of electrical stimulation and specially designed exercises to get your internal muscles into orgasm-inducing shape.
Yes, it’s frustrating, but most women can’t have an orgasm from vaginal sex alone. “The truth is that only 5 or 10 percent at best are able to,” says Streicher. Switch your focus from penetration to clitoral stimulation and you’ll increase your orgasm’s punch. Try finding a position where you can stimulate yourself during sex. Or, Streicher recommends practicing coital alignment technique, which lets your partner’s body do the work for you.
In missionary position, have him position his pelvis directly above your pubic bone. Then, wrap your legs around his while he thrusts straight up and down rather than horizontally. For maximum stimulation, there’s no shame in adding a vibrator to the mix. “There are a lot of women who are just not able to have an orgasm without one,” Streicher says.
Increasing blood flow to your clitoris before sex is also a good way to strengthen orgasms. Just think of the clitoris as a tiny penis that needs to be erect to function properly. Spend some time on clitoral stimulation during foreplay, or try one of several topical oils or balms, like Zestra, designed to be applied directly to the clitoris. “Quite frankly, I think the key may be the rubbing-it-on part,” Streicher says. While the efficacy of products like this has been debated, they’re mostly organic, so won’t do any harm. And, at the very least, they’ll give your clitoris a fun, tingling sensation.
Speaking of foreplay, taking a cue from tantric sex and elongating the process can do wonders for your climax. Tantric sex, which dates back 5,000 years, promises amazing orgasms, but does so by aiming to extend arousal throughout the entire sexual experience. “A lot of women report having an orgasm that’s one peak of pleasure, but what you can experience with tantra is a rolling orgasm with many peaks of pleasure, ending with one that feels much more intense,” Sharky says.
The key is not to make orgasm the focus of your sexual activity. Instead, slow down and really appreciate foreplay. “For most couples, foreplay is a lot shorter than what we actually need,” Sharky says. “But, giving yourself enough time can really increase the power of orgasm.”
Once you’ve moved on to the main act, don’t let the philosophy of tantra die. Continue to embrace all your senses. Really look at your partner, feel your skin being touched, and focus on incorporating your whole body instead of just your genitals. You may not discover enlightenment, but your orgasm will surely be profound.