When It Comes To The Female Orgasm, There Is No Normal

Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
No two women's bodies work the same way when it comes to sexual pleasure. This conclusion comes courtesy of a recent study in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, which found that "[cisgender] women have a diverse set of preferences" related to orgasm, sexual pleasure, and genital touching. The study goes even further and stresses the importance of exploration and communication between sexual partners so that couples can work together to find what works best for each of them.
“Women are highly diverse when it comes to what turns them on and what kinds of touch they find pleasurable, which underscores just how important it is for couples to explore together, to be open to talking with one another about sexual techniques, and to develop a language that helps them to share their desires with one another,” study author Debby Herbenick, a professor of applied health science at Indiana University, told PsyPost.
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The study was a collaboration between researchers and OMGYES, a group looking to establish empirical evidence and practical resources about women's pleasure (the site says that they plan to do more research with people who have transitioned in the future). They surveyed 1,055 U.S. women between the ages of 18 and 94. Results showed that 36.6 percent of women said they required clitoral stimulation to orgasm while being penetrated, but for 18.4 percent, vaginal penetration alone was enough for them to reach orgasm. Just 9 percent said they did not orgasm during intercourse. Approximately two-thirds reported preferring direct clitoral stimulation, and 5 percent wanted their partner to avoid stimulating their clitoris completely.
The study also examined what kinds of motions the women preferred in order to reach orgasm, and they included an up and down motion on their vulva, circular movements, side-to-side movements, pressing in one spot, squeezing, and pulling. Women surveyed also reported that some orgasms feel better than others.
I know this isn't news to anyone who has a clitoris and vagina, nor should it be news to anyone who has pleasured people with clitorises and vaginas. But now you can rest easy that there is actual data to back up the fact that all women's bodies do not respond the same way to the same touch. Because if people aren't going to believe women about their own experiences and bodies, at least you can send your partners the link to this study and say, "See? It's science."
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