No one actually needs to rally for the wonders of an orgasm when there’s enough research—as psychologist and sex therapist Mary Jo Rapini explains—that the tremor-inducing release of serotonin and endorphins can boost the immune system and decrease stress and anxiety.
But when there’s still a wide “pleasure gap” to bridge today—the term describing the slim number of women who experience orgasms during sex in relation to men—the main question is how.
Below, we consulted advice from across the scientific spectrum, from medical studies to sexperts to sex therapists, on ways to enhance the female orgasm and feel connected to your partner without giving up your primal right to come.
1. Ramp up the Foreplay
A study in the journal Hormones and Behavior shows that an increase in the “love drug” oxytocin helped couples have more intense orgasms. It doesn’t require any supplements for a big boost in the hormone, though, as your average cuddling, hugging, kissing, and bonding activities can do the trick. Make sure to carve out more bonding time with each other or extend your foreplay sessions before sex to enhance your sexual performance.
2. Delay Gratification
Instead of speeding toward the finish line, science says that building your way up to the brink of orgasm then stopping—otherwise known as edging—and building yourself back up to the point of climax can encourage better, stronger orgasms.
3. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Sign up for a 5K race or schedule a game of tennis. Merely anticipating a competition triggers a 24 percent boost in testosterone for women, according to a study published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior. And any increase in that hormone also drives up your libido, so consider it a win-win. Plus, exercise stimulates blood flow to the genital area, increasing desire and lifting your mood.
4. Turn Up the Heat
Prior to sex, take a hot bath (try showering together), or—if you’re short on time—place a warm washcloth over your vulva for a few minutes. Heat boosts blood flow to your vagina, leading to increased lubrication and sensitivity, says Hilda Hutcherson, author of Pleasure.
5. Try the Tantric Method
As tantric instructor Dawn Cartright explains, harnessing the power of breath can slow down your mind and make it hyper-sensitive to full-body sensations. Open yourself up to orgasmic joys by breathing and rocking together, then tightening your PC muscles before sex.
6. Sip a Sex Tonic
Let an ancient sex stimulant work its magic: Warm some milk, add a pinch of saffron, and drink up, says Aliza Baron Cohen, author of Sex: Rediscovering Desire Through Techniques & Therapies.Saffron, which releases its intense flavor when heated, has been considered an aphrodisiac for thousands of years. Or, take one of Amanda Chantal Bacon’s cult-favorite Sex Dust formulas for a spin.
7. Recharge Your Batteries
Women who use vibrators say they have an easier time reaching orgasm during (vibrator-free) sex with a partner, according to a survey of 1,656 women conducted by the Berman Women’s Wellness Center. If you’re tech-friendly, try a vibrating “bullet” attachment that’s discreet enough to fit in your pocket (or on your neck). Or, get him in the action with one of the many couples’ vibrators out there, from the We-Vibe to the Eva.
8. Strike at the Optimal Moment
During the first two days of your cycle, your testosterone levels surge, your libido soars, and your breasts and clitoris become ultra-sensitive, says Gabrielle Lichterman, author of 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals about Your Love Life, Moods, and Potential. Intense orgasms may happen more easily than usual—and multiples are much more likely. Experts also suggest timing sex in the early morning when men experience their highest testosterone levels, or in the afternoon on weekends when women tend to ovulate.
9. Step Up for a Quickie
For stellar sex in a hurry, pull on a skirt and find a deserted staircase, suggests Sex for Busy People and The Field Guide to F*cking author Emily Dubberley. If you’re shorter than your guy, stand a step or two above him. Face him or turn toward the railing so he can enter you from behind. (Hint: Grip the rail for leverage—and don’t lean over too far!)
10. Try a New Rhythm Method
Majorly elevate your odds of climaxing during sex with the Coital Alignment Technique, says Dubberley. Have your partner lie on top of you, with his pelvis directly over yours. Wrap your legs around his thighs and rock together gently. Push up and forward so that your clitoris makes contact with the base of his penis. Patience is key: Find your rhythm, like you’re doing voluntary natural insemination, and stick to it until you orgasm.
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