Sex and the Peak Experience

The latest on the greatest release: the orgasm.

By Matthew Hutson, published on May 1, 2009 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016

Name: Fabrienne Serignese

Location: New York City

Profession: Tantric yoga instructor (

Fab coaches people in the art ofmaximizing pleasure. "There is this whole esoteric aspect to tantra," she says, "but it has some practical techniques that will—in a couple of minutes—make you more able to feel sensation and more orgasmic." Focus on breathing. Make eye contact. The biggest challenge to sensuality her clients face: turning off their thoughts. "If you're thinking about anything during sex—including how good it is—you're not present."

Dive In

Perhaps the importance of warm-up exercises has been overrated. According to a recent study, the consistency with which women have orgasms with partners is correlated with their reported average duration of intercourse, but not with time spent on foreplay. Of course, there's something to be said for the fun of a leisurely buildup.

Playing Keep-away

People who avoid personal attachment are more likely than others to sleep around and have one-night stands. But because they're uncomfortable with true intimacy, they also find less satisfaction in their trysts. As a result, women with high attachment avoidance report less frequent orgasms with partners.

Hurts So Good

Your O-face looks a lot like your ouch-face, a result of a common brain area activated by both orgasm and pain. But people are slightly better at recognizing photographed expressions of pain than those of heightened sexual pleasure, perhaps because we have more exposure to others' oh-nos than to their oh-yeses.

What She's Having

If a woman suspects that making a little noise during sex will heighten the experience for her man, there's suggestive evidence from the primate world to back her up. In a study of macaques, males ejaculated 59 percent of the time when their partners vocalized, but almost never with their mates on mute.

Booster Shot

In one case study, a man's inability to have an orgasm was treated by his using oxytocin nasal spray during sex. Oxytocin is known to induce both bonding and pelvic muscle contractions. Hold tight.

Hope and Glory

Many women give up on serotonin reuptake inhibitors because of delayed orgasms, but a clinical trial found Viagra reduced this side effect in frustrated females. Talk to your doc...