How to Recognize Women’s Orgasms
Some women fake orgasms. Many men wonder if women have had them.
Posted January 31, 2019 | Reviewed by Lybi Ma
- Depending on the study, one-third to two-thirds of women say they’ve faked an orgasm at least once.
- Many popular sex positions don't provide much stimulation for women’s orgasm trigger: the clitoris.
- Three intercourse positions allow men to provide direct clitoral massage quite easily.
“Did you come?” This question looms over a good deal of lovemaking, especially among lovers under 30. Fortunately, gentlemen, it’s usually not difficult to recognize women’s orgasms. And it’s fairly easy to help most women get there. All men need to do is let go of the idea that intercourse is all it takes.
What Proportion of Women Fake Orgasm?
Depending on the study, one-third to two-thirds of women say they’ve faked an orgasm at least once:
- University of Kansas researchers surveyed 101 women college students. Those admitting faking—67 percent.
- Finnish scientists surveyed 1,421 adult Finnish women. Those who’d pretended at least once—34 percent.
Women fake it for several reasons:
- To boost partners’ egos and avoid hurting their feelings.
- To avoid shaming and accusations of inadequacy.
- To end the sex.
- And for nonsexual gains—recognition as the man’s official girlfriend, to cement the relationship, or to elicit marriage proposals.
Faking is age-related. As age increases, more women become better able to ask for the clitoral caresses that trigger an orgasm, and most men gain insights into the sexual moves that help women climax.
I’d be interested to hear from women about faking it. Have you ever? Why? How did it affect the relationship? And has the relationship endured?
How Men Can Tell
Gentlemen, given the frequency of faking, if you feel the need to ask, chances are she didn’t come. Especially if you make love drunk, rush into intercourse, or don’t provide gentle, extended hand massage of her clitoris and cunnilingus every time.
Most orgasms are actually pretty hard to miss. Women’s resemble men’s. Think about your own and you’ll be better able to identify women’s. The vast majority begin with the quickening of breathing often accompanied by gasps or moans followed by several seconds of rapid, involuntary contractions of the muscles around the vulva and anus, usually with a jerky movement of the hips and often the whole body. Orgasms conclude with release into relaxation and dreamy contentment. If you help her to orgasm orally, your lips and tongue are likely to feel her vaginal muscle contractions.
If you want to see women have orgasms, ignore the vast majority of porn. The women moan, groan, and thrash, seeming to climax, but they don’t. I’ve interviewed several female porn actors. All were orgasmic at home during personal lovemaking with their real partners. But none ever came on camera. Not one.
Why? Largely because porn depicts male fantasies of women endlessly servicing men with fellatio and intercourse. Porn contains very little of what actually helps women climax—leisurely, playful, extended kissing, cuddling, and whole-body massage, gentle hand jobs, and lots of gentle cunnilingus. The women actors didn’t get that on the set but did at home.
However, one little corner of the amateur porno-sphere can be instructive. You can watch hundreds of real women have real orgasms using their hands or vibrators by visiting sample-aggregation sites (like PornHub). Among the myriad categories, select Orgasm Compilations.
How to Boost Women’s Likelihood of Orgasm During Intercourse
Only 25 percent of women are consistently orgasmic during intercourse. The old in-out doesn’t provide much stimulation for women’s orgasm trigger, the clitoris, which sits an inch or two above the vaginal opening under the top junction of the vaginal lips.
But many couples would like women to come during intercourse. Three intercourse positions allow men to provide direct clitoral massage quite easily. In addition, a slight variation on the man-on-top (missionary) position may also help.
- Woman-on-top. The man lies on his back with legs together. The woman straddles his hips and sits on his erection. She can reach down and caress her clitoris by hand or using a vibrator. Or he can make a fist and place it at the junction of their pelvises. The woman adjusts his fist so she can lean forward and press her clitoris into it.
- Rear entry. She’s on hands or elbows and knees. He kneels or stands behind her. He can reach around and caress her clitoris. Or she can reach between her legs or use a vibrator. Note: Rear entry allows the deepest insertion, possibly causing women pain. Gentlemen, ask her to tell you if deep insertion hurts, then never push in beyond her comfort limit.
- Spooning (her back to his chest). His hands are free to massage her clitoris. Or she can caress herself by hand or vibrator.
- The coital alignment technique (CAT). During conventional man-on-top intercourse, erections move almost horizontally. In 1988, New York sex researcher Edward Eichel urged men to shift forward and to one side so his chest covers one of her shoulders. With this change, erections move more up and down, and the pubic bone at the base of the penis makes more direct contact with the clitoris. Several studies have shown that Eichel was correct. The CAT doesn’t guarantee women orgasms during man-on-top intercourse, and it’s no substitute for gentle, extended clitoral caresses by hand, mouth, or vibrator. But the CAT significantly improves most women’s ability to have orgasms during man-on-top intercourse.
- Have a ball. During conventional man-on-top intercourse or the CAT, a small softball—nerf, hacky sack, etc.—can be placed between the woman’s clitoris and the man’s pelvis. His pelvis pressing on the ball may increase the woman’s ability to come.
- Mock-intercourse. Instead of inserting, he positions his erection to press against the sensitive groove between her inner vaginal lips. Assuming good lubrication, his shaft presses against her urethral sponge, while his glans caresses her clitoris.
Help for Women With Orgasm Trouble
Almost all women can climax solo by hand or vibrator, but with partners, around 30 percent have problems. That’s what the University of Chicago found in a study of 3,299 women age 18 to 85. Fortunately, the overwhelming majority can learn to have orgasms. In the words of sexologist Erwin J. Haeberle, “Orgasm is learned. The teacher is masturbation.” Some suggestions:
- Buy a vibrator. Today, half of the adult American women own at least one. Vibrators produce more intense sensation than hands and tongues can provide. Most women who can’t have orgasms without vibrators can come using them. If women need vibrators to come, there’s nothing wrong with them. That’s just who they are. Vibrators do not ruin women for sex without them, nor are vibes addictive. And they don’t replace men. They just provide more intense stimulation than women would otherwise receive. Dozens of models are available. Search the Internet.
- Read Becoming Orgasmic: A Sexual and Personal Growth Program for Women. This classic self-help book by sexologists Julia Heiman, Ph.D., and Joseph LoPiccolo, Ph.D., guides women through a step-by-step process of self-discovery focusing on barriers to pleasure, self-touch, vibrators, and coaching lovers. A companion DVD is also available (Amazon).
- Coaching. Ladies, chances are your orgasm difficulties are less about your psychological makeup than how you’re caressed during sex. Does your man kiss and cuddle? Does he provide at least twenty minutes of gentle, extended handjobs and oral? If not, speak up. Ask for what you need. Don’t worry about his supposedly fragile ego. Keeping him in the dark means nothing ever changes. He wants to help you orgasm. Tell him how.
- Sex therapy. If you can’t speak up, a sex therapist can help you find your voice. To find a sex therapist near you.
Eichel, E.W. et al. “The Technique of Coital Alignment and Its Relation to Female Orgasmic Response and Simultaneous Orgasm,” Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy (1988) 14:129.
Eichel, E. and P. Noblie. The Perfect Fit. Dutton, NY, 1992.
Fahs, B. “Coming to Power: Women’s Fake Orgasms and Best Orgasm Experiences Illuminate the Failures of (Hetero)sex and the Pleasures of Connection,” Culture, Health, and Sexuality (2014) 16:974.
Heiman, J. and J. LoPiccolo. Becoming Orgasmic: A Sexual and Personal Growth Program for Women. Fireside/Simon & Schuster, 1987 (revised edition).
Hurlbert, D.F. and C. Apt. “The Coital Alignment Technique and Directed Masturbation: A Comparative Study of Female Orgasm,” Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy (1995) 21:21.
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McCoy, M.G. et al. “Development and Initial Psychometric Assessment of the ‘Reasons for Pretending Orgasm’ Inventory,” Evolutionary Psychology (2015) 13:129.
Muehlenhard, C.L and S.K. Shippee. “Men’s and Women’s Reports of Pretending Orgasm,” Journal of Sex Research (2010) 47:552.
Pierce, A.P. “The Coital Alignment Technique 9(AT): An Overview of Studies,” Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy (2000) 26:257.