Yes, Yes, Yes: the techniques that boost chances of female orgasm

An online survey reveals ‘orgasm gaps’ between the sexes and those with different sexual orientations

The secret to female orgasm? Try the ‘golden trio’ of moves. Meg Ryan in the famous orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally

The secret to female orgasm? Try the ‘golden trio’ of moves. Meg Ryan in the famous orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally

 

The female orgasm has often been described as elusive, but researchers say they might have discovered how to boost the chances of eliciting the yes, yes, yes.

A study from a team of US researchers suggests that a combination of genital stimulation, deep kissing and oral sex is the “golden trio” for women when it comes to increasing their likelihood of reaching orgasm with a sexual partner.

Published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, a team of US researchers analysed data collected through an online survey, hosted on the NBC News website, based on responses from more than 52,000 participants aged between 18 and 65 who were in a relationship with one person.

The results shed light on a number of “orgasm gaps” – not just between the sexes, but also between individuals with different sexual orientations.

“We had the rare opportunity to look at responses from over 50,000 people, including over 2,000 gay, lesbian, and bisexual men and women,” said David Frederick, lead author of the research from Chapman University.

While 95 per cent of heterosexual men reporting that they usually or always orgasmed during sexually intimate moments, just 65 per cent of heterosexual women did. By contrast, the figure was 89 per cent for gay men, 86 per cent for lesbian women, 88 per cent for bisexual men and 66 per cent for bisexual women.

“The orgasm gaps between men and heterosexual women were well known prior to this study,” said Frederick. “The gaps between lesbian women and heterosexual women, however, were more speculative or based on small samples of lesbian women. This study highlights much more precisely that there are multiple orgasm gaps.”

The large disparities seen for women of different sexualities, the authors say, could at least in part be down to other women being more likely to take turns at inducing orgasms, and having a better understanding than men that female orgasms are not primarily associated with vaginal sex.

“About 30 per cent of men actually think that intercourse is the best way for women to have orgasm, and that is sort of a tragic figure because it couldn’t be more incorrect,” said co-author of the research Elisabeth Lloyd, a professor of biology at Indiana University and author of The Case of the Female Orgasm.

According to the research, only 35 per cent of heterosexual women always or usually orgasm during vaginal sex alone, with 44 per cent saying they rarely or never did.

By contrast, 80 per cent of heterosexual women and 91 per cent of lesbians always or usually orgasm with a combination of genital stimulation, deep kissing and oral sex – but without vaginal sex. “To say that there needs to be some education I think is an understatement,” said Prof Lloyd.

Whether it is playing music, changing sexual positions or saying “I love you”, very little appears to affect the probability that a man will orgasm. By contrast, women who said that they had done these things during their last sexual encounter were about 20 per cent more likely to also tell the researchers that they “usually” or “always” orgasmed.

But there are other possibilities, says Prof Frederick, including that women may take longer to become aroused than men, or that men desire orgasm more frequently than women. “So another question worth investigating is what percentage of women are happy with the frequency with which they orgasm,” he said.

The study also found that while 41 per cent of heterosexual men reported that their partner usually or always reached orgasm, only 33 per cent of heterosexual women said that they did.

“Part of this difference in perception could be due to women faking orgasms, which research has suggested women will do for a variety of reasons, including out of love for their partner, to protect their partner’s self-esteem, intoxication, or to bring the sexual encounter to an end,” the authors note.

Further analysis of the surveys revealed that women who frequently orgasmed were more likely to have a longer duration of sex and were more likely to have a higher relationship satisfaction, with the study also suggesting that factors such as asking for particular behaviours in bed and flirting with their partner throughout the day were linked to small but significant associations with more frequent orgasms in women.

The results, the authors say, offer couples a range of different approaches that could boost the frequency of orgasms, particularly among women.

“Women really are tremendously variable in how readily they orgasm and what makes one woman orgasm can be quite different than what makes another woman orgasm,” said Prof Frederick. “Explicit and direct communication with one’s partner is key.”

Lloyd says she hopes couples will consider the “golden trio” of behaviours for female orgasm. “I would like [women] to take that home and think about it, and to think about it with their partners and talk about it with their partners,” said Prof Lloyd. “If they are not fully experiencing their fullest sexual expression to the maximum of their ability then I think our paper has something to contribute to their wellbeing.” – (Guardian Service)