It’s centuries too late if you ask me, but our culture is finally starting to embrace the female orgasm and acknowledge the fact that women feel, want, and need pleasure too (shocking!). Scientists are researching determinants of female orgasms, women are singing about feelin’ themselves, and people wouldn’t bat an eye if Sally pulled her orgasm-in-public performance in 2020 (well, maybe they would, but you get the point).
All of this is amazing progress for long-overdue gender equality (and we still have a lot of work left to achieve it), but all this “O” talk can put pressure on women to reach an orgasm, whether they’ve never had one, can only have one by themselves, or only know one way to have one (news flash: there are lots of ways). So for the betterment of your sex life (and because pleasure is your human right), here are 10 ways to orgasm that you might not have thought of, according to sex therapists and experts.
1. Indulge in other self-care practices
Megwyn White, a certified clinical sexologist and director of education at Satisfyer, suggested practices like dry brushing and scalp massage to increase sexuality and pleasure. “Dry brushing is a great way to stimulate circulation and detox the skin,” White said. “You’ll feel refreshed, and your tissues will feel soft and satiated. It’s a great self-care practice that can add a sensual start or end to your day. Likewise, giving yourself a scalp treatment at home with essential oils can reduce stress and activate your senses. You’ll feel refreshed, invigorated, and sexier.” Bottom line: find the indulgent practices that connect your mind with your body and stimulate the senses. You’ll feel heightened awareness that can translate into more sexual pleasure (and the chance to check out yo’ bad self in the mirror will be an added sexy bonus).
2. Explore blended orgasms
Here’s the good news: from clitoral orgasms to nipple orgasms, there’s no shortage of orgasms to be had. And better yet, they don’t necessarily have to be independent of one another. A blended orgasm is two (or more) simultaneous orgasms, resulting in an intense, full-body response. While this may sound difficult and you may be thinking great, even more pressure in the climax department, know that our bodies are meant to experience multiple different sensations.
“If you stimulate multiple regions, you create more intense sensations, and multiple nerves communicate the sensation of pleasure at the same time,” said Dr. Jess O’Reilly, founder of Sex With Dr. Jess and Astroglide’s re
3. Get creative juices flowing
That’s right: that pottery class you took in college could have been increasing your chance to orgasm. “Sexual energy and artistic expression are not mutually exclusive,” White said. “Creativity will naturally stir the pot of your sexual nature and also invite you to think out of the box and invite new experiences into your world.” No matter if your favorite form of creativity is singing, dancing, painting, or scrapbooking, it doesn’t necessarily have to be erotic to help boost your pleasure when it comes to sex.
Being creative in whatever way feels expressive and enjoyable to you can tap into your sexual energy, but will also get you into a creative and open mindset that will encourage you to try new things (see #6 below). You can tell your significant other we told you to sign up for that painting class or dance lesson (and I’m sure when they know the benefits, they’ll want to join too).
4. Talk about sex
Looks like Salt-N-Pepa were onto something! Kamil Lewis, AMFT, believes getting comfortable talking about sex outside of the bedroom can help encourage a healthy sex life. “Talking about sex with friends is a great way to normalize sex and provides a space to ask questions and hear about other experiences,” Lewis said. “The more comfortable you feel talking about sex, the more empowered you will feel when it’s time to get into it.”
Yes, it’s important to have a support system outside of your relationship or sexual partner (Sex-and-the-City style) to talk openly about sex and normalize a lot of the subjects that have been taboo for far too long. But it’s equally just as important to communicate openly and honestly with your sexual partner, whether you’re in a committed relationship or not. “Give yourself permission to talk with your partner or partners about orgasms,” Lewis said. “If this is something you want to change in your relationship, it’s important to bring it up.”
5. Build sensuality outside of the bedroom
Sexuality is an equal mix of physical and mental. It’s not going to immediately switch on when you walk into the bedroom, nor is it reserved for the bedroom. Hani Avital, clinical sexologist and sensuality expert, said it best to S Life Magazine, “Sexuality is our life force. The more we cultivate that energy in everything we do, the more alive we will feel. Period.” Remember that your sexuality is powerful and life-giving, not shameful. Build sensuality in your day-to-day life by indulging in self-care that feels good (like massaging in body oil after your shower or taking a decadent bath) and making decisions based on what would feel more pleasurable for you.
Not only will this help you feel more vibrant in your day-to-day life, but it might also help you experience more pleasure in the bedroom. Lewis recommended using mindful moments throughout the day, like paying attention to the temperature of the water in your shower or the smells of your food, to feel more connected to your body and improve sexual connection. Dr. O’Reilly agreed. “You are not a light switch. You likely can’t transition from talking about your kids and taxes to indulging in sexual pleasure and orgasm,” she said. “Take time to indulge in all things pleasurable throughout the day to cultivate more presence in your body and remind yourself that pleasure is your birthright.”
6. Try new things
If you’re not reaching climax, it might be because whatever you’re doing is not working. Even if you are orgasming but are hesitant to try something new, you could be missing out on an even more intense and enjoyable climax. Dr. O’Reilly recommended getting creative with sex toys and lube, which are both associated with heightened pleasure and orgasmic response.
Mia Sabat, the sex therapist at Emjoy, agreed that trying new things is important. “You don’t know what’s going to get you going until you try,” Sabat said. “Sometimes, we forget that there’s more to our body than our vulva, and we’re surprised to see how much a specific place or type of stimulation can help us reach our orgasm end-goal.” Bottom line: try new things, whether it’s positions, toys, body parts, or even the routine, for the sake of enjoyment and getting to know your body better. An orgasm will just be a welcomed bonus.
7. Make masturbation a part of your self-care routine
So you already know that masturbation can help you orgasm, but it might not be easy to reach climax if you only think of the ménage à moi as a must-do when you’re in between partners (thank you, quarantine). Exploring your own sexuality and pleasure should be just as much a part of your self-care routine as a face mask or a bubble bath (and, FYI, can be done simultaneously with both!). “Stop thinking about masturbation as a dirty little secret. It’s a perfectly healthy thing to do, with a myriad of health benefits. It can be used to ease pain, boost your mood, and even help with period cramps,” Sabat said. “By framing masturbation as part of your self-care routine, you can explore your body with comfort and confidence instead of something to feel embarrassed about.”
Dr. O’Reilly calls the brain the most powerful sex organ, and for good reason. Remember how sexuality is a mix of physical and mental? The physical component might be stimulated, but the mental component needs to be stimulated too in order to achieve mind-blowing pleasure. Fantasizing can help you explore your sexuality and find different ways to feel pleasure, rather than getting caught up in achieving an orgasm and the dreaded performance anxiety.
Luckily for us, there are multiple ways to fantasize besides imagining shirtless Ryan Gosling or watching Rihanna’s “Pour it Up” music video (though both are great if they do it for you!). “There are many ways you can stimulate the brain, like listening to erotica, engaging with pornography created for a female audience, or simply taking the time to gently let your mind and body ease into a sexual state through sensual massages, candlelit baths, or self-pleasure,” Sabat said.
9. Don’t over-hype the climax
OK, back to that pressure to orgasm. Yes, there is a huge orgasm gap, and yes, you deserve to orgasm as often as you want every single time. But we often hype up the climax so much (I mean, it is called “the climax”) that so many women struggle to get there because of the pressure to achieve it. We look at our ability to orgasm to determine whether it was “good sex” or even whether or not we’re “normal.” Here’s the truth: it’s good sex if it felt good, and anything is normal if it’s normal for you. Instead of focusing on the end-goal, focus on the pleasure you feel before and during sex. Not only will it be more pleasurable overall, but you might be more likely to orgasm. The destination is better when you enjoyed the journey, right?
In fact, Gigi Engle, certified sexologist and award-winning author, suggested delaying orgasming instead of focusing on achieving it. She said, “Slowly bring yourself closer and closer, but hold back before going over the edge. When you become aroused and then let it go, the energy is recycled, waiting just under the surface to be ignited once again. If you keep building towards a finale, the endgame will be unreal.”
10. Romance yourself
No, this is not some cheesy self-love advice; it’s truly the most effective way to increase pleasure, sensuality, and orgasms, whether you’re solo-sexing or with a partner. When we take time to make ourselves feel special like we would a romantic partner, we increase confidence, comfortability, and just feel hotter; to quote my queen Lizzo, “No, I’m not a snack at all. Look, baby, I’m the whole damn meal.” FYI, Lizzo definitely knows how to romance herself. No matter your relationship status, we can all afford a little more self-romance.
“Even if you’re going solo, it doesn’t mean that you have to skip the romance,” Sabat said. “Don’t be afraid to light some candles, put on some perfume, and dim the lights to set the mood. This is your own personal adventure and something to enjoy, not rush. Don’t rush it or sell yourself short; this is about treating yourself in exactly the way you want to be treated, and you deserve the best.” As Lizzo would say: “‘Scuse me while I feel myself.”