We can all agree that orgasms are great. Now, what if you could make that big-O magic even better? Turns out you can — here are nine tips to step up orgasms for vulva-owning people, solo or partnered. And if you can’t have or don’t want orgasms — that’s OK too. You do whatever feels good to you.
There are so many ways to try for an orgasm — dildos, clitoral stimulators, vibrators — but board-certified sexologist, Lanae St.John, likes to start with a vulva owner’s relationship to their body. How do they feel about their vulva? How do they feel about their vagina?
“Lots of messaging about sexual activity (outside of good sex education) is that women perform acts in service to their partner’s pleasure,” St.John tells SheKnows. Getting permission to touch yourself is key. “Many people are instructed to not touch their vulva. Some are told it’s dirty. Some aren’t told anything specific, but the attitudes of people around them as they were growing up told them the body was off-limits. Getting past these mental blocks or reprogramming through accurate information is helpful for so many people.”
Make sure you get really warmed-up before genital stimulation. Give (or have your partner give) lots of attention to your breasts, nipples and inner thighs before touching your vulva, Dr. Laurie Mintz, author of Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters — And How to Get It tells SheKnows. Or start off by rubbing your entire vulva slowly and luxuriously using lubricant. Then very, very slowly, move to your clit and inner lips and perhaps your vaginal opening as well.
Unlike people with a penis, who can orgasm in a matter of minutes, the vulvar/clitoral orgasm takes some time. “On average, women require 20 to 30 minutes of clitoral stimulation to climax,” Jenny Block, author of The Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex tells SheKnows. In everyday life, we’re multitaskers and overachievers.
“While a ‘quickie’ is valid, we need to also spend some quality time with ourselves,” sex educator Betty Dodson, author of Sex for One, tells SheKnows.
Block sums it up best: “The longer the tease, the more fulfilling the please.”
“It seems counterintuitive, but when we really ‘try’ to have an orgasm, we tend to tighten up and force things,” Tara Struyk, cofounder and editor-in-chief of Kinkly tells SheKnows.
Rather, Struyk says that the best orgasms come when you're totally relaxed, in the moment and free of any expectations beyond exploring and feeling good.
"If you're able to listen to what your body is telling you — either when you're masturbating or having sex — and move into whatever is making it feel better, you'll be able to give your body the time for the full wind-up the biggest, best orgasms really need,” she adds.
When we picture sex toys, many immediately think of some sort of phallic-shaped dildo or vibrator, but people with a vulva may want to consider one that focuses all of its attention on the clitoris.
“Buy a clitoral vibrator and use that alone or with a partner,” Mintz advises. “If your partner has a penis, one option is to use it on yourself during intercourse. You can also use it separate from penetration" no matter what sex organs your partner has.
My go-to clitoral vibe is the Womanizer Pro. It’s not the sexiest of toys at first glance, but it’s given me more orgasms than I could possibly count.
“To have your ultimate orgasm, have your ultimate fantasy,” says Block. “Go crazy and give yourself permission to do whatever you have to do to get off, whether it’s reading a Rachel Kramer Bussel anthology or screwing 100 cowboys.”
One of the upsides of playing out hot mental scenarios is there’s zero risk of sexually transmitted infections.
If you’re new to kink, Mintz suggests starting by using a blindfold or light arm and leg restraints while your partner pleasures your vulva with their fingers, tongue and/or a vibrator.
For some people, "this giving up of control is helpful in allowing them to fully immerse in the sensations of the moment without worrying if they are taking too long, etc.,” she says. Before you start to experiment, Mintz stresses that it’s important to trust your partner and negotiate that if something doesn’t feel good, you will communicate that, and they will stop.
“When you feel like an orgasm is inevitable, back off,” Mintz says. This is sometimes called “edging.”
“When edging in any of these ways, most people with vulvas like the touch to be lightened,” Mintz shares. “No matter how you edge, the goal is to do so until you can’t take it anymore, finally giving in to the touch that will result in an orgasm.”
What's better than one orgasm? Multiple orgasms!
“For those who want to try sequential (often called multiple) orgasms, after an orgasm, move the stimulation away from the spot where you or your partner was touching before the orgasm occurred and touch someplace else, not allowing the arousal to diminish entirely, and then move back to more intensive touching that will result in orgasm,” Mintz says.
So, there you have it — plenty of ways to make your next time with a partner or solo even more pleasurable. And a reminder that if sex doesn't end in an orgasm, you haven't failed and it's nothing to be ashamed of — the important part is that you took some time for yourself and had a good time.
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