Here’s How Female Orgasms Happen (Or In Some Cases — Don’t)

There are SO many amazing ways to make them happen!

The 3 Most Common Problems Related To The Female Orgasm

How much do you really know about orgasms? I personally had painfully little knowledge when I started having sex with others. 

The first orgasm I remember happened when I masturbated by rubbing against my teddy bear when I was 5 or 6. For years I could only reach orgasm during masturbation, on my stomach, rubbing against something pressed between my legs.  

This wasn’t really useful when it came to having an orgasm with a partner. My first consensual sexual experiences were delicious, but orgasm was not a part of them. It wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I had regular orgasms with a partner.


For years I thought there was something wrong with me. However, I now know that there was not.

Up to 37% of women either are unable to have an orgasm or have extreme difficulty having an orgasm.

Read that statement again. I know that when I first saw that figure, I was floored.   

The types of difficulty women experience with orgasms fall into three basic categories:  

1. Primary anorgasmia.

This when a woman does not reach orgasm at all, reaches orgasm rarely, or, when she does reach orgasm, the intensity of the feelings is dulled.  

2. Secondary anorgasmia.

This is when a woman who was once orgasmic is no longer able to orgasm.  


About one-third of the women who present to me with problems around orgasm fall into this category. Often the reason they no longer have orgasms is linked to medication side effects. Medications that increase serotonin seem to decrease orgasm. SSRI antidepressants like Prozac and Citalopram are notorious for causing problems with libido and orgasm. 

3. Situational anorgasmia.

This when a woman has trouble experiencing orgasm in specific situations. For example, she is able to have an orgasm through masturbation, but not with her partner. 

Almost two-thirds of the women who present to me with problems around orgasm fall into this category. The most common problem I see among women by far is not being able to have an orgasm with a partner.


In order to have an orgasm, you have to let go of control.

You cannot control an orgasm and that is one of the joys of the experience. Your partner doesn’t cause your orgasm. You are the one in control so you have to relax and let your body, mind, soul and heart respond to the stimulation, touch, love that you are experiencing.

If you have trouble relaxing, try releasing some of the pressure. If you don’t reach orgasm, you haven’t failed. Just enjoy the experience you are having. 

If you practice meditation, this is a good time to employ your strategies to quiet your mind. Allow your breathing to deepen. Focus on one sensation only — that point where your bodies are connecting, the smell of her, the taste of his lips. Breathe into the sensation and just enjoy.


Kegel exercises do lead to better orgasms. It appears that the stronger your pelvic floor muscles are, the better your orgasms are likely to be.

It takes an average of about 20 minutes of stimulation for women to reach orgasm. Some women are able to reach orgasm within 30 seconds of self-stimulation, but this is unusual. Keep in mind that stimulation doesn’t only mean physical stimulation, but includes mental stimulation as well. Orgasms last on average 18 – 22 seconds.

It is interesting to note that four pairs of nerves are involved in the orgasm process for women. 

These nerves all take information back to the brain and provide differing sensations and types of orgasm. This is one reason why all orgasms don’t feel a like. If you stimulate all four pairs of nerves, the ‘blended’ orgasm will be far more intense than an orgasm that is the result of stimulating one pair of nerves. Three of the pair of nerves first transmit information to the spinal cord which is then sent to the brain. The vagus nerve transmits straight to the brain — which means even women with complete spinal cord bisection can experience orgasm if this pair of nerves is stimulated. 


There are so many ways for us to get off!

Many women ask how often they should be having orgasms, and if their current frequency is "normal."

When I was in my first, sexless marriage, I thought I was the only married woman who was having no sex at all. Even the clients I was seeing reported having sex at least monthly. When I finally plucked up the courage to talk to a friend, I found out that I was not alone. 

Havelock Ellis was a researcher in the early 1900s who spent a lot of time studying sex and sexual behaviour. In his research about frequency of sex (in married couples, of course), he reported these recommendations according to various religious and cultural groups:

  • Zoroaster, the Persian religious leader decreed sex should occur once in nine days.
  • Hindu authorities decreed three to six times per month.
  • Solon, an Athenian statesman stated three times per month.
  • The Koran decrees once per week.
  • The Talmud decrees once per day to once per week depending on the occupation of the husband.
  • Martin Luther, founder of Protestantism states twice per week.

In my practice, I see that rhythms vary over time, mainly related to health, stress levels, how relationships are going, and whether or not a woman is single. One thing I can clearly say is that when in a relationship, more sex and more orgasms are definitely better.  

More orgasms increase emotional intimacy, as well as positive feelings about your mate, your relationship, yourself — and often the whole of your life.

The good news is that research suggests a clear relationship between the age of the person and the likelihood of experiencing orgasm when having sex. 

This means it isn't too late to get yourself into your maximum orgasmic prime!


Here is a look at just some of the various and wonderful ways women can orgasm:

1. Some women can have orgasms through fantasizing alone.

You can have an orgasm without having your clitoris or your vagina touched at all, as the brain is one of the most important erogenous zones.

2. Some women have orgasms from having their nipples or anus stimulated.

You might have another particular spot on your body or activity that causes you reach orgasm or at least come very close. 

3. Some women learn to ‘come on command.’


In these scenarios, a woman will come as soon as her partner says, "Come now!" This is actually not difficult to learn, as it is simply a matter of conditioning.

The same way that Pavlov’s dogs learned to salivate at the sound of a bell, we can learn to come at the sound of our lover’s voice. Since orgasm is a more complex response, it is likely to take more trials before the association is made, but eventually, the association will be created.

4. Some women can ejaculate when they have an orgasm.

The fluid they release comes from the urethra, but is not urine. It may feel like there is a lot but in reality it is only usually about a teaspoon of fluid. It is sweet tasting as it is made of lots of glucose, as well as an enzyme called prostatic acid phosphatase.


Though it is not universal for a woman to ejaculate (also known as "squirting"), it is more common that was previously thought, and is perfectly normal. Women who do this routinely report that it feels extremely pleasurable. 

There is some research that suggests that G-spot stimulation is more likely to lead to female ejaculation, although many women report that clitoral stimulation will lead to ejaculation as well.    

5. Both men and women can have multiple orgasms.  

It's really all about timing. Men who learn not to ejaculate when they have an orgasm can have multiple orgasms before finally ejaculating. When men do ejaculate, they usual feeling overwhelmingly sleepy. This is a physiological response and therefore difficult for them to resist.


Hence my advice to women who are having sex with men — make sure you attend to your satisfaction first and then look to his, or you may find that you are left to finish yourself off.

I would love to hear about your orgasm experiences, email me at If you find reaching orgasm difficult or find the whole topic of orgasms problematic and would like some help, grab a 30-minute free strategy session with me. You can find out more about my adventures at and come learn your A,B,C’s at, or check out the podcast on iTunes, The A to Z of Sex by Dr Lori Beth Bisbey.