OP: Female Sexual Response

There have been constant, and recently frequent, questions from women regarding knowing when they have orgasms. Men seem to be asking how they can know. The problem is very real because orgasms never just happen with women. Young men learn what an orgasm is because they awaken making a pool of semen on their sheets. The response of men is apparent: Penis enlarges, glans swell and turn purple; ejaculate goes everywhere and the penis softens. We women have every bit as much, and more, going on “down there” (and everywhere else); it just is not apparent.

The first time I took a penis into me I knew more about what it was going to do than I knew about what parts of me would be doing. This was inspite of the fact that I had been masturbating to orgasm for nearly two years. I was just not aware of what should be happening. So, let’s go through what our female body will be doing from initial interest through and following our reaching a climax. We will focus on the physiological response with little side trips into the psychological.

We are each so individual, and different from time to time, that inexperienced men may be doing the wrong thing to excite us because it “worked last time.” We may do the same for ourselves. Some women are indifferent to breast stimulation; others can come close or even reach orgasm through breast play. My right nipple seems wired directly to my clitoris; the longer attention is paid to my breasts, the faster my response later.

The first measurable sign of sexual arousal is the appearance of increased lubrication on the vaginal walls. Even thinking about sex can cause this to happen and measurement with inserted sensors indicates that this occurs several times a day. During lead-in to expected sex, this lubrication is greater and can leave spots in your panties or even dampen your pubic hair. The vagina is preparing to receive a penis.

The entire lower pelvis becomes engorged with blood. This is a similar response to the penis becoming erect. This actually moves things around and reshapes them a bit. The visible part is a distention of the vaginal lips with a visible opening of the inner lips. What is not visible is that the vagina is lengthening, the uterus is expanding and a little platform forms in the lower third of the vagina. This is the part of you that encircles and holds the penis while you await the little deposit that is coming (or being caught in a condom). Some man-woman combinations place this “orgasmic platform” right around the thickest part of the penis. This can be very pleasurable for your partner but may bring him off a bit quicker. Because the vaginal walls contain no nerve endings, you have only gross tactile sensation and this can feel good to you, also. It gives a real sense of movement and depth inside you. The clitoris, in the middle stages of arousal will also swell and may actually peek out from under its hood. When masturbating, you can control the pressure that is directly on the clitoris; inexperienced men may tend to treat it like a miniature penis. This can cause an immediate turn off. What is typically wanted is not friction on the clitoris but, rather, movement of the hood that, in turn, rubs against the shaft of your clitoris. When using a vibrator at this point you are enjoying vibration not directly on the clitoris but transmitted through the various layers of lips and hood. Many women using very powerful vibrators find it necessary to use a folded towel to control the intensity of clitoral stimulation. Others, such as I, simply spread our fingers and put the pressure onto the sides of the vulva and let the vibrations be transmitted from there. A squeezing-releasing motion laterally can be very pleasurable.

As arousal continues, the nipples in many women will become erect and a mask will appear. On some women this will be a raccoon mask on the face; on others, this will appear on the neck or upper chest above the breasts. The entire body begins to tense. While this is most noticeable in the pelvic region, many women will arch their heads back, grasp the sheets, grimace, curl their toes. In short, their entire body is becoming involved. Within the pelvic or genital area, all the muscles participate in this “myotonia.” The rectal sphincters, the pc muscle (focus of Kegel exercise), the vaginal sphincters, the uterus itself. Perhaps most misunderstood, especially by partners, is the clitoris now retracts completely under its hood and seemingly disappears. This is often taken as meaning the process is not working. Actually, it means the process is working very well and the clitoris is protecting itself from too much stimulation.

The average clitoris is about one centimeter long – less than half an inch – compared to the average penis of 13 centimeters – 6.1 inches – but contains almost all the same nerves! SENSITIVE!!! This is the wrong time for a partner to really go after it! With fingers, on the vulva beside; with a tongue, flip over the surface rapidly; with a penis, it depends upon the geometry of the people involved. At this point, getting the other tensing muscles more involved is a better practice. Rotating a finger around the inside of the outer vagina further excites those muscles; slight penetration and rotation in the anus gets the strongest muscles around more involved.

At this point, only some major distraction will prevent orgasm. We women have nothing like the male’s point of no return. At some point up to twenty seconds before ejaculation, that becomes inevitable. Our orgasm can be disturbed right up to the point we begin to contract. A ringing doorbell or crying baby are often cited but the greatest distractions are caused by inexperienced partners. Hitting the clitoris; jamming too hard in the anus; pulling a hair; for some of us not grabbing a nipple and for others, pinching a nipple. Our orgasms are worked for and easily discarded. I had one partner years ago whose climax was hastened and made better by pinching her nipples – hard. If I did not, she would. Do that to me and it would be all over in a sobbing breakdown.

OK, so what is the orgasm? The orgasm is simply the rapid release of all the tension that has been building in all the muscles. This usually comes in a wave of spasms that encompass the entire body. It is most noticeable in the pelvic muscles. The anal sphincters pump (Eva thought I had broken her finger last night); the uterus pumps. Movies have been made inside the vagina showing the uterus squirting out menstrual juices during orgasm. Sometimes we urinate a little as a result ; sometimes we pass gas. These spasms can encompass the whole body with thrashing and pounding and scratching our partners back – all involuntary - or they can be slight flutters felt only in the genitals. We women never have the same orgasm twice because different parts of our bodies are involved. We, unlike men, prefer whatever stimulation is working to continue – that keeps the orgasm going longer with perhaps twelve or more spasms. Men tend to prefer a deep thrust and stillness as they pump out their ejaculate.

We women have no need for a recovery period as do men and we are entirely capable of moving right into another cycle of response. Mostly we are satisfied at this point and want no more stimulation – we want to cuddle. This leads us to the resolution phase when everything we have just described reverses itself. We relax, perhaps completely as we ever can; our blood leaves the pelvis and returns to doing its work elsewhere. We typically enter a period of extreme peace and calm. Many of us are most receptive to accepting a penis at this point. Immediately after orgasm we are relaxed and so at peace that we simply want to enjoy the passing of a penis back and forth over our disappearing orgasmic platform. I have had partners tell me that the sooner they enter me after my orgasm the more welcoming, warm and receptive it feels. Others have told me that, when in position, even taking them into my mouth feels different, more demanding, more welcoming. As a young woman I had a real gag response to accepting ejaculate orally but this was never a problem right after my orgasm. Receptive is what many women report at the beginning of the resolution phase.

Those are the basics. The questions on this board about G-Spot, female ejaculation, Tantric Sex are generally misplaced. They can be great for those who are well practiced, knowledgeable and ready to spice up their sex lives. But a few years of basic preparation is required. Masturbation, with or without vibrator, is the best training experience for women’s orgasm. The learning the basics of what you wants and does not want from a partner becomes important. Until the basic, old-fashioned clitoral orgasm is mastered (mistressed?), the fancy stuff is not worth the diversion.

OP: Brandye 08/19/2005

Posted: 23 Sep 02:46


Up to 20% of all women have this issue commonly; probably half of us experience it during different periods of our lives. It would be very difficult to reach the point of sexual tension that causes orgasm if you are not really interested, sexually. I am assuming that your "never orgasmed" refers to with him. If you have reached orgasm with other partners or by yourself, you know everything is working. That leaves you with perhaps being more in love with him in a isterly fashion rather than a lover fashion. Do you have other loves (infatuations, parnters) to compare this with or is he your first and only? What are your fantasies during masturbation?

He may be a great guy but really does not ring your chimes sexually. This does not make him a good or bad lover; it simply raises the question of whether or not the right chemistry is there. Are you more interested in his thrilling (and slightly dangerous) lifestyle than you are in him as a person or lavoer?

Most of us fake it once in a while. The problem with habitually faking it, is that he develops an expectation that you climax easily and will take no extra care in helping you. You put yourself in a box of not getting what you need but giving hte message that everything is going fine.

You need to talk this one out with a trusted girlfriend and figure out what he really means to you. And if you hang around, come clean with him and see if you cannot reach a better accommodation sexually.

OP: Brandye 03/19/2006

Posted: 23 Sep 02:47

Most orgasmic women seem to have experienced the first orgasm in the early teens while masturbating. Multiple orgasms are probably less common than we are led to believe. We are all capable but often are not that interested. A woman can be satisfied without being satiated and that is where most of us stop. I never masturbate to multiple orgasms. I have had the experience with others – more commonly with women than men. There is a relationship between how early women begin to masturbate and their later sexual satisfaction. Roughly, the earlier, the better.

About a quarter of us never achieve orgasm; about half (I am in this group) do not achieve orgasm by penile thrusting; and that means about a quarter of us climax through penile thrusting as men want us to. That is their problem, not ours. For women, the brain is the most important sex organ. It is not the mechanics of sex so much as the romanticized view of sex that results in complete response. Once physical factors are excluded by a gyn exam, sex therapists will begin more with the imagination (fantasy) than with mechanical factors. An intense focus on the orgasm, alone, seems to inhibit orgasm.

The orgasm is actually a release of myotonia – muscles become extremely tense as we build up and the climax is the release of this tension. A combination of what we are expecting, what we are fantasizing and what physical stimulation leads to this tension. Once a woman experiences orgasm, subsequent orgasms are easier to achieve – we know what we are looking for.

All women are capable but some of us are inhibited for whatever reason. Many simply give up and accept a life without sexual response. I have had one patient who experienced her first orgasm in her fifties; a few who have experienced orgasm in their thirties after a few births. It is not uncommon for non-orgasmic women to experience orgasm after giving birth.

Those of us who learned through masturbation are generally able to transfer this response to sex with a partner. I was unable to with men; it was only after a few relationships with other women that I became able to respond with a man. Each step was learning what I needed and wanted.

There is no simple answer but the inability to fantasize is a recurring theme among non-orgasmic women. Perhaps we should practice more fantasy without a sexual focus. I would recommend that any non-orgasmic, mature woman have a complete gyn exam and ask for reference to a woman sex therapist. Yes, I am biased but believe that women can help more than men in this therapeutic setting. We can but sometimes require extraordinary steps to attain.

OP: Brandye 07/07/2006

Posted: 23 Sep 02:48

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