Despite their prevalence in pop culture, orgasms can be enigmatic. While sex education might have taught us the nuts and bolts of intercourse, few of us are taught the paths to true pleasure.
Instead, we literally fumble our way around in the dark—either with ourselves or with a partner—trying to figure out what turns us on and where. To finally shed light on the topic, we asked a pool of health experts our questions about the Big O and got the answers we’ve been after on how to have more frequent, more enjoyable, and more connected orgasms.
Question No. 1: Can I train my orgasm “muscles” so I have bigger, better orgasms more frequently?
Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can be the first step in having stronger orgasms. The pubococcygeus muscles (read: the ones you can feel when you’re stopping and starting to pee) contract during sex, so getting them toned can lead to more intense orgasms. Plus, it’s easy to practice: Simply contract them for 10 seconds, then release, and repeat. As you build up strength, you can increase the sets and speeds.
But no matter how strong your pelvic floor muscles get, don’t forget the most important orgasmic muscle: the mind.
“Orgasms happen in the brain, so if you want better orgasms and more of them, spend time working out what really turns you on and how to be relaxed and present during sex,” says Jodie Milton, Women’s Sex Educator & Intimacy Coach at Practical Intimacy.
Question No. 2: I’m in perimenopause. Is it normal for my ability to have orgasms to change?
The hormone changes that happen during perimenopause (the 10 years leading up to menopause) and after menopause can totally change how we experience all the signals in our sex life, from libido, arousal and orgasm. And while hormone supplements can be an option to talk about with your doctor, a few other tricks can help maintain powerful orgasms.
First, focus on sleep. Perimenopause can be disruptive to sleep, but research shows it’s crucial when it comes to our sexual functioning. One recent study showed that women who got just one hour of extra sleep were 14% more likely to engage in a partnered sexual activity the next day.
Exercise can also be key during this time. “Living a too-sedentary life is bad for orgasms,” says Carol Queen, PhD, Staff Sexologist at Good Vibrations, who suggests focusing on exercises that get the pelvis and core moving. If the pubococcygeal muscles are weak, an orgasm itself will feel less intense.
“The rhythmic pulsing of those muscles is one of the things we expect to feel with orgasm, even though that’s not all an orgasm is,” says Queen. “But when it’s missing, people definitely notice.”
Question No. 3: How can I talk to my partner about bringing toys into the bedroom?
If you’re nervous about talking about toys right away, you can ask more general questions about what’s important to your partner in your sex life. “If they say anything about your pleasure, that’s a good sign they may be open to toys,” says Sydney Harris, sex educator and founder of Clitoriscious.
Harris also suggests asking if they’d like to watch you pleasure yourself, noting that it’s a “green flag” if they say yes. Of course, if your partner has any insecurities about the conversation, you can dive into why that is and create the environment needed to make everyone feel safe, sexy, and secure. “Remember most folks can’t orgasm just through intercourse,” says Harris. “So sometimes toys and aids are necessary.”
Question No. 4: I never have orgasms during oral sex. What can I do to change this?
Oral sex can put us in a really vulnerable position, both metaphorically and quite literally in terms of our physical body. It can also put all our insecurities on the line, from wondering how we smell to wondering if our partner is having a good time, all which can make it challenging to loosen up, let alone have an orgasm.
“Find ways to relax and enjoy yourself,” says Milton. “This can mean finding a position where you feel closer to your partner, asking for reassurance, or encouraging your partner to show their own enjoyment with noises.” Giving specific directions and asking for what you want can help ensure you’re getting the most out of the experience.
Also, remember orgasm doesn’t have to be the final goal of oral sex, as the pressure to climax can actually make you even more self-conscious, so focus on pleasure and connection instead.
Question No. 5: Is there a sex position that practically guarantees an orgasm?
Since everyone’s body is different, it’s actually difficult to nail down a one-fits-all orgasm position. “One woman’s O-mazing sex position might be a dud for someone else,” says Milton.
But if there’s one secret to be had, it’s this: You’ve got to involve the clitoris in one way or another, adds Milton. That can mean you or your partner stimulating it with fingers, or getting into a position where you can grind for friction, like getting on top. “The more you involve your clitoris, the more pleasure you’ll experience,” she says.
Question No. 6: How do I tell my partner I’ve been “faking it”?
This definitely isn’t an easy conversation, and be prepared for your partner to take it personally if you decide to come clean. “Women often find it much harder to orgasm than men, and that can make us feel insecure,” said Milton. “Often we ‘fake’ it to cover up our own embarrassment, while also protecting our partner’s feelings.” Being open and vulnerable about this during the conversation can help soften the blow.
When you talk, keep the conversation focused on the positive. “If you’re opening up now, it’s because you want to create an even better sex life together,” says Milton. “Keep the conversation focused on the future and your shared goals, and all the fun and experimentation you’ll get to have as you discover your new orgasmic potential.”
Question No. 7: Is a G-spot orgasm a real thing… and if so, how do I have one???
The short answer: Yes! The mythical G-spot is real, even if it’s not exactly a precise spot but more of a sensitive area a few inches inside the upper wall of the vagina. Don’t try to find it until you’re fully aroused, as it really needs to be engorged before it turns on, says Milton. Once you find it, you can use toys shaped to help you reach it, or your partner can make the rhythmic “come hither” motion with a finger or two inside the vagina.
Fair warning, a G-spot orgasm can feel different than a clitoral orgasm. “It requires lots of more surrender and relaxation,” said Milton. “So if you really want to find it, try your best to let go and enjoy the ride.”