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Ten tips for enjoyable orgasms

July 31st, 2008

Dr Petra

Today is National Orgasm Day. Yes, I know it is really only about promoting sex products and services but let’s put this out of our minds and think positive today.

Here are ten tips about sex, relationships and orgasms that hopefully should give you a wonderful experience.

1. Forget that bad sex advice
We’re constantly being told that good sex is getting it a lot, trying loads of new positions and techniques and buying lots of products. While adventure and exploration are important, a focus on performance and quantity means it’s more difficult to explore quality sexual experiences that give us pleasure.
Most contemporary sex advice makes out that ‘good’ sex involves a bit of foreplay and then penetration where the woman should come a few times before the guy has an explosive orgasm. This sets up a fairly restricted view of sex and often leads people to feel under pressure to perform in a set time and a formulaic way.

Worse still, countless sex books, products and magazine articles tell us that we now should be having ‘best ever’, ‘great’ or ‘mind-blowing’ orgasms. Implying that just a plain old orgasm is dull or boring. Not surprising that some people who are enjoying perfectly good sex think they are missing out because there is some ‘better’ orgasm that’s eluding them.

To enjoy sex we need to prioritise pleasure over performance, trust over technique, quality over quantity, and make enjoyment and experimentation our goals.

2. You have a life outside the bedroom
This may seem like a strange tip since we’re so used to seeing orgasm advice being pinned specifically to positions, toys and techniques. But all the products in the world aren’t going to help if there are underlying problems getting in the way of your pleasure. These might include mental or physical health problems, relationship worries, a lack of confidence, lack of support with childcare or housework, the inability to communicate your needs, or stress.

If you’re feeling tired, resentful, overworked or unwanted then it is very hard to feel like having sex or enjoy encounters with a partner. If there’s anything creating a barrier for your relationship – or just having a good time on your own – then this is your priority. If you don’t tackle these issues your sex life will never be what you (or your partner) want.

3. Masturbation’s massively underrated

We often tend to think about masturbation as something you do if you’re single, if you’re not satisfied with your relationship, or if your partner’s away. Some people even believe that masturbating when in a relationship is a form of cheating, or implies your partner isn’t satisfying you.

For women it’s particularly important to explore masturbation, since if you don’t know what turns you on it’s very difficult to show or tell a partner what you like. Finding the time to experiment with what feels good, particularly focusing on clitoral stimulation is vital to experiencing orgasm.

Men often get stuck in a rut of masturbating in the same way, so taking the time to try new ways of touching yourself (different pressure and speed in your strokes for example) can lead to different orgasm experiences. This can be something you share with a partner or keep for your own pleasure.

Mutual masturbation is also something that can be enjoyable as an act in itself, not a prelude to intercourse. Watching how a partner touches themselves, how they look as they approach orgasm and how their body responds can be a massive turn on. Gay men and lesbians report mutual masturbation – either touching each other or taking it in turns to show how you get off – is a fantastic but underrated experience.

And the key rule with masturbation is it’s something you can take responsibility for. All too often sex guides tell us that men need to ‘give’ a woman an orgasm – leading to lots of pressure placed on both parties and a lot of faked orgasms. By all means experiment with what touch your partner likes, but always let them show you and if you want a better chance of them coming for goodness sake let them touch themselves!

4. Orgasms don’t have to happen in any set order

We have the mistaken view that straight sex goes something like this. A bit of kissing, some ‘foreplay’, she comes first (preferably with a lot of noise, some ejaculation and more than one orgasm), then he comes in pints. For gay or lesbian sex there’s the myth that a same-sex partner will automatically know what feels right for you – but even here people still tend to stick to the same kind of sexual script.

There is no reason why sex has to end in orgasm – particularly not a guy’s orgasm. Often men have problems with premature ejaculation because they’re trying to hang on until their partner’s come all over the place.

You could think about a guy coming first, or perhaps not at all. Or a woman having an orgasm through oral sex or masturbation on her own while her partner watches before penetrative sex and followed by her playing with a sex toy. Or perhaps one person can just decide to pleasure their partner but opt not to have an orgasm themselves on this occasion.

5. Small changes can have amazing results

Changing the positions in which you masturbate, the time or place you usually have sex, the way you breathe, how you move your pelvis, or what you talk (and think) about while you’re intimate can all make a massive difference to how you experience pleasure.

We’re often told if sex is boring or we’re not getting what we want from a partner that we need to develop entire new sexual skill sets. This may not always work. If you already know what you enjoy it’s fine to build upon this with a few tweaks here and there and see what happens. Small steps could lead to greater adventures later on – if you wish.

6. Take a trip to Fantasy Island

It’s common for people to think sexual fantasies are only for fourteen year old boys or sad old singletons. Fantasies can be an amazing part of our sex lives but are extremely underrated. Myths about fantasies include if you think about it you have to do it, that you always have to tell a partner what you’re thinking about, and that if you do have a fantasy about anyone other than your partner then you’re cheating.

Fantasies are great for several reasons. They help get and keep you excited. They allow you to explore new ideas and possible things to try. They can be a wonderful secret you keep for yourself, or something you like to share with a partner (depending on your confidence and your partner’s reaction).

You can inspire your fantasies by reading people’s fantasies online (or in compilation books of men’s or women’s fantasy letters). You might want to read erotica or look at porn online, in a magazine, or on a DVD. Or you may just spend time thinking through what you like. It’s your fantasy so don’t feel you have to censor yourself.

7. Invest in some lubricant

It might sound like a boring tip, but never underestimate the power of lube! It makes sex toys easier to use, improves intercourse and livens up hand jobs no end. Anal sex is a no-no unless you’re using lubricant. And with some varieties that are designed to warm the skin there can be a new sensation added to your regular experience.

8. The clitoris is key

Although women enjoy penetrative sex, if there is no clitoral stimulation then sexual enjoyment is going to be limited. Giving the clit a lot of attention through oral sex, using sex toys or plain finger (and lube) action is a great start – but don’t stop it when penetration begins. This is a common sexual mistake and leaves women feeling frustrated. Instead continue with clitoral stimulation – for example she could go on touch and play with her clitoris while riding her partner. She’s much more likely to have an orgasm if clitoral stimulation is involved.

9. G spots and ejaculation

There’s been a lot of talk in the press recently about G spots, with some (drug company funded) research claiming only some women have them and the rest of the female population are in some way deficient. Linked to this is the idea of female ejaculation – partly inspired by porn – where it’s now believed women have not had a ‘proper’ orgasm unless they’ve ejaculated. For a lot of guys making a woman ‘squirt’ has become the holy grail of sex – and has resulted in a lot of very tedious sex.

Let’s be clear. The female body (like the male) comes in different shapes, sizes and structures. Some women have a sensitive area inside the vagina that feels good when stimulated with fingers, a dildo or penis. Some women like the full feeling of being penetrated but not located to one key area, and others much prefer clitoral stimulation alone or clitoral stimulation combined with vaginal and/or anal penetration.

If you and your partner want to go on a sexual adventure and see what kind of clitoral and vaginal stimulation feels good then fine. But it’s a recipe for disaster to make g spot stimulation and female ejaculation into a major sexual issue particularly where one or both of you feel like you’ve ‘failed’ if she doesn’t ejaculate.

Keep this in perspective. What women want is a partner who communicates with them and joins them as they explore what feels good. In such an environment she’s got a much better chance of experiencing the feelings of orgasm in different places – because she won’t feel under pressure to perform.

10. Orgasms are something to experience, not achieve

There’s an old saying that the journey’s as important as the destination, and that’s true when it comes to sex. If your mind is constantly on orgasm – delaying yours, trying to have one, or wondering when your partner might come – is not going to make you feel relaxed or aroused. Instead it’s more likely to make you find it difficult to orgasm or come quicker than you want.

We often hear about people ‘reaching’ or ‘achieving’ orgasm – which makes orgasm the only goal to sex. It misses out learning what a partner likes; discovering new things that turns them on; finding out what parts of your body feels good when touched; or seeing how different ways of touching, looking, tasting and listening can enhance our sexual experiences.

A key part of this journey involves communicating with your partner. While it may seem obvious this should involve conversations about what feels good and what you’d like to try, there’s also the need to communicate effectively elsewhere. If you make your partner feel valued, listened to, appreciated and desired with the tone of voice you use, the words you say and in your nonverbal communication then you will find they will be more receptive to intimacy.

See how those tips work for you. No doubt you can come up with even more ideas to make your relationship pleasurable. But don’t limit yourself to one day of celebrating orgasms. Feel free to enjoy them whenever you want – or if you don’t always feel like it, that’s fine too.

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