Having an orgasm can be one of the most pleasurable sensations a woman can experience. Unfortunately, not all women have had the pleasure of reaching this great climax, due to a variety of reasons. Sexual scripts developed by society can create mental blocks that prevent an orgasm from happening. Some women have difficulty reaching orgasm because of certain medications. Other women have never achieved an orgasm because they simply do not know how. Luckily, it is possible to coach a woman how to have an orgasm with patience, practice, and knowledge, and by first debunking those sexual scripts.
In the United States, society has developed many sexual scripts and stigmas that can prevent a female’s ability to orgasm. These scripts outline a guideline that informs her how, when, and by whom she should orgasm (Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010). Many of these are heteronormative, but some still apply to those in same sex relationships. Let’s take a look at some of the more common scripts.
She needs to orgasm before her male partner (Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010). According to sexologist Debby Herbenick (2009), most women have faked their orgasm. Some women fake because they do not want to upset their partner, or make him wait longer than necessary for his turn (Herbenick, 2009). This not only keeps her from experiencing a real orgasm, but also teaches her partner that whatever technique he was performing is what helps her get off, which is counterproductive for learning what she likes (Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010).
Once the male ejaculates, sex is over (Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010). This script goes hand-in-hand with the one previously mentioned. If sex is dubbed finished when the male ejaculates, but the woman wants to orgasm, she would have to have her “big O” before he does. This puts a lot of pressure on a woman, which makes it even more difficult to achieve an orgasm (Salisbury & Fisher 2014). Moreover, just because his penis is no longer erect does not mean that his fingers, tongue, or toys cannot continue to give her pleasure. Once a couple understands that, it could alleviate the pressure the woman feels to orgasm in a timely manner before he does.
Her male partner needs to be the one to give her an orgasm (Salisbury & Fisher 2014). Clearly, this is not the case for a woman’s ability to orgasm, as she could masturbate, or another woman could help her achieve an orgasm. A 2014 study found that lesbian women are over 10% more likely than heterosexual women to reach an orgasm during partnered sex (Garcia, Lloyd, Wallen, & Fisher). Higher reports of orgasms in lesbian women dismisses this common script.
She should be able to orgasm via penetrative vaginal intercourse (Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010). Informing women about the different types of orgasms, as well as the different ways to achieve an orgasm, can help debunk this script. A 2011 study (King, Belsky, Mah, & Binik) found that there are many different types of orgasms, ranging in amplitude and duration, and that orgasms may vary depending on the means by which the orgasm was achieved (i.e. masturbation, partner sex, clitoral, or penetrative). The orgasm she feels during masturbation might be a little different than an orgasm from a partner providing oral stimulation (King, Belsky, Mah, & Binik, 2011).
Not only do orgasms range in amplitude and duration, but they also range in the technique used to climax. There are many different ways to achieve orgasm aside from vaginal penetration, such as clitoral stimulation, the G-spot, and the less famous, but still advantageous U-spot (Herbenick, 2009). In addition to these “spots” pertaining to the vulva and vagina are the erogenous zones throughout the body, including the neck, earlobes, behind the knees, and the back of the arms (Herbenick, 2009). These sensitive areas are often overlooked, but can be stimulated to immensely aid in erotic sensations, which may help a woman reach her climax (Herbenick, 2009).
When coaching women how to orgasm, the educator must remember adult learning theory. Adults need to know why they are learning the information, and specifically why it pertains to them personally (Bruess & Schroeder, 2014). Educators should remember to explain their rationale for everything they teach, including why it is so important to debunk these sexual scripts and clear the negative stigmas surrounding a woman’s orgasm (Bruess & Schroeder, 2014).
Breaking down these sexual scripts and negative stigmas would help alleviate the pressure a woman feels when she is with her partner, or when practicing alone with masturbation. Sexuality educators should address each of the common scripts about the female orgasm, and redirect the statements to be more sex positive and encouraging, providing a boost of self-confidence in a woman’s ability to orgasm (Salisbury & Fisher 2014).
Bruess, C., & Schroeder, E. (2014). Sexuality education: Theory and practices. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Garcia, J., Lloyd, E., Wallen, K., & Fisher, H. (2014). Variation in orgasm occurrence by sexual orientation in a sample of U.S. singles. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 11(11), 2645-2652. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12669
King, R., Belskey, J., Mah, K., & Binik, Y. (2011). Are there different types of female orgasm? Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 865-875. doi: 10.1007/s10508-010-9639-7
Muehlenard, C., & Shippee, S. (2010). Men’s and women’s reports of pretending to orgasm. Journal of Sex Research, 47(6), 552-567. doi: 10.1080/0022449090317179
Salisbury, C., & Fisher, W. (2014). “Did you come?” A qualitative exploration of gender differences in beliefs, experiences, and concerns regarding female orgasm occurrence during heterosexual sexual interactions. Journal of Sex Research, 51(6), 616-631. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2013.838934