Ready to have the most intense orgasm of your life? We tapped two sexologists to develop the ultimate guide to female orgasm that’s pretty much guaranteed to get your juices flowing and your toes curling.
If you have a vagina, there are *so* many ways to achieve an intense orgasm that go well beyond standard penetration. From clitoral stimulation and nipple play to blended and anal orgasms, we leave no stone unturned—or rather, no erogenous zone untouched—in this comprehensive guide to female orgasm. Keep reading to unlock a world of sometimes surprising and absolutely satisfying sensations.
Female Orgasm Myths
Before we dive into all of the juicy tips, it’s important to clarify a few key myths and misconceptions about female orgasms.
“It’s All About Vaginal Stimulation and Intercourse”
One of the biggest misconceptions is that every person with a vulva should be able to have a vaginal orgasm. But according to sexologist and sensual yoga teacher Joy Berkheimer, PhD, only about 30 percent of women orgasm from vaginal penetration alone.
“Length Always Matters”
Carol Queen, PhD, Good Vibes staff sexologist and sex-positive educator and activist, wants to put this misconception to rest whether the length in question involves penis size, or the duration of intercourse. “Neither of these is remotely [necessary] for everyone or even for most,” she clarifies—but they’re not exactly myths. Instead, they’re simply not the norm or hard-and-fast rules. “In fact, for those who’d agree that size matters, some would cite ‘too big’ as a problem, not a preference,” she continues. Plus, “Duration of intercourse won’t get you to orgasm if you’re not already aroused enough, and many women just don’t get turned on enough to come that way.”
Of course, things will ultimately hinge upon personal preference. Some people will naturally enjoy large (and/or wide) penises and toys, and others may certainly prefer a sex marathon over a quickie.
“Women Will Always Get Wet When They’re Aroused”
“It is a huge misconception that women will always be wet if they’re turned on, and that one’s own vaginal lubrication will be sufficient,” Dr. Queen shares. This isn’t always the case, so she advises using lube as needed to promote comfort and pleasure alike.
“Sex Toys Ruin Partner Play”
Another female orgasm myth is that you won’t be able to achieve climax during sex if you rely on toys to get your rocks off. However, sex toys aren’t the problem—but a lack of arousal and sensation during intercourse very well can be. “Many who only come with toys don’t have orgasmic sex with partners because they aren’t getting the stimulation they need to orgasm during partner sex,” Dr. Queen explains.
For a majority of women, clitoral stimulation is crucial to achieve orgasm. “The clitoris functions in an arousal context just like the penis,” says Dr. Queen. In fact, they derive from the same tissue. To underscore its importance, she makes the analogy that it would be challenging for those with penises to achieve orgasm without direct and active contact during sex.
Fortunately, Dr. Queen has a wealth of knowledge on achieving more intense orgasms through manual clitoral stimulation. Some of her top toe-curling tips include:
- Going solo to discover what you like best. You don’t have as many distractions when you’re alone, which permits greater freedom and focus for exploration. “This is great because it helps us explore our orgasmic potential and needs, but also so that we’ll have more specific feedback for partners if we engage in partnered sex,” she explains.
- Prioritizing foreplay. “[Whether] solo or partnered, going right to the clitoris or vagina without any build-up is usually too much—and it can be challenging to come back from too much intensity too soon,” Dr. Queen continues. Stimulating other erogenous zones—including your ears and neck to your breasts and bottom—is often necessary to build erotic anticipation and intensity before genital touch. But that’s not all that can get your (proverbial and literal) juices flowing. “Many like to incorporate fantasy, or watching or reading erotic media,” she adds. “With a partner, erotic talk can also serve that building-up purpose.”
- Enjoying good vibrations. Vibrators get Dr. Queen’s enthusiastic approval to achieve clitoral orgasm. “We have genital and other nerves that actually are wired to respond to vibration, with way more of these nerves on the clitoris than inside the vagina,” she shares.
We can’t forget about clitoral orgasm via oral sex either. Dr. Berkheimer recommends the queening position—in which the woman sits on or straddles her partner’s face—to easily access and arouse the clit.
Vaginal (G-Spot) Orgasm
While clitoral stimulation may be your best bet for an intense orgasm, that doesn’t mean that vaginal penetration will always be inferior. To achieve vaginal orgasm, Dr. Berkheimer suggests starting off by massaging the G-spot, which can trigger full-bodied orgasms and emotional release.
Heed her advice by employing the following methods and tips:
- Finger: “When placing a finger inside about an inch from entry, you can curl your finger—as if asking someone to come towards you—facing the tip towards the belly button,” she explains. You’ll know you’ve found the G-spot once you (or your partner) feels a sponge-like texture.
- Penis: According to Dr. Berkheimer, it’s easier to access the G-spot (and A-spot, which we’ll soon learn about) during intercourse with the woman’s hips and legs raised.
- Sex toy: For G-spot orgasm with a sex toy, it’s crucial to use one that’s curved so it can successfully reach and arouse the G-spot. Keeping your legs and hips elevated can help with this avenue for orgasm, as well.
Interested in experiencing anal orgasm but reluctant to try? First things first: Hold off until you’re fully ready to explore for your own sake and not only your partner’s. “The original researcher of anal sex, Jack Morin, PhD, famously said there was one thing that tended to predict whether someone had a pleasurable experience with anal: that they wanted to do it for their own pleasure,” Dr. Queen shares.
“The person being penetrated has to be ready—i.e., relaxed and interested in the first place—or else pain will generally result,” she cautions. “It’s very important to learn about safe and pleasurable anal sex, and again it’s a good idea to explore this solo first.” Once you feel comfortable enough with the idea of anal play, she advises starting off with anal plugs on your own before inviting a partner for the ride.
Above all, the sexologist says you’ll need to cover these three bases before any kind of anal penetration:
- Communication (or awareness, if solo)
Blended orgasms involve stimulating two or more erogenous zones at once to achieve a seriously intense climax. “More nerves participate in the orgasmic build-up if more than one erotic hot spot is being touched,” shares Dr. Queen. According to Dr. Berkheimer, this thrilling combination “can increase orgasm likelihood, length and intensity.”
A blended orgasm via simultaneous clitoral stimulation and penetration can provide a one-two punch of pleasure. (Per a 2015 survey of women in the US, over 36 percent of participants said that clitoral stimulation was necessary for orgasm during intercourse. Another 36 percent said that their orgasms felt better with clit play during sex.) Moreover, Dr. Queen is adamant about clitoral self-stimulation during intercourse, so don’t hesitate to (ahem) give yourself a hand. “Normalizing that action would do a lot to close the orgasm gap,” she adds.
Dr. Berkheimer’s recommended sex positions to stimulate the clitoris during intercourse include:
- Doggy style
- Side by side (aka spooning)
These positions also work well to achieve a blended orgasm during anal sex. Again, Dr. Queen advises stimulating your own clitoris to boost your chances of having an intense orgasm that you might not experience from anal sex alone.
Oral sex paired with manual stimulation via fingers or toys—as well as opting for dual-action sex toys—can also get the job done.
Additional Types of Female Orgasm
A less popular type of vaginal orgasm can be achieved at the anterior fornix erogenous zone (aka the AFE zone, deep spot, or A-spot). It’s located about four to five inches inside the vagina between the front vaginal wall and the cervix.
To stimulate the A-spot, Dr. Berkheimer says you can use a finger, penis, or sex toy. (You’ll want to pass on your vibrating toys this time around, since the area closer to the cervix can be sensitive.) Begin by applying pressure to the top wall of the vaginal—i.e., the wall closest to the stomach). “It can be helpful to start in the middle of this wall and steadily move up to find the spot,” she shares. However, she notes that not all women will react to it, even by steadily increasing speed and pressure.
Next up is the U-spot, a small area of sensitive tissues at the opening of the vagina directly above the clitoris. Dr. Berkheimer advises massaging the U-spot, varying the motions with a finger (or tongue) both vertically and horizontally. “Lastly, using the erect head of a penis to stimulate the area can bring a woman to climax when combined with clitoral stimulation,” she adds.
Dr. Berkheimer confirms that you can absolutely achieve orgasm through nipple play… even without stimulating your sex organs. Try it solo or with a partner via hands, mouth, or sex toys.
ICYMI, it’s also possible to have an intense orgasm through fantasy and mental stimulation alone. “All orgasms happen in the brain,” Dr. Queen explains. “It’s the type of stimulation leading to them that varies, and there may be sensory differences because of that.” (Anyone who’s ever seen the flower petal scene in 40 Days and 40 Nights might already be privy to this intel.)
If you’re open to exploring mentally stimulating, non-tactile ways to achieve orgasm, Dr. Berkheimer offers the following tips:
- Visualize and meditate on your fantasies
- Incorporate fantasy into erotic or sensual breathwork sessions
- Use audio and apps (such as Dipsea) to enjoy erotic storytelling solo or with a partner
Last but not least, we have the topic of multiple orgasms. “What often stops us from [attempting] multiple orgasms is the intensity of experiencing one,” says Dr. Queen. “After orgasm, the genitals can get so sensitive that it’s hard to continue stimulation.” That said, it might seem like a lofty goal to ask for two or three (or more) intense orgasms in a single session—but it’s not impossible.
To achieve multiple orgasms, she advises:
- Covering the vulva with a hand and maintaining contact while minimizing friction (if you’re still sensitive after the first orgasm)
- Using deep, rhythmic breathing to tune into and drive the sensations
- Thrusting or circling your pelvis to facilitate orgasmic build-up
- Communicating your needs and limitations with your partner
Hopefully, this guide to female orgasm has equipped you with the insights and tips you need to experience your most intense orgasm yet… or perhaps a new kind of orgasm, or maybe even your first orgasm ever. Yes, build-up and arousal are part and parcel of any type of orgasm—whether solo, manual, oral, non-tactile, or via penetration—and regardless of gender. “It has to do with the sexual response cycle and taking steps that help build up the erotic energy that is released with orgasm,” says Dr. Queen.
However, it’s equally as important to be in the right headspace. “Our most powerful organ is our brain. This has a lot to do with our perspective on freedom and fear,” Dr. Berkheimer explains. “Depending on how safe we feel, this will allow or disallow orgasms to flow.”
With that in mind, comfort, consent, and communication are crucial—and so is staying rooted in the present. “There is no pleasure without presence,” she continues. “I believe a part of our self-care rituals should always include some sort of somatic practice that keeps us coming back to our bodies and not always running away from the moment. We want to be grounded in the now, so we can be aware of all the possible pleasure we have coming our way.”