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Exploring the female orgasm

By Imaani Cain
On February 4, 2014

Recently, a friend of mine admitted that she has never had an orgasm before. "It just, like, hasn't happened and I don't know why!" she told me. We ruminated over why it hadn't happened, even though she's sexually active-it seemed incredibly strange to the both of us. The assumption is that once you start having sex with other people, you'll be showered in orgasms and bliss. Unfortunately, like most things, the mechanics of sex are much more complicated than they seem.
Women's Health Magazine informs its audiences that only 25% of women climax during sex, while 99% of men are consistently able to. Why is there such a huge disparity? I'd like to blame the portrayal of sex in popular media, as most media usually implies or directly shows the usage of the missionary position, which does not often hit the g-spot or stimulate the clitoris in any way. Then there is the pornography industry's portrayal of sex, which doesn't place any importance on mutual orgasm. This is likely because there is often no physical outcome for women when they achieve climax (though it is not uncommon for some women to ejaculate, or "squirt"), so their partners often assume they've had some sort of undetectable orgasm.
Dr. Kerner of Women's Health magazine recommends any one of the varying cowgirl positions (which allow for more clitoral stimulation and control), as well as working to combat any self-image issues you might have. Excessive self-consciousness can make it too difficult for a person to orgasm, leaving them unsatisfied and irritable after sex. In order to have the best sexual experience, you have to relax. Alternately, Brown University's Student Health Services website recommends masturbation in order to find out what arouses you most or what causes you to orgasm. Becoming more familiar with your body never hurts.
Increased amounts of oral sex can also help with the intensity of orgasms. Try doing a little research with your partner if they're inexperienced. "The Lowdown on Going Down" by Marcy Michaels was a very popular book during my freshman year of college (and the research applied yielded positive results). Kegel exercises can also assist in increasing orgasm intensity by strengthening the pelvic muscles.
Regardless of whether you utilize any of the tips listed, it is important for both you and your partner to achieve orgasm. Many women I've met just seem to accept with resignation that they won't ever have one. Is this because well-meaning peers and the media often teach us that only male orgasms are of any importance?
Our own pleasure is seen as superfluous at best and gross at worst. I recall an interview I conducted last year, where the majority of men I asked asserted that they would never want to go down on a woman, saying it was "nasty." They likely thought it would come at the expense of their own climax, which isn't a helpful attitude. What's important is to have an equal sexual relationship, one in which both partners end up happy and satisfied.

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