The Top 3 Secrets to Achieving a Female Orgasm

Achieving an orgasm can be elusive for a lot of women. But it can be as simple as time, tenderness, and knowing how to stimulate her sweet spots.

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female orgasm
Through better foreplay, trying different sexual positions and toys, achieving a female orgasm is possible.Anton Vierietin/Getty Images

Female orgasms can feel like an unsolvable riddle. No matter whether you’re with a trusted partner or going solo, trying for an orgasm can result in pleasure or discomfort, relief, or frustration. According to MedlinePlus, up to 20 percent of women have never had an orgasm, and about 50 percent say they wish they had more. Orgasms can be elusive, and it’s sometimes difficult to pinpoint the exact combinations of events that will get you there.

Through better foreplay, different sexual positions, and experimentation with toys or erotica, you can try different ways to climb that mountain. When you put these techniques into practice, you may experience not only incredible orgasms, but also a stronger and more intimate connection with your partner.

1. Spend More Time on Foreplay

A hectic day and hurried conversations with your partner can push out any thought of sexy fun from your mind, and here’s where foreplay is key. Foreplay can mean anything from a sweet or steamy text on your lunch break to a massage with sensual oils after dinner. It can begin hours before sex actually occurs, and every minute of it will pave the way for the big O.

Here are some tips for getting both of you in the mood:

Add romance to the mix. A steamy note or a flirtatious call during the day can get your partner thinking about your upcoming liaison. Candles, fresh flowers, and mood music can create a loving and sensual atmosphere. For many women, closeness and emotional intimacy can lead to better sexual experiences and more orgasms.

Use a tender touch. Caressing someone gently can create sexual tension before you go any further. Hugging, holding someone’s hand, or touching in the most intimate of places. (Hint: Yes, the breasts are an erogenous zone, but they're not the only one! Try stroking the back or thighs, or sliding your fingers into her hair.)

Take kissing to the next level. Kissing is essential to foreplay. Discovering new places to kiss that turn her on can be both fun and rewarding. Try the back of the neck or shoulders for starters. Orgasm may be easier to reach if, when kissing, you let your hands roam to more erotic regions of her body.

Heighten the senses. “Couples can enjoy foreplay through mutual massages with sensual oils to heighten arousal,” says Lisa Lawless, PhD, sexual health expert and CEO of Holistic Wisdom. You can also try massage candles, which provide intimate mood lighting and heated body oil for drizzling, Dr. Lawless says.

Try erotica. “Exploring erotic literature or watching ethical, consensual adult entertainment together can help some couples find added arousal,” Lawless says. Find erotica that gets you both excited for a heightened experience.

Don't forget to talk. Women may have trouble achieving orgasm if they don’t feel safe and known. “Communication in the bedroom can foster intimacy, trust, and a sense of safety with one another. By using words that show appreciation, love, and desire, couples can significantly improve bonding, sexual intimacy, and their feelings of satisfaction,” Lawless says.

Foreplay desires can vary, and communicating what works plays a big role in sexual satisfaction. “The only way to know what works for your partner is to ask, and don’t forget to share what you like, too. It may take some practice to get comfortable, but working on sexual communication, both in and out of the bedroom, is a key to long-lasting intimacy,” says Lyndsey Harper, MD, sexual health expert and clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Texas A&M School of Medicine in Bryan, Texas.

Achieving Female Orgasm: Tips for Partners

Achieving Female Orgasm: Tips for Partners

2. Know Her Sweet Spots

The clitoris and the G-spot are critical to female orgasm. Made of the same nerve endings as the head of a penis, the clitoris is very sensitive and most women need stimulation in this area to experience climax.

The Clitoris This organ may look tiny, and the part you can see is pretty small. But the clitoris extends beyond view and can actually be up to 15 centimeters (about 6 inches) in diameter, according to the Encyclopedia of Sexual Psychology and Behavior. The part of the clitoris that we can see is called the clitoral head. When not aroused, it hides under a piece of skin called the clitoral hood that pulls back when the clitoris becomes erect. “Caressing and stimulating the labia can also be arousing due to the clitoral tissue that is inside and some women prefer stimulation here in addition to direct clitoral head stimulation that can be really intense for some women,” Dr. Harper explains.

The G-Spot This orgasmic area is located inside the vagina. The G-spot is a collection of very sensitive nerve endings about halfway from the opening of the vagina to the cervix. You can find it on the anterior wall of the vagina (the top if you’re lying on your back). To find the G-spot, gently slide your finger inside her vagina with your palm facing up, then curl your finger. “This area is more arousing in some women than others due to normal anatomical differences. You can experiment and see if this area brings sexual pleasure through manual stimulation, sex toys, and certain penetrative sex positions that put pressure on the anterior vagina,” Harper says. Explore different techniques and ask your partner which she likes best.

3. Try Female-Friendly Sexual Positions

Given what you've just learned, you can pretty much guess that the best sexual positions for female orgasms involve the clitoris. “Sex positions offering clitoral stimulation are essential in achieving an orgasm during vaginal penetration,” Lawless says. These positions include:

Woman on Top This position provides some of the best stimulation of the G-spot, given the angle of the penis or sex toy. She also can move her body in a way that stimulates her clitoris.

Sitting Having your partner sit on your lap allows for both deep penetration and good clitoral stimulation. It also provides plenty of intimacy.

Missionary With a Twist You can modify the missionary by placing a pillow under the hips. This can put the clitoris in a better position for stimluation. “By shifting the angle, it helps the penetrative partner's pelvic bone to rub against the clitoris,” Lawless says.

Spooning Lawless recommends this position in which the penetrating partner is behind the receiving partner. The angle of penetration in this position may allow the base of the penetrating partner's penis to stimulate the clitoris, which is also easily accessible for touching and toys.

Oral Sex If vaginal penetration isn’t your cup of tea, you’re not alone: Up to 80 percent of women are unable to have an orgasm through vaginal intercourse alone, according to a study published in 2022 in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. So no matter what equipment you and your partner are working with, oral sex can be a great option for orgasm.

In any of these positions, sex toys can help bring a woman to orgasm. “Sex toys allow couples to explore new ways of experiencing pleasure,” Lawless says.

For some, sexual positions are limited because of pain, injury, or physical ability. Lawless recommends using pillows to make positions more comfortable, and allow both partners to hold a position longer.

If you feel discouraged after trying for an orgasm without success, you can reach out to your healthcare provider for help. They may suggest working with a sex therapist or getting a medical check up to see if any conditions or medications are affecting your ability to reach orgasm.

“Many people believe that the ultimate goal of the sexual arousal cycle is to achieve an orgasm. While orgasms are pleasurable and healthy, they do not always need to be the end goal,” Lawless says. Whether you get orgasms or you don’t, your sexual journey can be rewarding and meaningful.

Achieving the female orgasm may require some trial and error, but don't forget to have fun while you're trying.