Question: How do I have a vaginal orgasm?

Hi Sexademic,

I don’t know if you can help me, but maybe you know somebody who can.

I am 34 years old and unable to have a penetrative, penis-induced orgasm. I have been having clitoral orgasms since I was 18. Just about anybody can make me orgasm with their finger or mouth. I can also come if I touch my own clitoris during penetration. But nobody has been able to make me come from penetration alone.

I have two amazing male partners right now, one of almost three years, and the other of almost one year. Both of them are open to helping me and trying different things, but so far unsuccessfully.

I know that I have trust issues. I know that I don’t fully trust either one of my partners and am not sure I am emotionally able to fully trust any man.

I don’t know what other emotional blocks I may have.

Please let me know if you have any recommendations for me.

Thank you!
Blocked Vagina

Dear Blocked Vagina,
Thanks for writing to me about this; your question is a very common one among women.
The woman on the right knows any orgasm is good, no matter how it occurs. (image via The Frisky)

First things first: an orgasm is an orgasm is an orgasm. Popular culture (women’s magazines especially) push the idea that there are different types of orgasms. Not really. An orgasm is a chemical cocktail released by our brains, triggered by nerve stimulation. Lucky for us, nerves are everywhere! Nipples, clitorises and (to a lesser extent) vaginal walls all have delicious nerve endings that can be stimulated to orgasm.

But everyone’s body is unique. Nerve ending sensitivity, distribution and response will vary from person to person. Among women, the vagina is not usually a hotbed of nerves, with the outer third of the vagina having the highest concentration. Clitoral stimulation is often the path to orgasm for females, even with vaginal penetration. How? The clitoris is actually longer than it looks, with two “legs” called crura that extend back into the body. Check out this diagram:
In the future, spaceships will look like this (image via Wikimedia).

What does this mean for female orgasm? During penetration, for some females, stimulating the anterior (front) wall also stimulates the clitoris. Just from the back side instead of stimulating the glans (that little tip you can see).

Many women do not experience orgasm through penetration alone. The clitoris may not extend that far back or someone may need more nerve ending stimulation than they can get through the vaginal walls.

The bottom line: orgasms feel awesome. Any path to experience an orgasm is great! If you want to read more about the misleading way we think of orgasms, I wrote an article titled “The Myth of Orgasm Types”.

Of course, none of this is to suggest you should toss penetrative vaginal sex off the list of enjoyable sexual stimulation. Kissing may not make you come, but damn it feels good.

If you want to experiment with vaginal stimulation, keep in mind that the vagina responds more to pressure than to friction. That whole in-n-out, pumpy pumpy penetrative sex usually provides more friction than pressure. Try having a partner take his fingers and make slow wiping and pressing motions inside of your vagina. (Remember: the outer 1/3 of the vagina tends to be the most sensitive). During penetrative sex, instead of thrusting, your partner can try moving his hips in a vertical circular motion…like he’s painting circles with his hips.

There is no need to worry about “vaginal orgasms” vs. “clitoral orgasms” and not experiencing orgasm through direct penetrative vaginal stimulation is more likely due to the dearth of vaginal nerve endings than any trust issues. This concern really is common, but is in response to rather antiquated notions about sexual response that are antithetical to human sexual physiology. Look on the bright side: you have two awesome partners and get to experience orgasms! Yay!

I hope this helps! Let me know if you would like any other resources.

-The Sexademic

10 thoughts on “Question: How do I have a vaginal orgasm?”

  1. The female orgasm is so much more in your head than most tend to think it is. especially compared to a man. Scientists are constantly looking at the female brain to try to figure out exactly how it works. Thats why there’ s not female viagra yet.

    I can’t say I’m an expert (also I’m a man :-)), but I’ve read a lot. the most common advise for this situation always seems to be that the woman has a hard time relaxing and she must learn to trust her partner (or partners) and not be afraid to let go. a lot of women are afraid to have an orgasm in front of their partner because its a time when they are very vulnerable and lose control which can lead to making noises or doing something they may not normally do.

    Ive had a hard time finding any real statistics on it, but as far as ive been able to find, less that 25-30% of women can have an orgasm through penetrative sex alone.

    Unfortunately there is a lot of pressure put around the orgasm when sex is really supposed to be fun. thankfully how you reach the orgasm doesn’t usually concern your partner, men’s orgasms don’t tend to be too different from each other, so the end result is just as exciting for them no matter what, he’s usually just happy he got you there.

  2. Ken,

    Thank you for reminding me that according to statistics I am not alone.

    It is very possible that I am afraid to let go, though of what I don’t know. But I know that I would love to lose control during sex (in fact I don’t really like being in control; I prefer my partner to be in control). And I also know that I have orgasms in front of my partner(s) all the time; they are just not caused by penetration. I am not embarrassed to make noises, cry, convulse, etc.

    So if the problem lies in my head, it must be something deeper than the obvious insecurities.

  3. @Ken – Ive had a hard time finding any real statistics on it, but as far as ive been able to find, less that 25-30% of women can have an orgasm through penetrative sex alone.

    Elizabeth Lloyd wrote an excellent book on the science (or lack thereof) of the female orgasm, and it was pretty consistent across studies that roughly 25% of women can come from penetration alone, so you’re right on.

    1. Elizabeth Lloyd’s 25% figure was women who orgasm every time they have intercourse. It was not the figure for women who ever orgasm from intercourse. It is a sad and very common tactic for people to take the proportion of women who say they orgasm every time they have intercourse in a survey and quote that as the women who ever orgasm during intercourse.

  4. Read the book “Bonk” by Mary Roach for more insight – she has a whole chapter on theories why some women are more orgasmic during penetrative intercourse. She suggests it’s anatomical – short women may be more orgasmic that way. Women whose clitoris is close enough to their vaginal opening – some clits are too far away to catch the stimulation properly. There’s a rule of thumb I describe here in an excerpt from the book:

  5. Thank you so much, TBK. Your post is very helpful. I actually measured myself yesterday, and wouldn’t you know it, the distance between my clit and urethra is about 1.25 inches, says my boyfriend. But I’m close! I think there is hope for me yet. I am not giving up. I am going to train myself to cum during intercourse. Thank you!

  6. Mating is exclusively traumatic, with the male piercing an opening in the female and ejaculating directly into the abdominal cavity. In order to avoid this, we’ve found that bedbug nymphs release aldehyde pheromones that let the male know that they should look elsewhere

  7. I am one of those women who does come from penetration. It only happens for me if the sex is very forceful, so that the penis is banging into the cervix. I know that hurts for a lot of women but for me, it makes me come really quickly. That motion also stimulates my gspot so I usually end up with a double sensation, of gpot/squirt and cervix stimulation.

  8. I loved your reply to this question.
    As a man I have tried to take the time to learn over the years how to please a woman.
    Everyone is different, our bodies, our minds our moods from day to day.
    I find that achieving orgasm is much like navigating a rough sea, every day you must adapt, listen to the wind, feel the motion of the waves, go with what works and accept that which does not.

    I personally have only achieved total orgasm less than 20 times in my adult life, most women concentrate on themselves or on just my penis. Of course release is always nice, just as the topic’s woman of clitoral orgasm. But it takes time patience and understanding of your partners body to really go the places that make ones head swim.

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