Dr. Stacy, How Can I Achieve An Orgasm?

Woman with a happy sexual lifestyle

This week Dr. Stacy Friedman a clinical sexologist and certified sex coach has partnered up with Adultsmart to answer some of your deepest and most intimate anonymous questions from Reddit.


I am a woman who is having difficulty achieving an orgasm.

When you talk to women like me what advice do you tell them?

Dr. Stacy Friedman’s Answer

When being intimate, the main focus of sex should be about enjoying the journey, focusing on the pleasure and not being concerned about the performance.   Of course, having an orgasm is definitely an important part too, especially for women, but it isn’t always easy for a woman to have an orgasm.   Not because the lack of trying, but some women may not understand what is needed to help themselves achieve the big-O.  Some women can orgasm through vaginal sex, while some can only have an orgasm through clitoral stimulation.  Believe it or not, about 75% of women must have clitoral stimulation to orgasm, so if you are concerned that you are only able to do it on your own or with your partners help orally or manually, you are not alone- actually, you are the majority.  So what can you do to help improve your chances of having an orgasm?

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Joyful Woman On Her Bed
  1. First, make sure there are no medical conditions that are keeping you from having an orgasm such as conditions that may have sexual side effects, any nerve damage, or medications that you take, which may reduce sensitivity, such as antidepressants. If all that is good, then it may be something more in your mind, which is keeping you from feeling the pleasure.
  2. Masturbate! If you don’t know what you like or how your body reacts to stimulation, how can you expect your partner to know?  People enjoy different sensations and get turned on by varied types of touch.  It is up to you to know your body and to take the time to learn what touches feel good and what places on your body can be more sensitive.  Put on some soft music, turn down the lights, and go into bed or maybe even a bathtub and begin. Start slow; make sure you are able to relax someplace where you won’t be interrupted.  There are no rules on how or what to do, just as long as you do something that feels good.  You have to clear your mind and focus on the feelings you are producing and allow yourself to breathe. Which brings me to the third suggestion.
  3. Learning how to be in the moment, to enjoy the sensations and feelings you are experiencing is very important for women.  We are always thinking of laundry that needs to be done, errands that need to be run, kids that need to be taken care of and everything else under the sun.  Breathing slow, deep, purposeful breaths can put us more into a state of relaxation so we can focus. Women especially, need to be more mentally and physically in tune to themselves when trying to have an orgasm, so learning to relax and breathe is very important as it allows you to be present with yourself.
  4. Get in the mood. If you are with a partner, communicate with them and work together to prime each other up throughout the day.  Start with verbal communication, such as sexy words and thoughts, flirty texts and doing things that make you feel sexy!  Put some lingerie on underneath your clothes, do your make up, get a pedicure, read “50 Shades of Gray”, dab some clit stimulating cream between your legs through the day so you feel a slight throb as you think of what’s to come.  Creams that have L-Argenine are great for bringing blood flow to the surface, so look for creams that may include that ingredient.
  5. Don’t be afraid to help yourself while being intimate or having sex! If you have a free hand or a toy, use it!  Don’t be shy! Since the majority of women orgasm through clitoral stimulation, you have a better chance to enjoy an orgasm if you manually stimulate yourself or use a toy during intercourse to help bring you where you want to go!  A silver bullet is a great starting toy, since it’s easy to use and lots of fun!
  6. Position, position, position! Play around with different positions, amounts of pressure and motions to learn what works best for you. Prop yourself up with a pillow under your hips and move with your partner in a slightly circular, grinding motion.  This will help put some pressure and friction on the clit, which stimulates the nerves just at the right spot. Playing around with different movements, speeds and techniques can be the ticket to better orgasms and most importantly, take the time to enjoy sex for pleasure and not performance.  That will also help determine your potential for orgasmic bliss!

An important take away is that you are responsible for your pleasure and orgasm. Your partner can help for sure, but it is the woman’s responsibility to know herself and her needs so she can be open to allowing her mind and body to enjoy what the journey has to offer.  The closer connected you are to your partner and the more warmed up you get ahead of time, the more likely you will have success in allowing your body to enjoy an orgasm to its fullest potential!

The Science Behind What Actually Happens to Your Brain When You’re Having An Orgasm

Sydney Fireworks at Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge Photo

We all know how it goes. The clothes come off, the slightest touch by your partner sends tingles and sparks… As things really start to heat up, your body does also, your heart begins to race and the tingles and sparks work their way towards your genitals, and suddenly your toes are curling and you can no longer control the ways in which your body reacts as you being to orgasm. While there is no real way to fully describe in one sentence how an orgasm feels, the understanding is that it is an intensely pleasurable experience for all.

But what is it that is actually happening to your brain during orgasm?

Well, medical professionals and scientists alike, regularly monitor, test and push the human brain to see what it is capable of, and no – they did not stop with orgasms.

I know what you’re thinking… an orgasm in the name of science? Yep, me too. I’d jump straight into an MRI machine JUST to have an orgasm for science, also.

During an MRI scan, an MRI machine (a magnetic imaging machine used in radiology to form pictures of the anatomy) can show brain activity, and more specifically, how, why and what parts of the brain react (or light up) to different stimulus and sensations. Studies conducted have shown what happens to the brain during an orgasm and let me tell you, the brain (as expected) lights up like the fucking harbour bridge on New Year’s Eve.

As with any activity, the brain acts as a control centre to inform us what feels good, what hurts, where it hurts and much more. The different nerves within the human genitalia, directly communicate with the brain about the sensations it is experiencing. A French Medical Study that I have been researching, indicates that women can experience two types of orgasms – clitoral orgasms and vaginal orgasms, with both differing in blood flow, the sensitivity of area and sensations. The clitoris, which extends through the clitoral legs down either side of the vulva, becomes erectile during heightened arousal, due to it having more than 8,000 nerve endings. Incredible, right?

During an orgasm, for both men and women, there are four types of nerves responsible for sending signals to the brain. The hypogastric nerve transmits signals from the uterus and the cervix in women, and from the prostate in men, while the pelvic nerve transmits signals from the vagina and cervix in women, and from the rectum in both sexes. At the same time, the pudendal nerve transmits signals from the clitoris in women, and from the scrotum and penis in men, while the vagus nerve transmits from the cervix, uterus, and vagina in women.

The inundated blissfulness during and post orgasm can be accredited to the nerves sent to the brain’s control centre. The sexual arousal felt in the human body flood the brain with neurochemicals that control other emotions also, like feelings of love. The areas of the brain impacted by sexual arousal include the amygdala, nucleus accumbens, ventral tegmental area, cerebellum, and the pituitary gland.

While there is a running joke that men are far easier to turn on than women, it can be seen that the male and female brain work very similarly during arousal.


How To Turn On a Guy and Girl Funny Meme Photo
Image: How To Turn On a Guy and Girl


According to the Journal of Neuroscience, the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, or rather, the brain region located behind the left eye, shuts down during an orgasm in both men and women. Therefore, it is said that during an orgasm, the brain is said to look not dissimilar to an individual who has taken heroin.

As for the not-so-cute facial expressions and toe curling, well that comes down to the activity within your cerebellum, which increases and is solely responsible for muscle stiffness and tension during orgasm.

And then, finally, the crescendo, the main course, the first meal after the famine, the hypothalamus and nucleus accumbens, which produce the final brain responses during orgasm, are activated. Your heart begins to race, your pupils dilate and you begin to breathe heavily.

During orgasm, your brain releases a chemical called Oxytocin. This is a hormone and neurotransmitter produced by the hypothalamus. In many women, oxytocin can trigger strong uterine contractions that pulse follows throughout their orgasm/s. You may have heard before that reaching orgasm before or during menstruation, can cause a menstrual cycle to pass quicker, or maybe you have heard that if you have an orgasm while menstruating, you may experience cramps after – this is due to the uterine contractions that occur during orgasm.

And then?

Your brain rewards you with that sweet, sweet dopamine.


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Photo: Happy Dog


Check out this incredible video of a female brain during orgasm and you’ll see what I mean by the fireworks!

About the author: Chloe is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres