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It’s National Orgasm Day: Let’s Celebrate

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

Some information and tips to help you enjoy today and beyond.

Today, July 31, is National Orgasm Day. To help you celebrate, below you will find a few of my favorite orgasm facts and tips—taken from my book, Becoming Cliteratewhich research shows improves orgasm rate, sexual arousal, sexual satisfaction, sexual communication, and body-image in women. July 31, is National Orgasm Day. To help you enjoy today and beyond, below are some of my favorite orgasm and sexual pleasure facts and tips. All of this information is excerpted from my book, Becoming Cliterate. (A book I am so proud to say research shows improves sexual functioning in women who read it, including their orgasm rate, sexual arousal, sexual satisfaction, sexual communication, and body-image).

1. First things first: What is an orgasm? To understand orgasm, you first need to know that both women and men have erectile tissue in their genitals. This tissue contains special capillaries that let the blood in, but not out. And, all that blood going into erectile tissue creates tension that builds up. Orgasm is when powerful, rhythmic muscle contractions release that tension. And, stating the obvious, orgasm feels good. Here’s a description by one woman as quoted in a widely used Human Sexuality textbook:

It feels like all the tension that has been building and building is released with an explosion. It is the most pleasurable thing in the whole world.

2. Women and Men Describe Orgasm Similarly. There was a study in which women and men wrote descriptions of their orgasms. Expert judges, including sex therapists and gynecologists, could not guess the sex of the writer. All those in the study described tension building up and then a very pleasurable release of that tension. The authors of The Orgasm Answer Guide help explain these differences, pointing out that the spinal cord and brain are connected to the penis and clitoris by the same nerve route and that the penis and clitoris originate from the same embryonic tissue. So, while the type of stimulation that gets us there is different, in the end, our orgasms are the same.

3. We have an "Orgasm Gap." Despite the similarities described above between male and female orgasms, we have a gendered orgasm gap. Specifically, men having more orgasms than women. In one study, 39% of women versus 91% of men said they generally orgasm during sex. The main reason for this gap is that when women and men get it on, they tend to revolve the encounter around penetration and most women do not orgasm from penetration alone. In fact, below is a chart from Becoming Cliterate showing what hundreds of my students say is their most reliable route to orgasm:

As you can see, among those who orgasm, 96% say their most reliable route involves some type of clitoral stimulation, either alone or coupled with penetration. Along these same lines, fewer than 1% of women say they pleasure themselves solely by penetration—also explaining why women are much more likely to orgasm when alone than with a male partner.

Among those who orgasm, 96% say their most reliable route involves some type of clitoral stimulation, either alone or coupled with penetration. Similarly, fewer than 1% of women say they pleasure themselves exclusively by penetration—a finding which also sheds light on why women are much more likely to orgasm when alone than with a male partner.

4. Transfer Self-Pleasure to Partner-Pleasure. You can’t touch yourself one way during masturbation and then relegate this type of touch as secondary during partnered sex. The most crucial step to orgasm with a partner is to get the same type of stimulation you use when alone. There are two ways to transfer your masturbation methods to partnered sex. You can show or tell your partner what you like, or you can take matters into your own hands and do it do it yourself. Touching yourself during sex with a partner is not a lesser form of sex than having your partner stimulate you—and some women, it is the easiest way to reach orgasm with a partner.

5. Sexual Communication is Essential. Despite what you see media images of sex, where no one talks, in real-life sex, it's important to say what you want. Indeed, communication is the bedrock to make your bed rock!

6. Busy Brains Do Not Belong In The Bedroom. To experience orgasm, you need to prevent yourself from the all-too-common self-monitoring (e.g., "How do I look?" "Am I going to come?"). Instead, you need to use mindfulness to turn your brain to “off mode.” Mindfulness is is simply focusing fully on the present moment. Mindfulness can be explained with the metaphor of riding a roller coaster. As you climb upward, you might be thinking to yourself “This is fun!” or “Why did I get on this thing? I want off!” But, as the roller coaster descends downhill, you become too immersed in the sensations to think any thoughts at all. This not thinking—just feeling what’s happening—is mindfulness. And it is sex’s best friend. Mindful sex is when you’re totally and completely immersed in the physical sensations of your body. Mindful (and thus mind-blowing) sex is when your mind is not spinning but instead only your body is reacting. In fact, during orgasm, a part of the conscious mind turns off. Having an orgasm requires letting go of control and not thinking at all. That’s why studies have shown that teaching women to be mindful leads them to be more sexually responsive and satisfied.. So, start practicing mindfulness today, first in daily life and then in the bedroom. (I offer more detailed instructions on learning mindfulness in Becoming Cliterate and you can also learn via a free app such as Headspace or Insight Timer. Yoga is also a great way to learn mindfulness).

Come one, come all! It’s National Orgasm Day—but you can celebrate all year long!

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