It’s all about tension. Who knew?

29,900,000 results.  That’s what you get when you google ‘female orgasm’.  No really, try it for yourself and see.  You didn’t google, did you?  It’s all right, that’s what I’m here for, to boldly go where other people with better things to do can’t be bothered to tread.

Quick disclaimer, last week’s disclaimer has been carried forward, especially the bit about the words you may encounter.  This will be crude, and rude, and… you know the script by now, don’t you?  Tender souls, leave now.  The rest of you, put on your gum boots and protective head gear and follow me back into the depths of the sewer.  Today it’s all about the come, the act not the fluid.  Consider this sex-ed 101 (more like 111 if previous posts are anything to go by), and all in my inimitable style.   Ahem.  Before I get into it, I owe you an apology.  I wrote the last post under the assumption that we were all on the same page, sexually.  You know what they say about assumptions being the mother of all fuck ups?  So, so true. I should have have started here, before I went there.  We need to talk about orgasm’s, the how and perhaps the why, before we can even begin to talk about sex with other people.  Apology accepted, yes?  No?  Kwani you want me to sing you a bloody love song?  Fine…

I love to love you baby…

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing Ms Donna Summer in a song that allegedly features her coming 22 times (how did they count exactly?), in the 16.5 mins album version that is (watch here).  ‘Love to Love You (Baby)’ has been covered by all and sundry, so you probably know the song even if you don’t know it.  What you may not know is that this was Ms Summer’s first disco hit, unlikely given her folk singer background, she was brought up a good Christian girl, like most of us, suitably restrained and whatnot.  “She told Time magazine December 1975 that to write the lyrics, “I let go long enough to show all the things I’ve been told since childhood to keep secret.””  Songfacts.com  You can see how this is the perfect choice for the sewer, no?  You can’t get over the 22 orgasms, can you?  “It was rumored that Summer sang her very convincing orgasmic-sounding vocals on the studio floor while simulating a sex act. The rumor was partly true – after trying to record her vocal the traditional way, her producer Giorgio Moroder had her sing on the studio floor while lying on her back with the lights out, since she didn’t want the guys working on the album looking at her when she sang it. She explained that she was indeed touching herself during the vocal – she had her hand on her knee. Her boyfriend Peter served as her fantasy inspiration.”  Hand on her knee?  Really?  Insert evil chuckle here…  Incidentally, the lyrics of the song are quite mild by today’s standards, it’s the moaning that does the trick, or perhaps that’s just my deviant mind playing tricks on me, listen and decide for yourself.

I love to love you baby…

I don’t know how to have this conversation, not just because I am in no way qualified to talk about it, besides the presence of a (recently rebranded) ‘wise’ hoohaa, but also because there’s so much to talk about.  Should I start with the physiology of the orgasm, what happens inside you that results in clenched toes?  Or should I go straight to the how to manual, tell you to lift your hips more?  Or perhaps a psychological discussion about nature’s purpose for orgasms, bonding v procreation?  Or maybe you want to know how to tell your man how to get you off, without bursting his excellent lover bubble?   Better still, why not talk about how to get yourself off, in colourful euphemisms and such like?  Perhaps an illustrated diagram showing you what a clitoris really looks like and where to find your G-spot?  So much to do and such little time…  I’ll try and summarise as best I can (and by that I mean copy/paste liberally), but if you’re truly interested you might want to read up on your own, because those 29 million results are not all bollocks.

As always, we must start with the definition, because there is too much nonsense surrounding this topic.  What the hell is an orgasm?  If you do nothing else today, promise me you’ll read The Female Orgasm: How it Works.  Whatever it is you think you know about how you come, you do not know (unless you’re a gynae or such like, and even then…).  Turns out, an orgasm is simply your body releasing built-up tension in your muscles.  That’s why we call it release.

That warm, sexy rush you feel during foreplay is the result of blood heading straight to your vagina and clitoris. Around this time, the walls of the vagina start to secrete beads of lubrication that eventually get bigger and flow together.

Slight detour.  I could be wrong about this, and if I am then one of you will no doubt correct me, but from this I can only conclude that arousal and wetness go hand in hand (all the women are nodding, the men are not amused).  This means, gentlemen, that if the woman’s vagina isn’t wet, perhaps she’s not turned on (enough).  That I have to point this out is troubling, but there you have it.  Let’s get back to it.

As you become more turned on, blood continues to flood the pelvic area, breathing speeds up, heart rate increases, nipples become erect, and the lower part of the vagina narrows in order to grip the penis while the upper part expands to give it some place to go. If all goes well (i.e., the phone doesn’t ring and your partner knows what he’s doing), an incredible amount of nerve and muscle tension builds up in the genitals, pelvis, buttocks, and thighs — until your body involuntarily releases it all at once in a series of intensely pleasurable waves, aka your orgasm.

The big bang is the moment when the uterus, vagina, and anus contract simultaneously at 0.8-second intervals. A small orgasm may consist of three to five contractions; a biggie, 10 to 15. Many women report feeling different kinds of orgasms — clitoral, vaginal, and many combinations of the two. According to Beverly Whipple, Ph.D., co-author of ‘The G-Spot and Other Discoveries About Human Sexuality’, the reason may simply be that different parts of the vagina were stimulated more than others, and so have more tension to release. Also, muscles in other parts of the body may contract involuntarily — hence the clenched toes and goofy faces. As for the brain, a recent small-scale study at the Netherlands’ University of Groningen found that areas involving fear and emotion are actually deactivated during orgasm (not so if you fake it).

After the peak of pleasure, the body usually slides into a state of satisfied relaxation — but not always. “Like their male counterparts, women can experience pelvic heaviness and aching if they do not reach orgasm,” says Ian Kerner, Ph.D., a certified sex therapist and author of ‘She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman’. In fact, Dr. Kerner says, “many women complain that a single orgasm isn’t enough to relieve the build-up of sexual tension,” which can leave us with our own “blue balls.” Don’t worry: Like the male version, it’s harmless.

Now you know why you twitch like you’ve been electrocuted.   You also know that your frown, when he rolls off, job half done, is because of the unreleased tension, and your aching loins.  Who knew?

Now while that explains the mechanics of the orgasm, it doesn’t answer the most basic question most women have, did I have an orgasm?  Don’t laugh.  See, the way they tell it, an orgasm is an earth shattering, mind blowing occurrence of epic proportions, complete with loud groans, and possibly tears.  Hell, I said as much last week, no?  Turns out, I was wrong, kinda.  Orgasms ran the gamut from warm fuzzy glow to paralytic seizure and everything in between.  The trick to figuring out if you had an orgasm is in how you feel during and after (build up to a point, then release, then come back down, all hopefully).

Every woman’s experience of orgasm is different and, for reasons we don’t fully understand, not all women experience the “euphoric high” or sense of calm related to orgasm. Some women may simply experience less dramatic orgasms than others; then again, sometimes orgasm feels differently from different types of stimulation.

As an example, some women find that orgasms from clitoral stimulation (especially with a vibrator) may feel more “sharp” or “electrical” but may not feel as deeply satisfying or euphoric as orgasms that result from vaginal intercourse. Other women feel completely the opposite and may find more depth from masturbatory orgasms than partnered orgasms. There’s not a right or wrong, or a certain type of orgasm that’s better than another across the board, it’s just that there are a range of experiences to be had.

MSP Sex Q&A: How are orgasms supposed to feel?

What they’re saying is, just because you didn’t get to the point that you called out your maker’s name, that doesn’t mean you didn’t come.  Different strokes for different folks, my lovelies.

But what if you really didn’t come?  That’s not that odd, as it turns out.

First, you are not alone. Many women — about one out of three — have trouble reaching orgasm when having sex with a partner. This is even more common for younger women who are just beginning to explore sexual relationships. Getting to know your own body and preferences will make sex more pleasurable and can help you discover what brings you to orgasm. Female Orgasm

This 1 in 3 statistic is all over the web, see 10 Surprising Facts About Orgasms (No. 5 may explain my alleged wisdom, but do I say…), and Understanding The Female Orgasm.  Just between you and me, I think the number is higher.   I was going to throw in one of my now infamous personal anecdotes, but given what happened last time, I choose to leave my TMI out of this one, lest I get bitten in the ass again.  The thing is, a lot of the literature on women’s failure to orgasm is troubling, they’re either too quick to assign some form of dysfunction to the woman, calling her frigid or something such like, and then prescribing drugs to cure her malady, or they blame her relationship with her lover, because he is unable to satisfy her, or her him.  In most cases, the woman’s freedom in and responsibility for her own pleasure is either downplayed or completely ignored.

What utter bullshit.

Fortunately for us, there are some people who are not of that school of thought.  Female Orgasms: Myths and Facts is short and simple enough for even the laziest amongst us to skim through, plus it’s suitably fluffy.

Myth:

If a woman cannot reach orgasm, then her partner is not a skillful lover.

Fact:

While there are many ways a loving partner can help a woman reach orgasm, in the end, a woman is responsible for her own sexual pleasure. That does not mean her partner should not be involved. Communication between partners is very important. It is up to the woman to inform her partner her likes and dislikes in their love making.

At the risk of being accused of being insensitive to my orgasmically challenged sisters, you need to go out and educate yourself.  This business of waiting for someone to come along and rock your world is just plain silly.  Wait, don’t write me hate mail just yet, let me make my case.  Ladies, get to know your parts, intimately.  That’s right, I’m telling you to get a mirror and take a look, a good, long look.  What’s that?  You don’t like how it looks?  Then why would he (or she)?  From almost everything I’ve read, and from personal experience, I can comfortably state, with some authority, that being uncomfortable with your body is generally a hindrance to coming.  You get stuck in your head and forget to enjoy yourself.  Look, touch, hell, taste it if you want (stop frowning, if you expect him, or her, to eat you, you need to know what you’re serving, what kind of chef won’t taste her own gravy?).  Bottom line is, if you don’t know what’s going on, how the hell will someone else?  The up side to this most useful information is that it makes show and tell with your lover just that much easier, because you know what you’re going on about.

In case I’m being unclear, I’m also telling you to go wank.  I’ve done the post on masturbation already, so you know I’m familiar with the topic, but even I had no idea about crura and such like, not until I read this article, 10 Things You Don’t Know About Vaginas.  That’s right ladies, your clitoris is long, and split, check out the most helpful diagram here.  Any woman who knew about this already, I will buy many beers, right after you explain why you didn’t share.

The point?  You need to write a manual to your own pleasure, and to do so you have to get to know your own body.  Trust me, when you know what you can do, you are unlikely to tolerate nonsense from someone else, either you’ll show him what you want, or you’ll find someone else who can give you what you need.  Does that sound harsh?  Good.  Perhaps if we all got a bit more harsh about these things, we wouldn’t be subjected to never-ending tales of crap sex.

I love to love you baby…

That lyric is not for your man, it’s for you, ladies.

Last week The Spinster made a most brilliant comment about The Glorious Bug, the man who took her sex from analogue to digital (I suspect that may be quite literal).  On the one hand, shagging someone who broadens your horizons is the trigger to your awakening, but sometimes it’s your awakening that triggers the coming of your TGB.  Let me put it this way, once you open yourself to the possibility of better sex, the possibilities for better sex present themselves.

I’ll leave you with this article by the most brilliant Dr Debby Herbenick, she that needs to win a Nobel Prize for sexy research, My Love of Sex.

But good sex is, I think, worth creating with someone. It’s worth the time, energy, patience, and communication it takes to learn about each others’ bodies, physical and psychic scars, the kinds of touch each person wants, the kinds of licking or not-licking, the positions, the kisses, the vanilla parts, the kinky parts, the pace and rhythm of parts of sex and of the whole act. Having grown up playing violin in an orchestra, I think of the Saturdays we spent practicing together, sometimes perfecting a few bars in the middle of a piece and other times starting from the top and trying to get all the way through to the end. Sex is a bit like that. Sometimes you’re trying to get something as concrete as oral sex down. Other times you’re trying to improve the bigger picture.