In news that will come as no surprise to any woman (or anyone who has ever had sex with a woman), a research paper published in the latest issue of the journal Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology finds that women have different kinds of orgasms.
Thank you, science, for the reminder that women experience sex in different ways — and that what turned your last girlfriend on might turn the next one off. The paper also explains that orgasms vary in intensity and frequency, and that they’re affected by how much sexual experience a woman has and the context of the particular sexual encounter. It turns out that hook-up sex is different from sex in a long-term relationship. Who knew? (Oh, right. We all did.)
A team of researchers, from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, wrote the paper to address some of the biggest questions about female orgasms: “Why do they exist? What do women get out of them? Can all women have them? And the most mysterious of all: What produces them?” They wanted to determine if orgasms are caused by vaginal or clitoral stimulation, and they started out by investigating the history of the female orgasm. They also assessed the results of various orgasm-related studies, including a 2010 study in which “sexually naive female rats” received clitoral stimulation with a “fine paintbrush.” If that last sentence inspires the most bizarre mental image you’ve had all year, you are not alone.
So, what did they uncover in their research? Are orgasms centered in the vagina or the clitoris? Of course, they found out it’s not that simple. As the paper explains, those aren’t the only body parts that play a role in the female orgasm. It can also involve the lips, nipples, ears, and neck, among other things.
According to senior author and psychology professor, Jim Pfaus:
“That combination of sensory input is what reliably induces pleasure and orgasm during masturbation and intercourse. That said, we think it’s likely this changes across the lifespan, as women experience different kinds of orgasms from different types of sensations in different contexts and with different partners.”
So, what’s the main take away here? When you’re having sex with a woman, don’t assume she wants her toes sucked or her nipples tickled. And just because something turned her on the last time you were together, that doesn’t mean she feels the same way this time. Instead of making assumptions, ask her what she wants. There’s no scientific paper in the world that can tell you how to make a woman orgasm — but if you listen, she may tell you herself.