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Key Points About the Female Orgasm


The female orgasm can be an extremely pleasurable experience that can be achieved through stimulation of the clitoris, vagina, G-spot, cervix, and other areas. Although, people with female reproductive anatomy typically orgasm through stimulation of the clitoris. Both females and males experience similar physical and psychological changes during the orgasm process. The sexual response cycle details the four linear stages people move through when sexually stimulated: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution.

The sexual response cycle was developed by sex researchers Masters and Johnson and published in their book Human Sexual Response in 1966. Since then, many other models have been introduced. However, the work of Masters and Johnson remains a valuable model for understanding the stages associated with orgasm and sexual response.

Why do women have orgasms?

The simple answer is that we do not know. Evolutionary biologists have multiple theories as to why women have orgasms; the most prominent is that it may have helped to increase the chances of reproduction. Another common theory is that it served no evolutionary purpose.

However, this does not mean that they are not important. Sexual pleasure, and to a lesser extent, orgasm, have many benefits and contributes to a woman's sexual health and well-being.

How do women orgasm?

Women can orgasm from stimulation to multiple areas of the genitals, including the clitoris, the vagina, the so-called G-spot, the anus, the cervix, or through a combination of these areas. However, the most common method in which women experience orgasm is through clitoral stimulation. Research has found that 81.6% of women do not orgasm from intercourse alone, with the majority needing clitoral stimulation to be able to orgasm.

The female sexual response cycle

physical and psychological similarities that allow researchers to create models used to conceptualize the sexual response cycle. The most prominent of those models is Masters and Johnson's four-stage model, which documents the physical and psychological stages of orgasm in a linear motion. The Masters and Johnson developed two models, one for each sex, to denote the differences experienced between the sexes.

As seen below, the female model details three of the most common sexual responses experienced by women.

Sexual responses experienced by women

Excitement stage

During the excitement phase of the sexual response cycle, a woman is likely to experience an increase in blood flow to the genitals, an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, breasts will become enlarged, and the uterus will elevate. Additionally, the labia majora will begin to move away from the entrance to the vagina, the labia minor will begin to darken and swell, and the vagina will become lubricated. Psychologically, women will experience arousal during this stage, and the state of arousal can fluctuate, as shown in pattern C.

Plateau stage

During the plateau stage, heart rate and blood pressure continue to increase, as well as the rate of breathing. The external part of the clitoris will withdraw from its hood, and the breasts will become even more swollen. Psychologically, there is a sharp increase in sexual tension that will continue to increase until orgasm. However, this stage will continue for some women and result in no orgasm, which is common in penetrative sex, as shown in pattern B.

Orgasm stage

In the orgasm stage, heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing will reach their maximum rate, and muscles will spasm involuntarily. The uterus will contract, and the external part of the clitoris will retract. Psychologically, many women report feeling an intensely pleasurable sensation. After orgasm, some women can return to the plateau stage and then are able to experience another, or multiple orgasms, as displayed in pattern A.

Resolution stage

During the resolution stage, the heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate all begin to return to normal. The breasts, clitoris, and labia begin to return to their normal size, and the uterus moves to its normal position. During this time, sexual stimulation does not induce arousal.

How does this differ from the male orgasm?

Using Masters and Johnson’s four-stage model, the main difference between the female and male orgasm is the female’s ability to reach multiple orgasms. After a male reaches orgasm, they typically enter the resolution stage and cannot achieve another orgasm without time.

Conclusion

The exact reason females experience orgasm is unknown; however, the pleasurable experience offers many benefits to women's sexual health and well-being. The majority of women orgasm through stimulation of the clitoris, but women can also orgasm from stimulation of the vagina, cervix, and anus, among others. When sexually stimulated, both women and men move through the stages of the sexual response cycle: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. The starkest difference between the male sexual response and the female sexual response is the ability of females to experience multiple orgasms.

Key takeaways

  • Although women can achieve orgasm through a number of different methods, the majority of women orgasm through clitoral stimulation.
  • Scientists do not know precisely why females orgasm, although numerous health benefits are associated.
  • The sexual response cycle, which details the physical and psychological stages of an orgasm, can be broken up into four phases: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution.
  • Women’s orgasms differ from men's, as they can experience multiple orgasms in a short period of time.

Resources

The Evolutionary Origin of Female Orgasm - Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution

Sexual Pleasure Matters (Especially for Women) — Data from the German Sexuality and Health Survey (GeSiD) - Sexuality Research and Social Policy

Women's Experiences With Genital Touching, Sexual Pleasure, and Orgasm: Results From a U.S. Probability Sample of Women Ages 18 to 94 - Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy

Photo taken from: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Masters-and-Johnsons-female-sexual-response-cycle-that-can-be-correlated-to-the-sexual_fig3_320036543

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