Reaching orgasm can be hard enough to happen once during sex, let alone twice—or gasp—three times? The idea of having multiple orgasms might sound like a total myth—a straight-up bedroom unicorn, if you will—but it is, in fact, totally real…and possible. Yes, even for you.
Women are anatomically programmed for back-to-back orgasms, thanks to that little (but grand) thing called a clitoris.
“The clitoris is the only organ designed entirely for pleasure, so we are set up to experience as much of it as we want,” says Holly Richmond, PhD, a psychologist and certified sex therapist with offices in California, New Jersey, and Oregon.
“Unlike for men, when we have orgasms, it has nothing to do with procreation, so there’s no physiological delay before we can ‘release again,'” she explains. (That delay is called the refractory period, and it happens so that men can build up more sperm-packed semen, evolutionarily speaking.) “It’s like the evolutionary biologist was, like, ‘Well, we have to give women something or they’re never going to want to have sex.”
Of course, the clitoris isn’t the only lady part that, when stimulated, leads to climax—but it is the most common source of one. (Your clit has three to four times the amount of nerve endings as the head of a penis, btw, so it’s über-sensitive.)
The other big player in the female finish? Your brain. So much of your O potential revolves around your ability to be in the moment, and let’s face it: Your head can make that pretty impossible at times.
And while having several toe-curling releases in a single romp—whether they’re 30 seconds apart or 30 minutes apart—is no doubt fun and exciting, there are legit health benefits, too. You get a double (or triple) dose of the bonding hormone oxytocin, which not only boosts your mood and curbs stress but also increases affection for yourself and your partner, Richmond adds.
If you have a clitoris and you have a brain, you are indeed capable of the elusive (not to mention, incredible) multiple-orgasm sex session. Here’s how to make it happen tonight:
1. Focus first on desire.
In order to prime yourself for multiple orgasms, you first have to get yourself, quite literally, in the mood for sex.
“Desire happens in our minds—it’s when we want to want,” says Richmond. It’s the “Ooh, I see you” moment that occurs when you spot a good-looking guy or woman in the Starbucks line or catch a raunchy scene in a Sex and the City rerun. Arousal, on the other hand, is the physiological sensation that follows: the vaginal tingling and/or wetness that prepares your body for sex (even if you’re not about to have it).
Before you can get aroused—which is crucial for not only your initial O, but every single one that comes after it (pun intended)—you have to feel desire.
So figure out what turns you on—a bubble bath? a dirty martini? hardcore porn?—and spend as much time as you need on that until you’re ready to jump some bones.
2. Explore your body.
Now that you’re excited (yay!), the next step is to suss out what makes you roar.
“Self-exploration is the baseline for female sexual pleasure,” says Richmond. There’s no way to tell or show your partner what you want without first knowing what you want, so masturbation is key.
Massage your clit, finger yourself, bring in a vibrator, watch various types of porn, play around with moisture (do you like a little spit or a lot of lube?)…just experiment until you’ve found what gets you off alone.
“There’s way less pressure to orgasm when you’re by yourself versus with a partner,” Richmond notes, “so you’re much more likely to figure out exactly what makes you come when you’re on your own.”
3. Go heavy on foreplay.
Once you’ve brought your partner into it, do yourself a favour and delay the main event.
“Foreplay is an incredible opportunity to really create and stay in that space for yourself where you feel sexy and turned on,” Richmond explains. “By spending extra time touching, kissing, and teasing, you have a chance to get out of your head and focus on all the different sensations that are happening.”
Did you know it takes most women at least 20 minutes to reach their first orgasm? Not only does your body need time to prime itself for sex (read: self-lubricate), your mind also needs time to truly tune in the action. (It’s that whole brain thing, remember?)
“Orgasming is all about a balance of mental and physical stimulation,” says Richmond. (Though some women can rely solely on their mind to climax, they’re a rare breed—and can only do so because of some memory or fantasy of what the experience would feel like.)
Once you are there, it’s much easier to want to keep going after your first orgasm so that you can be well on your way to a second.
4. Bring in lube, if needed.
About that “your body priming itself for sex” bit? I’m talking lubrication. Without it (or enough of it), sex can be uncomfortable or downright painful.
If you need some extra moisture, no shame! You might want to add in a water- or silicone-based lubricant—especially if you’re going for your second or third orgasm.
You see, post-orgasm, your previously wet vagina becomes a little drier (okay, sometimes a lot drier), since it no longer has a rush of blood flooding your genitals. When that happens, you’re probably not going to love the feeling of a penis, finger, or toy being shoved inside or rubbed around your clitoris, so you’re much less likely climax again.
5. Concentrate on sensations.
There’s a growing concept in the world of sex research (bless scientists, tbh) called “mindful sex,” and it’s all about what it sounds like: getting your mind in on the action.
“It’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to climax when you’re not noticing how good things are feeling in your body,” explains Richmond. In order to do that, though, you have to be in the present moment…which anyone who is anyone knows is rather challenging.
Don’t worry, though—Richmond has several tricks to bring yourself back to the present to get that much closer to getting off:
6. Know what will work for you…again.
“In my practice, I’ve noticed there’s about a 50/50 split between women who need to change positions in order to achieve a second orgasm and those who are like, ‘Don’t change a thing,'” says Richmond.
It may be that whatever your partner is doing to you—fingering and licking, slow thrusting and hitting your G-spot, grinding as they insert anal beads—is working perfectly for you, and that’s exactly how you’ll orgasm for a second time.
On the flip side, you might need a new setup or type of stimulation to get there again, and that’s okay, too. Experiment to figure it out…you can always go back to what you were doing before, or skip to ahead to an entirely new thing. You do you, when they’re doing you.
7. Stop thinking about your orgasm, or the next one.
This may sound a bit counterintuitive, but the more you think about having multiple orgasms, the less likely you are to have them.
Why? Because “the more performance-based we are, the less we are in our bodies and focused on the experience,” Richmond explains.
When you start overthinking the whole thing, you’re no longer relaxed about it…and that kind of tension is exactly what prevents you from release.
“It’s funny,” says Richmond, “when you treat orgasms as a bonus of sex and not the goal, you’re suddenly much more able to have them.”
And there you have it folks: Prepare your mind and body for max pleasure…then let nature (your nerve-packed clitoris) take over from there.
This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US.
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