Ever ponder the science behind orgasms? Maybe not — especially when you’re smack-dab in the middle of one. But it turns out there are plenty of interesting facts to know about sex’s crowning glory. For example, were you aware that some people can think themselves into having an orgasm — or that men have G-spots, too?
The sexual climax can be mystifying long after you’ve learned about the birds and the bees. That’s why we’ve gathered some of the most fascinating facts about orgasms out there. Don’t be shy — take a peek!
1. It’s Not Just Guys: Some Women Climax Prematurely, Too
You hear a lot about premature ejaculation — when a man ejaculates with little sexual stimulation, usually just after sex begins (or even before it gets started). Premature ejaculation affects about 20 to 25 percent of men, according to a study review.
But it’s not just guys who peak too soon. A survey of Portuguese women found that about 40 percent of participants occasionally orgasm before they intend to — and about 3 percent of them do so chronically.
But a much more widespread issue for women is the inability to reach orgasm. According to one study, reports of difficulty or inability to orgasm in women range from 10 to 40 percent.
2. Not All Orgasms Are Going to Be Earth-Shattering
If you think you’re doing something wrong because each and every one of your orgasms isn’t screamworthy, think again.
“Some orgasms are sweet and gentle, some are big — but in fact, they are all pleasurable,” says Betty Dodson, PhD, a sex coach in private practice in New York City and the bestselling author of Sex for One and Orgasms for Two.
But if you feel like your climaxes aren’t up to par, Dr. Dodson advocates scheduling some “alone time”: Masturbation can teach you about what arouses you, as well as your range of orgasmic responses. Then you can share this information with your partner.
3. Want to Orgasm? Get Your Head in the Game
Your sky-high electric bill, that big meeting at work, last night’s episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians — are you constantly thinking about everything but sex when you’re having sex?
Paying attention to what’s happening in the bedroom can pay off in a big way. One study found that orgasm ability increased 30 percent with either a four-session or an eight-session mindfulness program for women.
Meditation may also help you sharpen your focus. In a study, women who meditated scored higher than nonmeditators on measures of sexual function and desire.
4. Best-Kept Secret: Guys Have a G-Spot, Too
For women, the G-spot is a hard-to-find (or some say mythical) place inside the vagina that can set off earth-shattering orgasms. But do men have similar orgasmic potential?
According to Craig Niederberger, MD, the head of the department of urology at the University of Illinois in Chicago, the anatomical equivalent on the male is the frenulum, a collection of highly sensitized nerves just under the head of the penis.
Whether G-spots really exist is still up for debate, but Dr. Niederberger says it’s important to remember that both men and women can have satisfying sex lives without stimulating these areas.
5. The Male Orgasm: Why Certain Swimmers Win the Race
Not all sperm are created equal. Take any given sample of sperm released during the male orgasm, and you’ll find some that are dead or immobile and others that are relatively speedy (they get even speedier in response to chemical signals from a woman’s vagina and egg).
“Sperm should move at 30 micrometers per second or more,” says Niederberger. Also, they should generally move forward, rather than simply bouncing around in one spot.
6. The Hands-Free Orgasm May Be a Real Thing
“A few folks can literally ‘think’ themselves off,” says Dodson. One study suggested that some individuals may be able to generate orgasm through imagery without any physical stimulation. Supposedly, that list includes Lady Gaga — as she once told New York Magazine, “You know, sense memory is a powerful thing. I can give myself an orgasm just by thinking about it.”
Think you can’t reach climax simply by harnessing your dirty thoughts? You can certainly enjoy making the attempt, says Dodson. And the visualization might spice up your sex life, no matter what the outcome. Even if your thoughts alone aren’t orgasmic, thinking about — and talking about — sex makes for sexier foreplay.
7. Orgasms May Relieve the Pain of Menstrual Cramps
Should you ditch the painkillers for a romp in the hay or solo-style sex? Sex or masturbation may relieve the pain of menstrual cramps. The chemical and muscular cascade involved in having an orgasm may relieve period pain, says Dodson — and chances are that distraction and profound relaxation also help. In any case, it can’t hurt to try.
8.Orgasms May Actually Get Better With Age
Whether having an orgasm is qualitatively better at 40 than at 20 is hard to say. But it’s likely that with age you know more about your body and are more comfortable with sex and your partner. “A young body may respond better to orgasm, but an aging body might have more appreciation for an orgasm,” says Dodson.
9. How Long Can He Last? 7 Minutes, on Average
For many people, the length of time it takes to reach orgasm varies and depends on a number of different factors, including arousal, stress levels, tiredness, and relationship dynamics.
Researchers have established that, for men, “from penetration to ejaculation, the average time is seven minutes,” says Niederberger. The time frame for women is considerably more variable, as the female orgasm is generally less predictable: Some women may never achieve climax with vaginal intercourse, and some claim to have multiple orgasms.
10. The Female Orgasm Matters (Despite What Your Bio Teacher Said)
Your ninth-grade biology teacher probably told you this: For reproduction purposes, only the male orgasm is necessary.
While he (or she) certainly had a point (male ejaculation, which accompanies orgasm, is necessary in order for sperm to make their way toward the woman’s egg), says Elisabeth Lloyd, PhD, a distinguished professor at Indiana University who has been studying the purpose of the female climax for some time.
Here’s what she found: The female orgasm is part of mate selection (a woman chooses her partner based on his ability to make her climax), and it promotes “pair bonding,” which means a couple is more likely to pursue parenting. Even if you’re not looking to partner up and make babies, it’s only fair for everyone to find sex satisfying.
11. Some Multiple Orgasms Are Just Pleasurable ‘Aftershocks’
It doesn’t seem fair, but some women say they orgasm only to orgasm again (and then yet again). But Dodson says not so fast. “My concern with so-called ‘multiple orgasms’ is that I believe many women are actually counting the naturally occurring autonomic reflexes that can follow an orgasm,” she says. Of course, these “aftershocks” can still be quite pleasurable, whatever you call them.