Sexual Health Q&A

Female Sexual Health
Are there differences between vaginally-stimulated and clitorally-stimulated orgasms?

The answer to this question depends largely on the woman. Many women reach orgasm when their clitoris is stimulated. Others prefer to have their vagina stimulated through penetration.

Is one “better” than the other? Experts have suggested that women who have vaginal orgasms are more sexually and mentally healthy than those who don’t. But a 2016 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reports that this is not necessarily the case.

The study involved 88 women between the ages of 18 and 53 who were students at an American university. The women answered questions about orgasms and sexual behaviors. They were also evaluated for depression and anxiety.

Next, the women watched a series of sexually-explicit and neutral film clips. After each one, they reported how sexually aroused they felt.

The women who identified the clitoris as their primary orgasm source tended to become more aroused and feel more sexual desire than those who required vaginal stimulation.

The researchers found no link between the source of orgasm and depression, anxiety, sexual satisfaction, sexual distress, or orgasm intensity.

It’s important to remember that many factors can contribute to a woman’s orgasm. She may climax with one partner, but not another. Or, she may easily reach orgasm during oral sex or masturbation but not during penetrative sex. Stress, anxiety, and pain - which can vary from day to day - may also affect her ability to relax and reach orgasm.

In addition, some women climax when other parts of the body, such as the nipples, are stimulated.

Ultimately, orgasm is an individual experience. Couples are encouraged to discuss their sexual likes and dislikes and work together to make each sexual encounter a satisfying one.

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