The thing I get asked about more than anything else is orgasm – specifically, women’s orgasms. How to have them, how to give them, how to have better ones, how to enjoy them more, why they are they way they are…. orgasms. They’re a Big Deal.

So I’ve made a Top 10 list. 10 things to know about women’s orgasms. Here’s Thing 1.

Orgasms during intercourse.

I recently mentioned in passing that about 1/3 of women are reliably orgasmic from penetration, another 1/3 are sometimes orgasmic from penetration, and the remaining third are never or almost never orgasmic from penetration. This is a statistic that’s been found over and over again in many different kinds of studies and I feel very confident about it.

Yet women ask me all the time, “Why can’t I have an orgasm during intercourse?” or “How can I have an orgasm during intercourse?”

Well the reason you can’t is very likely the same reason most women can’t, which is that intercourse is not a very good way to stimulate the clitoris, and clitoral stimulation is THE way to make an orgasm happen.

The “how,” therefore, is to add clitoral stimulation to intercourse. (This is technically called “assisted intercourse,” which is not very sexy but is clear and descriptive.) You can add clitoral stimulation millions of ways. You can touch your clitoris; your partner can touch your clitoris; you can use a vibrator on your clitoris; your partner can use a vibrator on your clitoris; you can sandwich a vibrator between your two bodies; you can angle penetration so that your partner’s pubic bone rocks against your clitoris; you can be on top so that your clitoris rocks against your partner’s pubic bone; you can choose a position that keeps your thighs clamped together, which allows for stimulation of your clitoris; you can explore g-spot stimulation (that’s another post)… millions of ways.

That’s the shortcut answer and it’s the one I give most often. But I have to take this opportunity to say that I wonder about this pervasive desire to have an orgasm during penetration, when it’s clearly not the thing that naturally does the trick for most women.

WHY have an orgasm during penetration? No one ever asks me that, so I’m asking you.

(Caveat Lector: If you’re a lesbian couple or a transman and a female-bodied woman couple using a dildo, you’re fucking with gender sufficiently and have probably interrogated the heteronormativity of your choice enough that I totally excuse you from the following rant.)

I can’t help thinking that penetrative orgasms are a benchmark set by men, for men. From Freud with his, “Clitoral orgasms are immature, vaginal orgasms are mature” bullshit to Cosmo’s incessant “50 Ways to Rock His Cock” headlines, male pleasure is the standard by which sexual excellence seems to be judged, and women’s pleasure is most palatable to us when it fits within that framework.

Well sucks to that, say I. Your partner should go down on you. Your partner should use his hands. You partner should put his (and I mean his – see caveat above) dick to one side and make it all about you. Making you come with his mouth should be a thrill for him and if it’s not, what the fuck is the matter with him??

So. You CAN have an orgasm through penetration by adding clitoral stimulation and also possibly by g-spot stimulation, and that’s nice, but be sure to honor your sexuality as you find it. It’s one thing to be ABLE to have an orgasm a particular way; it’s another thing altogether – and in my opinion a thing well worth paying a great deal of attention to – not to be able to HELP having an orgasm in a particular way.

My advice: spend more time finding out what your body can’t help responding to and less time trying to make it respond to something that culture told you it’s SUPPOSED to respond to.