5 Facts About the Female Orgasm

Historically, the female orgasm has been under-researched, and there is a lack of female voices in the overall conversation about sexual pleasure. We think it’s high time we talked more about this often stigmatized topic, so we’ve put together five facts about the female orgasm. Keep in mind that sex means many different things to many different people and these facts may not reflect your own unique experience. Read on to find out more...

Illustration of the clitoris showing internal and external parts

1. The female orgasm has four different phases

Did you know the female orgasm is made up of different phases? These are excitement, plateau, climax, and resolution. Everyone’s body is different so the way we experience these phases may be different, but we’ve broken them down a bit more below:

  • Excitement includes physical responses such as swelling of the breasts, widening of the vaginal walls, hardening of the nipples, and increased heart rate and muscle tension.

  • The plateau phase is a continuation of the physical changes in the first phase but these intensify, heart rate continues to rise and the clitoris may become extremely sensitive.
  • In the penultimate phase of climax or orgasm, heart rate is at its highest. Muscles contract in the vagina and uterus and there is a feeling of release.
  • The final phase is called resolution. While some are able to return to orgasm after this phase, resolution typically involves the body returning to its previous state. Post-orgasm is often associated with a sense of well-being. 

2. Only 18% of female orgasms come from vaginal stimulation

That’s right. Despite the emphasis on penetrative sex depicted both in porn and in popular culture, the clitoris is the main center for female pleasure. A scientific study revealed that only 18% of female orgasms come from vaginal stimulation. 

While this fact may sound shocking, it’s hardly surprising given that female health has been historically under-researched and the existence of the clitoris was disputed for a long time before it was even included in medical textbooks. 

3. The female pleasure anatomy is complex

Although it’s often portrayed as a black box, with the elusive G-spot hidden somewhere inside, the female pleasure anatomy is made up of an interconnected structure containing the clitoris, urethral sponge, and vagina. As well as influencing each other with pleasure signals through a shared nerve network, these parts also swell in response to stimulation. Together these make up a pleasure factory known as the CUV complex. 

Although we’re getting deep into the science stuff, understanding female anatomy isn’t just useful for biology students, it can also be immensely valuable for individuals and their partners who want to learn more about their own pleasure. We recommend reading up on the female pleasure anatomy to find out more, a little homework here might just pay off later!

4. Some people can orgasm just from nipple stimulation

Another great fact about female orgasms is that they don’t just happen down in the CUV complex. In fact, erogenous touching is highly stimulating for many individuals regardless of their sex or gender. For example, there’s research that shows nipple stimulation can be really important for reaching orgasm - so it’s not always about the CUV complex! 

There’s further evidence to suggest that orgasms are neurological as opposed to just physical, meaning a lot of the pleasure we experience comes from the mind. That makes a lot of sense when you think about the appeal of fantasies and role-play - the body is only part of the picture.

5. Female orgasms can help relieve period pain

Last but not least, we’d like to touch on the pain-relieving power of the female orgasm. While having sex on your period might not be for everyone, there are a few benefits that aren’t often talked about. For example, did you know orgasms can be used to relieve period cramps? Ride that endorphin wave we say!

Some women have even reported a rise in sex drive when they’re on their periods, this is likely caused by a reduction of the hormone progesterone which typically lowers sex drive and makes us feel sluggish in the lead up to our periods. Whether you choose to do the deed while you bleed is a personal choice and only you know what works best for your body.

It's not all about the orgasm...

Before we wrap things up, we want to highlight that pleasure is highly personal, not everyone can or wants to orgasm during sex. Removing the pressure of reaching climax can actually be really helpful for some. Ultimately sex is about enjoying yourself - so as long as it’s consensual and you’re having fun, you do you. 

That’s it, folks! We hope you’ve enjoyed reading up on our five facts about the female orgasm. 

Here at Natural Cycles, we’re all about spreading awareness when it comes to reproductive health. Through learning the pattern of your unique menstrual cycle our app can offer tailored insights and updates. Not only is Natural Cycles a tool to help you learn more about your body, but it can also be used to plan or prevent pregnancy depending on your fertility journey.

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Written By

Jennifer Gray

A writer with a passion for women’s health, Jennifer Gray has years of experience writing about various reproductive health topics including birth control, planning pregnancy, women’s anatomy, and so much more.

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Scientifically Reviewed

Jack Pearson

With 10 years of experience working in the field of fertility, Jack Pearson is Natural Cycles’ in-house expert. As Medical Affairs Manager, he dedicates his time to conducting groundbreaking research and educating healthcare professionals.

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