The New Rules of Orgasms

Credit: Getty Images

There's one thing we can all agree on: Orgasms feel great. But focusing on them can put a damper on good sex, and making them your end-all goal is rarely a good idea. So what to do? To help us answer some of the most common questions, we turned Emily Morse, sexologist, and host of the Sex with Emily podcast, who offered us these rules. 

1. Implement the 12- (to 36-) minute rule. For men, it takes an average of six to eight minutes to orgasm. For women, it's normal for this to take 20 to 40 minutes. That's a 12 to 36 minute difference. So bridge the gap with that much physical foreplay.

2. Take foreplay beyond the bedroom. "Foreplay is not a suggestion, it's a requirement," says Morse. And it's not all about physical sex. Sexting, compliments, and massage can start arousal in addition to more explicit activities.

3. It's on you to last longer. Learn the start-stop method, try kegels (and the app Kegel Camp), and if all else fails, seek therapy. And remember, you won't change your ways overnight. "For a lot of men, it's like going to the gym," says Morse. "You have to keep it going. You have to keep doing the work to learn to last longer in bed."

4. Use lube. When people talk about using lube, they treat it like a crutch. It's something that prevents pain or helps when a woman isn't wet enough. In reality, everyone can benefit from using lube, says Morse. "I think of it as an accoutrement that you should definitely be keeping in your nightstand and be using during sex," says Morse. 

5. Buy sex toys. Morse recommends the We-Vibe II. For some men, using toys with a partner may feel a little foreign or even embarrassing at first but they are only part of the experience, not a replacement or a sign of problems.

6. Make use of the coital alignment technique: The coital alignment technique is often recommended for partners who are looking for a way to get a woman to orgasm during penetrative intercourse. It's an adjusted form of missionary where the man is farther up and slightly off to the side so the shaft of his penis touches her clitoris. Morse also says positions where the woman is on top can give her some helpful control of the angles and speed.

7. Masturbation is your friend. While Morse says there are instances of women who can't climax, called anorgasmia, it's rare. She says that, in most, cases they just need to explore a little more. "I don't believe a woman can say she can't have an orgasm unless she's put in ample time to figure out her own body," says Morse. So, yes, this does mean that a woman should probably masturbate to learn about what she likes. For those who need incentive, LifeStyles condoms reports that half of women experience their first orgasm through masturbation. Another great way to promote partnered orgasm is through masturbating together, says Morse. 

8. Put in the time for multiple orgasmsMost women have a shorter refractory period than men do, so they can have another orgasm (or several more) soon after their last. "I think a lot of women are capable of having multiple orgasms but haven't tried it," says Morse. Partners often move on from sex after the man has had an orgasm, especially if the woman has too. There is nothing wrong with this but couples might consider experimenting a bit to see if there is more for them to explore beyond what they thought was the official end to sex.