10 Science-Proven Facts About the Big 'O'

couple in bed closeup

We all have 'em, we all want 'em, and there are oh-so-many ways to go about getting 'em. Yes, I'm talking about the highly-coveted orgasm. You can blame Cosmopolitan, but even without all those in-your-face magazine coverlines, we'd all still aspire to have better Os -- and more of them!


And what better way to do that than by considering 10 sexy scientific findings?

1. Most women just take longer to get there. You may feel a twinge of guilt if you're taking a while to climax, but you're not alone. Bill Masters and Virginia Johnson's research found that it takes men, on average, 4 minutes to reach orgasm and women took anywhere from 10 to 20.

2. Yes, multiple orgasms exist. It may sound like a myth, but research proves that women are capable of having more than one orgasm in a row. This ability is more rare for men. The most orgasms documented in a single hour for a woman is 134, while it was 16 for a man. (Ha, well, they can't have it all!)

3. There are various "flavors" of orgasm. If you've ever noticed that your O one day felt markedly different from your climax the next, that's because science shows orgasms are like snooowflakes! Okay, not quite, but they do feel different, because the genitals are connected to several different pairs of nerves, stimulating different combinations of nerves produces different sensations. Additionally, orgasms are affected by cognitive, psychological, and pharmacological variables. 

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4. Your nipples can make you orgasm. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, nipple stimulation can increase the likelihood of an orgasm and its intensity. They attribute this to the fact that sensory activity from the breast "projects" to some of the same neurons in hypothalamus that receive sensory activity from your ladyparts. A-ha!

5. You've heard of thigh gaps and wage gaps. But how 'bout the orgasm gap? It exists, and it's not pretty, ladies. The orgasm gap refers to the difference between the percentage of men that report their female partner had an orgasm (85 percent) and the percentage of their female partners reporting actually having orgasms (64 percent). Maybe we need a little more assertive about our needs, and men need a reality check!?

6. The timing of your O could boost your chances of conception. The link between a woman's orgasm and its ability to help her increase her shot at pregnancy has always been up for debate, but evidence from a study by British biologists showed that women who orgasm just after their partner ejaculates will retain more semen (thus, more sperm) in her vagina than women whose orgasm occurs just before her partner ejaculates. Study authors believe that the former group may be more likely to get preggers, because there's more sperm available for fertilizing an egg. How useful!

7. Women's biggest hurdle can be our brains. We're too "thoughtful" for our own good -- at least when it comes to reaching orgasm. Research published in the journal Sexologies found that many women have trouble climaxing because of wandering, distracting thoughts during sex -- that, worse yet, are often negative and include sexual dysfunction, body image issues and even sexual abuse.

8. There's a benefit to tuning into your body. In a study by University of Louvain in Belgium researchers, women who reported regularly reaching orgasm during sex seemed to be more focused on their bodily sensations during sex than the women who were having more trouble climaxing. A case for mindfulness and meditation no doubt.

9. The G-spot is NOT a myth. There has been plenty of scientific blather slamming the idea that women have a small, rubber-like spongy spot located in the lower distal, one-third of the way into the vagina that when stimulated can trigger orgasm. But a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine confirmed the anatomic existence of the hot spot. According to sex and relationship expert Laura Berman, PhD:

If a woman is lying down on her back, then it is on the belly-button side, meaning that if you insert your finger into your vagina and make a “come hither” motion, you will be able to feel it.

And then you can put all that naysaying to rest!

10. Orgasms can bolster your relationship. Aside from the fact that an O is so pleasurable, it's also a boon for the connection you share with your spouse. Women's orgasms aren't only part of mate selection -- we choose our partners based on their abilities to make us climax -- but orgasms promote "pair bonding," according to Indiana University professor Elizabeth Lloyd, author of The Case of the Female Orgasm. And that bonding makes a couple more likely to become parents.

Which of these do you find most surprising?

orgasm facts

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