The female orgasm continues to be the subject of intense scientific interest. Women are blessed with bodies that are capable of experiencing orgasm in more ways than one. Some researchers believe that there are as many as 12 types of female orgasms. The most common type is a “clitoral” orgasm.
One of the ways women can experience orgasm is through a goal-oriented four-step process first described by the decades ago:
• Excitement. In this state of desire or arousal, the woman initiates or agrees to sex, and as it commences she finds herself focusing mainly on sexual stimuli. Blood begins to engorge the clitoris, vagina, and nipples, and creates a full-body sexual blush. Heart rate and blood pressure increases. Testosterone and neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin are involved in these processes.
• Plateau. Sexual tension builds as a precursor to orgasm. The outer one-third of the vagina becomes particularly engorged with blood, creating what researchers refer to as the “orgasmic platform.” Focus on sexual stimuli drowns out all other sensations. Heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration continue to increase.
• Orgasm. A series of rhythmic contractions occur in the uterus, vagina, and pelvic floor muscles. The sexual tension caused by lovemaking or self-stimulation releases, and muscles throughout the body may contract. A feeling of warmth usually emanates from the pelvis and spreads throughout the entire body.
• Resolution. The body relaxes, with blood flowing away from the engorged sexual organs. Heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration return to normal.
Women are blessed with bodies that are capable of experiencing orgasm in more ways than one. Some researchers believe that there are as many as 12 types of female orgasms. The most common type is a “clitoral” orgasm.
Clitoral stimulation has been proved the surest route to orgasm. Clitoral stimulation produces probably the closest analogue to male orgasm, where you get erectile tissue, there is release, and after release it is uncomfortable to continue.
But some women can also experience orgasm through vaginal stimulation. One group of researchers credit the G-spot which is an area felt through the wall of the vagina, an inch or two behind the back of the pubic bone near the junction of the bladder and the urethra and made up of tissues of the clitoris, urethra, and the female prostate gland. It is believed that when stimulated, the G-spot causes intense sexual pleasure in some women; others question whether women can feel such pleasure at this location at all.
Women also have been able to have orgasms through stimulation of the breasts or other parts of the body, or through the use of sexual imagery without any touch at all. Researchers have even found a nerve pathway outside the spinal cord, through the sensory vagus nerve, that will lead a woman to experience orgasm through sensations transmitted directly to the brain. There are many nerve pathways that are responsible for the experience of orgasm in women.
While there are physical problems that can keep a woman from experiencing orgasm, emotions can play a role, too. Some sex researchers say that anxiety and depression can prevent a woman from progressing along the sexual response cycle. Feelings of fear, guilt, distraction, or a loss of control can also affect orgasm.
Similarly to men with erectile dysfunction, women can sometimes have problems achieving or maintaining adequate blood flow.
For those women who have problems experiencing orgasm, doctors and sex therapists use several types of therapies to help them overcome these blocks to orgasm. Directed masturbation, sex education, and behavioral therapy are some of the means a woman might want to investigate if she cannot reach climax. Women may also want to try using a vibrator to provide increased clitoral stimulation, or a dildo crafted to provide better stimulation of the G-spot.
If behavioral methods are not working and a woman is interested in other intervention, there are solutions better-researched for male erectile dysfunction that may help. Experts say that for women having trouble with arousal, similar to men, Viagra (sildenafil) can be used. Additionally, vacuum erection devices such as the Fiera can be used in order to improve libido and arousal. This applies gentle suction to the clitoris.
For women, particularly postmenopausal women, who have little sexual desire, an off-label use of topical testosterone can be prescribed. And an FDA-approved therapy called Addyi (flibanserin) may be effective for low libido in women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD.