Orgasm During Intercourse - Improving Women’s Chances

About one-quarter of women are usually orgasmic during intercourse. Half of women have orgasms during intercourse half the time. About 20 percent rarely or ever have orgasms during intercourse. And about 5 percent never have orgasms, period.

This finding comes not from just from one study, but from an analysis of 33 studies over the past 80 years by Elisabeth Lloyd in her book The Case of the Female Orgasm (Harvard University Press). As studies always do, the studies in Lloyd’s analysis came up with different figures for the proportion of women who experience orgasm during intercourse. But taken as a group, they were remarkably consistent, which makes her conclusion more compelling: Only one-quarter of women are reliably orgasmic during intercourse.

Now neither Lloyd nor I are knocking intercourse. Vaginal intercourse can be great fun and during it, lovers can feel a very special closeness and intimacy. Many men love filling a woman’s vagina, and many women revel in feeling filled up. But contrary to what many people believe, intercourse is not the be-all and end-all of lovemaking. Only 25 percent of women consistently experience orgasm during it.

The vast majority of women need direct clitoral stimulation to experience orgasm. They don’t get it during intercourse because the clitoris is located outside the vagina a few inches above it under the top junction of the vaginal lips. The in-out of vaginal intercourse just doesn’t provide enough direct clitoral stimulation to allow most women to experience orgasm.

There is nothing wrong with women who cannot have orgasms during intercourse, or who rarely have them. They are perfectly normal. They just need direct clitoral stimulation to have orgasms.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of ways to provide direct clitoral stimulation. A man can gently caress the clitoris or the area around it with his fingers or the palm of his hand. He can reach between the woman’s legs and cup her buttocks with his hand, which presses his inner wrist against her clitoral area. Then she can “ride his wrist,” that is, press her vulva into his inner wrist. The man might also press the top of his knee or his thigh between the woman’s legs so she can ride those body parts. Or a man can provide oral sex. Or the man or woman can use a vibrator or other sex toy.

Vibrators are the most reliable way to bring women to orgasm. The stimulation they produce is considerably more intense than other forms of sexual stimulation. In fact, easier, faster, more intense orgasms rank as the number one reason why women own vibrators, according to a recent study by sex researcher Laura Berman, Ph.D., of the Berman Center in Chicago. (An estimated one-third of adult women now own vibrators.) The sex toy store affiliated with this site,, sells dozens of different models—cylindrical or phallic vibes, ball-topped models, and others in many different shapes and sizes, and at many different prices. Browse their catalog.

Many men believe that if only they had a larger penis, their lovers would be more likely to have orgasms during intercourse. Not so. Only 25 percent of women are reliably orgasmic during intercourse no matter what the size of the man’s penis. Now, if a man would like a larger penis for aesthetic reasons or his own self-esteem, fine. My recent book, Great Sex, contains information on safe, natural ways to make the most of what men have between their legs. It’s available from But if only 25 percent of women are consistently orgasmic during intercourse, then for the majority of women, a man’s size doesn’t matter to their orgasms. The fact is, any size penis can give great pleasure to the man it’s attached to. But women’s pleasure comes from direct clitoral stimulation.

Many men are preoccupied with lasting a long time during intercourse. If a man ejaculates quickly and wants to last longer for his own pleasure and sexual self-esteem, and his love’s pleasure, fine. Great Sex contains a chapter devoted to the state-of-the-art sex therapy program that teaches men how to last as long as they’d like, either solo or in a couple. But many men want to last longer because they believe that extended intercourse brings women to orgasm. Perhaps. And many women do, indeed, enjoy extended intercourse. But only one-quarter of women are consistently orgasmic during it no matter how long it lasts. Even if a man can last for hours, most women still need direct clitoral stimulation to experience orgasm.

Bottom Line

If only 25 percent of women consistently experience orgasm during intercourse, then it’s perfectly normal for women not to have orgasms during intercourse. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with women who cannot have orgasms during intercourse. And assuming that the man appreciates leisurely, playful, whole-body sensuality, there’s nothing wrong with him or the way he makes love. A substantial majority of women can’t come during intercourse. That’s just the way they are—and they’re fine. But fortunately, there are many very enjoyable ways to provide the direct clitoral stimulation that brings most women to orgasm—notably vibrators. Browse Adam & Eve for the vibrators that appeal to you.

Orgasm During Intercourse - Improving Women’s Chances

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