11 Scientific Facts About The Female Orgasm
January 23, 2015 by Justin Lehmiller
How much do you know about the female orgasm? Check out the list below for 11 of the most interesting facts scientists have discovered about women and their orgasms. Which one is your favorite?
1. The rule of thumb: the distance between a woman’s clitoris and her vaginal opening is associated with her likelihood of orgasm during vaginal intercourse. The smaller the distance (particularly if it’s a thumb-width or less), the more likely she is to reach orgasm. Why? The clitoris receives more indirect stimulation when it’s closer to the action.
2. Women are able to experience multiple orgasms. In fact, scientists believe that most women are likely capable of this because women, unlike men, usually don’t have a refractory period upon reaching orgasm. Men can have multiple orgasms too, but it is rare, and most guys who have experienced this report far fewer orgasms. Case in point: the most orgasms documented in one hour is 134 for a woman and *just* 16 for a man .
3. Some women have orgasms in their sleep. That’s right—nocturnal orgasms aren’t just for men! Believe it or not, Alfred Kinsey’s research revealed that 37% of the women he surveyed had at least one orgasm in their sleep before .
4. Some women have orgasms while they exercise (i.e., “coregasms”). Kinsey also found that about 5% of the women he surveyed reported one or more exercise-induced orgasms , but more recent studies have found even higher numbers of women reporting this. However, orgasms aren’t just reported during core exercises—women have also reported them during yoga, running, weight lifting, jazzercise, and more.
5. “Nipplegasms” are a thing too. Yep—some women experience orgasm from nipple stimulation alone. Why? One plausible explanation comes from brain scanning studies, which have found that nipple stimulation activates the same brain regions as clitoral and vaginal stimulation.
6. Some women have premature orgasm. Consider this: a 2011 study of Portuguese women found that 14% of those surveyed said that they reach orgasm before they would like to at least occasionally, with 3% reporting that this happens frequently. Of course, this isn’t nearly as common as male premature orgasm—but the point stands that men aren’t the only ones who experience this.
7. Brain-imaging research reveals that the area of the brain that processes pain is activated during orgasm in women. This suggests an important neural connection between pleasure and pain (learn more about this and other brain changes during orgasm in this video).
8. Women are more likely to reach orgasm with male partners who are attractive, wealthy, and self-confident (i.e., guys with higher “mate value”). Why? Some scientists argue that the female orgasm has evolved to serve as a feedback mechanism that informs women about the reproductive fitness and potential of their mates.
9. The odds of a heterosexual woman reaching orgasm during casual sex is linked to how many times she has had sex with that partner before, how she feels about the guy, and what sexual activities they engage in. Check out this infographic for a closer look at the details.
10. Most women report that a longer penis does not increase their likelihood of reaching orgasm during vaginal intercourse. However, some women do prefer longer penises during sex, perhaps because they find stimulation of the cervix pleasurable. In fact, some women have reported reaching orgasm from cervical stimulation.
11. Women who have a more prominent tubercle of the upper lip are more likely to reach orgasm during sex. What the heck does that even mean? Click here to learn more.
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 Wells, B. L. (1986). Predictors of female nocturnal orgasms: A multivariate analysis. Journal of Sex Research, 22, 421-437.
 Kinsey, A., Pomeroy, W.B., Martin, C.E., & Gebhard, P. (1953). Sexual behavior in the human female. Philadelphia: Saunders.
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Dr. Justin LehmillerFounder & Owner of Sex and Psychology
Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.Read full bio >