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MiddlesexMD

Can’t Orgasm Vaginally? It’s in Your Anatomy, My Dear

by Dr. Barb DePree MD


A study just came out in the journal Clinical Anatomy. The study reviewed the scientific literature regarding male and female anatomy with regard to sexual performance. While no new stones were unturned, the study has perhaps confirmed a few things we already suspected.

Shop Arousal and Sensation Products Most of us (gasp!) don’t orgasm with vaginal penetration alone, even though we may have tried mightily, maybe wondered what was wrong with us, and maybe pulled off a few (or more than a few) fakes. Something like 70 percent of us rarely orgasm with penetration alone and 10 percent of us don’t orgasm at all. Most of us need a little additional help in the form of clitoral stimulation.

However, this new study does add some anatomical clarity to what we’ve suspected all along. Turns out, the distance between our urinary opening and the clitoris is the critical anatomical feature determining whether we orgasm easily—or at all. And that feature, like our eye or hair color, was determined in utero, before we were born.

By the Numbers

The critical number for orgasm with penetration is 2.5 centimeters—that distance still allows the clitoris to be stimulated by vaginal penetration. If the clitoris is farther from the urethra than that, orgasm without additional stimulation is difficult or impossible.

“It's so strong a correlation that if you give us a woman who has a distance of 3 centimeters, we can very reliably predict she won't have orgasm with intercourse,” said Elisabeth Lloyd, an affiliated faculty scholar with the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University-Bloomington in this article.

(You and your partner can do the measurement yourselves to figure out how to finesse your style.)

So all that performance anxiety—and maybe those faked orgasms—had nothing to do with your sexual skill or appetite and everything to do with your anatomy.  Which is something you can’t change, but you can work with.

The Clitoris Is Critical

Bottom line for women—for all women the clitoris is the critical organ when it comes to orgasm. The closer it is anatomically to the vaginal action, the more likely you’ll orgasm. If it’s farther away, you may want to switch up your moves.

Position Matters

You can't change your anatomy, but you can work with it.The best sexual positions to stimulate that little hot button are the good old missionary and the “cowgirl” with you on top. Maybe you’ve already discovered that some positions, notable the “doggy” style (rear entry) doesn’t work so well because it tends to stimulate the rear wall of the vagina and leaves the action far from the clitoris. If you can grind a little on his bones, you’re nicely positioned for direct stimulation. Either you or your partner can also include a little extra hand, mouth, or sex toy action if necessary—or nice.

So—get nicely lubed; don’t neglect the languorous foreplay; and practice positions that strategically stimulate the clitoris. And drop the worry about that elusive vaginal orgasm-with-penetration. There might not be such a thing. “To put this banner of healthiness [about] having orgasm with intercourse kind of stacks the deck against these women who, because of their anatomy, cannot have orgasm with intercourse,” Lloyd said.

 

 


14 comments


  • Until I read this, I thought something was truly wrong with me. Yes, I know my husband can play with me during sex and I have tried so hard, but trying to do that with penetration at the same time throws me off balance and its irritating like you wouldn’t believe! And forget touching my breast, with any type of stimulation, it produces a burning sensation; I hate it! Seriously thinking about getting breast augmentation and lift hoping to cause the nerves to go numb cause I feel so broken. I have never talked to women who don’t get off pleasurably with breast stimulation. I just want to cry about the breast cause I do think something is wrong with me in that department. Maybe it is all in my mind, but not the breast sucking, just thinking about them being touched send me up a roof. Masturbation is so nice and satisfying, I only feel broken when I have to have vaginal sex and all of the discomforts that comes along with it. I wish I could make love to my husband and enjoy it 😔

    ADO on

  • I can assure you that there is no correlation to the urethra and clit. The article claims that 70% rarely orgasm on penetration alone and 10% not at all. There is no possible way to derive a correlation based on that high of a failure rate.

    With that said, from my experience, women orgasm from whatever method they are most comfortable and familiar with. It is very much mental with women and there is nothing wrong with a woman that likes her clit stimulated before, during or after sex.

    I love to masturbate but if I’m in a relationship, it makes it more difficult for my partner to get me off. I get used to using my hand and doing things my way. It’s not fair to my partner to expect her to replicate what I do alone and honestly, I prefer to experiment and try together.

    I can assure you that just about every single one of you can get off virginally, but if you prefer clit stimulation, that’s fine by me. Just don’t fake. It’s not satisfying to anyone. Most gentleman will gladly service your clit before, during, or after sex. Going down afterwards and sharing can be very hot.

    Good luck and just my 2 cents

    Jay on

  • I can assure you that there is no correlation to the urethra and clit. The article claims that 70% rarely orgasm on penetration alone and 10% not at all. There is no possible way to derive a correlation based on that high of a failure rate.

    With that said, from my experience, women orgasm from whatever method they are most comfortable and familiar with. It is very much mental with women and there is nothing wrong with a woman that likes her clit stimulated before, during or after sex.

    I love to masturbate but if I’m in a relationship, it makes it more difficult for my partner to get me off. I get used to using my hand and doing things my way. It’s not fair to my partner to expect her to replicate what I do alone and honestly, I prefer to experiment and try together.

    I can assure you that just about every single one of you can get off virginally, but if you prefer clit stimulation, that’s fine by me. Just don’t fake. It’s not satisfying to anyone. Most gentleman will gladly service your clit before, during, or after sex. Going down afterwards and sharing can be very hot.

    Good luck and just my 2 cents

    Jay on

  • Omg I’ve been looking for a thread like this among women who also share my issue below! I too feel broken down there. I have always enjoyed the act of sex thru out my 20s without having to cum…but now in my 30s, and married…I feel empty and broken because I can’t cum vaginally thru penetration w/ my husband. Only w/ clitoral stimulation and without penetration. Like it throws me off if I’m getting penetrated while trying to stimulate my clit. So my husband has to either stimulate my breast , kiss me, or whatever else while I do my thing. He doesn’t complain but deep inside me I feel so broken about it :( I hope to find others who can relate to me in some way.

    Sally G on

  • I didn’t have my first vaginal orgasm until I was 28. I realized I can control it with my mind. Since then I can almost always have a vaginal orgasm with every boyfriend I have had regardless of their size.

    Sylvie on

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