For men, sex is all about the grand finale: the orgasm.
But if you think women feel the same way, you’re mistaken, said Debby Herbenick, M.P.H., Ph.D., Men’s Health sex professor and associate director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University.
The truth is, only 56 percent of women report orgasming from intercourse alone, a study from Sweden found.
Instead, females tend to rate intercourse as more pleasurable based on the strength of the bond they felt with their partner—not by the strength of their orgasm, Herbenick said.
That’s why no man should ask his partner whether she had an orgasm. You may think you’re being a good guy by asking. After all, climaxing feels amazing, and you want her to experience that, too.
But the very question shifts the focus from the enjoyment of the entire act to one pivotal moment, Herbenick said.
You’re essentially asking if the experience was a success or a failure. And if your partner didn’t orgasm, it suddenly diminishes the connection you two just shared.
If you continue to place the emphasis on just the orgasm, it may even lead her to fake pleasure so she doesn’t hurt your feelings. Seventy-five percent of women admit to faking an orgasm at least once, a study from Arizona State University found—and many said they did so for that very reason.
“Her orgasm can be a sign of satisfying sex for him because it shows that he did a good job,” Herbenick explained. “So she may feel pressure to orgasm if she feels it’s something he’s looking out for.”
So instead of worrying about the end performance, shift your attention to the bond she desires throughout the act. Everything from the motion, the rhythm, where you touch her and how can intensify her arousal and create intimacy.
For instance, pay special attention to her clitoris the next time you’re in bed. Researchers from Indiana University surveyed 1,055 women, and found that almost every one of them craved clitoral stimulation at some point during sex. (For a full tutorial on just how to do that, check out Here’s Exactly How She Wants You to Touch Her Clitoris.)
Spend more time on the warmup, too. Foreplay builds excitement and pleasure, making sex more fun for both of you, Herbenick said. (Here are 14 Foreplay Tips to get you started.)
Then afterward, ask your partner specific questions about what felt best. Was it oral, your fingers, or a specific position? Find out her if there’s anything new she wants to try next time. Maybe she’s always wanted to introduce sex toys into the bedroom. And don’t forget to tell her what turned you on, too. But whatever you do, don’t ask if she orgasmed.
Maintaining an open dialogue about the things you both enjoy most in bed helps keep your sex life fresh and exciting, and keeps you both coming back for more, Herbenick explained.
Doing all of these things may even lead to her climaxing more often during sex, Herbenick points out. But the orgasm won’t be the showstopper. The entire experience—from start to finish—will be worth raving about, she said.