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21 Surprising Facts You Didn't Know About Your Orgasm

There Is More Than One Type of O

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"Many researchers don't understand female orgasm because it just hasn't been studied as much as the male orgasm has and they write it off as 'just a spinal reflex,'" explains Jim Pfaus, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Concordia and lead author of a new study into the wide, wonderful world of the Big O. "And that's true that it is a reflex but our research shows that unlike men, women have a variety of ways to stimulate orgasm within their bodies which means a wide range of very different orgasmic experiences. They might not be different biologically, but they're definitely different in how they're perceived."

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Worrying About Your G-Spot Is Beside the Point

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Much has been written about whether the famed "G-spot"—a place purported to be on the front wall of the vagina that increases sexual pleasure—really exists. (The Honest Truth About the Mythical G-Spot.) But those arguments are missing the real point, Pfaus says. "Whether or not there's an actual 'spot,' there's lots of evidence that deep, penetrative sex can lead to a more intense orgasm," he explains. His advice? Stop worrying about whether you have one and where it might be and just start fooling around and enjoying whatever happens.

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The Key to Super-Hot Orgasms Is ... Your Cervix?

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Most of us think of the clitoris as the ticket to O-ville, but women's bodies have three more orgasmic regions. Stimulation of the nipples, the ridge leading to the inner ear, and the cervix (the opening to your uterus at the top of your vagina) can all bring on a deeper, more intense orgasm, according to Pfaus' research. Nipples, okay. But the cervix? Really? "A sharp jab to the cervix is likely very uncomfortable," Pfaus reminds, "but the women in our study found rhythmic stimulation of the cervix quite pleasurable and it led to better orgasms." Don't be afraid to go deep (gently).

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There Is a Magic Position

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First things first: Whatever position gets you off is your best position. But too many women get locked into certain positions because they're doing what their partner wants, are imitating something they've seen in porn, or are nervous to try something different, says Pfaus. His recommendation? Sit on top of him and move your hips in a circular motion while stimulating your clitoris at the same time. "Because the base of the clitoris is inside the vagina, this makes sure you're slowly building up to a 'blended' vaginal and clitoral orgasm," he says. In other words? Bam, mind-blowing!

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Your O Has a Lot to Do with Trust

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Sex is a physical act, sure, but it's just as much mental, especially for women, says Gabriela Galvan de Antillon, a board-certified sex therapist and licensed psychotherapist in Coral Gables, FL. "When you truly trust the person you are with during sex, you can completely let go and feel the full power of your orgasm," she explains. "This is not only physically intense, but emotionally and spiritually as well. This is why for many women an orgasm from self-stimulation can feel so much more powerful—you trust yourself and so you are able to really let go." Don't have a partner you can completely trust? Work on that first. (Here are the 6 things you should always ask for in a relationship.)

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Rub Your Tummy to Up Your Pleasure

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You can use your uterus to take your climax to new heights, says Davondra Brown, M.Ed., a sex expert and author of Spiced Up Marriages. "When you feel the orgasm approaching, gently rubbing of the lower abdomen will intensify the feeling," she explains. "This happens due to the position of the uterus and could add an unexpected bonus to an already momentous event."

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You Can (and Should!) Come More Than Once

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Women have a very short "refractory period"—the time between when one orgasm ends and when your body is ready to have another one. Therefore, we're naturally able to have multiple orgasms in one session. Unfortunately, not all of us take advantage of this unique gift, says Pfaus. "No one says orgasms have to be one-for-one," he says. "Your partner will enjoy helping you orgasm more than once, especially if you communicate that enthusiastically to him." (Here's how to have multiple Os—you're welcome!)

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Orgasms Can Make You Happy

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When you're feeling really down, getting frisky may be the last thing on your mind but an orgasm may be just what you need to feel better, says Draion M. Burch, M.D., a sexual health adviser for Astroglide Personal Lubricants. "It instantly relieves stress, boosts your mood, and relieves depression," he explains. (Also: 9 Ways to Fight Depression Besides Antidepressants.) "Plus it can help alleviate chronic pelvic pain, help you sleep better, and boost your immune system." Lots of great health reasons to say yes (yes, yes)!

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Your Period Can Make Your Orgasms Better

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It's important to know your menstrual cycle and to let your partner know as well, says Pfaus. Why? Hormone fluctuations can change how you achieve and experience orgasm. You're likely to be more horny and take less time to achieve orgasm during ovulation; but the slower, more moderate orgasms later in your cycle can also be great, just in a different way, he explains.

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Hitting Your Peak Could Make Your Period Easier

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Uterine contractions that happen naturally with orgasm may also provide relief from menstrual cramps, says Burch, adding that orgasming during your period may even cause your flow to be shorter, because when the uterus contracts, it expels blood. Talk about a win-win! (BTW, these are the 5 best things you can do for yourself on your period.)

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It's Okay If You Don't Get Off from Sex Alone

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Up to 75 percent of women don't orgasm from regular sex alone, according to data gathered by Psychology Today. This is why most need some sort of clitoral stimulation, says Holly Richmond, Ph.D., an LA-based somatic psychologist and a certified sex therapist. "Too many women go into sex expecting to have an orgasm from intercourse alone and often feel disappointed in themselves or their partner afterward."

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It's True: You Can Have Too Many Orgasms

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Most women can have as many orgasms as they feel up to (and have time for), but rubbin' your nubbin' too often can also cause some uncomfortable chafing. Even more: Some women find that their orgasms are out of their control—a rare condition called persistent genital arousal disorder, says Richmond. "It's an uncomfortable and uncontrollable sensation involving stimulation in the genital area 24/7. It can be treated with medication and therapy," she explains.

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O Intensity Varies Day to Day

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Ever wonder why one day your O is aMAYzing but the next day it's super chill, even though you did the same thing to get there? "It's perfectly normal if your orgasms change in intensity," says Megan Stubbs, a sex and relationship expert. "This depends on many contributing factors such as desire, arousal level, stress, and mental presence." Learn to enjoy the variety and don't worry too much about the differences. (Learning how to eliminate distraction can also help you hit a higher O.)

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There's a Reason NARS' Blush Is Named "Orgasm"

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"After orgasm many women experience a physiological reaction called a 'sex flush,'" says Stubbs. "Your skin looks rosy due to the increased blood flow. This afterglow effect is a great way to get that fresh-faced look without makeup." Want to get the look from makeup? We've got all the goods in the Shape 2016 Beauty Awards.

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Your Clitoris Is Way Bigger Than You Realize

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That little nub you can see? That's just the tip of the clitoral iceberg, says Pfaus. The part of the clitoris you can see is the head and hood. But it also has a bulb, shaft, and legs, all under the skin, with the legs extending down either side of the vulva and up into the vagina. This is important because more surface area means more ways to stimulate it.

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You Can Get an Erection

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Think only men's genitals get erect when they're excited? Turns out women's do too, although this is much harder to see. "When a woman is excited, the entire clitoris gets engorged with blood and becomes erect," says Dawn Michael, a certified clinical sexologist, author of The Happy Spouse.

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If You Can't Come, Check Your Relationship

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"Most times, the inability to orgasm is not a physical or medical problem but rather a psychological or situational one," says Kameelah Phillips, M.D., an ob-gyn in New York City. "Often women think their body is 'broken' when really it is because their partner is unsupportive in the relationship." You need (and deserve!) a patient partner who is willing to practice and experiment with you in finding what helps you orgasm. (First and foremost, don't forget that foreplay matters.)

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The Penis Evolved from the Clitoris

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File this under weird facts that don't change anything but kind of change everything: "The penis is just a prolapsed clitoris," Pfaus says. "Women are the blueprint and the male fetus differentiates from that." What does this mean beyond bragging rights? We have the same basic anatomy as the penis—a base, a tip, a dorsal nerve—but ours is mostly internal, so stimulating it requires different techniques. We do have an edge however: The clitoris has twice the number of nerves endings as the penis, making women more sensitive. Sorry, dudes!

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Your O Feels Longer Than It Is

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When you're caught up in the moment, an orgasm can feel like minutes of pleasure and you may have even heard rumors of 30-minute orgasms. This is largely bogus, says Dion Metzger, M.D., a psychiatrist. But that doesn't mean you should discount duration. "A clitoral orgasm can last up to 30 seconds, which is remarkable," she says. Men? About 22 seconds.

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If You're Struggling to Come, Think Outside the Box

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When you're trying for a better orgasm (or trying to have one at all), there are some effective tricks that many women overlook, says Jordan Tishler, M.D., a Harvard physician who specializes in treating sexual dysfunction. "For women who are having low desire or difficulty with arousal and orgasm, cannabis in controlled amounts is a very effective solution," he says. Also? "Anal stimulation can be very helpful for achieving high-intensity orgasms," he adds.

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The Best Way to Orgasm Is to Forget About Orgasming

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With orgasms, like many things in life, trying too hard can backfire. "Focusing on orgasm makes it harder to get there," says Kait Scalisi, a sex educator and founder of Passion by Kait. "Focus on experiencing pleasure, especially what you're feeling with your senses, instead."

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