Most men have figured out by now that women don’t pee out of their vaginas, right? Phew. Unfortunately, likely due in part to the sad state of sex education in America, there are myths about sex — and especially about orgasms experienced by female-bodied people — that just won’t die. I’m almost 30 and still encounter straight men who shame female-bodied people for needing a vibrator to get off during penetrative sex. (Don’t go home with such people if you can help it, because they are assholes.) Now, let’s debunk a few virulent orgasm myths, because, like a good vibrator, knowledge is powerful.
1. Everyone Should Be Able To Orgasm From Penetration Alone.
Let’s finally put an end to this nonsense. Orgasm from vaginal penetration without direct clitoral stimulation is estimated to elude some 75 percent of female-bodied people, and it has nothing to do with how good the sex is. It’s about the distance between the vaginal opening and the clitoris, says Amanda Luterman, a licensed psychotherapist specializing in sexuality. The closer your clit is to your vagina, the more likely penetrative sex is to make you come. If you need to rub your clit or use a vibrator to get off during partnered sex, there’s nothing wrong with you or your partner. It’s just anatomy.
2. Squirting Isn’t Real.
My stained bedsheets are here to tell you that squirting is, in fact, very real. But don’t expect it to look like it does in porn. What you see in those gushing videos is pure performance and often the product of water packets inserted into the vagina pre-shoot, says Holly Richmond, a somatic psychologist and certified sex therapist.
Researchers still don’t quite understand or agree on what the fluid released during squirting is. (Could the female orgasm not be a top scientific priority? Color me shocked.) Some insist it’s simply urine; Luterman and other sex experts consider it its own beast, saying it contains prostate hormones similar to those found in semen. Either way, it’s a thing.
And while we’re on the subject, just because some people with vaginas can squirt doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you if you can’t. On the flip side, soaking the bed or your partner when you come is nothing to be ashamed of. If you’re a squirter, I suggest you celebrate the release — and that your partner does the same.
3. Masturbation Ruins Your Orgasms With A Partner.
Masturbation does not mess up your chances of coming during partnered sex. In fact, the opposite is true: Touching yourself and exploring your body is the best way to learn what sort of stimulation gets you off. Then, when you share your self-knowledge with your partner, they too can bring you to orgasm. “The more orgasms you have, the better you’re going to know how to get there, the more you’re going to want them, and the more you understand yourself,” Dr. Richmond says.
However, she does acknowledge that some vibrators, such as the Hitachi Magic Wand, are extremely powerful, and their efficiency can distract you from all of the other wonderful ways there are to come. If you consistently masturbate the same way with the same toy, try switching it up — for example, using just your hands for a night — to diversify your orgasms and stay in touch with a fuller range of your turn-ons.
4. Good Sex Means You Had An Orgasm.
Think back to the best sex you ever had. What made it so great?
While an explosive climax might be on the list, it’s probably not the only thing. Foreplay, setting, your connection with your partner, and more play a role in determining how you feel about a hookup. Studies suggest that while likelihood of orgasm certainly impacts sexual satisfaction, variables such as communication and conflict with your partner are also hugely important. Other research shows your sexual self-esteem, or your confidence in getting intimate, has a lot to do with how much you enjoy a sexual encounter. Yes, your orgasm should be considered just as important as your partner’s. But having an orgasm doesn’t mean you had great sex, and great sex doesn’t require an orgasm.
5. Women Can’t Get Blue Balls.
Blue walls, pink balls, or just an annoyingly throbbing clit: Whatever you want to call it, people with vaginas can and do experience discomfort from unresolved sexual stimulation, Luterman says. So do those with testicles, but they do not get ownership over the sometimes-agonizing feeling of unfulfilled orgasm. Arousal sends blood to the genitals, which can then swell and ache no matter what they look like.
6. You Should Be Having Multiple Orgasms When You Have Sex.
Male-bodied people typically require a “refractory period” after orgasm before they can come again. Some female-bodied people, on the other hand, can stay at a heightened level of arousal after orgasm and experience a second (or third or fourth) in rapid succession.
Research suggests, though, that only about 15 percent of female-bodied people have experienced multiple orgasms. It’s totally awesome that some people are capable of having them. What’s not awesome is feeling down if you aren’t, because statistically speaking, it’s just not in the cards.
7. It’s Worth It To Fake Orgasms To Make Your Partner Feel Good.
Please, please do not fake orgasms. Anyone who has faked it must take some responsibility for the phenomenon of straight cis men expecting a few thrusts in missionary will make women see god. Every time some dude says, “My ex used to come all the time from that” — “that” being penetrative sex free of clit stimulation — I want to shout that she probably faked it. Then I curse her, and then I feel bad for cursing a woman who was simply taught to believe her partner’s sexual confidence was more important than her own pleasure.
So let’s just stop faking orgasms. Luterman says she teaches the couples she counsels to consider faking orgasms a form of lying. You are neglecting your own sexual satisfaction when you fake it, plus misleading your partner about their role in that satisfaction. (Think about how hurt they’ll be if they eventually find out.)
8. Everyone Has Orgasms.
If you can’t or don’t orgasm, you are no less a beautiful goddess capable of a hot, healthy, full sex life. Some 10 to 15 percent of female-bodied people experience anorgasmia, or the inability to come. Anorgasmia may be caused by medication such as antidepressants, a history of trauma, or, frustratingly, for reasons unknown.
It’s a bummer, but having it doesn’t mean you won’t at some point have an orgasm or that you can’t enjoy sex. Some people can’t get off; some people can only get off with a vibrator or from sitting on cakes. We all have our own individual quirks, preferences, and abilities in the bedroom, and that’s more than okay. As long as the sex you’re having is consensual and safe, you’re doing it right.
9. Sex Is Over When The Partner With A Penis Comes.
Hell no. Sex is over when all parties are satisfied and ready to call it quits. If the yoga instructor I’m having sex with has already finished, he is absolutely going to rub my clit or go down on me until I’ve come, too, because guess what? My pleasure matters just as much as his. (Life tip: Have sex with a yoga instructor at least once — they’re flexible and great with instructions.)