Anyone who’s ever had sex will tell you that orgasms, sadly, aren’t always guaranteed. But the first rule of getting there? Don’t think about it. "Acknowledging the fact that orgasms aren’t the sole purpose of sex can actually help you climax quicker and with greater ease,” says Sarah Riccio, queer sex educator and co-founder of Delicto.com. “Taking the focus away from the concept of a grand finale can ease your mind and relieve performance anxiety, which, coincidentally, can help you cum. So before you and your partner hit the sheets, take a moment to prioritize pleasure and connection over orgasming.”
Basically: Cuming isn’t the end all, be all of sex with your partner. It’s about the ~journey~, not the destination. And yet, orgasms are freaking delightful, and if you want to increase your chances of having one (or, you know, multiple orgasms), there is stuff you can do to accomplish your goals (while simultaneously, somehow, still not thinking about said goals!). Here’s how.
Take your damn time
Repeat after me: If it takes you awhile to orgasm, that’s okay, do not feel bad. You and your body deserve patience from your partner, and they should want to take their time to make you feel good! “More than 80% of women can’t orgasm from penetration alone,” says Niki Davis-Fainbloom, sex expert for Keepler. “I highly recommend taking your time with foreplay, including manual stimulation, oral sex, and using sex toys, as it takes most women 10-12 minutes to get sufficiently aroused. Penetration feels infinitely better when you’re turned on.” (Emphasis on “aroused”—it doesn’t have to take you only 10-12 minutes to orgasm. Don’t rush the process!)
Fire up the toys
Make sure your sex toy drawer is stocked with the buzzy gadgets that do it for you, and don’t be afraid to incorporate them into partnered play. “Toys are your friends. Sex toys are not competition for your partner, and using them to get off doesn’t make you any less capable of cumming. If holding a vibrating wand against your clit while your partner penetrates you is how you like to climax, do it! Remember: Pleasure is the name of the game here, so feel empowered to explore what feels good,” says Riccio.
Lube, lube and more lube
Not to doubt the power of your WAP, but even if you’re already naturally lubricated, add lube anyway. “There are many reasons why a vagina may not become ‘wet’, and it doesn’t mean you’re not turned on, so reach for some lube whenever you need it,” says Ruby Payne, sex expert at adult toy retailer UberKinky. “Heck, even if you’re as wet as a slip ‘n’ slide, I’d say grab some more—there’s no such thing as too much lube. Lube heightens everything and makes you much more sensitive.”
Let your desire build
You know when you need to pee really badly, and then you finally get to the toilet and the relief you get from peeing feels like a gift from heaven above? That’s what building desire feels like, but better. “Focus less on any one particular sex position and more on what feels good. What feels arousing? When do you feel desire?” says Sarah Kaufman, LMSW, a psychotherapist at Cobb Psychotherapy. “Many people have what’s called responsive sexual desire, meaning it takes a bit of buildup to feel sexually aroused. This buildup could include physical stimulation, like touching a leg, hand, or arm. It could also mean psychogenic [psychological] stimulation, like having an energizing conversation over dinner. If you fall into that category, there’s no magic sex position that will lead to orgasm if the buildup doesn’t happen.”
And if it doesn’t happen, you’re still good. “Orgasms can be elusive for a number of reasons, including the menstrual cycle, stress, and mental and physical health issues. Just because it doesn't happen, doesn't mean the sex wasn't worth having—you and your partner still got to connect!” says Tara Struyk, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Kinkly.com.
With all this in mind, here are 15 expert-approved sex positions to maximize your chances of orgasming. (And if these still don’t work for you, don’t freak out. Use them as a starting point, identify what feels good, and keep exploring variations of that position until you feel happy and satisfied.)
Instead of being on all fours like in regular doggy, the receiver kneels so they’re semi-sitting on their partner’s lap as they penetrate. “It’s great if you love stimulation of your internal hot spots or cervical stimulation, and it gives you more physical closeness as your back rests against your partner's chest. Plus, it allows your partner to nibble on your ear or neck and whisper dirty thoughts into your ear,” says Sarah Melancon, PhD, sociologist and clinical sexologist at Sex Toy Collective. “You or your partner can also touch your clitoris with your fingers or a vibrator.”
2. The Dog Toy
“Doggy style is good for a lot of reasons, including internal stimulation, if that’s your thing. But for us clit folks, it creates plenty of space to reach your clit with a hand or a favorite vibrator,” says Kayla Lords, a sex expert and writer for Women’s Health Interactive. “If your doggy style sex is fast-paced or rough, kinky fun, it may be more difficult to hold onto a larger toy. Finger vibrators, especially those with loops designed to fit around your finger, are a great option because they’re essentially an extension of your hand. So as you’re being pounded as hard as you like, you only have to keep your hand in position and not worry about also holding a large vibrator.”Shop Now Dame Fin, $85, DameProducts.com
3. The Tense and Release
There's nothing like being so turned on you can't see straight. A good way to get there is through edging. Have your partner use their fingers, their mouth, toys—whatever turns you on the most to bring you just to the brink of orgasm, then stopping just before you finish. Repeat until you just can't take it anymore, ending in a mind-blowing O.
4. The Power Shower
If shower sex isn't quite getting you there, pull that detachable shower head down and make it earn its keep. Direct the stream on or near your clit and feel the glory that is having sex with water.
5. The Watch and Learn
If you can orgasm on your own but have trouble with another person, try taking matters into your own hands. Masturbate with a toy or your hand while your partner watches, or face each other while you're both touching yourselves. Hot, intimate, and you'll get exactly the kind of sensation you like.
6. The Face Time
Take the ultimate power stance. “Straddle and ride your partner's face,” suggests Ruby Bouie Johnson LCSW, LCDC, an open relationship coach. "As you sit on their face, pull your partner's head forward. This position lets you move your pelvis or your partner's tongue into the necessary position for pleasure.”
7. The Titillation and Restraint
If you're into it (and if you really trust your partner), Johnson suggests using a four-point restraint to let them tie you down to the bed and blindfold you, and use their "fingers and mouth to stimulate and tease your nipples, inner thigh, labia minora (around the clitoral hood), neck, and lips." The idea is to "keep you in suspense, anticipation, and on the brink of climax for an extended period of time, which creates an explosive orgasm when one allows or is ready for it to happen.”
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8. Accessible Doggie
Try a version where a person is sitting between the legs of a partner with a penis (or strap-on), suggests Lexx Brown-James, LMFT, CSE, CSES, author of The Black Girls' Guide to Couple's Intimacy. The penetrating partner is on their knees, so there's more comfort for all. You can also add a clitoral vibe to juice things up.
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9. The Peace Out
Sit in a chair and have your partner put two fingers on either side of your clitoris, scissoring their fingers together while gently licking or sucking the tip of your clit. “This allows for maximal stimulation to the clitoris, both the sides, and the head at the same time,” which can send you over the moon fast, explains Laurel Steinberg, PhD, a professor of sexology and relationship expert.
10. The Banana Split
Your partner thrusts into you from behind as you’re on your belly with your head down. Not only does this allow for deeper penetration, but you can have them knead or spank your butt for improved orgasm. This position is great if you’re a little nervous about letting your partner see your O-face too, says Steinberg.
11. The Backward Swoon
Bouncing off your partner can create a feeling that some women find to be super intense (in a good way) and leaves the external part of your clit exposed and ready to be stroked with a finger or toy, adds Steinberg. Have your partner thrust into you while they kneel and grab your hips so your thighs rest on their lap. Meanwhile, you go to town on your clit with your favorite vibe for a nearly foolproof way to ensure you get yours too.
12. The Couch Spoon
Think: regular spoon sex, but deeper and hotter by moving the party to the couch and hooking your top leg over the top of the cushions. The extra space also allows you prime real estate to move your hands or your partner’s hands to your clitoris for maximum oomph. It also allows your bodies to be close and generate warmth and intimacy, says Rachel Needle, PsyD, a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist in West Palm Beach, Florida.
13. The Armchair Traveler
Another good couch position, the Armchair Traveler has you on your knees and bent over, holding onto the couch's arm while your partner enters you from behind. If you want to take control, you can also have your partner stay still while you thrust backward into them, using the couch arm for leverage while you thrust. This angle can allow for deep penetration and gives your partner the chance to hold a vibrator to your clitoris while you lean forward, adds Needle.
14. The Lap of Luxury
According to Layla Martin, sexpert and author of Wild Woman in the Bedroom, being on top has loads of benefits.“You have more control over the speed, angle, and intensity, so it makes it easier to keep it at a rhythm that’s really doing it for you. Your vulva and clitoris are also very accessible, and the vast majority of women find intercourse much more pleasurable if they are also stroking or being stroked in this area.”
But for an upgrade on the classic, try sitting your partner down on a chair and climbing on top. There’s something super intimate about sitting on your partner’s lap and being able to be held during sex. And if you're a little shy about self-stimulation, you can always flip around, so you don't have to make eye contact. The best part is you can be totally hands-free as your partner stimulates you, really putting you over the edge.
15. The Supercharged Spread
According to Carol Queen, staff sexologist at Good Vibrations, the clitoris and vulva contain nerve endings that are particularly responsive to vibration, so if hand stimulation isn’t quite enough to get to you there, that trusty vibrator ought to do the trick. A vibe can also help with any performance anxiety—it’s hard to think about literally anything else when you’ve got a turbo-charged sex machine between your legs (or two, depending on your partner). Your partner holds your ankles—pressing them close for a tighter-feeling fit as they penetrate you, while you hold a vibrator to your clitoris or nipples.