11 Ways to Have a Better Orgasm

by Mallory Schlossberg

Maybe you're one of the few lucky women who has never faked an orgasm in her life, but many of us have either faked a handful (and given quite a performance), or don't fake it but aren't sure we'll ever have a real one. Or we have them, but they feel like near misses, and every time we're building to one, a familiar question rises: Will this be any good? It should feel more than good!

The good news is that you're not destined for a lifetime of mediocre sex. You actually can take control of the situation. Here are 11 ways to start having bigger, better orgasms:

1. Stop Faking It

First, be honest if you're not getting there. How the hell will your partner ever know what satisfies you if you're straight-up lying about it? The only think that does is condition him or her to keep on doing whatever s/he's doing that's not getting you off. So speak up after sex, rather than pseudo-moan your way through it, and you'll never have to fake it again. Dr. Ian Kerner Ph.D., a sex therapist and author of She Comes First , explains that while many women fake the big O to avoid bruising egos, in the end, it's just putting off conversation about sex, and communication is the key to better sex (and bigger orgasms).

(She Comes First, Ian Kerner,

2. Understand How It Works

Now let's take a moment to stop and ask: What the hell happens to our brains when we orgasm? Understanding what's going on in your body when you climax will help you figure out what makes the experience better for you. So, you're having sex. The pleasure center of your brain lights up and tells your body that it's receiving stimulation. That's when your brain's reward circuit kicks into action: The cortex takes that feeling of stimulation and sends messages to a part of the mid brain, the ventral tegmental area. The VTA's activity starts increasing, and then dopamine (the pleasure hormone) gets released, and that's when you're like Wow, this feels good. You need proper stimulation to get the dopamine flowing, which is ultimately what's going to lead to a powerful O, so it's important to find out what gets you turned on. Without stimulation, there's no activating the reward circuit, no dopamine, no orgasm.

3. Learn What You Like

You can't tell your partner what to do if you don't even know your own body. Masturbation can actually really help you with your sex life. If you know what turns you on and makes sex explosive for you, then you can tell your partner just that. Dr. Laura Berman Ph.D., renowned sex expert and relationship coach, says that touching yourself in front of mirror will help you get to know yourself, overcome any shyness or embarrassment you feel about your body, and figure out exactly what you like.

4. Work Your Sex Muscles

Muscle tension is key to reaching climax, so it's time to do some toning. Kegel exercises tighten the muscles that allow for the contractions that happen during an orgasm. To do them, you squeeze together those muscles in your pelvic floor that you use to stop urine flow. By doing Kegels everyday (like while you're sitting at your desk, on the train, eating a sandwich, whenever), you get your body in better shape, and while doing so, gain more control over the muscles involved during sex, which can help you turn OK orgasms into amazing ones. Berman suggests holding the muscles for three seconds and then releasing them for three seconds, and to repeat it ten times, three times a day, and to try to work up to holding it for ten seconds. You can even do this during sex for an even more intense orgasm.

5. Trust Dr. Ruth

Dr. Ruth Westheimer (you know, the famous Dr. Ruth), says that foreplay is incredibly important because it takes women MUCH longer to reach arousal than men do. So if it's taking you some time to get warmed up, don't feel bad about it. Unlike men, women can't just think about sex and be in the mood immediately; there has to be stimulation. Focus on the clitoris — blood flows to it the way it does to a man's penis, and you know how a guy would respond to sex if you completely ignored his penis during sex? You need stimulation, too!

6. Use Your Words

They don't have to be porn-y (or they can be, if you like!), but being comfortable saying naughty things to your partner, or just telling him or her what you like, is huge when it comes to sex. Why? Because, as stated previously, arousal happens as much in the brain as it does elsewhere. Berman suggests moaning, or telling your partner what you want, and later, saying what you're doing to him or her while you do it. This will only build up arousal and lead to a bigger O.

7. Bring Out the Toys!

According to Berman, vibrators and toys can help you reach your orgasm faster. And, you can use sex toys together because it's important to share the fun, you know? Sex toy purveyors like Babeland are great for providing you with ample options, plus a lot of helpful sex information and tips.

8. Try Aligning

Maybe you've heard that being on top ensures a better orgasm during heterosexual sex, but another position may be best. Coital Alignment Technique is actually designed to improve your O. It's basically missionary, but when the male partner enters, he lifts himself further up, so that as he thrusts, he makes contact with your clitoris. The idea here is that intercourse isn't just about penetration, it's about simulating the clit, which is so key to orgasming.

9. Stay Fit

Kerner says that exercise is key to a good sex life, including better orgasms. Not only does working out make you feel better about your body (and being comfortable with yourself is such a key part of good sex), but aerobic workouts help the body produce nitric oxide, which is the stuff the makes sexual arousal happen. It's also imperative to eat well — if you're eating crap, your desire will drop, and less arousal = less stimulating sex = fewer orgasms. You need vitamins to be able to reach the levels of arousal that will prompt a mind-blowing O: Omega-3s, for instance, reduce the build-up around arterial walls that can slow blood flow, and vitamins C and E are powerful antioxidants. If you needed a little extra motivation to make it to spin class or drink that green juice, now you have it.

10. Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help

If none of the steps above help, something else could be going on. For instance, antidepressants can make orgasming difficult — SSRI's limit production of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that helps you feel pleasure. However, according to Psychology Today, medication isn't necessarily a death sentence for your sex life. Talk to your doctor about finding a medication that allows you to manage your depression and experience the pleasure you crave. If the issue is psychological — maybe something in your past that makes letting go during sex especially hard — it can be useful to see a psychologist. A sex coach can also be incredibly helpful, and can give you (and your partner) exercises to do to increase your pleasure. (Just make sure that the sex coach is board-certified with the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists.)

Yet another option is to see a pelvic floor therapist. Dr. Lauren Streicher, associate professor of gynecology at Northwestern University, told Refinery29 that visiting one of these experts is like seeing a personal trainer for your pelvis. The therapist can diagnose problems relating to the pelvis, including the inability to orgasm, and help you strengthen your pelvic floor. Think about it this way: If you couldn't ride your bike anymore because of a knee problem, you'd see a PT. Same thing goes for sex and orgasms.

11. Breathe

Remember when we discussed how tension is essential to climaxing? Paradoxically, so is relaxation. You want your muscles tense and your mind chilled out, and your best tool for calming your brain is your breath.

According to sex and tantra expert Suzie Heumann, conscious, rhythmic breathing helps you focus on the pleasure you're about to experience rather than the outside stressors (credit card statements! rent checks! feeding your fish!) that can be an enormous buzzkill. When your mind wanders, your breath can bring you back to what's going on in the moment and how it makes you feel. The type of breathing Heumann encourages here increases the flow of oxygen and our friend nitric oxide to the brain.

Think of this breathing as an act of control — you're taking conscious steps to ensure your own pleasure — that also allows you to let go. You've got nowhere to be, nothing to do but enjoy every minute of this.