While orgasms shouldn’t always be and don’t have to be the goal of sexual intimacy between partners, the reality is that most of us want to come - hard and often. You get naked and sweaty with your partner. Touching here. Caressing there. Kissing that. Licking this. You’re turned on and what you want is to orgasm in a way that makes your toes curl and your eyes roll back in your head.

That said, not everyone experiences orgasms in the same way. While some of that has to do with our own desires, sexuality, needs, and wants, it may also have to do with our anatomy and gender. Male and female orgasms are different for a variety of reasons.

Read: The Absence of Orgasm

No One Questions Male Orgasms

Maybe because orgasms from a penis are so straightforward - vigorous stimulation results in an obvious stream of ejaculate - no one questions the how or why of male orgasms. Female orgasms, on the other hand, are up for debate. Thank you, Sigmund Freud, for deciding that vaginal orgasms were the only “legitimate” kind a woman could have.

Scientists still debate the existence of the G-spot. At least, though, the argument has become more sophisticated over time. Some no longer argue it doesn’t exist at all. Instead, the conversation has evolved. Why do some experience pleasure while others don't? Is this an anatomical structure on its own, or are we really stimulating the internal clitoris from a different angle?

Read: You Don't Have to Experience G-Spot Pleasure for It to Be "Real"

At the same time, while male orgasms and subsequent ejaculate are accepted as fact (as they should be), female ejaculation is not as straightforward. Scientists cannot agree what the physical components of the liquid expelled from some women’s bodies during orgasm actually are.

Read: Is That Pee? And Other Questions You May Be Asking About Squirting

Female Orgasms Can Take a Few Paths

While most sexual pleasure begins in the mind, regardless of your genitals, the orgasm itself is pretty clear cut for the penis. Stroke up and down, maybe add a bit of vibration, a little prostate play, or whatever you like, but the orgasm comes (pun intended) from one place - the penis.

For female orgasms, though, there are a number of paths an orgasm can take. While vaginal orgasms are what we tend to see in porn, only about 25 percent of women say that they can consistently come from vaginal penetration. Most need clitoral stimulation to achieve climax. And, of course, some need a combination of the two.

Female orgasms aren't one-size-fits-all. Add in G-spot or cervical stimulation, maybe a little nipple stimulation, and of course, our heads have to be in the game, and the road to female orgasm can be a long, winding path. Even more frustrating, for all of us, is that what works today might not work tomorrow.

The Clitoris Is Still a Mystery

Something that houses thousands of nerve-endings, more than the penis, shouldn’t be such a mystery, but the clitoris is exactly that. Most people have no idea how much a clitoris - the whole clitoris - looks like a penis. But looks are deceiving.

Freud said clitoral orgasms were an “adolescent phenomenon.” Many people - both male and female - ignore the clitoris or can’t find it. Online whackos who hate the idea of masturbation refer to it as the "devil’s doorbell." (If that’s true, ding-dong, I’ll see you all in hell.) Regardless of what skeptics believe, the clitoris exists for one purpose only - pure pleasure.

It’s possible that a larger clitoris or one closer to the vaginal opening may be a predictor of more orgasms. Because of its huge network of nerves and how deep they extend into body, what may stimulate female bodies during penetration may have more to do with the clit than the G-spot. What may be the center of female orgasms still hasn't been that heavily researched and isn't that well understood. Plus, many people's experiences with their own bodies are discounted. When was the last time the penis was so heavily questioned or debated?

Female Orgasms Are Either Ignored or Celebrated

Depending on who you talk to, there’s nothing more ignored or celebrated than a female orgasm. The male orgasm is a given, almost a non-event - until it stops. In hundreds of years, digital archaeologists may believe erectile dysfunction was some sort of international crisis based solely on the number of internet pages devoted to curing it.

Female orgasms are a bit more complicated. Too many people ignore them, including vagina-owners themselves. We’re either taught that female orgasms are rare or impossible or that they’re unimportant. Sadly, some believe that if they don’t climax from penetration alone, there’s something wrong with them.

On the other hand, for some people, female orgasms are akin to a merit badge. Did you make your woman scream, speak in tongues, pull your hair out by the roots? Then, clearly, you’re the man! (Or woman.) But they’re an achievement for the partner “giving” the orgasm, rarely for the person having them.

Everything Stops When Male Orgasm Is Achieved

Ask any vagina owner how often they’ve been left hanging during a sexual experience, almost at the brink of orgasm or (sadly) nowhere near the edge, and the numbers would be overwhelming. Female orgasm isn’t the goal for enough male partners. When does sex stop for many people? When male orgasm is achieved.

The trick to avoiding this problem, as many people have found, is to spend time getting worked up first. Not only does a female orgasm help ease the way for penetration, adding far more than lubricant but also building heat and desire, it also helps ensure that both partners end the moment satisfied.

This isn’t to bash those who experience male orgasm. If you’re never taught about the importance of your partner’s pleasure, how do you know? If your porn shows women screaming in ecstasy at the first glance of a penis let alone after any stimulation, you believe that’s how sex and pleasure work. (And you need to find new porn.) Many of us are taught that sex begins with male desire and ends with male orgasm, regardless of how close or far away from orgasm their female partner might be.

The thing is, female orgasms are complicated even to those of us who experience them. Figuring out our own bodies is a bit like solving a puzzle. Push that button here. Stroke this spot over there. Don’t think too much about your crazy boss. Hope for a good fantasy or a great partner. Mix, bake and, ta-da, (if you’re lucky) you have an orgasm.

Orgasms, from any gender, can be amazing, beautiful, mind-blowing, sleep-inducing, stress-relieving things. And, until science catches up, it might be best to focus on our own experience and the experiences of our partners to find what makes us come.

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