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Five things you probably didn’t know about female orgasm

The new LifeStyles O’MAX gel has been engineered to maximise female sexual pleasure. Based on a user study, 94% of women reported an improvement in their ability to intensify orgasm after multiple uses. In honour of its release we went on a search for other findings about female orgasm in scientific literature. From thought provoking to a little bit weird, here are five things you may not know about female orgasm:

Shout it out loud

Female ‘copulatory vocalisations’ – the various sounds made by women during sex – may not be as involuntary as people think. In a recent study, 80% of orgasmic heterosexual females reported making vocalisations (but not faking orgasm) even when they weren’t going to orgasm. Researchers think the sounds can be a way of manipulating “male ejaculatory behaviour”, promoting male self-esteem and increasing the bond felt between the couple. Or just winding things up because she’s tired and wants to go to sleep.

Girl on top

A study of female orgasm found that about a third (27.5%) of the time a woman had an orgasm when she was on top. This was followed by missionary position with legs raised (19.8%), plain ol’ missionary (16.4%), rear entry (15.9%), missionary position with legs bent behind head (12.5%) and, lastly, woman on top but facing away from her partner (5.8%).

You’re looking in the wrong place

If you want to find a reliable indication of whether a woman has had an orgasm, her genitals may not be the place to look. Researchers successfully identified female orgasm 94% of the time by monitoring the frequency of her involuntary anal contractions. They could also distinguish between orgasm and failed attempts or imitations. Which may be a little weird, but it’s a lot less complex than jumping into an MRI machine – the other main way to reliably detect orgasm (that’s not just asking whether she came).

It’s all about timing

Science is still pretty confused about the evolutionary reason for female orgasm. There are a lot of theories, ranging from it having a function in increasing fertility through to the (possibly sexist) idea that it’s just a vestigial consequence of male and female genitals developing, in utero, from the same biological structures. So there’s a lot of asking “why?”, but a study suggests we should also be asking “when?”. Researchers found that women orgasming after a male partner correlated positively with the woman’s desire to fall pregnant. This may be because orgasm is thought to have the effect of helping retain sperm for longer inside the vagina, increasing the chance of conception.

So close yet so far away

The evolutionary reasons for female orgasm may be still in dispute but the variability of female orgasm is not. Science may be a step closer to discovering why some women can orgasm from penile intercourse alone, while others require external clitoral stimulation to get there. The hypothesis relies on a pretty unsexy acronym: CUMD. Or: clitoris to urethral meatus distance. Plainly speaking, how close a woman’s clitoris is to her urethra. The shorter the distance, the more contact a woman’s clitoris will have with her partner’s penis during intercourse. Which means more stimulation and, maybe, a greater propensity to orgasm during the act. Though we say there’s nothing wrong with a helping hand.