Despite being a subjective experience, the female orgasm can be described as moment of deep pleasure, an apex of intense, variable and temporary sensations that create a state of altered consciousness, characterised by a series of rhythmic and involuntary muscle contractions that involve the uterus, vagina and anus. These contractions can vary from 5 to 15, depending on the intensity of the orgasm, and have a rhythm of one every 0,8 seconds. On average, a female orgasm can last up to 20 seconds (Leving e Wagner, 1985). This peak of pleasure is usually accompanied by an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, sometimes there may be hyperventilation, and, in some cases, even a state of apnea.

Before reaching orgasm, women experience a state of increasing tension, whereas, after the orgasm, there is a phase called “resolution”, that is a state of relaxation and well-being. After the orgasm, men remain non-reactive to sexual stimuli for a period called “refractory”. The duration of the refractory period can vary from a few minutes in young men to several hours in elderly men. Instead, women can need a very limited amount of time or no time at all before being responsive again and some can experience multiple orgasms.

Data from the literature show that, on average, women take much longer than men to reach orgasm during penetration, while, during masturbation, they manage to reach it more easily and quicker (Aispa, 2014). If we consider coital orgasm, we can say that, on average, men are able to reach it in about 2-3 minutes, while women –those who managed to experience it during penetration– take between 10 and 20 minutes, but it is not atypical to take even longer.

Women’s ability to reach orgasm can depend on various variables, both individual and relational. In order for a woman to be able to reach orgasm is essential that she is comfortable, relaxed, and excited, that she has a good relationship with her body and with sexuality, and that she is able to let herself go, without shame of guilt. Factors such as the level of confidence, complicity, intimacy, and involvement with the partner play an important role in female pleasure within the couple.

I wrote this article for Uroblog.

Recommended reading : “The Science of Orgasm” di Komisaruk, Beyer-Flores e Whipple