Ultimate Orgasm Guide

Dirty talk, Moaning, losing control—Real girls reveal what it feels like for them (and how to get them there).

The first orgasm I ever had with a guy was in the shower with my college boyfriend, who was just using his hands. I was so shocked it worked that I couldn’t stop laughing and saying, “Oh, my God, I came!” (He must have suddenly wondered about my previous theatrics in bed.) But that was the first and last time a hand job ever worked for me, in the shower or out of it. Later on I found I could only get off from oral, and sometime later it was only straight-up screwing that worked. 

Yes, the female orgasm can be a tricky little beast, but make no mistake: When we come, it’s freaking amazing. It’s white lights and stars, an ecstatic, almost out-of-body experience. And if you’re the one who manages to get us there, we’ll be absolute putty in your hands. That’s why we’re giving you a sneak peek into the nitty-gritty details of lady orgasms—the moves that make our toes curl and our insides shudder—so that you’ll never go to bed unprepared.

It’s Like…Whoa

Just like we all take different routes to the big O, every woman experiences it a little bit differently. The one commonality? Awesomeness. Susie,* a 28-year-old event planner, says her orgasms are “better than any drug in the world. For me it’s like a wave of warmth that starts in my toes, then climbs over the rest of my body until I’m completely hot and shaking. I’ll feel like my genitals are trembling and I’m almost on fire.”

For some girls it’s not the orgasm itself but the moments immediately following that are the peak of ecstasy. “The best part for me is afterward, when I feel like I have this aura around me, this bright, warm glow of orgasm, and I feel so damn happy,” says Corinne, a 30-year-old physical therapist. “Sometimes I even want to cry.” And let’s not forget the lucky girl who can actually come over and over—the multiple orgasmer. “When I finish coming, I typically have about 30 seconds of downtime before the second wave begins,” says Mackenzie, a 26-year-old sales assistant, who feels a sensation of heat similar to that described by Susie when she comes. “Then the rush of blood and that kind of low-level electricity begin again and build to even more intensity the second time around. Multiple orgasms are without a doubt the best part of being a woman.”

The Road to O-Town, Part I

So what does it take to bring a girl to these body-shaking, earth-quaking highs? The good news is, for some women intercourse does the job…though maybe not as easily as it does for you. Since our bodies don’t come with an outward appendage that’s like a neon sign saying touch this, it can be a challenge to find the right spot to hit. And the vagina, by the way, usually isn’t it. 

Most girls report that no matter the position they’re in for sex, simultaneous clitoral stimulation is key. During missionary sex, this can be a simple matter of lining your hips up with hers. “I can only come when the guy’s on top,” says Marni, a 33-year-old grad student. “I basically need his head to be past mine and our torsos in constant contact, so that with every thrust he’s pushing against my clit. I’ll grind my hips up into his, and after a few minutes, boom, I’m there.” A lot of girls prefer to be on top so they can control the pace, pressure, and location of all that friction. Erica, a 27-year-old nanny, says she needs to be straddling her guy, pelvis to pelvis, to come: “He feels amazing inside me, but just sliding in and out won’t work. My clit needs to rub against him at the same time.” 

There are those special few women who don’t seem to need quite that much clitoral attention to come, such as 31-year-old Sabine, whose orgasm trigger is doggie-style sex. “I’m not sure what it is, but when I’m getting it from behind, I just lose control,” she says. “Sometimes the guy will reach around for my clit, but I’d rather have him fondle my nipples or put his fingers in my mouth for me to bite down on. Maybe I’m weird, but that gets me off, hard.”

The Road to O-Town, Part II

For those who need maximum stimulation, there’s one kind of sex that works like a charm: oral. “It’s failproof,” says Jenni, 25, a teacher. “I’ve never not gotten off from oral sex. Never.” Katie, a 26-year-old Web editor, concurs, though she prefers it with a couple of extra bells and whistles. “I love when a guy puts his fingers inside me while he’s licking me,” she says. “If he tickles my G-spot, it’s an incredible sensation. My eyes will roll back, and I’ll start moaning.” If she’s into what you’re doing, she’ll keep her hands on your head or shoulders and start rocking her hips—but pay attention to her movements. “The only thing that hinders me sometimes with oral is too much pressure,” says Jeanine, a 28-year-old pharmaceutical sales rep. “I might wiggle away to hint that I want his tongue flicking me rather than pushing. But if he goes lightly and firmly in the same pattern, over and over, I’m gone in two minutes.” 

Don’t underestimate the power of hands, either—yours or hers. Suzanne, a 27-year-old PR specialist, says she likes to be on top, but with a catch. “I have to touch myself while I’m on top in order to get off,” she says. “And I like nipple stimulation, too. So I’ll have one hand on my clit, and I’ll lick my fingers on the other and rub them against my tits.” In fact, this, um, multipronged approach is the orgasm formula for lots of girls. “I prefer a guy to use his tongue on my breasts, flicking it against my nipples while his hand rubs my clit,” says Isabel, 32, a real estate agent. “And what really pushes me over the edge—but I’ll allow it only if I’m really comfortable with someone—is, at the same time, a finger on my back door. Not in it, just touching it.”

The fastest ticket to the big O for many women is the vibrator—particularly when they incorporate it into sex with you. “I always used mine with my ex,” says Lauren, 23, a marketing intern. “He was awesome in bed, really attentive; I just had a hard time finishing. He loved it because it guaranteed that I came, too, so he didn’t have to feel guilty. He liked to use it on me and watch me use it on myself.” Most women are shy about bringing a vibe into the bedroom, because they don’t want you to feel threatened. But as Jackie, a 25-year-old sales assistant, explains, “It’s a double whammy! It feels so amazing to have his dick and the vibration at the same time.” 

Was it Good for Her?

There are some physical things that happen to all women when they orgasm (contractions of the vaginal walls being the main one). But there are plenty of other ways to tell when you’ve done right by her. “My guy always knows when I’ve had a real, intense orgasm because I fall right asleep afterward,” says Susie. “They really wipe you out!” 

A lot of women also can’t help but, well, freak out when they’re climaxing—and not with the squeaky monkey noises you might hear from the ladies of porn; we’re talking filthy, almost Tourette’s-like outbursts. “I scream. I mean, things come out of my mouth that are insanely dirty and nasty,” says Corinne. “¿‘Fuck me harder! Fuck my pussy! Oh, my God, don’t stop, fuck me, fuck me, fuck me!’ That’s pretty much what I say every time.” Sarah, a 23-year-old dance instructor, says she also gets major potty mouth when she’s having an orgasm: “I get louder and louder and tell my boyfriend to fuck me as hard as he can so I can come all over his cock. That sets him off, too, so we can even come together sometimes.” Of course, moaning and gasping are good indicators, too. “I can hardly breathe when I’m coming,” says Anna, a 29-year-old graphic designer. “I gasp and gasp and sometimes even kind of unintentionally hold my breath until I’m finished and can heave that big sigh of relief.”

However we get there, whatever works for us, every woman loves the intense pleasure of an orgasm so much that most of us refuse to fake it once we’ve had one. After all, why do ourselves a disservice by not getting the real deal? So if you see these signs, give yourself a pat on the back: You’ve just given her the ride of her life.