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6 Ways to Make Lovemaking Great

What you need to know about female pleasure — for her and for you

En español | Female orgasms are like laughter: A comedian may be funny, but he or she does not "make" us laugh. Instead, we release laughter from deep within ourselves when the conditions feel right. So rather than trying to "give" your partner an orgasm, try focusing on what allows her to have one. These six suggestions can help:

See also: Quiz: How much do you really know about love and sex?

1. Don't aim for perfect timing. On TV and in movies and pornography, women always seem to have orgasms during intercourse. That's more fantasy than reality. In real sex, only about one-fourth of women are consistently orgasmic during intercourse. The rest require stimulation of the clitoris to reach orgasm.

Even prolonged intercourse seldom provides enough clitoral stimulation for orgasm. Most women need a little help from your hand, tongue or vibrator. Unless your partner specifically requests intense touch, caress her clitoris very gently. It contains as many touch-sensitive nerves as the head of the penis, but they're packed into an even smaller area. As a result, even gentle caresses may feel too intense for many women. Discuss this. If she doesn't enjoy direct clitoral touch, caress around the spot.

2. Touch her all over. From the scalp to the soles of the feet, every square inch of the body is a sensual playground. Yet too many men focus on a few corners and overlook the rest. Touch her all over. Think of sex as whole-body massage that eventually includes the genitals. Whole-body massage produces deep relaxation, which helps women (and men) have orgasms. Massage her gently from head to toe. Try massage lotion (available at bath and body shops). Some areas that can feel surprisingly erotic include the scalp, ears, face, neck, feet and — who knew? — the backs of the knees.

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3. Slow down. Extended sensual warm-up time helps women reach orgasm. Compared to men, most women need considerably more time to warm up to genital play. So forget the wham-bam approach; when making love, do everything "half-speed ahead." Sex therapists recommend at least 30 minutes of kissing, cuddling and whole-body sensual caressing before going all the way.

4. Don't forget the lube, dude. In just seconds, lubricant makes women's (and men's) genitals more erotically sensitive, so it helps women have orgasms. In addition, for women experiencing post-menopausal vaginal dryness, sex without a lubricant (be it saliva or a product purchased from a drug store aisle) may simply feel uncomfortable.

Never squirt lubricant directly on a woman's genitals, however; the sensation can be cold and jarring. Instead, squeeze some into your hand, rub it with your fingers to warm it, then touch her. Lubricants are available at pharmacies — near the condoms, logically enough.

5. Get out of that rut! Ever notice how sex feels more arousing when you and your partner are on a romantic vacation? That's because you've broken the routine. If you're interested in the science behind this, the brain chemical dopamine, a neurotransmitter, governs arousal. As dopamine rises, so does arousal — and the likelihood of orgasm.

And what raises dopamine?

Novelty.

So try something differentanything different. Make love in a new location, in a different way, at a different time, or with a different ambience (think candlelight, music or sex toys). Try bathing or showering together beforehand, or treat yourselves to professional massages.

6. Take a vibrator to bed. Yes, I did just "go there," because even if you adopt all the tips above, some women still have trouble with orgasm; they need the intense stimulation that only a vibrator can provide. One-third of American women own a vibrator today, but few couples include the device in partner sex. Some men fear being "replaced" — did power tools replace carpenters? No; they merely do the job more efficiently. A sex toy cannot kiss and cuddle, make a woman laugh or say "I love you." It can do just one thing, and some women need that one thing to have an orgasm. So hold her close and invite her to use the vibrator.

The bottom line: Discard the notion of "giving" your partner an orgasm. In a loving relationship, the man's job is to create an erotic context that is comfortable, relaxed and sufficiently arousing that the woman can, in multiple ways, let go.

Published July 2012

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