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10 Things You Didn't Know About The Male And Female Orgasm

Sex

I've got some of the (no pun intended) cockiest male friends when it comes to their views of their sexual performance. For instance, I know one guy who firmly stands by the point that he is so good in bed that right this moment, he could call any woman he's ever slept with and get her to fly to where he is and have sex with him. In his mind, he's that good and she will still want it just that much. ***insert eternal eye roll here***

When I asked him if he's had a partner who affects him that same way, he said, "I mean, some women are better than others, but a man is going to have an orgasm regardless, so it's all good."

When I told him that my research on men and orgasms revealed that isn't exactly or altogether true, he dismissed me like I didn't know what I was talking about.

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"Shellie, if a man ejaculates, he has an orgasm," he said as if it was Orgasm 101.

Yeah. Whatever dude. I'm going to forward this info to him ASAP.

As we're all about to see in roughly 10 minutes or less, orgasms are mind-blowing and also pretty complex. The more I discover about them, the more I've come to accept that there is so much more to them than what meets the eye—or even what a lot of us have yet to experience.

10 Things You Didn't Know About The Male & Female Orgasm

1.Men Can Ejaculate Without Climaxing

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First up, let's get into what my friend was yapping about. Although some of us probably knew that men can master the art of climaxing without ejaculating (it's sometimes referred to as a dry orgasm), I'm not so sure it's common knowledge that men can also ejaculate without having an orgasm at all.

The name for it is ejaculatory anhedonia. It's not harmful, but what man wants to go through all of the steps of an orgasm without feeling the reward of one? Anyway, some guys assume that since they've always thought that ejaculation and orgasm go hand in hand that they automatically have had an orgasm, just because they ejaculate. But that's not automatically the case.

If you forward this to one of your male friends and it sends their head to spinning, tell them that between their health care provider, a urologist, and a therapist, they can get down to if they've truly experienced an orgasm. Or not.

If they're not sure, I'm leaning towards…not.

2.Women Increase Their Chances of Conceiving With An Orgasm

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If you're currently trying to make a baby, tell your man that the more orgasms he gives you, the closer you'll be to conceiving. That's at least what Dr. Robert King, author of Tulips at Midnight: Exploring the Latest Research into the Nature and Function of Female Orgasm, believes. Some of the women he studied had 15 percent more liquid in their uterus whenever they climaxed; this means that orgasms increased to their ability to hold more sperm. As a direct result, their chances of getting pregnant increased by 15 percent too.

Talk about a motivator—to climax and conceive.

3.Lots Of Men Fake Orgasms

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Usually, when the topic of faking it comes up, we think about women doing it (about 80 percent have before). But I actually had a conversation with a husband who said that he was so sick of his wife pressuring him to have another baby that he faked orgasms for a year straight (wow).

He's not alone either. Reportedly, 1 in 4 men have copped to doing the same thing, albeit for a variety of different reasons ranging from not wanting to hurt their partner's feelings (about being "bad" in bed) or wanting to hurry up and get things over with, to wanting to emotionally manipulate their partner or because they felt insecure about their own performance.

4.Some Women Have Orgasms In Their Sleep

Sleep well. It’s good for your health

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Talk about the things that go bumping in the night. Guess how many women are able to have orgasms in their sleep? According to Alfred Kinsey of the Kinsey Institute, a whopping 37 percent!

The technical term for them are nocturnal orgasms. It's basically a spontaneous orgasm that happens during your sleep (usually during some sort of dream). That's kind dope, although, just to be thorough, I should put on record that more women with a form of neurosis (47 percent) get them than women who are in control of their mental state (8 percent). That's at least what one study claims.

5.A Man’s Orgasm Is Shorter Than A Woman’s

Annoyed woman lying in bed with snoring boyfriend

Since it only (on average) takes a man five minutes to have an orgasm while it takes a woman around 20 minutes to, it probably comes as no shock that a man's orgasm is shorter as well. While a man's typically lasts for no more than five seconds, a woman's can last for 20-30 seconds. Meanwhile, a man's bounce back can take as much as 30 minutes in many cases. Although as men get older, sometimes it can take up to 12-24 hours.

Hey, don't harp on them too much about this. There is a peptide in their system known as somatostatin. It literally reduces the amount of sexual arousal men have after they climax. It really is Mother Nature that makes them want to fall asleep before round two.

6.Many Women Experience Orgasm “Aftershocks”

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If you're able to have multiple orgasms, pat yourself on the back; you're reportedly one of the 47 percent of women who can. And if after having such an earth-shattering experience, it seems like you experience what can only be defined as aftershocks, it's not in your head. What's happening is, just like you experience involuntary muscle contractions while you're actually climaxing, sometimes you may feel smaller versions of that for up to an hour afterward.

There's nothing to worry about. It's all good.

7.A Man’s Foreskin Works To A Woman’s Climax’s Advantage

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Turtlenecks. Pigs in a blanket. Hooded ninjas. I've heard of all kinds of terms to describe an uncircumcised penis. And while I've never personally had the pleasure, I did recently read something that piqued my interest a bit and actually caused me to see them in a bit of a different light.

Did you know that many women have found that men who have foreskin oftentimes have more stamina and are also more comfortable for them to be with physically? Not only that but they also say that it significantly increased their ability to have multiple orgasms? #themoreyouknow

8.Clitoral Placement Plays A Huge Role In A Woman’s Vaginal Orgasms

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If you've heard that 75 percent of women do not have orgasms, the answer to that is yes and no. I'll go with the good news first—a lot of women can climax; what the stat is saying is an overwhelming amount have a difficult time experiencing an orgasm via vaginal stimulation alone.

A couple of things come into play with that. For one thing, not all scientists can agree on the fact that every woman has a G-spot (a pea-sized area that's located 1-2 inches on the vaginal wall that is closest to your belly button). The other issue is how far apart a woman's clitoris is from her vaginal opening. If it's approximately the width of her thumb apart, she has a much greater chance of experiencing a vaginal orgasm (an orgasm from penetration that doesn't require clitoral stimulation) than if she doesn't.

9.Men Go Through What’s Known as “Ejaculatory Inevitability”

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Bless their hearts. There is a point that just about all men reach when they can't stop from ejaculating, even if they wanted to. It's called ejaculatory inevitability and it's the second phase of their orgasm.

The first phase is when their vas deferens, prostate, and seminal vesicles all contract, leading their semen into their urethra. The second is when the contractions are so strong that there is nothing that a guy can do to stop ejaculation from happening.

So, if you tell your man you're not ready for him to climax and he does anyway, don't assume that he's been selfish. Chances are, he heard you but there was absolutely nothing that he could do. Not at all.

10. Women Who Are Insecure (In Their Relationship) Have a Hard Time Climaxing

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One more. Did you know that no two orgasms are exactly the same, pretty much ever? Some are more intense than others. Some last longer than others. And some are totally dependent on how you are feeling emotionally towards your partner.

If only lately, you've been having trouble climaxing with a partner you used to with easily and regularly, don't chalk it up to being nothing. We as women need to our mind and body to be in sync in order for sexual pleasure to reach its peak.

If you're not currently sexually satisfied, the last thing you need to do is fake an orgasm or grin and bear it. Let your partner know. It could be as simple as needing to reconnect on a deeper level or your intuition alerting you that something isn't right. Either way, communication is the key to getting your relationship—and orgasms—back on track.

Featured image by Getty Images.

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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