'Find your pressure.' The 4 questions to ask yourself that will help you orgasm, every time.

I didn’t have my first proper orgasm until I was in college. I’d masturbated and had sex before then, but I didn’t understand my own body enough, and I’d let no partner have any idea that wasn’t orgasming.

The last thing I wanted to deal with was some man taking it as a personal challenge to make me cum, for him to plant his flag on me and for him to be the “first.”

I wanted to figure it out on my own. I wanted to have power over my own body, and that meant I, as a heterosexual woman, left my partners out of it.

There were a lot of reasons why I didn’t orgasm until college. During sex, I focused too much on looking and sounding good. I focused too much on my partner’s pleasure. I’d watched plenty of porn and that was always the narrative, and there was some pride in being someone’s “best” lay.

Mostly, when things started to feel too…out of control, I’d stop or shift, or ask my partner to do something else. Not really knowing I was stopping the train of my orgasm every time.

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The turning point came for me when I was discussing this with my college roommate.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever had a real orgasm before. When it starts to feel weird, I just stop,” I said.

“When it starts to feel weird, I keep going!” she told me.

I tried it, and that’s how I figured out that not only can I have a real proper grown-up woman orgasm, but I’m a squirter.

But discovering how to orgasm myself didn’t turn things around for me when I was with a partner. I had partners I was uncomfortable with. I had partners who were obsessed with my orgasms, which was a turn-off altogether, like my orgasms proved they had somehow “conquered” me. I had trouble letting go of the performative aspect of sex and of being a people-pleaser in bed.

With the growing movement of “cliteracy” (being literate about the clit), many studies seek to understand what women do and don’t like for genital stimulation.


One study, published in 2017, focused entirely on women’s experiences with genital touching, sexual pleasure, and orgasm. They surveyed 1,055 women between the ages of 18 and 94 years old.

What they discovered is that each woman needed different kinds of touch techniques to reach orgasm, which explained why the how-to articles I’d read didn’t seem to work for me.

“Overall, results demonstrated substantial variability among American women’s preferences,” the study reads. “And while some kinds of genital touching or stimulation were more often preferred than others, most women endorsed a narrow range of touch techniques, underscoring the value of partner communication to sexual pleasure and satisfaction.”

We are as unique as our fingerprints, and no two women will like the same assemblage of sexual tips and tricks. This is why it’s more important than ever that women communicate with their partner during sex.

Listen to Overshare, where hosts chat about how they masturbate. Just like the best group chat with your mates, Overshare is a bit smart, a bit dumb and a bit taboo. Post continues below.

The interview questions about genital touching were very specific:

  • What amount of pressure do you prefer? (from being touched very lightly to medium and hard pressure)
  • What shape or style of motion do you prefer? (“Side to side, up and down, diagonal, circular, tall ovals, wide ovals, pushing/pressing in one spot, pulsating/rapid pushing in one spot,” etc.)
  • Where do you prefer to be touched on your vulva/vagina? (“Directly on the clitoris, on the skin around the clitoris, avoid touching the clitoris directly, occasionally brushing over the clitoris but not applying pressure to it,” etc.)
  • And, lastly, what preference of touch do you prefer? (fingers, hands, mouth, etc.).

I wish I’d been able to read questions like this when I was a pre-orgasmic woman. Their specificity is a blueprint that could have made it possible for me to figure out what I liked much earlier on. That combined with my roommate’s advice — “When it starts to feel weird, just keep going” — would have surely helped me sooner.

If you’re a woman unsure what you like in bed and/or trying to figure out how to communicate your desires to a partner, these questions are a place to start!

For solo-play:

  1. Start with considering the amount of pressure you prefer on your clitoris. Try very light all the way to hard and assess what you prefer.
  2. Put your finger on your clit, and try each of the touch techniques. Keep in mind that some require moving around the vulva/vagina. (side to side, up and down, diagonal, circular, tall ovals, wide ovals, pushing/pressing in one spot, pulsating/rapid pushing in one spot).
  3. Consider how the touch you tried above feels and what you prefer. Directly on clitoris? On the skin around clitoris? Avoid the clitoris completely? Occasionally brushing over clitoris but not applying pressure to it?
  4. Then consider if the touch you’ve figured out you like is best applied with a finger or tongue.

The final — and hardest for me at least — step is in having a partner you are comfortable enough with to convey the specific ways you prefer your clit to be touched. What I think is helpful is the exact language used in the above questions. I always felt at a loss for the words to describe exactly what I liked. If I had a partner I was comfortable with, I might try to show him, but that didn’t necessarily replicate the experience I needed.

Getting comfortable with and knowledgeable your own body and sexuality and choosing sexual partners that make you feel comfortable and you can communicate with can’t be highlighted enough.

Hopefully, the above blueprint gives you a place to start and you can rocketship your way to better sexual pleasure today, both alone and with a partner.

This article originally appeared on Medium and was republished here with full permission. 

Tara Blair Ball is a freelance writer and author of The Beginning of the End. Check out her website here or find her on Twitter: @taraincognito.

Feature image: Getty.