The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women by Mikaya Heart by Mikaya Heart - Read Online
The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women
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Owning our desires should be neither embarrassing nor uncomfortable. Nor should they be subject to anyone else's moral judgment of what is right or wrong, good or bad, normal or abnormal. Combining communication and information is the key. By shrugging off the taboos against talking about our preferences and experiences when we're being sexual, we will take the first and most important steps toward ensuring our own fulfillment. The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women is an unflinchingly honest, responsible, and thoroughly comprehensive exploration of female sexuality. Topics include: The physical types of orgasm, such as electrical, flying, pounding, deep, waves, and blips; orgasm as an emotional release; the "elusive orgasm" and why some women have difficulty having one; how often we fake them and why; masturbation; multiple orgasms; the male-female dichotomy; penetration and the G-spot; defining the erotic; and the joy of sex toys.
Published: Cleis Press on
ISBN: 9781573447348
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The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women - Mikaya Heart

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In 1998, I published the first edition of this book, which was titled When the Earth Moves: Women and Orgasm. Since then, I have received numerous letters from readers telling me how much their sex lives have improved as a result of this book. This edition is a little shorter and easier on the eyes, with the addition of sidebars and anatomy illustrations. I have deleted my personal story of healing from a childhood of sexual abuse, as that story is now available in my memoir (My Sweet Wild Dance), although you will still find many references to my own experience throughout the text.

In the last twelve years, with the advent of the Internet, a number of forums for discussion about sex have opened up. Some very good books about sex have been written, and books about sex are more easily available than ever. In most parts of the Western world, sex is generally accepted as a normal and delightful human activity, and children are offered real opportunities for education about sex. In spite of the religious right, we are no longer stuck in the days when women were told, sex is dirty, save it for your husband.

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And still, we have a way to go in the process of waking up to the true depth and breadth of human sexuality. Sexuality is both a great gift and a valuable tool that can enable us to experience the wisdom and joy of our bodies and help us to express our creativity. I believe that a healthy sex life makes for a healthy person, and I am unwilling to define what healthy means for anyone but myself. I would like all of us to have the freedom to self-define, and I am very grateful that I have been fortunate enough to reach a place in my life where I am able to enjoy unbridled sexual passion. My initial inspiration in writing this book was the desire to share the insights and understandings that I have grasped in the personal process of stepping into my sexual power—a long but very rewarding journey that healed me on a deep level, taking me to a place of great appreciation for the extraordinary potential we have as human beings.

In some societies, sex is regarded as a sacred act; in others it is regarded as an act of profanity. Yet there are women all over the world who experience sex as fulfilling and empowering. For many of us it can be deeply transformative and healing, bringing us to the realization that we are much more than physical bodies confined by the limits of flesh and blood. No matter what our sexual or spiritual orientation may be, we can use sex as the doorway to a profound personal awakening.

I must say something about that word spiritual. Because it denotes a concept that many people find alienating, it’s not a word I use very much. I am well aware that some people close off as soon as they hear or read it. However, our language is appallingly limited when it comes to discussing anything outside the physical arena. Because sex takes so many of us to a place beyond the physical, I find it impossible to discuss orgasm in any depth without referring to the spiritual, simply because there is no other word. I ask those of you who find that word difficult to transpose over it whatever meaning works for you. Above all, please do not equate it with any concept of God, gods, goddesses, or religions of any denomination.

Because sex is such an individual experience, it is vital to illustrate the huge variety of our sexual responses and feelings. In the course of writing this book, I interviewed twenty-six women and three men in considerable detail about their sex lives. My questionnaire (see Appendix C) was posted online and circulated by hand. The italicized quotes appearing throughout the book are from responses to the questionnaire or from the interviews, and they are credited where the individual requested it. (See Acknowledgments.)dp n=14 folio=xix ? I have occasionally used a pseudonym where a discussion involves quoting from the same person several times. A few of the people quoted are personal friends who engaged in ongoing conversations with me in the process of my writing. These include Barbara, Laura, Joy, Jean, Victoria, Donna, Lisa, Terry, and Jesse, who was my lover at the time. I have also included my own experiences where they are relevant.

The women who are leading the way in the process of sexual reclamation are heterosexual, lesbian, and bisexual. Women who make love with other women have a vast body of firsthand information and a unique outlook on female sexuality. Therefore, while I have included a high proportion of heterosexual input, much of the information I’ve presented is gleaned directly from lesbians and bisexual women. The value of their perceptions is not confined to same-sex relationships; it is very relevant to heterosexual women interested in expanding their sexual practices.

I would like the reader to understand that most of the women I have interviewed are unusual; they are the ones who have been willing (and sometimes eager!) to talk about what sex is for them. Their experiences represent some of the possibilities within the range of female sexuality. Because I don’t want to leave the reader with the idea that we are all having sex as good as those of us who are happy to talk about it, I have made an effort to include some women who are not satisfied with their sex lives. I am extremely grateful to the women who are not confident in their sexuality for being willing to talk to me; I know it wasn’t always easy for them. Yet their input is vital, since women who aren’t having great sex very often feel that there is something wrong with them, a feeling that prevents them from talking about their needs. Many women, including myself, have been in that place. I would like this book to foster the understanding that sex, like life, is a matter of individual preference; that experimentation is usually necessary to find out what you prefer; and that no one has any business judging you. No matter what you may hear to the contrary, there is no standard of normality that you, or anyone else, ought to adhere to.

Although I have offered some pointers, this book won’t give you detailed instructions of what to do when you are in bed with someone. If that’s what you are looking for, see the Resources (Appendix B) for some excellent suggestions.

I have included a few statistics about sexual responses, but when we are talking about something as controversial and subjective as sex, statisticsdp n=15 folio=xx ? are very questionable. Truthfully, people are more likely to lie about sex, consciously or unconsciously, than any other subject.

You don’t need to read this book from front to back. Use the book in any way you want. Open it randomly and read the sidebars. Flip through the italicized quotes. Look up topics in the table of contents and explore whatever captures your fancy. Above all, don’t take any of it too seriously. My intention is not to tell you what ought to be, only to offer up some choices. The most important thing about sex (and life) is to enjoy what feels good to you, however you’re doing it.

Mikaya Heart

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Let’s begin with the three facets of sexual play that I believe are the most important: communication, laughter, and acceptance of our remarkable diversity. I refer to these frequently throughout the book.

A New Vocabulary for Sex

I cannot stress too strongly how deeply healing it has been for me just to talk about sex. Speaking openly and honestly about my desires and listening to other women speak openly and honestly about theirs has released me from the veil of shame that shrouded the subject of sex when I was growing up. It has also been, and continues to be, incredibly informative. The learning process is ongoing. Our bodies are capable of the most extraordinary things, particularly when they are in a state of sexual arousal. And what limits our sexuality are the concepts we cling to of what we think is meant to happen.

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When you truly let your sexual energy flow freely throughout your entire being, you’ll feel as though you’re making love every moment of every day with everything and everyone—even during a root canal.


Sex is like life. Our concepts of what sex is are shaped by our expectations; our expectations are shaped by our culture, and our culture is shaped by, and shapes, our language. The language we have available to us to talk about sex is minimal. Indeed, if it were anywhere close to adequate, we would have at least twenty different words to describe different kinds of orgasm. So here are definitions of a few terms you will read throughout the book.

I often use the words giver and receiver. The receiver is the one who is having something done to her, and might appear to be the more passive partner; the giver is the one who is doing, and might appear to be the more active partner. (Obviously there are times when this division is meaningless.)

The other term I frequently use is sexual play. It is vital that we view sex as a playful exchange, so that the games we engage in and the roles we adopt are openly acknowledged and discussed between willing participants. I do not use the term foreplay, since it denotes a goal, a beginning and an end, and I’ve never related to it. While there are (possibly) beginnings and ends to specific acts during particular sexual encounters, sexual undercurrents are going on all the time, between all kinds of people. Whether or not we choose to bring these undercurrents to the surface, and act on them, should always be the result of consensual agreement between adults.

Traditional sexual interchanges all too often involve one person initiating an act that the other person feels ambivalent about, due to her past experience, or the likelihood that she won’t get her needs met, or both. Consensuality and negotiation are extremely important concepts that are sadly lacking in this kind of exchange. Good sex must always be fully consensual, which means that both partners consciously agree to it, rather than doing things a certain way by default.

I occasionally use the word fuck in this book, usually meaning the act of penetration. Like some of the other words we use when we’re talking about sex, it can have negative connotations and mean different things to dp n=18 folio=3 ? different people. Make sure to check in—do these words mean the same to the person you’re talking with? If you are using a word that brings up unpleasant images for your partner, you will want to find an alternative.

The Best Medicine

We have a romantic tendency to want sex to flow flawlessly and effortlessly. The need to have it this way often leads to tension and awkwardness. The best antidote to an overdose of seriousness is laughter; I’m not talking about the inane dirty jokes that reinforce tiresome and damaging stereotypes, but loving laughter that stems from a down-to-earth feeling of joy.

The times I remember best are the times when there was laughter as well as passion.

Whether it’s a giggle or a good, deep belly laugh, it’s wonderful when lovers can roll around together in hilarity. The things that we get so anxious about, be they lack of orgasm, lack of erection, or anything else, are exactly the things that don’t have to matter at all, and we need to learn to be flippant about them. If a man could look down at his limp penis and say, Uh-oh, looks like it’s not coming out to play today, or a woman, instead of faking it, could say, I can see this orgasm out of the corner of my eye, but I think it’s running the other way, then we’d be able to relax and have a good time, instead of fixating on what’s not happening.

Being goofy and playful takes me a lot further. Laughing breaks down a certain barrier that makes it possible to open up more sexually.

Laughter can also be part and parcel of an orgasm.

Once we were making love in a place where we had to be really quiet; when my lover came she was desperately trying to stifle her moans, but they kept breaking through as loud snorts, a mixture of laughter and sexual pleasure. We both laughed helplessly for several minutes, and the ripples of suppressed laughter shook my body just like an orgasm.

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These days, sex can be laden with fear of disease, and it may be difficult to be spontaneous. All the more reason to be able to laugh, as you drop the condom on the floor, or it splits as you’re putting it on, or you roll off the edge of the bed as you’re reaching for it.

When the telephone by the bed rang, I reflexively picked it up. It was a repairman telling me what was wrong with my computer and how difficult it would be to fix. And here I am, on my hands and knees, getting it really hard and really well doggie-style with this huge hard dick, on the verge of coming, and more or less shouting into the phone, Oh yeah, whatever it takes, just do it. Do it. Do it! DO IT! And, the nice thing was, they both listened to me and did it.

Embracing Our Complexity and Diversity

There is a vast complexity of possibility in women’s orgasm, varying from whole body orgasm to clitoral or vaginal, from mental orgasm to intensely emotional ones. Consequently, it’s very hard to produce a definition that applies universally, and such a definition could never encompass the enormous variety of what women call orgasm. As you will discover as you read further, there are women who can come as they walk across a room, and there are women who don’t come at all. There are women who started having orgasms at the age of four, and there are women who started having them at the age of sixty-four. For some women, orgasm is an integral part of their sexuality, and they expect to have several every time they make love; other women are content not having orgasms in a definable way—or would be content, if they weren’t made to feel abnormal or freakish.

Having orgasms, or not, is a personal thing. It varies as much as any other aspect of sexuality. Some women ejaculate; some don’t. Some women enjoy penetration; some don’t. Some women have huge orgasms; some have little ones. Some women have multiple orgasms; some women have one; some don’t have anything they identify as an orgasm. Some women just aren’t particularly sexual, and others are. Learning to orgasm might be a little like learning to ride a bicycle: it’s an unconscious trick of the mind in combination with the body that makes someone suddenly dp n=20 folio=5 ? able to balance, where she couldn’t do so before. Releasing our passion, and managing sexual and creative energy, is not usually something that can happen on a conscious level. It is related to the healing of the whole individual. What’s important for all women is to go with what our bodies want at any given time, knowing that what is true in this moment will change. It may be that women who don’t come, or don’t come easily, are not psychologically ready to experience what the orgasm will do to them: that intense, shocking alignment of body and soul that can occur with a strong orgasm. It is a very bad idea to be invested in making yourself come, or in making your partner come. You can’t force something that can only happen naturally, and you won’t achieve anything good by trying. Life is a series of phases, and most women go through phases when they aren’t particularly sexual. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with not being sexual.

That said, some of us have incredible experiences when we allow free flow to our sexual energy. What follows are a few of the lyrical descriptions of orgasm that I received:

I feel the sensation of my orgasms up inside me, and all the way out to my outer lips. They’re deep, pulsing, throbbing, clenching. They’re emotionally overwhelming and all-consuming!

The energy builds in my pelvis, or sometimes throughout my whole body, even my brow furrows. Everything gets pulled in to the point where the energy is pushed outward; that’s the point of orgasm. I most often feel it go out through my feet or straight upward from my pelvis.

I feel trembly and like I’m headed to a cliff, then I’m lifted up when I come, and float back down when I’m done.

I could be in a life-or-death situation and not stop if I was having an orgasm.

My orgasms are a combination of water waves and electricity. The front of my body feels electrical from my shins up to my face. The rest of my body feels liquid, like waves washing through it.dp n=21 folio=6 ? Exquisite is too small a word; I feel like my whole body has been hit with a baseball bat.

I don’t have the words for it, except that there is a buildup and then release and that I really enjoy it. Plus there is a lot of variation between orgasms; some even verge on boring but necessary.

Orgasm is like a chord that resonates through my whole being, like total release, total fusion with my partner.

My strongest orgasms feel like I am exploding in a ball of blue light, an intense deep blue. The lesser orgasms are like riding an undulating wave of intensity with blue flashes here and there along the way. The strongest leave me drenched in sweat, heart pounding, and exhausted. Even the lesser ones are very exciting.

Orgasms are like rolling waves, sometimes sweet little ones, sometimes crashing thunder. They’re about sensitivity, playfulness, love, and open sharing!

There is a feeling of surfacing, emerging (maybe like birth!).

For me, orgasm is a release of tension, especially if I’m masturbating. There are definite muscle contractions, sometimes just a few, sometimes lots and lots that go on for quite a while. A very good orgasm with a partner is just completely overwhelming—I can’t even begin to describe it. I can orgasm basically whenever I want to, and sometimes in only a few seconds.

An orgasm feels like being possessed by power, and then being flooded by it or flooding it.

Trying to describe orgasms is really difficult, like trying to describe an acid trip. I usually feel tension building up—a definite tingling or tickling, mainly in the pelvic region, also in my nipples. There’sdp n=22 folio=7 ? a sense of shortness-of-breath, as though I’m very nervous. At the climax my whole body convulses. It feels like a rush of pleasure and heat starting with my clitoris and rushing quickly through my entire body, something like an electric shock. This happens in several waves with diminishing intensity. The first wave is very intense.

Orgasm is a concentrated buzz that builds to an explosion throughout my body.

Orgasm is an all-encompassing heat that increases in power and depth to an explosive and cleansing release.

Orgasm is electrifying, my body held in position, frozen solid waiting for it to end, pounding, rising, warmth, elation, laughter, wild, crazy, like nothing matters except that one moment, everything else falls away. Swept up and up, a rush to beat all rushes. Trying to hold it, hold on, and slowly having it recede to end in calm contentment.

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The how of sex has to do with getting my lover to set the stage, to prepare me emotionally first—to create a sense of safety, slowly, lovingly, attentively—to open me up physically before approaching my genitals.

Sexual responses are as varied as physical appearance, and having an orgasm is by no means all that women need from sex. However, most women want to have an orgasm or two at some point, and many do need specific kinds of stimulation. Some basic information about women’s anatomy might help you understand women’s experiences with orgasm.

We are so hung up about and divorced from our bodies in Western culture that couples are often too embarrassed to really study one another’s bodies, and end up fumbling around in the dark. Unfortunately, the erotic parts of the body don’t contain magnets that will automatically draw fingers, tongues, penises, or any other desirable object to them. And fumbling doesn’t generally lead to a delightfully sensual experience. Given dp n=24 folio=9 ? that women’s anatomy varies so much, it’s a good idea for anyone who is making love to a woman to take the time to admire what she’s got between her legs and familiarize themselves with her physical parts.

An Anatomy Review

Many people assume that female sexual organs consist of the vagina and the clitoris. In fact, the part that is actually visible from the outside is the vulva, which is comprised of the inner and outer labia, the glans of the clitoris, and the clitoral hood (which often obscures the glans until you either pull it back, or she becomes aroused). Even today, girls may grow up in total ignorance of the existence of their clitoris and vagina; in fact, for many girls, it is the use of a tampon that first introduces them to the vagina. But if they wash down there, they know what the vulva feels like.

Female Anatomy (External)

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Apart from the fact that knowing what is where greatly facilitates lovemaking, vulvas are beautiful to look at. Sadly, it is not just those who love women who need to learn to love vulvas, it is also the women who own them; many of us are repulsed by our own genitals. How can you experience sex as loving when you feel that way about your sexual parts? There are plenty of ways to go about learning to love yourself. First, familiarize yourself with your own vulva, using a mirror. You can put the mirror on the floor and squat over it, and then pull your lips aside with your fingers to see what’s really there. You may also want to check out what you look like when you are aroused because the color and shape can change quite dramatically.

Female genitals vary enormously in size, shape, color, and amount of hair. Familiarizing yourself with other women’s genitals will reassure you that yours aren’t weird. If you don’t want to or aren’t able to do this firsthand, there are several books with excellent illustrations. The best of these is Femalia (edited by Joani Blank, published by Last Gasp). Other suggestions are listed in the Resources.

Female Anatomy (Internal)

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Knowledge of anatomy also helps to make sense of sexual response. The clitoris is actually much bigger than the little nub of hard flesh (the glans) that I manipulated to achieve my first orgasm. The clitoris consists of hard tissue with legs (or wings, technically referred to as crura) that extend into the walls of the vagina and are surrounded by spongy tissue that swells when a woman is aroused. When the clitoris is erect the glans gets bigger and protrudes from under its hood.

The perineal sponge is a pad of spongy erectile tissue that lies between the rectum and the rear wall of the vagina, and the urethral sponge is another pad of spongy erectile tissue that lies between the urethral canal (which leads to the bladder) and the front wall of the vagina. They can both be felt through the walls of the vagina, and they tend to be the most erotically sensitive parts of the vagina. The part of the urethral sponge that you can feel from inside the vagina is known as the G-spot. It is homologous to the male prostate gland, and some women find it to be highly sensitive.

The sexual organs are supported by a sling of muscle called the pubococcygeal, or PC, muscle.

The word clitoris is occasionally used as a catch-all term that refers to all of a woman’s sex organs. I think this is a little confusing, but it does help to change the ridiculous perception that female genitalia consist of separate and distinct parts. The whole area is interconnected with an intricate web of muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. When the glans of the clitoris is