Top Sex Tips for Women’s Orgasms: Masturbate, Vibrate, Communicate

Let’s talk about sexual pleasure. 

The World Congress of Sexual Health (WAS) defines sexual pleasure as “… the physical and/or psychological satisfaction and enjoyment derived from shared or solitary erotic experiences, including thoughts, fantasies, dreams, emotions, and feelings.”  

WAS also declared that “access to sources of sexual pleasure is part of human experience and subjective well-being” and “sexual pleasure is a fundamental part of sexual rights as a matter of human rights.”

In short, sexual pleasure isn’t frivolous. In fact, it’s an essential aspect of well-being and a fundamental human right. Still, research tells us that people born with a vagina and/or identify as a woman are experiencing much less sexual pleasure than people born with a penis and/or identify as a man.


Now, let’s talk about the orgasm gap.

Did you know that when a study published in Women & Health study reported that : 39% of the women versus 91% of the men said they always or usually always orgasm during a sexual encounter. So, why is this happening? A passage from my book, Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters–And How To Get It, dives into the most important cause of the orgasm gap: 

“Our cultural overvaluing of intercourse (men’s most reliable route to orgasm) and our cultural devaluing of clitoral stimulation (women’s most reliable route to orgasm).”

While including the concept of pleasure in sex education and advocating for more realistic media images of women’s pleasure are foundational ways to close the orgasm gap culturally. There are also key ways you can take matters into your own hands (literally). If you have a vulva, below you will find three science-based tips to close the orgasm gap and empower you to orgasm in your own life…



A great deal of research on effective strategies for helping women learn to orgasm points to “directed masturbation” as the strategy with the most scientific support. Directed masturbation is simply giving sex therapy clients the “homework” of pleasuring themselves. For those who are hesitant to dive in (no pun intended), this can occur gradually, with steps to take prior to masturbation including:

1) Seeing images of other women’s genitals (for example at the site gynodiversity)
2) Learning about how other women masturbate
3) Looking at one’s own genitals with a mirror.

All of these initial steps are followed by increasingly intense solo-stimulation, with one’s hands, lubricants (because female genitals are not meant to be touched dry), and vibrators.



Many women don’t orgasm until using a clitoral vibrator. Clitorises respond exquisitely well to the sensation of vibration.  And, the research is extremely clear.  Women who use vibrators have easier and more frequent orgasms; and a partner’s acceptance of their female partner’s vibrator use is highly related to her sexual satisfaction.



Masturbating — with or without a vibrator — can be done alone, and reaching orgasm alone is the first step to learning to orgasm with a partner.  However, transferring one’s self-pleasure to partner-pleasure requires good communication. As I say in both my books, “Communication is the bedrock to make your bed rock!”  

The research is clear on this point: Good sexual communication is highly related to sexual satisfaction and orgasm rate. A partner can’t start the process of acceptance until their female partner communicates her needs to them. And, while many women say they feel pushy telling partners (especially new partners) about their need for clitoral stimulation, many say they are turned on by such instructions. In short, to orgasm alone you just need your hands and a vibrator, yet to orgasm with a partner you will need to tell your partner what you like and want.  

What every woman needs to orgasm is a bit different and even what one woman needs can vary from encounter to encounter, so it’s critical to be able to communicate your needs sexually. As I say in Becoming Cliterate, the most essential step to reaching orgasm with a partner is getting the same type of stimulation you get alone.  And, the way to get that is to communicate!

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Let’s make it a goal to bring sexual pleasure to the forefront, even and perhaps especially, in these trying times that 2020 has brought. Sexual pleasure is the gift that keeps giving (and coming, pun intended). Get yours today by masturbating, vibrating, and communicating and be sure to throw in some lube too for good measure or rather, good pleasure.



Meet the author...

Meet the author...

Dr. Laurie Mintz is a feminist professor, authorspeaker, and therapist. As a tenured Professor at the University of Florida, she teaches the Psychology of Human Sexuality to hundreds of undergraduate students each year. She is the author of two popular press books—both written with the aim of empowering women sexually: Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters and How to Get It (HarperOne, 2017) and A Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex: Reclaim Your Desire and Reignite Your Relationship (Adams Media, 2009). With this same goal of providing scientifically-accurate, sex-positive information to enhance female pleasure, Dr. Mintz writes a popular Psychology Today blog and gives presentations and workshops to professionals and lay audiences, including a recent TEDx talk. Finally, for over 30 years, Dr. Mintz has also maintained a small private practice, working with both individuals and couples on general and sexual issues.