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Why your orgasms are nothing like your friend’s (and why that matters)



It’s time to stop listening to your friend who has “like seven orgasms” every time she has sex and keeps telling you to “just loosen up!”

It turns out your unique neural pathways may have more to do with your ability to orgasm than your neuroses (although those do play a role, too). In her recently re-released book, Vagina, famed feminist writer Naomi Wolf embarks on a journey to understand female sexual response. And what she finds is that recent research highlights the complexity of the pelvic nerve, the collection of neural pathways that connect those sensitive areas to your spinal cord, and eventually, your brain, where the sensation of pleasure is created.

Naomi Wolf Vagina sex science book“Among the many incredible things about your incredible pelvic nerve is that as we saw, it is completely unique for every individual woman on earth—no two women are alike,” Wolf writes. Some women have more nerve endings in their clitoris, some in their vagina, and some in the perineal area, in all kinds of combinations.

So why does this matter? If you don’t know anything about your own neural map, having deep, stress-releasing, world-illuminating, happiness-boosting orgasms will prove elusive (and you’ll end up blaming yourself, an awful option).

“I think the number one thing contributing to why women don’t have fulfilling sex lives is that they don’t spend enough time getting to know their own bodies and what makes them feel good,” says Emily Morse, host of Sex with Emily and co-founder of Emily & Tony (try the Aromatherapy Massage Candles, trust me).

We tapped her expertise for easy tips on how you can start to change that.

Emily Morse (Photo: Sex with Emily)
Emily Morse (Photo: Sex with Emily)

1. Stop comparing your experiences to your friend’s. Since science says sexual response is varied, “nothing is normal,” Morse says. So stop assuming what makes your friend feel good (or what magazine cover lines promise) will also work for you. “If you put 100 women in a room and you watched them masturbate, they’d all be doing something different and they’d all orgasm differently,” she says. Umm, we don’t exactly recommend that, but you get the point.

2. Masturbate. Yup. How is anyone else going to figure you out if you haven’t provided a road map? Spend some time really experimenting and figuring out what feels best, Morse says. It’s not like you won’t have fun in the process.

3. Communicate. Once you know more about what really floats your boat, get comfortable with sharing the details with your partner. “Someone else he dated might have wanted something totally different than you do,” says Morse. He or she is not a mind reader, and the science is sort of stacked against them. Plus, there may be an added benefit, since Morse says people consistently tell her that one of the biggest turn-ons is “when a woman is confident in the bedroom and tells you what she wants.” Lean in? —Lisa Elaine Held

For more information, visit or check out Naomi Wolf’s re-released book, Vagina