Not necessary: There are little tricks that can help you learn how to have a better orgasm. (Yes, more frequently, too.) Hell, it might even improve your relationship.
"In my clinical experience, a lack of orgasm or an orgasm imbalance in a relationship leads to anger, resentment, and frustration with one's partner,” says New York City sex therapist Ian Kerner, Ph.D., author of She Comes First.
While there are certain things your partner can do to help you out in this situation, you can also take matters into your own hands.
1. Prioritise cuddling.
Oxytocin—also known as the "love hormone"—might be the key to better orgasms, according to a study in the journal Hormones and Behavior. The study found that couples who received oxytocin in a nasal spray had more intense orgasms than couples who took a placebo.
Since you probably don't have oxytocin nasal spray on your nightstand, try giving yourself the same jolt of the hormone naturally by hugging, cuddling, or making other gestures to show your love to your partner. Your sex life will thank you. Your orgasms will surprise you.
2. Take an orgasm ‘break.’
It seems counterintuitive, but “sometimes taking a masturbation and orgasm break for a day or two can be a good ‘refresh,’” Kerner says. “I've noticed in both men and women that they report stronger orgasms during masturbation after taking a short break.” If you can, try taking sex or solo love off the table for a day or so and see where that gets you. This simple reset may be just what you need to ramp things up.
3. Focus on your clitoris.
Your clitoris, that little nub at the top of your inner vaginal lips, can spark some serious pleasure. So, focus on sex positions that directly stimulate it, suggests Jennifer Wider, M.D. “That can provide a consistent orgasm in the majority of women,” she says.
4. Use a vibrator.
After all, they exist to give you orgasms. “For many, vibrators increase the frequency and intensity of orgasms—whether you’re alone or with a partner,” says Jess O’Reilly, Ph.D., host of the @SexWithDrJess Podcast. Look for one that either targets your clitoris, G-spot, or both, she says.
5. Think about your cycle.
If you feel like your orgasms have been meh or not even there lately, consider trying to time sex around your cycle. “A woman's libido peaks during ovulation and her chances of having an orgasm will go up during this time period,” Wider says. (If you’re not trying to make a baby, just make sure you’re covered on protection during this time.)
6. Don’t hold back on the lube.
“Lube leads to higher levels of arousal, pleasure, and satisfaction,” O’Reilly says. Not only that, it’s a pretty handy tool to have in the bedroom. “You can safely engage in a wider range of acts, techniques, and positions when you use lubricant,” O’Reilly says. “This variety is also linked with more orgasms and greater sexual satisfaction.”
7. Slow down the foreplay.
Having an orgasm requires a few key ingredients, Kerner says: vasocongestion (i.e. blood flow to your pelvis), myotonia (muscular tension throughout your body), and turning on your brain's natural opiate system (that aforementioned love hormone). “Let all of that simmer and emphasize gradual building up arousal rather than a race to orgasm,” he suggests. The end result will be worth the wait.
8. Whip out a fantasy.
Adding a little psychological stimulation to the equation can help enhance physical stimulation, which is why Kerner recommends fantasising on your own or with your partner. “Fantasy is also a powerful way to take your mind off other stressors or any other anxieties you may be experiencing,” he says. And, for the record, “it's okay to fantasise about someone other than the person you're having sex with,” Kerner says. (Maybe just keep that info to yourself.)
9. Take some senses out of the equation.
“The simple act of turning off the lights, closing your eyes, using a blindfold, or wearing sound-cancelling headphones can help you to be more mindful and in the moment during sex—and lead to bigger, stronger orgasms,” O’Reilly says. “This is because the deprivation of one sense can heighten another, so when you remove your sense of sight or sound, you may naturally tune into the physical sensations of the sexual encounter. “
10. Feel yourself up in the shower.
Sure, you shower to get clean, but take a minute or so to embrace your body when you’re in there. “It’s very simple: as you shower, rather than touching to wash, take one minute touch for sensuality and pleasure,” O’Reilly says. “Feel your skin as the warm water drapes itself over it. Take a deep breath and bask in the heat and warmth that surrounds your entire body.” This can help you de-stress and get in touch with what feels good to you—and that can do you a solid when you’re in bed later, she says.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US.