Did you know that the female orgasm involves over 8,000 nerve endings? Or that this moment of pleasure in women only lasts seven seconds and for the lucky few up to one minute? (Chavez, 2018)
And most importantly of all, did you know that you can have an orgasm at any age? That’s right, neither age nor menopause prevent you from enjoying it.
Here we teach you a little more about the female orgasm, the factors that influence it over the years and, of course, some strategies for reaching climax in menopause.
What is the female orgasm?
The Royal Spanish Academy defines it as the culmination of sexual pleasure. However, there are those who define it as a sensory peak of maximum pleasure that creates an altered state of consciousness accompanied by involuntary and rhythmic contractions of the entire pelvic musculature.
This happens in a transitory way, for just a few seconds, and becomes a subsequent feeling of contentment and well-being (Chávez, 2018).
Sexual response in women
There are five phases of women’s sexual responses (Gutiérrez, 2021):
- Excitement. It is the first phase and usually lasts between several minutes to hours. Here the body changes to prepare you for sexual intercourse. For example, the muscles tighten and vaginal lubrication begins. All of this can happen because of cuddling or foreplay.
- Plateau. Here, the changes that occur in the arousal phase are increased to prepare for orgasm.
- Female orgasm. A short period where there is a high sensation of pleasure accompanied by involuntary contractions of the muscles around the genitals. You may also notice that your breathing and heartbeat are faster.
- Resolution. At this stage, the body gradually returns to normal and a sense of well-being is experienced.
- Refractory period. It is a recovery period in which you can not have a female orgasm. In some women this time is very short, just a few minutes. Therefore, there are those who experience several orgasms during the same sexual encounter.
What factors are involved in achieving the female orgasm?
It is important that the first two phases of the cycle, excitement and plateau, occur normally to reach the female orgasm. For this, different physical factors must intervene, such as (Gutierrez, 2021):
- Congestion of the genitals that is caused by an increase in blood flow to the area.
- Clitoral erection also produced by an increase in blood flow.
- Vaginal lubrication generated by secretion of specialised glands.
These physical changes must be in perfect harmony with the mind and emotions, since in women the mental and emotional aspect play a fundamental role. Some factors that intervene are (Gutiérrez, 2021):
- Libido or desire to have sex.
- Stimulation. Many women who do not want to have sex can change their minds with proper stimulation; that is, after some pampering, kisses and caresses.
- Gratification. For ladies it is very important to have emotional intimacy, affection, strong self-esteem with your partner. That’s why many women feel satisfied after sex even if they don’t have an orgasm.
This explains that sexual relations in women are a combination of feelings of pleasure, thoughts and emotions; and that each of these things helps them get excited. In simple words, women experience orgasms when there is a physical, emotional and mental connection (Gutiérrez, 2021).
Menopausal changes that can make it difficult to orgasm
The Harvard Medical school (2021) also mentions that women’s sexual satisfaction during the menopause depends on both physical and mental factors. The main changes that can hinder a female orgasm can be:
Mental and emotional
As we already mentioned, this aspect influences the sexual motivation of women and their probability of having a sexual encounter. During menopause there is usually (Harvard Medical School, 2021):
- Decreased libido or sexual desire, which may be increased by the use of some medications or supplements.
- Less emotional intimacy with the partner.
- Insecurity or low self-esteem due to changes in the body.
On a physical level
During this time, a marked decrease in estrogen levels occurs. This results in changes in the mucosa of the genitals that thins and a reduction in glandular secretion. So women usually have (Torres & Torres, 2018; Harvard Medical School, 2021):
- Vaginal dryness that does not improve much, despite arousal.
- Pain or tenderness to rubbing.
- Some problems with urine loss.
- Decreased sensation of the clitoris that can make stimulation more complex
Tips to achieve an orgasm during menopause
Despite all these normal age changes, any woman can experience a female orgasm. Although you may need to try a little harder to get it than when you were younger. Some tips for reaching orgasm are (Raypole, 2021; Harvard Medical School, 2021; Ramos, 2021; Medline Plus, 2021; Martin et al., 2012):
On a physical level
- Always have a water-based vaginal lubricant on hand to relieve vaginal dryness and discomfort when it comes to penetration or touching of the genital area.
- Dare to try new things that generate different sensations, such as sex toys.
- Take some time alone to rediscover your erogenous zones and how to stimulate them. Then, teach your partner how to stimulate you.
- Spend more time cuddling and kissing prior to penetration to increase excitement.
- Practical kegel exercises that help you strengthen the pelvic floor. These are good for preventing urine leakage and even for intensifying sensations and facilitating an orgasm.
- Try stimulating the clitoris directly, with your hand, via oral sex with your partner or a sextoy.
- Try new positions until you find the one that makes you feel comfortable.
- Check if any treatment you consume may be further diminishing your desire.
- Use vaginal moisturising creams or gels to improve dryness in the area.
- Maca root, St. John’s wort and ginseng root may help increase sexual desire.
On an emotional level
- Have sincere communication with your partner. Emotional intimacy is important to have a pleasant physical connection.
- Plan and leave a special time only for sex, so as not to have your mind occupied in other tasks.
- To awaken your libido, try sharing your fantasies with your partner or doing different activities, like role-playing games or massages.
- Try to relive those erotic moments that you lived with your partner in past times.
- Melatonin, valerian, and ginseng can help improve sleep and anxiety.
And above all, enjoy! Remember that achieving an orgasm is not the ultimate goal of sex, it’s about having fun and pleasure. So take it easy, get to know yourself, experience new sensations and live a full sex life even during the menopause.
There is no doubt that menopause brings with it many changes to the body and mind that can decrease the probability of achieving a female orgasm. But the truth is that this is not impossible. With some simple tricks and patience you can gradually resume your relationships and live a full sex life.
Royal Spanish Academy. (N. d.). Orgasm. https://dle.rae.es/orgasmo
Chavez, M. (2018, November 29). Definition, types and physiology of female orgasm. Elsevier. https://www.elsevier.com/es-es/connect/medicina/tipos-y-fisiologia-del-orgasmo-femenino
Harvard Medical School. (2021, September 30). Yes, you can have better sex in midlife and in the years beyond. https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/yes-you-can-have-better-sex-in-midlife-and-in-the-years-beyond
Gutierrez, B. (2021). The human sexual response. AMF-SEMFYC. https://amf-semfyc.com/web/article_ver.php?id=158
Martin K., Pinkerton J., Santen R. (February 2012). Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Hormone.org. Available in: https://www.hormone.org/pacientes-y-cuidadores/medicina-complementaria-y-alternativa-para-sintomas-de-la-menopausia
MedLine Plus (April 14, 2021). Menopause management at home. Available in: https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/ency/patientinstructions/000392.htm
Katerina S. (November 15, 2021). 5 medicinal plants that help you increase sexual desire. Mejorconsalud.as. Available in: https://mejorconsalud.as.com/5-plantas-medicinales-te-ayudan-aumentar-deseo-sexual/
Raypole, C. (2021, May 14). Yes, you can have an orgasm after menopause-heres how. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/can-a-woman-have-an-orgasm-after-menopause
Torres, A. & Torres, R. (2018, April). Climacteric and menopause. Revista de la Facultad de Medicina (Mexico), 61(2), 51-58. http://www.scielo.org.mx/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0026-17422018000200051&lng=es&tlng=es