Women can attain orgasm through several different stimulating means and forms. To date, the female orgasm remains a topic of intense scientific interest. Physicians are puzzling over the various ways that women can achieve orgasm and the issues that prevent orgasm in women.
According to Michael Ingber, MD, a fellow of the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health and a specialist in urology and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery at the Atlantic Health System in Morristown, New Jersey, when women do climax, "there are changes in the body, a kind of head-to-toe sensation."
One way that women can achieve climax is through a four-step goal-oriented cycle first defined decades ago by the sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson.
A woman initiates or agrees to sex in this state of lust or anticipation and when it starts she finds herself concentrating primarily on sexual stimulation.
Blood begins touching the clitoris, breasts, and nipples and produces a sexual flush full-body and there is an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
These processes include testosterone and neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, says Dr. Ingber.
This is the second stage of the climax. Sexual tension is built up as a precursor to orgasm.
The outer one-third of the vagina is engorged with blood, forming what researchers term the "orgasmic base". All other sensations are drowned out due to a focus on sexual stimuli. Heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration increase.
A series of rhythmic contractions occur inside the muscles of the uterus, vagina, and pelvic floor. The sexual stress triggered by releases of lovemaking or self-stimulation, and muscles will contract all over the body.
A sensation of warmth usually emanates from the pelvis and spreads all over the body.
The body relaxes and blood flows away from the reproductive organs that have been engorged that cause respiration, heart rate and blood pressure to return to normal.
Women are endowed with bodies capable in more ways than one of achieving orgasm. Some researchers think as many as 12 forms of female orgasms exist.
The most popular form is an orgasm which is "clitoral," says Ingber. "I believe clitoral stimulation [might produce] the closest equivalent to male orgasm, release happens at the erectile tissue and post which it becomes painful to keep going", says Steven R. Goldstein, MD, director of gynecological ultrasound and co-director of bone densitometry at Langone Medi University in New York.
But some women can experience orgasm via vaginal stimulation as well. One group of researchers credit the G-spot, a field identified and defined by Beverly Whipple, Ph.D., RN, an emeritus professor at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey, and a former president of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT).
According to Dr. Whipple, an area felt through the wall of the vagina, one inch or two behind the back of the pubic bone near the junction of the bladder and urethra, and made up of clitoris tissues, urethra, and female prostate gland.
Some researchers believe that the G-spot causes intense sexual pleasure in some women when stimulated; others question whether women can feel this pleasure at all.
Although there are physical problems that can prevent a woman from experiencing orgasm, emotions can also play a part.
Many sex researchers say anxiety and depression can prevent a woman from advancing along the continuum of sexual response, says Ingber.
Like men with erectile dysfunction, often women may have trouble having enough blood flow or sustaining it, says Ingber. Additionally, the off-label use of topical testosterone may be recommended for women, especially postmenopausal women, who have little sexual desire.
And an FDA-approved therapy called Addyi (flibanserin) in women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) can be effective for low libido, says Ingber.
Every woman needs a certain amount of pleasure in intercourse and feelings or emotions play an important role in causing an orgasm.