Female Anatomy and Orgasm

There’ve been a lot of stories recently about a study that says a woman’s ability to have an orgasm from intercourse comes down to her sexual anatomy. I know this issue has been a source of frustration in some marriages, so I’m doing a post about it.

The idea that a woman’s ability to orgasm during intercourse is based how close her clitoris is to her vagina has been around almost 100 years. The new study did statistical work on data from two previous studies and found strong support for the hypothesis. The distance measured was from the glans of the clitoris to the urethra. The “magic number” is 1″ (2.5 cm). Women whose clitoris is this close or closer to their urethra are likely to orgasm from intercourse alone. Closer means more likely, further means less likely. At 3 cm, a bit less than 1¼”, the chance of orgasm from intercourse without added stimulation is essentially zero.

Woman's hands grasping bed sheets © volkovslava | stock.adobe.com

The best guess for why women vary this way is exposure to androgens during gestation. The more testosterone a baby girl gets while in the womb, the further her clitoris will be from her urethra. This means a woman’s ability to orgasm from intercourse alone is set at birth

Let me repeat: your ability or inability to orgasm during intercourse is because you were born that way. It’s not about your maturity, or how your husband is hung. It’s not about his skill or your emotions. It’s not about how you did or didn’t masturbate as a teen or how many men you might have been with before you got married. Either you were born to orgasm from intercourse alone or you were not. Period. End of subject.

I hope this news bring significant relief to many of you. If you don’t orgasm from just intercourse you’re not broken and you’re not less of a woman. If intercourse alone has never gotten you there, especially if you’ve tried being on top, odds are it never will. But you can make it happen if you and hubby are willing to work at it. A vibrator between your bodies in face-to-face sex will give you what you need to climax. You could also try the coital alignment technique, a variation of missionary position that gives greater clitoral stimulation  Or, you can enjoy orgasm before or after intercourse – or both before AND after! 

~ Paul – I’m XY, and yes I will post about this on The Generous Husband 

Female Sexual Arousal: Genital Anatomy and Orgasm in Intercourse | NCBI 

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16 Comments on “Female Anatomy and Orgasm

  1. This raises the question in my mind of how orgasm becomes more common in some women as they age.

    • @Tom – Certainly some of it is about her attitude and greater freedom, but there’s also a physical component. The clitoris continues to grow throughout life. The details of this have not been studied well, but we do know pregnancy causes growth. Some sources say that at menopause a woman’s clitoris is more than twice as big as it was when she was 18.
      The other side of this is her husband. As he grows in skill and selflessness sex gets better and easier for her!
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Friday Flashback: Self-DisclosureMy Profile

      • @Paul – When you say the clitoris continues to grow throughout life it makes me think of ears and noses. That aside, is it the tip of the clitoris that continues to grow or do the “legs” grow as well? And pregnancy causing growth makes me think God is underscoring that young moms to be recharged and refreshed through sex with their husband. This is fascinating. I’d love to do some more reading on this. Any suggested studies or sources?

        • @Melanie – I’ve had a hard time tracking down hard data on this. This is why I didn’t mention it in the post, and gave a qualifier in my comment. It reads like one of those things everyone repeats, and I have been unable to track it to a solid study. No one has done a study just on this issue. Some studies, such as the one listed below, found no age-related difference, but the age range on some such studies was small. The way to prove or disprove it would be to measure a number of women from 18 to after menopause. It may be the whole thing is an artifact of the fact that as a group, older women would have given birth more than younger ones.

          There’s one good study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1603495) that showed an increase in the length and circumference of the glans in women who had given birth. This study predates a good understanding of the full extent of the clitoris, so it was not part of what they measured. However, Australian urologist Helen O’Connell has shown the size of the glans directly tracks with the size of the legs, so there is good reason to think it’s everything.
          Paul Byerly recently posted…Her Multiple Orgasm PathsMy Profile

  2. I was married five years before I even knew there were woman who could orgasm during normal sex. I know I never will. The two have nothing to do with each other for me. I just assumed everyone “took turns”.

  3. I know someone who believes that all women ought to be able to climax during PIV alone because it is as God intended. She claims that once she ceased doing all the other sinful things (like manual and oral), she was able to climax via intercourse alone at the same time as her husband just about every time. And if women just stop believing the lie that they need porno-homosexual stuff, they too can climax via PIV.

    She claims I need to repent and come clean from dependence on non PIV sexual activities and eventually I will learn to climax through PIV alone. Considering hubby refuses oral and manual anyway (I masturbate during PIV to climax, but tried going without doing so to see if I could learn through piv alone) I had opportunity to try her theory. In some ways it is sort of true. I learned to feel different pleasures and even have unsatisfying mini-O’s from time to time.

    I wish I could have those big, satisfying I’s through PIV alone. Hubby understands this anatomical science, but doesn’t like it and kind of feels he got a “broken wife.” He could have gotten a woman who has the magic spacing and could O through PIV, but he got me. And maybe if I just “try hard enough” I would O easily like he does…..

    • @libl – Early on we bought into the “it’s how God made women to work” lie, and even promoted it in a softer gentler version. We have long since changed what we think and teach. This survey just provides the irrefutable proof. Of course, some will still deny it. Maybe if you repent just right God will move things around to where they “are supposed to be”. (Ugh)
      The reality is less than half of women are under the magic number. Not being able to climax from intercourse alone is actually the norm.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Friday Flashback: Self-DisclosureMy Profile

  4. Pingback: Best Christian Sex Links of the Week | Married Christian Sex

  5. Ugh, why are so many Christians convinced that anything but PIV is wrong and bad? Paul, any writings on where these lies come from? Obviously different things work for different people, but I have never understood why so many Christians are so against anything but PIV when it comes to sex. Keep in mind, I’m not down playing the importance of intercourse, just wondering about the other.

    • @Alicia – The Catholic church teaches (taught) it’s wrong for a man to ejaculate anywhere other than the vagina. I suspect there is some holdover from that.
      The other thing is guilt over sex, especially enjoying sex “too much”. Intercourse is a necessary evil to make babies, so it gets a pass. Anything else is unnecessary and therefore suspect at best.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Sex on an Old Army Cot?My Profile

  6. This does not bring me relief. It just makes me angry with God.

    • @Anonymous – I get that.
      To me, the bigger question is why some women are born with a frustrating distance. I suspect it’s not what God intended, and like so many other things is a result of how sin has broken what God created.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Balance and Order: Less is MoreMy Profile

      • “If you don’t orgasm from just intercourse you’re not broken and you’re not less of a woman.” versus….

        “I suspect it’s not what God intended, and like so many other things is a result of how sin has broken what God created.”

        Your two statements are at odds with each other. Either way, I’m either broken, or I feel cheated.

        • @Anonymous – Yeah, I see what you mean – bad choice of words.
          If I were both with one arm because of a birth defect I would not be as God had intended. The birth defect would be a result of sin breaking how God designed us. HOWEVER, that would not mean I was less of a man and the struggles that came with only having one arm would not mean I was broken in some way I could fix by force of will or changing how I think.
          In the same way, I think being born with a clitoris further way from the vagina is not what God intended and is because of sin. I understand feeling cheated – I’d likely feel cheated if I had only one arm. But it does not make you less of a woman and any struggle you have because of this is not about your mind or will. It’s how your body is and there are ways to deal with it. I pray you and your husband can explore and find ways to make sex awesome for both of you.
          Paul Byerly recently posted…Do You Feel Appreciated?My Profile

  7. Pingback: From the XY code blog, female anatomy and orgasm – missingsanta

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