Q&A: Ways To Orgasm Without Having Intercourse

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QUESTION: Can a virgin orgasm if her clitoris is stimulated? My girlfriend and I have never had sex, but we’re interested in finding ways for her to orgasm.

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The path to intercourse doesn't require intercourse

People generally think of a virgin as a woman or a man who has not intercourse, although there are different definitions for virginity that people sometimes use.

Regardless of your definition of virginity – in other words, regardless of whatever sexual behavior you have or have not done (such as had vaginal intercourse) – women and men can experience sexual pleasure and sometimes even orgasm from a variety of different types of stimulation.

So yes, even though your girlfriend has not had sex, she is still likely capable of experiencing orgasm from different types of sexual stimulation, such as stimulation of her clitoris.

Difficulty with Orgasm During Intercourse

Let’s back up a few steps, though. First, it may be helpful for you to know that many women find it difficult to orgasm during intercourse. It’s not uncommon for it to take months or years for a woman to learn to orgasm at all, let alone from vaginal sex.

Second, women often find it easier to orgasm from direct stimulation of the glans clitoris, which is the part of the clitoris that one can see from the outside. The glans clitoris is usually about a quarter or half of an inch long and is often quite sensitive to the touch. Because it’s such a sensitive body part, not all women like to be touched directly on the clitoris – or if they do, they may prefer certain types of touch over others.

Don’t Pressure Her

As such, if you and your girlfriend talk about your ideas about sexual intimacy and decide that you want to try clitoral stimulation, keep a few things in mind. Try not to pressure her to have an orgasm, as it can take time for women to develop an orgasmic response to sexual stimulation.

Try instead to think of your sexual exploration as a chance to find out what feels pleasurable and enjoyable for each of you. You might also try different types of touch – gentle but first pressure on each other’s bodies, light touches, quick touches, slow strokes, or other types of touch that you discover together.

Try Oral Sex

Oral sex is another possible way of stimulating women’s or men’s genitals. Again, there is no one way to do it so exploration is often helpful.

Because it is possible to pass sexually transmissible infections, or STIs, during oral sex, you’ll want to make sure that neither one of you has an STI before deciding to have oral sex. If either of you have ever had any type of oral, vaginal or anal sex with other people, then you should get tested for STIs before getting sexually involved with each other.

Remember: there is no one way that sex has to happen, and you two are free to invent your sex play in a way that fits with your values, your feelings for each other, and your ideas about how you want to relate to each other sexually.

Further Reading

To learn more about sexuality, check out The Guide to Getting It On.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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