Tips to Reach Orgasm for the LGBTQ+ Community

By Dr. Josh LGBTQ Community

A few months ago, I wrote about the supposedly elusive female orgasm. While it is true that most people know very little about the female orgasm, even less is known about orgasmic function in people not having traditional penovaginal intercourse. Having just come out of Pride Month, a celebration well deserved after months of isolation due to the pandemic, what better way to continue the celebration of LGBTQ+ people than to discuss how orgasmic function can be different for this community. 

I have also previously written about the lack of medical knowledge regarding LGBTQ+ sexual health. With most of our medical education focusing on HIV and STI treatment and prevention, very little energy is put into something as crucial to LGBTQ+ sexual health as the orgasm.  Several national studies in the United States have found that men (all types) report experiencing orgasm during sexual activity much more frequently than women (Garcia 2014; Herbenick 2010; Frederick 2017). However, little is known about orgasm frequency as it relates to differences in gender and sexual orientation. This is an important disparity as understanding factors linked to orgasm frequency can inform debates around LGBTQ+ sexual health and future direction for medical research on the topic. 

The goal of this discussion about sexual pleasure is to highlight some important differences in orgasm between LGBTQ+ people and those engaging in more “traditional” heterosexual practices.   

Orgasm and Gender and Sexual Orientation Differences 

The pattern of men orgasming more frequently following sexual arousal than compared to women is true no matter how those men identify (Frederick 2017), and this so-called “orgasm gap” is pretty stark. Heterosexual men report usually or always orgasm with sexual intimacy 95% of the time, followed by gay men (89%) and bisexual men (88%). For women, heterosexuals report usually or always orgasming with sexual intimacy only 65% of the time, but that number is higher among lesbians (86%) and bisexuals (66%).

Let’s break those big O numbers down to understand them better. The “orgasm gap” between heterosexual men and women is a shocking 30%! The gap between male subcategories is less impressive, with at most a 7% difference between heterosexual and gay or bisexual men. But perhaps the most interesting finding is the discrepancy between female groups, with lesbian women reporting orgasm rates more similar to men compared to bisexual or heterosexual women.

It is easy to assume that men achieve orgasm easier simply because they are men, but that is not consistent with medical literature on the topic. If that were true, then why do lesbian women behave more like men than other females? Might it have less to do with gender and more to do with specific sexual positions and practices?

It is important to note that the data above leaves out trans men and women as well as gender non-binary and gender non-conforming people. Virtually nothing has been written on orgasmic function for these groups specifically. One study found that difficulties achieving orgasm in trans women and men were 29% and 15%, respectively (Kerckhof 2019). However much more research needs to be done to understand sexual function in these non-cisgender groups.

Intense Orgasms and Sexual Practices 

Communication between partners may affect orgasmic function. Some studies have suggested that sexual communication among couples experiencing orgasmic dysfunction is lacking (Kelly 2004). However, there is very little data demonstrating the role of partner communication in achieving orgasm. Despite this, many researchers still promote the idea that communication helps increase the likelihood of better orgasms. 

Variety in sexual practices is also thought to help improve orgasm. One study found that women who orgasmed more frequently reported receiving more oral sex and incorporating additional sexual behaviors such as engaging in sexy talk, trying new sex positions, and receiving anal stimulation (Frederick 2017). 

Other factors that research has suggested improve orgasmic function include age (i.e., younger men and older women tend to report greater orgasm frequency), education, and relationship satisfaction. With this knowledge in mind, I’ve outlined a few easy orgasm tips on how to improve your overall experience and your sex life, particularly if you identify as LGBTQ+.

Orgasm Tips to Up Your Game

1. Know your anatomy 

Our bodies are full of erogenous zones. Sex and the big O involve more than just our genitals. Relevant anatomy includes the lips, neck, breasts, nipples, labia, clitoris, penis, testicles vestibule, vagina, cervix, uterus, anus, and rectum, just to name a few. Different people can experience pleasure and orgasms from stimulation of any or all of these areas. When we assume penovaginal sex is the primary model for sexual pleasure and orgasm, we completely miss all these other important body parts. Thinking about these other areas can dramatically change and enhance your orgasmic experience.

Take anal sex as an example. While it is more common among men who have sex with men, not all homosexual men engage in anal sex, and it is not uncommon among heterosexual partners. The internal and external anal sphincters control the opening and closing of the anus and are abundant in nerve endings that can facilitate pleasure or pain. Many of these nerve endings are richest around the anal opening, but the outermost part of the rectum also has them. The anus and adjacent rectum both have the ability to expand and are very sensitive to pressure. When it comes to intense orgasms, If you have a prostate, the pleasure from anal penetration can be even more intense as this erotic gland is easily stimulated through the rectal wall.

So, take a minute to explore your body and these erogenous zones for better orgasms.

2. Practice on your own first

Orgasm isn’t always easy and can take practice. Once you’ve made yourself familiar with your body, figure out which areas feel best when touched or probed. Masturbation is a way for you to figure out what you like so that you can communicate your needs and desires to your partner. Figuring out what feels good on your own will only enhance your orgasm come game time with your partner.

3. Add some flare

Incorporating sexual toys and lubricants can definitely level up your orgasms. Vibrating toys can increase sensitivity and allow stimulation of anatomical parts not being tended to by your partner. For instance, consider stimulating your clitoris with a vibrating toy while your partner performs oral sex or provides manual stimulation elsewhere. Similarly, wearing a vibrating constriction ring while your penis penetrates your partner can enhance your orgasm and theirs. 

Lubricants are also an important factor often overlooked. Many people feel like they may be somehow deficient if they use external lubricants, but nothing could be further from the truth.  Think of lube as a sexual enhancer, not a crutch! Lubricants can enhance sensitivity by creating different sensations like a warming or cooling effect. Some can even help delay ejaculation, which can be helpful for those with premature ejaculation. They can help reduce friction and allow for easier, less uncomfortable penetration. And they can even add a yummy taste!

4. Don’t forget about intimacy

It is important to remember that orgasm is both a physical and psychological phenomenon.  Body parts are important of course, but so is intimacy with the person providing the stimulation. A 2018 study reported that women who receive daily affection from and/or have intimate communication with a partner tend to have better sexual function (McCool-Myers 2018). Intimate acts like kissing or cuddling have been linked to sexual satisfaction in both men and women (Heiman 2011). Some people even report increased orgasms simply from providing their partner satisfaction. 

We have a long way to go in terms of understanding LGBTQ+ sexual health, including orgasm.  A great deal of work needs to be done specifically around trans and gender non-binary and non-conforming communities. I hope you have found this information helpful and that our LGBTQ+ readers will use some of the advice above to optimize their orgasmic function.   


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McCool-Myers, M., Theurich, M., Zuelke, A. et al. Predictors of female sexual dysfunction: a systematic review and qualitative analysis through gender inequality paradigms. BMC Women’s Health 18, 108 (2018).