Few things in life are as mystical and intriguing as the phenomenon of female multiple orgasms. The lucky women who claim to have them say they are capable of turning otherwise blah sex into a blissful slice of euphoria, and the women who don't have them want to know the secret to unlocking their magic. Lots of men who sleep with women are similarly preoccupied with mastering the technique for their partners.
But how many IRL women are actually having multi-orgasmic bonanzas in the bedroom? And how can other women learn to do the same?
We may finally have some answers, thanks to a fresh batch of data sent to Mic from OMGYES, an organization which describes itself as "a touchable, online exploration of women's pleasure."
After conducting a national study of nearly 1,055 women with women of all ages (18 to 95, to be specific), OMGYES found that just under half of women (47%) are regularly having multiple orgasms during sex, or "multiple orgasms without taking a break to rest between them," a representative for OMGYES told Mic.
"So sometimes this means 1 minute later, sometimes 15 minutes — the key point being they are part of the same session, not resting and then going again," the representative told Mic.
OMGYES also conducted a separate set of interviews with approximately 1,000 women about how they achieve orgasm, which they incorporated into their findings.
"[The interviews were done] over video chat with women of all ages, around the country, where they shared insights into their sexual experiences such as how they discovered what works for them, what the a-ha moments were in their sexual journeys and what they wish all partners knew about women's pleasure," OMGYES wrote in an email sent to Mic.
Of the 53% of women who don't have multiple Os, the team determined that what's typically hindering them is a belief that they simply "can't have" them, because the refractory period (i.e. the time following the first orgasm) can make the body so sensitive that "what felt good before may actually be uncomfortable or hurt" after coming once.
Now, the researchers think they've discovered the secret to finally getting the multiple O's all women deserve: "Treat the body after the first orgasm like it's a whole new body, with different likes and dislikes."
For instance, if you were super intense with clit stimulation the first time around, achieving a second orgasm may be best achieved by taking a more gentle approach using indirect touch through the hood or surrounding skin.
In other words, mix it up! Like a salad. (But not salad-tossing. That's an entirely different realm of sexual play altogether.)
This idea of stimulating a woman's body via a diverse mix of techniques has been championed before.
"One thing I hear from a number of women in my workshops is that they wish their partners would do more clit-adjacent stimulation," sex educator Kate McCombs previously told Mic. "Often, male partners go straight for the clitoral glans without warming up the whole area first. If she's moving her pelvis away, that might be an indicator that you're providing too much direct clit stimulation."
But ultimately, the secret to a multi-orgasmic experience is going to vary from woman to woman. As Rachel Carlton Abrams, author of the Multi-Orgasmic Woman, told WebMD Live, "[A] component that is necessary for orgasm or multiple orgasm is knowing your pleasure anatomy — identifying your particular hot spots and exactly what it is that you need to do for yourself or ask for to have full pleasure."
Once you do figure out what works for you, it's probably never a good idea to overthink the situation or try too hard to achieve the desired result. "The more you want a multiple orgasm, the less likely it is that you're going to have one," gynecologist and sexual counselor Michael Krychman said in a 2014 interview with Refinery29.
Just go with the flow for a multiple O, y'know?
February 10, 2016, 10:13am: This story has been updated.