Unlocking the Female Orgasm: Is a Woman's Sexual Satisfaction a Mind Game?

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The purpose of an orgasm, Komisaruk theorized, is that it provides pleasure, ensuring reproduction.

"Sexual activity has to be pleasurable. It can't be aversive," he said. "If it were aversive, animals wouldn't do it. Humans wouldn't do it. So pleasure, per se, is an extremely important physiological process."

But there seems to be a bit of a Catch-22 for married women; studies have shown that having a new lover improves your sexual arousal. Watching pornography can also help. But if a woman is uncomfortable with porn, sex experts suggest using a vibrator.

Today, the only FDA-approved device for female orgasms involves a small vacuum-like contraption, the EROS Clitoral Therapy Device. Most experts don't think there ever will be a pill for women.

Both Sukel and Canner agree that if women are simply open with their partners about what they are willing to try and enjoy, they might be able to reach orgasm more often.

"We often hesitate to talk about sex and teach our partners what works for us," Canner said.

Nan Wise, who works with Komisaruk's team, said, "Sex is so important. We need to get over our anxiety and our distress about sex, because when people are uncomfortable with sex and uncomfortable with their bodies, they're uncomfortable with themselves. They're uncomfortable with each other. We live in a country where people are really obsessed about sex and also very hung up about it. So I think we need to get over that."

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