How Long Does It Take a Female to Orgasm?

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How Long Does It Take a Female to Orgasm?

The female orgasm is often touted as one of the great mysteries of life.

The female orgasm is beautiful, powerful, and a very individual experience. But if you know what you’re doing, and if you understand the physiology of the female orgasm, then you know it’s really no mystery at all.

It’s true that women take longer to orgasm. Just how long? We’ll answer that below.

So if you want to learn more about the female sexual response cycle, how long it takes the average woman to orgasm, and what you can do to improve her experience, read on.

The Female Sexual Response Cycle

To understand the female orgasm, you first must understand the female sexual response cycle. This is the cycle from start to finish (i.e. arousal to resolution).

The Excitement

In both sexes, the excitement phase is marked by an increase in heart rate, an increase in breathing rate, and a rise in blood pressure.

It is also possible to experience a sexual flush, or reddening of the skin, due to the blood pressure changes. This can happen in men and women, though it’s more common in women.

What else do women experience during this phase?

Vasocongestion (swelling of bodily tissues caused by increased blood flow) occurs so the genitals become engorged. This includes the clitoris, labia minora, and vagina. The breasts may also slightly increase in size and the nipples harden. It is at this stage that the vagina will also begin to produce a self-lubricant.

The Plateau

This phase is a continuation of the excitement phase, but the goal is a build up toward orgasm.

The effects from the previous stage, namely increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, and heightened blood pressure, will continue. An increase in muscle tension, or myotonia, will also occur as the excitement builds.

You may notice that the clitoris continues to sensitize throughout this phase and the vagina will increase its lubricant production.

The Orgasm

In both men and women, orgasm is characterized by quick, rhythmic muscle contractions in the lower pelvic muscles. This includes the sexual organs as well as the anus.

The female orgasm is strongly characterized by uterine and vaginal contractions. Women can ejaculate or squirt (two different processes) during this time, though how common this is will vary. Female ejaculation is rarer, though an estimated 10% to 54% of women squirt regularly.

Female orgasms vary widely. This is because each woman experiences orgasms in their own way, but also because it matters what type of orgasm it is (e.g. vaginal, clitoral, multiple, etc.). In general, female orgasms are described as a bodywide wave of pleasure that emanates from the groin.

The Resolution

The final stage of the sexual response cycle is resolution. In both men and women, this is characterized by muscle relaxation and a decrease in blood pressure. Over the next 20 minutes or so, the body will return to its pre-excitement level.

There is no defined refractory period for women. While the clitoris may be extremely sensitive after orgasm, it’s possible for a woman to orgasm again immediately after. This is known as multiple orgasms.

So, How Long Does It Take a Woman to Orgasm?

Okay, you know what the female sexual response cycle looks like. But how long does it take to get her there?

While a few studies have been carried out on the topic, here are the findings from one published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2020.

The eight-week study followed a group of 645 women in monogamous, heterosexual relationships from 20 countries. The average age of the women was 30 years old.

The women were given a stopwatch. They were instructed to start the stopwatch as soon as they reached full arousal and then stop the stopwatch as soon as they climaxed. Not exactly sexy, but efficient. So, what did they find?

It took anywhere from six minutes to 20 minutes for the women to reach orgasm, with an average time 13.41 minutes, or 13 minutes and 24.6 seconds.

That’s not the most important takeaway from the study, though.

Of the women who participated, 17% did not orgasm throughout the eight-week period.

Of the women who did orgasm, only 31.4% were able to climax from penis-in-vagina sex alone. The remainder of the women in the study, more than 50% of the participants, required other actions to get there. That included kissing and touching of other body parts like the clitoris.

We also learned how women were more likely to climax during penis-in-vagina sex. 42.2% of the women said that woman-on-top positions were optimal.

5 Tips to Get Your Woman to Orgasm

With what we learned above, there are a few techniques we can apply to our own sexual encounters with women. This will ensure your partner feels satisfied after each partnered sex encounter.

Focus on the Foreplay

Take note that the 2020 study mentioned above measured the time from full arousal. So the time for foreplay wasn’t included in this study, at least in a meaningful way. This means you can expect your partner to climax anywhere from six minutes to 20 minutes after foreplay has taken place.

If 20 minutes plus foreplay time seems excessive to you, then there are two things I’d suggest.

First, you need to shift your frame of mind from how much work it’ll take to get her there. Her pleasure is just as important as yours, so even if it takes an investment of time, it’s worth it.

Second, there are ways to work smarter at foreplay. That includes taking note of some of her favorite foreplay activities and using them wisely to get her to full arousal more efficiently. Of course, you shouldn’t rush the process, but there’s a difference between rushing and careful efficiency.

The time you invest in foreplay up front will pay off later in the session. So include foreplay every time to ensure her pleasure.

Pace Yourself

Now that you know just how long it can take the average woman to climax, it’s a good idea to go into foreplay and sex with a “pace yourself” attitude. This will ensure you are both able to climax during your encounter.

What this looks like will vary for each person.

If you tend to ejaculate fairly quickly – within 5 minutes of penis-in-vagina sex – then consider going down on your partner before sex. You can even take breaks during sex, like when you notice you’re getting close to climax, to break up the intensity and build up your endurance.

During these breaks, focus on servicing your partner. Explore other areas of her body. With that in mind…

Let Your Hands Wander

Even during intercourse, it’s important to let your hands wander to other sensitive areas of her body. Remember, the majority of women find it difficult to climax from penetrative sex alone. So use this time to brush her neck, kiss her gently, fondle her nipples, and, of course, stimulate her clitoris.

Spend time in each new area while taking note of her reactions. You may find new erogenous zones you’d never considered before, like the crook of her neck or her lower back.

Use Lubricant

While many women produce their own lubrication, not all women do. And even if they do, it may not be enough to ensure pain- and friction-free sex.

It never hurts to add more lubricant just before penetration. You can also add it during sex if friction becomes an issue.

The easiest way is to add it to the penis, fingers, or dildo – whatever will be penetrating her. You can also use lubricant when stimulating her nipples or clitoris. Just add a touch of it to your fingertips. The thin barrier this creates will really heighten her pleasure.

Don’t Forget the Clitoris

We’ve touched upon the clitoris above (pun intended), but let’s circle back to this nerve-packed bundle of pleasure.

Many people assume that the clitoris we see is all that’s present. The external clitoris is actually just the tip of the iceberg.

The clitoris extends internally towards the upper part of the vaginal opening. This is essentially what the g-spot is, an area within the vagina that indirectly stimulates the internal clitoris.

But g-spot stimulation doesn’t happen by accident. It requires certain angles with some sex positions being better for g-spot stimulation than others. Even with the right moves, though, orgasms may not happen without some external stimulation.

Actually, orgasm from penetration alone is rare among women. A 2017 study found that only 18% of women orgasmed from penetrative sex. That’s not a failure on the men’s part, it really is just anatomy.

So be sure to focus on the clitoris during sex, whether that’s stopping during sex to lick it or using your thumb to stimulate it while you’re penetrating her. You can also incorporate sex toys into your routine, like a clitoral stimulator, to really spice things up.


It’s a known fact that women, on average, take longer than men to climax. There are a lot of things that go into a female orgasm, even more so than a male orgasm.

So, how long does it take a female to orgasm? On average, 13 minutes and 24.6 seconds. However, everyone woman is different.

Remember that sex and pleasure is not a race to the finish line. Use your time together to truly explore her body, learn her rhythms, and increase intimacy. You will find that by enjoying the journey, the time it takes to bring her to climax is worth it.

Laura Rose Halliday

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