A study of 251 sexually active French women aged 18 to 67 has established that women who regularly reach orgasm seem to be more focused on their bodily sensations during intercourse.
The women in the study – 176 who defined themselves as “orgasmic,” and 75 who defined themselves as “not orgasmic”- answered questions about the emotions, thoughts and behaviors that typically play a role in being able to orgasm, during both sex and self-stimulation.
The researchers also found that the women in the study who regularly reached orgasm during sex reported having more erotic thoughts when they were having intercourse than those who did not have orgasms regularly during sex. However, both groups of women reported having equal amounts of erotic thoughts during self-stimulation without their partners present.
The researchers did not expect that the cognitive aspect of orgasm in women would be as important as the results suggested,
Study author Pascal De Sutter, a professor at the department of sexology and family science at the University of Louvain in Belgium said “It seems that women have no problem focusing on erotic fantasies when they are on their own, but women who do not have regular orgasms during intercourse seem to have more difficulties focusing their attention on the present moment when they have sex with their partners”
She also suggested that concerns about their looks and weight may also distract some women.
The results align with existing research, published in September 2011 in the journal Sexologies, which found a link between the lack of erotic thoughts during intercourse and difficulty in reaching orgasm for women. The study also determined that the women who had difficulties reaching orgasm were more likely to be distracted by thoughts during intercourse that were not related to sex.
Elke Reissing, the director of the Human Sexuality Research Laboratory at the University of Ottawa, suggests that mindfulness approaches to the treatment of sexual dysfunction might be helpful for women who have trouble achieving orgasm. Mindfulness techniques could help women focus on the present moment during sex and thus increase their arousal and reach orgasm.
The study also found that younger women are more likely to experience problems having orgasms than older women. This suggests that there is a learning aspect to being able to reach orgasm more reliably, for instance, by using erotic thoughts.
The new findings were published in the June issue of the journal Sexologies.