Improving Your Sexual Health 187
How a woman’s body responds to sexual pleasure
Sex often begins with kissing, touching, talking, or looking in a
way that makes a person feel excited. Different women respond
differently to sexual thoughts and touch. A woman may begin
to breathe harder, and her heart may begin to beat faster. Her
nipples and skin can become very sensitive.
The clitoris gets hard and may swell, and the lips and walls of clitoris
the vagina become wet and sensitive to touch. If sexual touch
and thought continue, sexual tension can build up until she
reaches a peak of pleasure and has an orgasm (comes).
When a man reaches his peak of sexual excitement, his penis vagina
releases a mixture of sperm and other fluid called semen. If this
happens inside or near a woman’s vagina, his sperm can swim
into her womb or tubes, and fertilize an egg, making her pregnant.
It often takes longer for a woman to reach orgasm than a man.
But when orgasm happens, the energy and tension in her body
For many women,
touching the clitoris
is the best or only
way to have an
releases, and she feels relaxed and full of pleasure.
It is possible for almost all women to have orgasms, but many
women never have them or have them only once in a while.
If she wants, a woman may be able to learn how to have an
orgasm, either by touching herself (see the next page), or by
letting her partner know what feels good.
➤ A woman can
have sex with a
partner of the
opposite sex, the
same sex, or with
There are many ways to become sexually excited:
• touching: along with other sensitive parts of the body (for example, the ears,
the back of the neck or the feet), you can stroke and rub your own or your
partner’s genitals. A woman’s nipples and clitoris, and the tip of a man’s penis
are often the most sensitive places.
• oral sex: one partner (or both) puts his or her mouth on the other’s genitals
and licks or sucks.
• sex in the vagina: a man puts his penis inside a woman’s vagina. There are
many positions for doing this. It is how a woman gets pregnant, and is what
most people think of when they think of ‘sex’.
• sex in the anus: a man puts his penis inside his partner’s anus. This can be
painful and must be done very slowly and carefully (and with lubricant) so the
anus does not tear. If you have sex in the vagina after having sex in the anus,
it is important to put on a new condom or wash the man’s penis first so the
woman does not get an infection in the vagina or bladder.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012