The secret to a woman’s orgasm might be more complex than we all thought — especially for many boyfriends/husbands out there. Less than 25 percent of women say that they always orgasm during sex, and there are still only a few resources for women trying to achieve that oh-so-invigorating moment. Delving deeper into possible biological causes to the problem, a recent study finds that women who had difficulty reaching orgasm also tended to have smaller clitorises, which were also located further from the vagina.

Although most people should be familiar with the clitoris’ extra-sensitive external part, called the glans, few know that it extends beneath the skin, into a wishbone-like shape. Beyond the glans, there’s the body, which curves downward toward the vaginal opening. From where it curves, it splits into a wishbone-like structure called the crura (plural for crus), which extends outwards, and is mostly associated with urethral and perineal tissue, and nerves and ligaments. Also connected to the clitoris, in-between the crura, are two bulbs — essentially spongy erectile tissue that becomes engorged when stimulated — that “hug” the vaginal opening, according to the Museum of Sex.  

Researchers of the current study found that women who were diagnosed with anorgasmia, an inability to orgasm even after stimulation, had a larger distance between their clitoral glans and body, and the vaginal opening. In all, the distance was about five to six centimeters longer — on average, the crura and body can be up to 10 centimeters — and these women also tended to have smaller clitorises. “Perhaps a larger clitoris has more nerve endings, and perhaps with direct contact and stimulation, the clitoris can have more sensation, resulting in orgasms,” Dr. Susan Oakley, a co-author of the study and OBGYN at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, told LiveScience.

Is There A Way To Achieve Orgasm? 

Oakley and her colleagues discovered this through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of 30 women, consisting of 10 with anorgasmia and 20 who could achieve orgasm. Besides looking at the distance, they also had the women fill out questionnaires, which asked about their sex life, body image, and their levels of desire and arousal. Although problems with orgasm may come from a woman’s unique anatomy, other factors could also play a part, Oakley said. “There’s a lot of subjectivity involving female pleasure. Some of it is psychosocial, some of it is anatomy and function,” she told LiveScience. “We were trying to focus on anatomy.”

Although the team couldn’t find an association between women’s perceived body image and confidence, they were able to find a correlation with reported pleasure and sexual positions. Women who weren’t able to achieve orgasm also preferred missionary position. Conversely, women who achieved orgasm preferred being on top of their partner, allowing for more clitoral stimulation. “Maybe women without orgasms have a small clitoris, but if they were to try female dominant positions, maybe they could get closer stimulation to the clitoris and overcome the fact that it is small,” Oakley told LiveScience.

Oakley also said that it’s still unclear whether it’s a woman’s anatomy that influences orgasm or orgasms that change anatomy. Regardless, there are things a woman can do to try to improve sexual pleasure and function. One such thing is orgasmic meditation, which involves creating a deeper spiritual connection between man and woman through long-lasting stimulation — essentially slow sex (see video here).

Another technique women can try is pelvic floor training, which are also called kegels. This kind of training is easy, only requiring a woman (or man, even) to contract the muscles they would normally use to hold their urine. The National Institutes of Health says that the easiest way to see if you’re doing it right is to try to stop urinating mid-flow. These muscles, which control the vagina, bladder, and anus, will tighten if done correctly. Tighten them and count to 10, then relax until 10 again — do this three to five times a day.  “The orgasm is an intense contraction, and a stronger pelvic floor can definitely intensify that, and even make it easier to have G-spot orgasms,” sex therapist Dr. Laura Berman told The Huffington Post. “This is because you are creating greater tension around the G-spot and around him (the man’s penis).”

Source: Oakley S, Vaccaro C, Crisp C, et al. Clitoral Size and Location in Relation to Sexual Function Using Pelvic MRI. The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2014.