Rachel Bilson couldn't orgasm from sex until she was 38. So we asked the experts for some handy solutions

Women don't always orgasm from sex, something 'The O.C.' icon spoke candidly about on a recent podcast. Our sexperts reveal how to deal with the situation.

Rachel Bilson attends the “Accused” screening during SCAD TVFEST 2023 on February 09, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia
(Image credit: Jason Kempin/Getty)

Let's face it: women don't always orgasm from sex.

Sure, fiddling with sex toys or mastering a clever fingering technique can lead to a pleasurable outcome, but throwing a sex partner into the mix can make the big finish more challenging. 

This is something actress Rachel Bilson has not shied away from talking about. In fact, during the March 13 episode of her podcast Broad Ideas, The O.C. star confessed that she actually didn't orgasm from sex until she was 38 years old. 

"Isn't that crazy?" she asked guest Whitney Cummings. 

But it's not crazy at all—it's actually very common. There are plenty of reasons why women can't have an orgasm in general, from emotional stressors to health reasons. However, science says women's most intense orgasms are all thanks to self-love. We're more than capable of getting the job done solo, but why is it so challenging with someone else? Here are some handy tips:

How to orgasm from sex with a partner, according to experts

If you're having trouble reaching the grand finale with a penetrating partner, our sexperts have a few suggestions for getting over the hurdle.

1. Shift the focus 

A recent study tackled how many women orgasm during sex in heterosexual partnerships, and the findings were rather bleak. According to LELO's sex and relationship expert, Kate Moyle, partners are too focused on penetration rather than stimulation. When women are aroused during sex, the clitoris becomes erect like the penis and should therefore be the main focus if you're intent on reaching orgasm.

2. Find a suitable position

If you're going to divert your attention away from penetration, you'll need to find the best positions for orgasming that stimulate clitoral blood flow (a.k.a. the key to a successful finish).

Gynecology clinic New H Medical in New York examined various positions to determine which was most successful. Face-to-face positions, particularly missionary, lead to more orgasms than others. 

The study's lead, research physician Dr. Kimberley Lovie, said: "The kneeling/rear entry position produces the least amount of direct clitoral contact, and resulted in a negligible increase in blood flow compared to the face-to-face positions."

3. Go back to basics

There are a few orgasm hacks that shouldn't be overlooked, and screaming is one of them. Letting out a few yelps in bed is not only a fun way to be honest with your body (and your partner), but it can also lead to positive effects.

"When you scream, you are essentially giving in and letting your body take control. When you do this, your orgasm is able to be released how it wants to release," Marla Renee Stewart, MA, a sexpert for Lovers previously told My Imperfect Life. "It can even contribute to a better orgasm from your lover because of the audial feedback."

Likewise, kissing during sex—perhaps an overlooked or underrated act—actually has plenty of benefits. According to The Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, the frequency of specific kissing had a significant and direct effect on orgasm consistency, sexual frequency, and sexual satisfaction. Time to reach for the lip balm, folks!

Meet the expert: Marla Renee Stewart

Marla is a sexologist at Velvet Lips, a sexpert at Lovers and a lecturer in gender and women's studies at Clayton State University. She's also written for a variety of academic publications and presented at conferences. Above all, her goal is to get people in touch with their body, mind and spirit.

4. Experiment with sex toys

Pleasure play things are not reserved for solo sex, even though that's what we've been led to believe. Have a look at the best sex toys for couples that focus on making both partners happy. 

The Tiani 2 is a particular crowd-pleaser, as it wraps around the vagina with one arm resting on the clitoris and the smaller internal arm on the G spot. When a partner enters, the toy’s internal arm runs along their shaft, where they'll feel both internal and external vibrations, according to My Imperfect Life's tried-and-tested review.

LELO TIANI 2
RRP:

LELO TIANI 2
RRP:
$125.11 | Amazon

Featuring LELO's exclusive SenseMotion technology, this toy provides shared sensations for both parties. 

5. Try running (yes, really)

A study from the International Urogynecology Journal suggests that your workouts can have their benefits in bed. Its findings indicate that running intensifies orgasms, so you might want to grab those Nikes out of the closet. 

"Our study found women who ran the most experienced more intensive orgasms," said Shanny Sade, a researcher from Ben-Gurion University in Israel, according to The Sun. "It may be explained by better clitoral circulation, better working of pelvic floor muscles, better self-esteem and body image or a combination of these."

So there's definitely hope and help when it comes to orgasming during sex with a partner. Just remember, it's all about the journey, and not just the destination!

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.


Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 


When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.