A Study in Female Orgasms

Based on real testimonies from women who were willing to share the intimate details of their sex lives, this book is an easy-to-read exploration into the Hows, Whats and Whys of female orgasm. If you're frustrated by your inability to orgasm, have insecurities about your body or sex life, or ever wondered if what you feel during sex is normal then this is a good book to read.
Well written and enlightening.
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review

About author

Public speaker and award-winning author Mikaya Heart seems to have a great sense of acceptance and wisdom that only comes with age and it shows in this book. Written from the perspective of a woman who has faced many of the same difficulties she addresses within its pages, Ms. Heart states "My motivation in writing was to clarify that there is no such thing as the right way, and Violet Blue‘s wonderful foreword has made me feel I was successful."

As well it should. As a sex educator, Ms. Blue is known for not pulling any punches when it comes to discussions about sex, yet the whole tone of her Forward emits the utmost respect for Ms. Heart's work.

Content / Style / Audience

The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women is for ladies of any experience level or sexual orientation, designed to help them release whatever preconceived notions or concerns that they may have about the subject of female orgasms. Unlike similar books, it's not a step-by-step manual giving the same repetitive "one size fits all" methods of how to achieve an orgasm, but rather an in-depth study of how some women do and the many reasons why some women don't.

The author discusses how a woman's personal history, emotional states, physical body, and spiritual mindset can hinder or enhance her ability to orgasm. Each point she makes is exemplified with quotes from the women and men she interviewed during her research, both by questionnaire and in person, which gives it a down-to-earth tone.

The book isn't solely focused on the topic of orgasm though; it's more about sexual enjoyment overall, with or without orgasm. It inspires women to cast aside any notions of "norms" regarding their bodies and sex, and to learn to define sexual fulfillment by their own terms. It includes topics like: arousal, masturbation, what an orgasm feels like, reasons why women may not orgasm, how situations in relationships may affect a woman's responses, and faking orgasms, all in a non-judgmental sex positive manner. There are also sections that explore the energy and spiritual factors of sex, which isn't deity specific and manages to not go too far "out there" for the average reader.


Like most of Cleis Press's non fiction books, this is a large paperback with durable binding and a gloss cover. The title and photo on the cover isn't discreet enough for most readers to feel comfortable carrying in public or leaving out in their living rooms, but the photo is tasteful.

Inside, the 11 chapters are subdivided into mini sections, and everything is clearly outlined in the Table of Contents for quick browsing. There are no illustrations included or needed, except for in the "What Works, What Doesn't, and Why" section, where there are two labeled drawings of the female genitals.

In the back is an Appendix that briefly covers safer sex, and a section of Resources that list websites and books for further reading. The author also includes a copy of the exact Questionnaire that she gave to each of the interview participants in order to write this book. That alone could be highly useful as "thought fodder" for women who are trying to develop a better understanding of what works for them sexually.


Alan says:
My wife says this book is written for women, but I don't agree. It does sound like it's speaking to the woman who isn't orgasming when you read it, but there are a lot of things in it that would benefit their partners to understand too. You'll have to do a bit of reading between the lines to catch them, but they're there. For example, when it's telling the ladies that they may not reach orgasm if their partner pressures them by asking them if they're going to cum, you can translate this into "stop pressuring her to do it." The book is full of helpful suggestions if you look at it that way.

On a more personal note, the most interesting section was where the different women were trying to explain exactly what having an orgasm felt like. I was surprised at how varied the answers were.

Michele says:
I've been having orgasms for years but still found this book worth reading because it covered so many things that most of us deal with at one time or another, like body image issues, hormone fluctuations, or even traumatic past experiences. It doesn't give any concrete methods on how to get past these things, but it definitely gives you the sense that whatever you're feeling is ok, and it can aim your mind in the right direction for feeling better about yourself. I really like the author's attitude too because it wasn't preachy or the cheerleader "Go girl, orgasm!" style. It was written more in a conversational tone which I thought was comforting, even during the subjects that touched on uncomfortable issues for me.
This product was provided free of charge to the reviewer. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.

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  • Contributor: Breas
    I'm glad you mention that the book is not only focused on orgasm. I would have assumed it was. This makes me more interested in give it a read : ) Thanks Alan and Michele!
  • Contributor: P'Gell
    Wow. We got totally different things from this book. I saw it the not-so-subtle subtext of this book an attack on men and on heterosexual women. I saw scant information about orgasm, and I became angry at being insulted for being hetero while reading the book.

    I guess we saw different things in this over-the-top book.

    We did both get that it was at times vague and there were NO actual explanations on how to have orgasms, which I think is why so many women might buy it.

  • Contributor: Alan & Michele
    I can understand how you got that impression, and I was in the exact same position as you with a different book we had to review last year though, so I know how frustrating it can feel. Everyone seemed to miss the fact that their adored author was subtly bashing heterosexual women, but it offended the hell out of me.

    With this book though, I think Alan & I just went into reading it with a different outlook to begin with, so we enjoyed it. The author admitted that this is book is based on the personal interviews she did with women, so we didn't expect a lot of scientifically-backed facts. She also made it clear in the Intro that she feels that lesbians have a unique view on female sexuality, so "much of the information I've presented is gleaned directly from lesbians and bisexual women." She was careful to use the term "partner" throughout the whole book too, so everything could be taken either way.
    I guess what it all comes down to is seeing that it was written by a lesbian using information gathered mainly from lesbian and bi women, we knew it wasn't going to be full of references to heterosexual encounters. I didn't pick up on any male/hetero bashing in it though, and Alan seemed really caught up in reading more about how women felt so he didn't mention anything negative either. But maybe that's just us.

    I have to agree that even the title alone is going to be misleading to most women though--- it's definitely NOT going to tell them exactly how to have an orgasm, it's just giving ideas on things that could be holding them back.
  • Contributor: Ivy Wilde
    Thanks for the review. It does sound rather as if the title is misleading, because I certainly took it to mean that the book is a guide for how to have orgasms.
  • Contributor: Missmarc
    Great review, thank you!
  • Contributor: edeneve
    detailed great review
  • Contributor: misterazor
    great stuff. thanks much. i'm looking for a book for my wife. this could be a winner.
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