To provide women with specific language they can use to better understand – communicate – advocate for their sexual pleasure


To provide women with specific language they can use to better understand, communicate and advocate for their sexual pleasure – and add to scientific understanding of an understudied topic – a nationally representative survey of US women names and describes techniques women use to increase their pleasure during vaginal penetration.

The findings were presented in a study published April 14, 2021 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Dr. Devon J. Hensel, Associate Professor of Research at Indiana University School of Medicine, and Dr. Christiana von Hippel, an OMGYES Research Scientist.

Many international sexual and reproductive health organizations name “pleasurable and satisfying” sexual experiences as an intrinsic component of good sexual health, as well as health more holistically. Currently, existing research on sexual health and behavior in women tends to focus on the body part or object that’s penetrating or stimulating the vagina (eg a penis or a sex toy), instead of the penetration or stimulation techniques women themselves use during sex.

Popular media resources also tend to be limited in scope or use ambiguous terms to describe intercourse techniques.

To better understand and describe the vaginal stimulation and penetration techniques US women personally use (with their partners or on their own) to increase their own pleasure during sex, the authors conducted pilot surveys with 4,270 English-speaking women from around the world, then surveyed 3,017 US women with a 90-item survey, the Second OMGYES Pleasure Report, to focus on four specific techniques that emerged and were previously unnamed in the literature: “Angling”, “Rocking”, “Shallowing”, and “Pairing”.

Women describe specific techniques to increase their own pleasure
Ways women experience more pleasure from vaginal penetration Credit:, from Hensel DJ, von Hippel CD, Lapage CC, Perkins RH (2021) Women’s techniques for making vaginal penetration more pleasurable: Results from a nationally representative study of adult women in the United States. PLoS ONE 16(4): e0249242. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0249242

The second OMGYES Pleasure Report received responses from 3,017 US women, ranging in age from 18-93, using sampling methods that provide a statistically valid representation of the U.S. population as well as many under-researched and often harder-to-reach populations across ethnicity, economic classes, sexual orientations, gender identities and internet access.

When asked whether the sexual techniques mentioned in the survey made sex more pleasurable, 87.5 percent of the respondents used “Angling” (rotating, raising, or lowering the pelvis/hips during penetration to adjust where inside the vagina the toy or penis rubs).

Approximately 76 percent used “Rocking”, where the base of a penis or sex toy rubs against the clitoris constantly during penetration by staying all the way inside the vagina rather than thrusting in and out.

About 84 percent used “Shallowing,” or penetrative touch just inside of the entrance of the vagina. Finally, 69.7 percent used “Pairing,” when a woman or her partner reaches down to stimulate her clitoris with a finger or sex toy simultaneously with penetration.

While the study is limited in that it focused only on women, not their partners, and didn’t ask about relationship factors in technique choice or pleasure, the authors suggest this can be part of future work in this area. For now, these nationally representative results validate that women choose a range of different approaches to vaginal penetration/stimulation to increase their pleasure.

By naming these techniques and sub-techniques, this work also provides language for women to potentially better identify their own preferences, as well as communicate and advocate for their own sexual pleasure.

“We asked thousands of women what they do to experience more pleasure from penetrative sex and found there are four techniques that work for most women,” explains Dr. von Hippel.

“Our company,, gave them descriptive names and created tasteful diagrams, animations and videos of women of all ages explaining their own experiences. We hope bringing this important knowledge out of the shadows into the light of day with clear language will empower women to better recognize, communicate and act on what they want.”

Julia Robinson, PLOS ONE senior editor, adds: “PLOS ONE believes that it is important to publish this study because it contributes to the base of academic knowledge and explores an under-studied topic that is related to women’s health and wellbeing. This study includes some explicit language and graphic line drawing illustrations, which are necessary because the authors introduce new terminology to describe the techniques they are studying, and the illustrations provide further definition to these terms and are essential for understanding the methodology, results, and discussion of the study.”

Novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was detected firstly in December 2019 in China (Wuhan, Hubei) [1]. Then, it has rapidly spread all over the world and resulted in unpredictably changes in our lives. This novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which is transmitted by respiratory tract or by direct contact with infected surfaces, was declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020 and triggered all countries to take extraordinary measures [2].

Almost all organizations (scientific, sportive, recreational, etc.) have been canceled and travel has been restricted. Quarantines and curfews have become daily routines and the concept of social distancing has become our new normality, even within families, causing significant disruptions in many social relationships.

Due to the fear of potential infection risk with COVID-19, time spent at home has increased and restrictions on socializing and economic losses have caused anxiety and depression in many people who have been forced to stay at home during this period [3, 4]. As it is known, quality and satisfying sexual life have a positive effect on the social and daily relationships as well as on the intimate life of many individuals [5, 6].

The WHO summarizes the definition of sexual health as the physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being of an individual [7]. On the other hand, sexual dysfunction can be described as any condition preventing the individual from being satisfied by the sexual activity at any stage of the sexual relationship. In this manner, consistent evidence suggests that in addition to organic causes (vascular, hormonal, neurogenic, pharmacological) of sexual dysfunction, psychogenic causes, such as anxiety and depression also have a negative effect on sexual life, in both men and women [8, 9].

In a study conducted by Dunn et al, erectile dysfunction was observed 1.3–2.3-fold more in individuals with anxiety and depression [10]. Similarly, Mitchell et al., reported that females with depression had 3.12-fold sexual dysfunction [11]. Although the mechanism of the relationship between sexual dysfunction and psychological problems is not understood yet, it is known to be reciprocal and multifactorial [12]. The addition of sexual dysfunction can worsen the already present psychopathology and create a vicious circle [13,14,15]. Moreover, in a study of Hedon on male sexual dysfunction, it was emphasized that this vicious circle also impacted negatively on the partner and consequently on the relationship [9].

In this study, we aimed to evaluate the changes in the sexual lives of married or co-habiting couples in a Turkish sample during COVID-19 pandemic period which has been on-going for a long time.

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More information: Hensel DJ, von Hippel CD, Lapage CC, Perkins RH (2021) Women’s techniques for making vaginal penetration more pleasurable: Results from a nationally representative study of adult women in the United States. PLOS ONE 16(4): e0249242.


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