If you relied on Hollywood as your guide to sexual pleasure, you’d think that the typical woman only needs to rock the sheets for 8 seconds before finding herself on the brink of an earth-shattering orgasm.

But in the real world, this usually isn’t the way it goes. Not only do most women need something more than just penetration to climax during intercourse, the type of stimulation varies widely.

Studies have shown that three out of four women can’t achieve orgasm during sex, and it’s quite normal for women to never have an orgasm with their partner.

The good news is: Just a few tricks can really make a difference in a whether a woman wil climax either before, during, or after intercourse.

  • 1. Don’t skip the foreplay

    Women are more likely to need a little encouragement before their body starts to respond, which means foreplay is a huge factor in delivering better orgasms and maybe even delivering orgasms at all.

    Foreplay is the warm-up phase for a female. This warm-up period builds anticipation, encourages blood flow to her lady parts, and triggers natural lubrication.

    And, there is a direct link between foreplay and the intensity or satisfaction with her orgasm.

    So, unless she seems all about a heat-of-the-moment throwdown, don’t skip it.

    Start foreplay outside of the bedroom by stimulating her emotionally and mentally. Tell her how sexy she is, whisper something seductive in her ear, do something to take some stress out of her day.

    Be gentle and start slow. Don’t just dive all in with your fingers and expect her to respond. Caress her, rub her, massage her, kiss her.

  • 2. Know Her Sweet Spots

    The clitoris and the G-spot are critical to female orgasm. Made of the same nerve endings as the head of a penis, the clitoris is very sensitive and most women need stimulation in this area to experience climax.

    The Clitoris: This organ may look tiny, and the part you can see is pretty small. But the clitoris extends beyond view and can actually be up to 15 centimeters (about 6 inches) in diameter, according to the Encyclopedia of Sexual Psychology and Behavior. The part of the clitoris that we can see is called the clitoral head. When not aroused, it hides under a piece of skin called the clitoral hood that pulls back when the clitoris becomes erect.

    Caressing and stimulating the labia can also be arousing and some women prefer stimulation here in addition to direct clitoral head stimulation that can be really intense for some women.

    The G-Spot: This orgasmic area is located inside the vagina. The G-spot is a collection of very sensitive nerve endings about halfway from the opening of the vagina to the cervix. You can find it on the anterior wall of the vagina (the top if she’s lying on her back.)

    To find the G-spot, gently slide your finger inside her vagina with your palm facing up, then curl your finger. Every woman is different, so this area is more arousing in some women than others. You can experiment with manual stimulation, sex toys, and certain sex positions that put pressure on the anterior vagina. Ask your partner which she likes best.

  • 3. Try Female-Friendly Sex Positions

    Once she’s ready, genital stimulation is the best way to help a woman reach orgasm. The natural way is vaginal penetration and clitoral stimulation at the same time. The best sexual positions for female orgasms include:

    Woman on Top: This position provides some of the best stimulation of the G-spot, given the angle of the penis or sex toy. She also can move her body in a way that stimulates her clitoris.

    Sitting: Having your partner sit on your lap allows for both deep penetration and good clitoral stimulation. It also provides plenty of intimacy.

    Missionary With a Pillow: You can take the classic missionary up a notch by placing a pillow under her hips. This can put the clitoris in a better position for stimluation. By shifting the angle, it helps the penetrative partner’s pelvic bone to rub against the clitoris.

    Spooning: This comfortable position has the penetrating partner behind the receiving partner. The angle of penetration allows the base of the penetrating partner’s penis to stimulate the clitoris, which is also easily accessible for touching and toys.

    Oral Sex: If vaginal penetration isn’t your cup of tea, you’re not alone. No matter what equipment you and your partner are working with, oral sex can be a great option for orgasm.

If you feel discouraged after trying for an orgasm without success, please remember that while orgasms are pleasurable and healthy, they do not always need to be the end goal. Whether you get orgasms or you don’t, sex can still be rewarding and meaningful.

Achieving the female orgasm may require some trial and error. The important thing is to have fun while you’re trying.