10th April, 2017

Celebrity sexual health duo – Dr David Delvin and Christine Webber – are raising awareness of UK women’s experiences of orgasms with the results of a new survey.

Sexual health expert Dr Delvin and psychotherapist Christine Webber (who between them have written almost 50 books) asked 1,250 women in the UK about their orgasms.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Over 80% of women could not reach orgasm through intercourse (penetration) alone.
  • The vast majority (83%) needed stimulation of their clitorises in order to orgasm.
  • 70% of the women reported having multiple orgasms – some over 20 in a single session.
  • About one in seven women had experienced pain during orgasm.

Read the full results of the survey here (PDF).

Christine Webber commented:

“We knew that very large numbers of women have problems and anxieties about the subject of orgasm.

“Many men and women (including, alas, some doctors) still believe the myth that for all woman, being penetrated by a penis which goes in and out should be enough to make them orgasm. This view is often encouraged by the way sex is depicted in popular culture, including pornography, romantic fiction, and film or TV in general.

“As a result, a lot of women think that there is something wrong with them if they do not orgasm during intercourse. Similarly, a lot of men think that in order to make a woman orgasm, all they have to do is penetrate her and thrust repeatedly.

“Our key take-home message from the survey for women is: don’t think there’s something wrong with you if you can’t orgasm from vaginal penetration alone. For most women the clitoris is the key to sexual pleasure. So if you have a sexual partner, do communicate what feels good for you. Also, if you feel pain when you orgasm, there is help available.”

Dr David Delvin added:

“Doctors used to think that multiple orgasms were quite rare. But in our survey, 70% of the women had had them. Most commonly, they had two in a session.

“We also found that ejaculation of fluid at the moment of orgasm is quite common.  Nearly 40% of women said that they had done it at some stage in their lives.

“Our key take-home message from the survey for men is: don’t presume that you will make a woman climax by repeatedly thrusting your penis inside her. You probably won’t. Ask her what works for her!”

FPA’s Chief Executive Natika Halil said:

“As with many aspects of sexual health, this survey is a great reminder that we have to get away from talking about what is ‘normal’.

“Different people will experience sexual pleasure and orgasms in different ways, and what you enjoy can change as you move through life.

“Pleasure is a crucial aspect of sexual health and wellbeing, but unfortunately there can still be some reluctance to talk openly about female pleasure, so it’s no surprise that people are unsure about it. We’re pleased this survey shows such a wide variety of different experiences and hope it encourages people to think about their own wants and needs.

“Good communication about what you enjoy can really enhance your sexual wellbeing. So think about how you can communicate with partners about what you like, and what you’d like to try.”


The survey was completed online by 1,250 women from across England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and from the Channel Islands. The participants were self-selecting and not a representative sample of the population of the UK.

For media enquiries and to arrange interviews with Christine Webber, please contact the Press Office on 020 7608 5265 or email press@fpa.org.uk. Mobile 07958 921 060.

The sexual health charity FPA gives straightforward information and support on sexual health, sex and relationships to everyone in the UK. FPA educates, informs and supports people through our specialist sexual health programmes and counselling service, our websites and publications, our training for professionals and our public awareness campaigns.

Dr David Delvin

Dr David Delvin qualified in medicine during the 1960s, and trained in contraception and sexual medicine with FPA in the 1970s.

He subsequently took the Diploma in Obstetrics of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, and the Diploma in Venereology of the Society or Apothecaries.

He is a member of the Royal College of GPs, of the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapy, and of the European Society of Contraception. Some years ago, he was elected a Fellow of the Faculty of Reproductive Health Care of the RCOG.

He has written 34 books, mostly about sexology, and has made over 900 TV appearances.

Christine Webber

Christine Webber is a broadcaster, health writer and psychotherapist who has practised in Harley Street for the past 16 years. 

After a successful career in television news, she became an agony aunt, and wrote columns in Best magazine, TV Times, The Scotsman, BBC Parenting and Woman magazine. She has also appeared as a relationships expert on numerous TV programmes including BBC Breakfast, The Good Sex Guide Late, Dating the Enemy and Am I Good in Bed?

She trained in integrative psychotherapy at Regent’s College, London, and then took a London University diploma in cognitive behaviour therapy at Goldsmiths. She also has qualifications in psychological coaching.  

Currently, she and her husband Dr David Delvin have a sex and relationships column in The Spectator’s health section and they also write the sex and relationships content for Europe’s major health website, Netdoctor.

Christine is the author of 15 books, including How To Mend A Broken Heart, Too Young to Get Old and Get the Happiness Habit.