The 'foundational' technique guaranteed to help you have a better orgasm, revealed by a sex therapist

Looking to learn how to have a better orgasm? Sex therapist Jordan Rullo reveals the technique she recommends, with tips to try with a partner

Man and woman's arm, placed on on top of the other on surface against sunlight backdrop creating shadow lines across their arms, representing how to have a better orgasm through deep breathing together
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wondering how to have a better orgasm? You're certainly not alone if you struggle to orgasm or it's not happening like you want it to. 

It's thought that four in ten women experience an issue that prevents them from orgasming as they'd like to. And while there can be many medical reasons for this, from a lack of natural lubrication to sexual dysfunction, it's often a simple case of doing one thing differently.

Whether you want to know how to have better sex or you're struggling to have a orgasm in the first place, trying out this expert-recommended technique in the bedroom can help you get there. 

How to have a better orgasm

The number one way to have a better orgasm is to get your breathing under control and start breathing deeply, says sex therapist Jordan Rullo. "Diaphragmatic breathing is a great way to breathe very deeply, increase oxygen and blood flow, and activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) to encourage relaxation," she explains. 

Activating the PNS helps you relax and so allows better flow to the genitals and other erogenous zones. "[This is important] because that is what facilitates genital sexual arousal," says Rullo, who works with Flo Health as a medical expert.

Here's how to do it: 

  • Inhale deeply into your lungs and into the diaphragm, not just into your chest.
  • Put one hand on your abdomen and one on your chest while you breathe to get a visual of which hand is moving.
  • Pace your breathing - for example, count for one as you breathe in, one as you breathe out, one as you breathe in, two as you breathe out, and so on.

"This type of breathing involves inhaling deeply into your lungs and into the diaphragm, not just into your chest. In other words, when you breathe in, you want to see your abdomen expand, not your chest," says Rullo.

The technique for how to have a better orgasm went viral on TikTok last year and while we remain sceptical of social media trends, we can get behind this one. Much like the belly press trick, this breathing technique can boost your enjoyment of sex without needing to buy anything or change anything too drastically - so why not give it a go?  

Jordan Rullo, certified sex therapist and medical expert for Flo Health
Jordan Rullo

Jordan Rullo is a sex therapist certified by the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists since 2013. She has worked with the Mayo Clinic and the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. Rullo is also a medical expert for Flo Health.

Why are some orgasms not as strong as others?

During sex, it's completely normal to hold your breath or breathe faster than you normally would. Given that you're (hopefully) really enjoying it, the last thing you're probably thinking about is how you're breathing. "In my practice, I often hear clients tell me that as they become more aware of their breathing (by practising mindfulness), they realise in their sexual arousal buildup that they hold their breath at certain times," Rullo says. 

However, how we breathe has a strong link to how strong orgasms can be. "Rapid breathing or holding your breath can activate the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) - essentially your fight or flight response. An activated SNS tells you there is a threat and you need to be on high alert to protect yourself. As a result, blood does not flow to your genitals. After all, why would you need genital arousal to protect yourself from a threat? Blood flows to your extremities (arms and legs) so you’re ready to fight," she says. 

A lack of blood flow to the genitals can make it harder to orgasm as the clitoris - which goes beyond its small outward appearance and actually stretches up to the G-spot on the internal vaginal wall - needs plenty of blood around it to reach orgasm. 

As well as mastering this particular breathing technique, regular exercise and lube (particularly if you're approaching menopause or postmenopausal) can help.

Woman practicing deep breathing with one hand on chest and one hand on stomach to learn how to have a better orgasm

Placing one hand on your chest and one on your stomach can help you master diaphragmatic breathing. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Why does deep breathing improve sex? 

As Rullo says and research from the University of Texas suggests: "You ultimately need greater activation in your PNHS than your SNS, to facilitate sexual arousal and orgasm" and you can do this by engaging in deep breathing during sex. 

"Deep breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, is a way to activate the PNS and relax your body, thereby increasing oxygen in the body, encouraging muscle relaxation, reducing stress, and facilitating blood flow," she says. "All these benefits of deep breathing are foundational to sexual pleasure and orgasm."

How to use breathwork during sex

  • Master the technique outside the bedroom first: If you're new to mindfulness and breathwork exercises, trying diaphragmatic breathing for the first time in the bedroom may be running before you can walk. Get to grips with the basics, try it with some masturbation techniques where you can control the stimulation, and then try it with a partner. 
  • Practice breathing out during sex: "Holding one’s breath tenses (versus relaxes) the body and may signal to the brain that there is a threat and activate the SNS. This can then reduce the amount of oxygen in the body, which decreases blood flow, which is necessary for arousal," says Rullo. So, in the heat of the moment, practice simply breathing out and letting go of any pent-up energy. 
  • Try breathing meditations in your daily routine: Breathing meditations (which you can easily find online or via one of the best mediation apps), are a core component of meditation practices that can ultimately improve sexual function for women," says Rullo. They can also help to lower your cortisol levels and reduce stress in everyday life as well, making the idea of sex more appealing in the first place. 
  • Try synchronised breathing: "This is the practice of breathing in sync with your partner. It's a common exercise in tantric sex, which is much like sexual yoga but transcends your typical sexual experience," says the therapist.
  • Move as you breathe: If you are struggling with diaphragmatic breathing, it may help to move as you breathe. For example, try the technique while doing pelvic floor yoga, which blends the benefits of kegel exercises with deep breathing exercises.
Grace Walsh
Health Channel Editor

Grace Walsh is woman&home's Health Channel Editor, working across the areas of fitness, nutrition, sleep, mental health, relationships, and sex. In 2024, she will be taking on her second marathon in Rome, cycling from Manchester to London (350km) for charity, and qualifying as a certified personal trainer.

A digital journalist with over six years experience as a writer and editor for UK publications, Grace has covered (almost) everything in the world of health and wellbeing with bylines in Cosmopolitan, Red, The i Paper, GoodtoKnow, and more.