New research published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy is further educating men (and women) on what techniques work best for achieving a high-quality, toe-curling female orgasm. The study’s authors, led by sex researcher and educator Debby Herbenick, analyzed more than 1,000 women and their orgasm histories. “Our purpose was to understand more about women’s experiences with the kinds of touch they find pleasurable and how clitoral and vaginal stimulation contribute to their orgasms,” Herbenick said.

Herbenick’s data speaks volumes. She and fellow researchers discovered that only 18 percent of respondents said they can climax via vaginal intercourse. In order for a woman to climax, they determined, she requires an eclectic mix of intercourse and outercourse. What the hell is outercourse, you ask? It’s actually simple.

Outercourse is a blanket term for non-penetrative intercourse. Think rubbing, teasing, kissing and erotic massage. More than two-thirds of women report needing clitoral stimulation in order to orgasm and an additional 36 percent say that some touching enhanced their sexual experiences. That’s why outercourse is imporant, even if you’ve never heard the word before.

If you’re a routine reader of Playboy, you know it’s not groundbreaking news that few women climax from vaginal stimulation alone. Clitorial stimulation is needed, too. What some may not know, however, is what kind of touching feels best. Herbenick’s study covers this.

Two-thirds of the sample agree that the best way to touch a lady is through indirect pressure around the clitoris. The second most popular method is gently brushing over the clitoris while applying very little pressure. When it came to which direction women most appreciated (they go deep into the topic, we admit), more than two-thirds like when touching moves up and down, followed by 52 percent of women who favored circular motions. It’s worth noting that almost half of women preferred being touched just one way, so don’t get too creative.

When it comes to pressure, most women rate “light to medium” highest, though 16 percent didn’t discriminate, noting they enjoy all kinds of pressure.

Still with me? Good, because next comes pattern. More than 75 percent of women prefer a motion that circles around the clitoris, switching between motions and applying more and less pressure as you see fit.

As is true for men and woman, no one orgasm is the same. While some techniques may work for most, it may not necessarily work for you or your partner. The best way to find out what works best for you personally is, and has always been, to communicate with your partner. “This [research] underscores how important it is to have conversations about sex and pleasure or even to show your partner what you like, since otherwise, the chances of just stumbling upon that one preference are pretty low,” Herbenick said. “Couples should be having conversations about what they like, what they don’t like, what feels good and leads to orgasm, as well as what feels good but doesn’t necessarily lead to orgasm.” She continues, “Having these four dimensions of touch may give individuals or couples more direction or concrete ideas to experiment with that go beyond broad encouragement to simply ‘go explore and see what you like’.”