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I’ve seen more orgasm faces than most.

Before you jump to conclusions, this is because I co-hosted a Channel Four TV series called, The Sex Inspectors.

For the show, cameras were placed into the homes of couples to record how they related sexually and otherwise. The footage I was privy to, offered up a birds-eye view of the many orgasm faces we make during sex.

Bright red faces, eyes screwed tight. People who sneezed repeatedly, burst into laughter or shouted weird things. Some pushed their partners away at the crucial moment or pulled them so close it hurt.

British sex expert Tracey Cox reveals what face you make when you climax says about you (stock image) 

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Most were not pretty but all were fascinating to see.

Orgasm is the moment when we are utterly unselfconscious. When we stop worrying about what we look like and let down our guard.

Our facial expressions during orgasm give vital clues about our core sex personality, how much we enjoy it and how easy it is for us to connect with our partners.

These are the four most common sex faces people make as they climax.

What does YOURS reveal about you or your partner?

THE LUSTY ADVENTURER

SEX FACE: Head thrown back, jaw dropped, eyes closed, moans or groans, flushed face or neck

Ninety-two per cent of us close our eyes on orgasm.

Cutting off one sense heightens the sensation of others; closing our eyes instantly reduces inhibitions because the quickest way to remove embarrassment is to remove eye contact.

Tracey Cox reveals what the face you make when you orgasm says about you

Most importantly, we close our eyes during sex to fantasise.

This is a good thing: many studies have shown women who fantasise during sex with a partner have more regular orgasms with them than those who don’t. With eyes shut, we’re truly immersed in our fantasy world, able to explore the scenario without the reality of our real-life partner rudely intruding.

All the characteristics of a Lusty Adventurer’s orgasm face suggest a real orgasm is happening. (Emphasis on word ‘suggest’: there are no absolute signs.)

Around 75 per cent of women look red or have a red, blotchy chest during orgasm. A 2011 Spanish study that analysed 100 people’s sex faces through videos found 44 per cent parted their lips. The most common facial feature orgasm combination is a jaw drop and closed eyes.

Of all the sex faces, this aligns the most to the attractive versions we see portrayed in the media.

There’s nothing too alarming or comical about it and it’s what we’re used to seeing.

WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT YOU:

People who sport this sort of sex face tend to be uninhibited. Up for pretty much anything, you enjoy talking dirty, watching porn, trying out sex toys, having sex outside. Sex is a source of pleasure and fun and something you enjoy immensely.

MAKE SEX BETTER:

You put the effort in to capture your partner’s interest and keep sex fresh. But there can be a tendency to rely too much on sexual props. Sometimes you need to put down the toys, whips, handcuffs and other playthings and strip sex back to basics. Get naked, get into the missionary position, look deep into your partner’s eyes and connect

THE QUIET ACHIEVER

SEX FACE: Totally still, completely silent, eyes shut and a look of intense concentration, mouth slightly apart, clenched fists

You’re not going to be asked to feature in an erotic movie anytime soon, but your enjoyment of sex is actually very high.

We think a silent partner means they’re not enjoying sex but quite the opposite is true.

One UK study asked women whether making noise during sex was a sign of pleasure and the majority said it wasn’t. Loud moaning or groaning was done to make their partner assume they’ve climaxed, so sex would be over, or to boost a partner’s self-esteem.

Making a lot of noise on orgasm can mean you’re faking. When we climax, we breathe faster and shallower. It’s hard to scream or shout while breathing like this (try it!). Teamed with over-exaggerated gestures –dramatically clutching the sheets or thrashing about like a porn star – and it’s almost certainly a pretend one.

In contrast, a Quiet Achiever owns their orgasm, retreating into themselves to make sure it happens.

For you, it’s a solo moment not something you share.

WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT YOU:

You’re self-absorbed during sex and there’s a lot to be said for being selfish. Being able to lie back and take pleasure is just as much of a plus in bed than enthusiastically giving it. You learnt to orgasm solo while masturbating and while you enjoy partner sex, you need to retreat to that private place in order to push yourself over the brink.

MAKE SEX BETTER:

You know being completely still means you’re in the grips of intense pleasure, but society dictates otherwise. We’ve all been force fed the concept that loud lovers are the ones having the best time. Explain to your partner that being silent is a compliment to their lovemaking skills. You’d also benefit from trying the ‘Eyes Open’ orgasm that the Intimacy Seeker excels in…

THE INTIMACY SEEKER

SEX FACE: Eyes wide open, eye contact maintained throughout orgasm, intense face-searching (subconsciously ‘reading’ your partner’s face to check what they are feeling), smiling

You’re unusual: only about 15-30% of all couples have sex with their eyes open, and only about half that number can orgasm that way. Most of us need to shut our eyes and tune out our partner in order to be able to climax. It’s the reason why lots of people prefer having sex in darkness – it’s not just to hide any perceived body flaws, it reduces intimacy.

US sex therapist, Dr David Schnarch (author of Passionate Marriage) suggests we should all aim to have ‘Eyes Open’ orgasms to encourage a deeper emotional connection during sex. Take it from me, doing this is harder than it sounds. Initially, most get the giggles and feel more embarrassed than turned on. Hold your nerve, however, and watching each other intensifies the orgasm experience to a powerful, new place.

Schnarch gives Intimacy Seekers a big gold star.

Lusty Adventurers and Quiet Achievers might enjoy the physical release but they can emotionally isolate their partners. Letting our partner look at us during our most private moment is the ultimate in naked vulnerability.

WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT YOU:

Sex isn’t just sex for you: intimacy, not orgasm, is your aim. Physical release takes second place to wanting to be close to your partner. Because sex is as much about expressing love and feelings, you’re less interested in sexual performance and more focused on the emotional benefits of sex.

MAKE SEX BETTER:

Are you more inclined to cuddle up than initiate sex? Are you only interested in romantic sex than lusty or ‘dirtier’ sex? It wouldn’t hurt to shift your focus

from your heart to other parts. Mix it up a little: loving sex is great but so is the throw-each-other-around variety. Rather than insist your partner gazes into your eyes, let them feast them on other, equally as interesting parts.

Most couples have lots of love, it’s sex they’re lacking. Forcing your partner to be loving during the few times they get to let out their ‘sexy’ side is like telling a chronic dieter they’re allowed one day a week to ‘go crazy’ – then letting them loose in the greengrocers rather than a chocolate shop.

THE TENSE WORRIER

SEX FACE: Scrunched up features, a look of grim determination, frowning, eyes squeezed tightly shut and lips pressed together

Sex is more a chore than a pleasure.

Given 67 per cent of us drop our jaw during orgasm, a sign our faces have completely relaxed, keeping lips pressed together is a strong indication that hasn’t happened to you.

Letting go is all part of the euphoric feeling of climax and if you’ve fought to maintain control throughout the process, it’s likely to have been a joyless affair.

This might explain the frown…except frowning turns out to be quite common. Forty-eight per cent of us frown while climaxing.

Interestingly, a US study in 2018 found evidence that both pain and orgasm produce the same facial expression. The reason why is many of the regions of the brain that light up when you’re in pain, are also stimulated when you’re highly aroused.

Intrigued, researchers investigated further by comparing the pain and orgasm faces of Western and East Asian people with interesting results. While pain produced similar expressions across cultures, this time orgasm showed distinct differences. Westerners tend to orgasm with eyes open and a dropped jaw; East Asians are more likely to smile.

Scrunched up features indicate effort is being made which usually means having an orgasm is difficult for you. Eyes squeezed shut rather than gently closed suggests a desperate attempt to close off distractions that are proving hard to shut out.

This could mean anger issues within the relationship are affecting your sex life to the point where the capacity for pleasure is poisoned.

People who suck air through their teeth as they climax are demonstrating sexual anxiety: it took them a long time to climb the orgasm ladder, thank God nothing happened to knock them off course.

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  • Five failed marriages, accusations of abuse and a bitter sex... I'm a psychologist and these are 13 reasons why people DON'T...
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WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT YOU: Lots of people worry about sex: we all suffer from a little performance anxiety now and then. But feeling anxious and tense almost every time you get intimate with a partner isn’t usual.

Do you feel a mental and physical release after orgasm? If the answer is no, your relationship and sex life need urgent attention.

MAKE SEX BETTER:

You’re not keen on talking through any sex problems so bury resentment – which is why you’re having problems with arousal. Make the switch from unenjoyable sex sessions to pleasurable ones by thinking about what you need and want sexually. Challenge any out-dated beliefs and distressing sex encounters you may have had in your past. One session with a good sex therapist can turn things around significantly.

Check out Tracey’s product ranges for a Valentine’s present for your partner. The couple that play together, stay together. You’ll find them at traceycox.com and lovehoney.co.uk.

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