The image of a man and woman rising and falling together with increasing speed and finally ending in twin moans and gasps – the perfect simultaneous climax – is a common scene in romantic movies and books.

But it’s highly uncommon in real life, say sex experts we consulted. So don’t fret if your lovemaking doesn’t seem to match those onscreen scenes. “It’s the exception rather than the rule for most couples,” says Dr Calvin Fones, consultant psychiatrist at Gleneagles Medical Centre. “However, you can achieve it with your husband with some practice.”

Experts are quick to point out that it’s not a big issue if you and your hubby don’t come together. “It really isn’t a problem not to achieve it. Practising it can be fun but it’s not essential to lovemaking. So don’t become anxious or put too much emphasis on it – or it may reduce your enjoyment of sex in general,” adds Dr Fones.

Why it’s so elusive
“Simultaneous orgasms require women to hurry and men to hold back,” says Martha Lee, founder and clinical sexologist of sexuality and intimacy coaching company Eros Coaching. “To reach a climax, most women usually need other forms of stimulation, like clitoral stimulation, in addition to penetrative intercourse. Even if she can reach an orgasm during penetrative intercourse, there’s the question of whether the man has learnt to time and synchronise his ejaculation with her orgasm. Some men may not wish to do so because they prefer not to hold back.”

Dr Fones adds that many women might not be aware of how to time their own orgasms, or have the ability to come when they want.

Clinical sexologist Professor P. Ganesan Adaikan, from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the National University Hospital (NUH), describes simultaneous orgasms as a chance effect for many couples. “Each person’s timing and ability to achieve climax varies, and depends on many factors. For example, how intensely or how often a woman orgasms can be affected by where she is in her monthly cycle, or how long it’s been since she last climaxed.”

So why bother trying?
If it’s so difficult to achieve, is it really worth the trouble? Chloe*, 40, a broker, doesn’t think it’s worth the effort: “It was easy to get turned on and climax together in the beginning of our relationship, but now we usually can’t be bothered. It involves a lot of hard work to stimulate each other until we’re both at the same height of pleasure, especially after more than 10 years of marriage. Nowadays, sad to say, our lovemaking has become slightly formulaic.”

However, there are benefits for those who try. “Climaxing at the same time can provide a different kind of mutual enjoyment,” says Dr Fones. “After all, sex is about giving and receiving pleasure. To have that simultaneously intense moment is both exciting and pleasurable.” He cites a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine that says coming together improves sexual satisfaction, feelings of partnership and gives better overall mental health.

Climaxing simultaneously also takes away worries like whether the other partner managed to reach orgasm, adds Prof Adaikan. “Climaxing together, with the accompanying hugging, moaning and groaning, also gives a heightened sense of intimacy and closeness, compared to times when you don’t climax together. Although it doesn’t mean that you won’t have these loving feelings if you both climax at different times.”

Teach him to hold back
Helping your man learn how to control his ejaculation timing is key to climaxing at the same time, say our experts. Teach him these tips:
•DO KEGEL EXERCISES REGULARLY Yes, men should also do kegel exercises. He needs to squeeze his pubococcygeus muscles (the muscles used to stop urine flow) together, hold for a few seconds, and release. Repeat at least 10 times to form one set, and do three sets a day. Stronger muscles will give him increased control.
•LEARN THE START-STOP TECHNIQUE Get him familiar with his body’s signals when he’s about to climax. During sex, before he reaches the point of no return, he should consciously minimise stimulation and relax his body. Start again after that; the more he practises, the easier it’ll be to delay his climax.
•PRACTISE THE SQUEEZE METHOD Ask him to tell you when he feels the urge to release. You should then use your hand to firmly squeeze his penis just below the head for a few seconds. It’s supposed to decrease blood flow and block the urethra. Continue making love when he’s more relaxed again. He can practise this multiple times with you during the same session, and he’ll eventually be able to control his timing without utilising the technique.

You can help too
Martha Lee tells you how you can work your way to that shared loving feeling.
•PREP YOURSELF FOR AN ORGASM DURING SEX This might include stimulating your clitoris using his or your fingers, or a sex toy, during intercourse. When you are both ready to have orgasms, intensify the stimulation to trigger it.
•GET MECHANICAL His hand or tongue can get tired but not a vibrator. One of you holding a vibrator over your clitoral area during penetrative sex is an effective way of ensuring a shared orgasmic experience, since the added stimulation can help to trigger your climax at the desired time.
•EXPLOIT THE ADVANTAGES OF MULTIPLE ORGASMS Women are physiologically more capable of having multiple orgasms. Your partner can try to reach his peak when you have an orgasm for the second, third or fourth time.

Getting there together
Take these tips from Martha:
•LEARN WHEN EACH OTHER IS REACHING A CLIMAX It can be as direct as telling your hubby so that both of you can relax into the sensation, or establishing pre-determined cues like hand grips or quick nods. Other telltale cues include holding your breath or certain facial expressions that each person tends to make just before climaxing. Giving and recognising these signals can help each partner decide how much to hold back. Hearing, seeing and feeling your partner’s arousal also helps to trigger orgasms, making it easier to climax at the same time.
•TRY THE WOMAN-ON-TOP POSITION Being on top gives you both easy access to your clitoris. When you’re nearing orgasm, you simply need to speed up, which can bring him to his own climax.
•EXPAND YOUR DEFINITION OF A SIMULTANEOUS O Orgasms can also be achieved through manual or oral stimulation. Try the 69 position, where his mouth is touching your vaginal lips while your mouth is around his penis – it makes it easier to achieve simultaneous orgasms. It can also serve as a springboard to full-on intercourse.
•GET RHYTHMIC Music has a powerful effect on our emotions, and can be a potent tool in expressing your sexuality when you’re making love. Try music that establishes a clear rhythm and motivates you to keep going at the same pace.

This article was originally published in Simply Her April 2011.