Orgasm. The Big O. Coming. Climax. It really doesn’t matter what you call it, the process is all the same. When you get turned on during foreplay or while browsing the Men & Coffee Instagram feed (that can’t be just me, right?), the blood flow to your vagina and clitoris increases. During this time, the walls of your vagina begin to secrete lubrication. As you have sex or masturbate, you’ll feel tension in the nerves and muscles in your pelvic area. Then, if you orgasm (not all women do but we’ll get to that), your uterus, vagina, and anus contract simultaneously at 0.8 second intervals. You could have 3 to 5 contractions or 20 - it’s up to your body. Though many women are always in search of an orgasm, these muscle contractions are purely voluntary. Though this science is fascinating, many women feel like they are in the dark about orgasms. Here are answers to some common questions about The Big O.
What does an orgasm feel like?
While I can’t (and won’t) follow in every rom-com’s footsteps of letting you believe that all - or even most - orgasms result in moans of pleasure as you grip the sheets and let waves of bliss cascade down your body, I can tell you how a few different women have described their orgasms to me.
“There is a strong buildup of pressure that keeps escalating until finally, there is a wave of release and spasms that eventually relaxes every muscle in my body once it's over.”
“Rollercoaster with no seat belt on.. you're going up, slowly.. then you get tense, your core shakes in anticipation of what's to come (you know you have to go back down), and then finally, after holding on for dear life.. you fall.. you soar.. your tense shaky legs feel weak, the rush to every part of your body takes over, and sometimes you feel like you see stars and tears kinda fall from your eyes from the intensity.”
“It’s a pleasant sensation that builds up in my lower abdomen and then just fades away after a few seconds. I usually feel relaxed afterward.”
From mind-blowing to “meh”, orgasms come in all different shapes and sizes. One of the most common questions I’m asked is “How will I know if I had an orgasm?”. My answer is always the same: you might know and you might not. Try not to worry about it. Enjoy the experience for what it is - if it feels good and the experience is consensual, that’s all that really matters.
Benefits of orgasm
Vaginal orgasms are purely for pleasure (thanks, Mother Nature!) and have nothing to do with reproduction. That being so, there are a lot of benefits that come from orgasming (and even having sex sans orgasm). Orgasms release the chemical oxytocin - also known as “The Love Hormone” into the brain, which can make you feel more relaxed and more connected to your partner. Sex, even without orgasm, leads to an increase of immunoglobulin A which can boost your immune system. Orgasms can also boost your mood, burn calories, and ease period cramps. In other words, an orgasm is just what the doctor (and your nutritionist and your life coach) ordered!
The different types of orgasms
There are a few different kinds of orgasms that are helpful to know about in your pursuit of bliss. Clitoral orgasms are the most common type of orgasm because the clitoris has 8,000 nerve endings that aid in pleasure. In fact, the clitoris has no other purpose than to make you feel good. The most elusive type of orgasm is vaginal, which happens from G-spot stimulation. Lastly, combination orgasms occur when both the G-spot and the clitoris are stimulated at the same time. Though there are different types of orgasms, not all women can climax from each one. Take time to explore your body and find out which techniques bring you over the edge.
What if I can’t reach orgasm?
You’re not alone. Studies over the last decade or so have shown that only 25% of women are consistently reaching orgasm during intercourse. About 5% of women never have orgasms, through vaginal or clitoral stimulation. While these statistics look dire and are eerily similar to the pay gap situation that women experience (because 90% of men come 100% of the time), there are things that can be done.
- Try different positions
- Stimulate your clitoris during intercourse
- Masturbate to find out what feels good to you (then tell your partner)
- Enjoy more foreplay (the more turned on you are, the higher the odds)
- Relax - stress can make it hard to orgasm
- Eliminate distractions - turn your phone off, shut the door, and focus all your attention on how pleasurable sex is
- Stop chasing it - trying to have an orgasm is a sure way to not have one
Whether you’re able to have multiple orgasms every time or are someone who just can’t seem to get there, it’s important to understand that orgasms are a unique experience. What works for one won’t work for all. It’s also a learning experience - experiment with what feels good to you and let the orgasms come when they’re ready.