[Up to Main]
What’s an orgasm?
An orgasm, also known as “coming” or “climax”, is the peak of the sexual response cycle, and is typically the result of sexual stimulation of some form. An orgasm is usually considered pleasurable, and will often be accompanied by a series of rhythmic contractions in the genital muscles. Before an orgasm, tension is built up, and after the orgasm, there is usually a sense of relief and relaxation as that tension fades away.
That sounds complicated. Care to try again, in English this time?
Okay… If your bits down below are touched in the right way for a while, you’ll start to feel a building pressure downstairs. As that pressure builds, muscles all over your body begin to tense up. Suddenly, your bits down below may start to feel really good, as the muscles contract and release over and over a couple of times. After that, as the good feeling fades, you feel relaxed all over.
At least that’s one way it could happen. The reality is that it’s different each time and different for every person.
Can you be a bit more specific about what happens when I have an orgasm?
Prior to the orgasm, you will generally start feeling a pleasurable sensation down below. That sensation will usually react to stimulation. If you do one thing, it may feel better, but if you do something else, you may lose it entirely. Together with this pleasurable feeling, there will start to be a feeling of a build up of a sort. It’s not really pressure, nothing really feels like it’s pushing. It’s more of a sensation that something is going to happen, but that you have to work for it, kinda like your body is riding a bike up a hill, or like your body is a stretched rubber band about to snap. Muscles all over your body may start to clench or twitch. Your pulse will likely quicken and your rate of breathing will probably change.
As you get closer, your back may arch and your legs may stiffen. Your toes may curl and your face may also contort. You might bite your lip, you might close your eyes. The muscles in your genitals may rapidly contract or pulse at this point, but usually without any kind of rhythm or pattern. The pleasure in your genitals will probably increase.
Sometimes on the path to orgasm, it may feel like you have to pee, and that you will pee if you keep going. You probably won’t. It’s just a side effect of all the muscles and plumbing being intertwined down there. Take it as a sign that you’re on the right track and keep going. Of course, if you’re concerned, you might want to continue somewhere that’s easy to clean or put a towel down. It probably isn’t necessary, though. (And if you’re the owner of a penis, there’s a good bet that you know just how hard it is to pee with an erection. That’s because some internal valves close off specifically so that you can’t pee during orgasm.)
Immediately before the orgasm, there will be a moment where everything suddenly changes. This is known as the point of no return. Before this point, if you stopped all stimulation, you’d likely return to an unaroused state without having an orgasm. But after this point, you’re on the glide path to orgasm and it’s almost guaranteed to happen, no matter what.
After the point of no return, you go on autopilot for a bit. Your body will mostly go rigid and you are carried along for the ride. A spike in the level of pleasure usually happens at the same time, and the pleasure may radiate outward from your genitals over the rest of your body. The orgasm has begun.
During the orgasm, the muscles downstairs will pulse rhythmically for several seconds. These pulses are rapid and strong at first, but quickly become weaker and further apart. Usually, each pulse brings another wave of pleasure.
As the pulses die away, the orgasm fades, and you are typically left feeling deeply relaxed with a sense of satisfaction. This is sometimes called the afterglow. Your genitals will often become hypersensitive at this point, so much so that the same touch that may have been blissfully euphoric just moments before will leave you squirming in discomfort. All the muscles that had become tense will gradually relax. The sex flush, if you had one, will disappear. The erection of your genitals will usually fade, the aroused sensitivity of your genitals will go away, and your heart rate and breathing will return to normal.
In some cases, you might drift off into a half asleep state and lay there for several minutes as you let the relaxation take you away. In other cases, it may only last a few seconds and you’re ready to clean up and go about your day.
In many cases, it will be difficult to remain aroused after an orgasm, and you may not be able to become re-aroused for some time. This is called the refractory period, and can vary in time from minutes to days.
You may have noticed that this description of an orgasm did not really contain many references to specific pieces of anatomy. That’s because, for the most part, the experience of an orgasm is the same, regardless of the body you have. There are, of course, a few differences, which I’ll note here:
The biggest difference between male and female orgasm is that males will typically experience ejaculation at the same time as the orgasm. Ejaculation is where semen squirts out of your penis, through the urethra. Semen is a whitish fluid that varies in consistency from watery to thick, kinda like glue. Semen contains sperm, which is the male ingredient in babymaking, so if you’re not interested in babymaking, keep it a safe distance away from a vulva (or contained within a condom). There’s usually only a few milliliters of the stuff, but the amount will vary every time. If you ejaculate frequently, there will often be less of it than if you don’t ejaculate for several days. The rhythmic pulses during an orgasm will contract the muscles in such away that semen is pumped out of your penis. The force with which it comes out will be different every time. Sometimes, it’s a dribble, sometimes it’ll go an inch or two, but it’s not unheard of for the ejaculate to land several feet away. There is no way to predict beforehand precisely how much semen there will be or how far it will end up going. It should be noted that ejaculation is not the same as orgasm, and it is possible for one to occur without the other.
Also, during orgasm in a male, your testicles are likely to pull close to your body. You may not always be aware of this happening. It’s also important to note that although the testicles are where sperm is produced, the testicles themselves are not really involved in ejaculation. They don’t work to pump out the semen or anything like that.
For a female, the contractions in your vagina may push out some of the lubricating fluids that had built up, so you may suddenly feel wetter downstairs. Additionally, sometimes there will be another fluid that squirts out in a process known as female ejaculation. This fluid is not urine. Female ejaculation does not happen all the time and does not happen to everyone, so don’t worry if it’s never happened to you.
The more you experience orgasms, the more you’ll become aware of all of these different things happening. And not all of the things I’ve mentioned happen every time.
How do I know if I’ve had one?
If you had one, you’d know.
Really, though, that’s a cheap cop-out of an answer. I mean, if you haven’t had one, then you have no way of knowing whether or not you’ve had one, because you know know if you’ve felt what you’d supposedly know that you felt. So you end up thinking “Maybe I’ve had one”, and assigning the word “orgasm” to things that aren’t really an orgasm. It’s a bit like how people say the same thing about sexual attraction, which bugs us aces to no end.
The real answer is that if you’ve experienced a combination of the sensations that I mentioned in the last question, then you’ve probably had an orgasm. Not every orgasm feels the same, though. If it just sort of felt good, but then it felt like you hit a wall and couldn’t get any further, you probably didn’t have an orgasm. If you had a sudden wave of pleasure, and some rhythmic genital muscle spasms, but your facial muscles didn’t contort and your legs didn’t go stiff, then you probably did have an orgasm. If the sensations kinda just drifted away without any sense of a peak or a climax, you probably didn’t have an orgasm. If your body shifted from feeling tense to suddenly deeply relaxed and satisfied, with a brief feeling like you were on autopilot in between, you probably had an orgasm.
The pleasure isn’t always intense and the rhythmic contractions aren’t always that strong, but in general, even the most lackluster and disappointing orgasm feels like something distinct happened.
Can asexuals have orgasms?
Yep. Next question.
But wait, how can someone have an orgasm and still claim they’re asexual?
Because orgasms have nothing to do with sexual orientation. They’re a response to physical and mental stimulation, they don’t require that you be sexually attracted to someone in order for them to work. It’s body parts doing what they do.
Having an orgasm does not make you less ace.
Having an orgasm does not make you a bad ace.
It’s okay to have an orgasm, even if you’re asexual.
It’s okay to want to have an orgasm, even if you’re asexual.
It’s okay to enjoy an orgasm, even if you’re asexual.
Can an asexual have an orgasm during sex with someone else?
Yes. Just because someone isn’t attracted to their partner, it doesn’t mean that their body physically shuts down. You may not think your partner is hot, but if they touch you in the right way, you’re probably going to respond.
On the flip side, if you don’t have an orgasm during sex, that’s not necessarily because you’re asexual. It could be because you were nervous, it could be because your partner needs more guidance about what works for you, it could be because you were so concerned that being asexual meant that you wouldn’t enjoy sex that you inadvertently stopped yourself from being able to enjoy sex. It could be anything. In fact, many non-asexual people are unable to have an orgasm during sex, either. In many of these cases, an orgasm can be obtained by understanding how your body responds, then telling your partner what you need and doing it yourself if you have to.
Can an asexual have an orgasm through masturbation?
Yes. Masturbation has nothing to do with sexual orientation. I’ll talk about that in more detail in another post.
How do I have an orgasm?
Masturbation is probably the easiest, most convenient, and most reliable way. Particularly for asexuals, who may not feel comfortable or interested in being sexually involved with a partner. Masturbation allows you to have full control over the experience, so you can instantly do whatever feels best at the moment, without having to attempt to communicate what you mean by “a tiny bit faster and slightly less pressure, a quarter inch to the left” to a partner.
Sexual activity with a partner is another way, although this way is more hit and miss. In particular, many times, penis-in-vagina sex alone is not enough to cause an orgasm for the person with the vagina. It’s not because you’re asexual and don’t respond to sex like other people. It’s because the vagina is not really all that sensitive. Non-asexual people are in the same boat. Quite frequently, clitoral stimulation of some kind is required. Don’t be afraid to direct your partner to pay attention to your clitoris during sex, and don’t be afraid to take matters into your own hand, so to speak, and touch yourself. (If your partner balks at this and thinks that their magic penis is enough to get you off by itself, well, then they’re a lousy sex partner who needs to watch less porn and try reading up on how your body works. A good sex partner will welcome your pleasure, even if it comes through an assist.)
Of course, penis-in-vagina intercourse isn’t the only kind of partnered sexual activity there is. Oral sex is often effective, regardless of the equipment involved. Anal sex is another option, but it’s often orgasmically one-sided. Mutual masturbation will work most of the time. Frottage, dry humping, and countless other outercourse techniques can lead to orgasms. Even a massage may lead to an orgasm, if the conditions are right. And I’m sure there are many other ways that two or more people can give each other orgasms.
In some cases, orgasms can happen on their own. Wet dreams may happen while you sleep. Exercise may cause you to move your muscles in just the right way. Riding a horse or a bicycle might unintentionally stimulate your bits downstairs. Driving along a rough and bumpy road might cause the right kind of vibrations. Wearing tight clothes might make your underwear rub against you in a certain way. And sometimes, very rarely, one might just happen out of the blue.
I’ve heard that orgasms are the best, most amazing feeling ever. Is this true?
Probably not. People tend to overstate how good orgasms feel. They usually feel pretty good, but if you’re expecting a life-changing, earth-shattering bolt of lightning that’ll leave you quivering in ecstasy for two solid hours, well, that probably won’t happen.
But if it does, congratulations!
Do orgasms all feel the same?
No, they don’t.
For most people, the experience of orgasm ranges between “Meh, that could’ve been better” to “Wow, I think I just caused an earthquake in New Zealand!”. Most of the time, it sits between “That was okay” and “That was pretty good”. Not all orgasms are of the rockets and fireworks variety.
Many factors contribute to how an orgasm feels. How aroused you are, how relaxed you are, how comfortable you are, what’s on your mind, how long it’s been since your last orgasm, how your genitals are being stimulated, how long you’ve been aroused. All of these things and more will affect your orgasm.
Your orgasm may be weak and only last for two seconds, or it may be strong and have a minute and a half of aftershocks. You might shift your body at the last moment and ruin the whole thing, or you might shift your body and push the orgasm into overdrive.
As you have more orgasms and learn what works best for you and how your body responds, you’ll be more likely to have fewer “Meh, that could’ve been betters” and more “That was pretty goods”, with the occasional “New Zealand Earthquake” that you’ll remember for weeks.
Are orgasms the only part of sexual activity that feel good?
In most cases, no. The stimulation leading up to the orgasm is often quite pleasant. It’s not like the genitals are completely numb and lifeless until BAM! an orgasm hits you out of the blue. The road to orgasm is usually a build up of pleasurable feelings, with the orgasm at the peak.
Some people will even intentionally delay an orgasm, so that they can continue to remain in the pre-orgasm pleasure zone. This is called edging, because you’re riding the edge of an orgasm. In order to delay an orgasm, you have to have a fairly good sense about when you’re going to have one. Then, before you reach the point of no return, slow down or stop the stimulation for a bit until your body backs off the edge before continuing. Often, the pleasure builds and becomes more intense the longer you go, and in some cases, it can end up being stronger than the orgasm is.
If I have an orgasm, can anyone tell?
That depends. If someone walks in on you, when you’re sprawled on your bed, lost in the afterglow, then yes, they probably can tell. If haven’t cleaned up the physical evidence, then yes, they probably can tell. In most other cases, no, they can’t. There’s not some post-orgasmic change in the way you walk, you don’t get a slight accent, you don’t smell like lavender, you don’t give off a faint blue glow, you don’t have a freckle on your cheek that’s visible for five and a half hours following an orgasm. There’s no physical signs that say “I just had an orgasm”.
Can I have more than one?
Multiple orgasms are possible, regardless of the equipment you have. It takes practice and should be considered an “advanced technique”, so don’t expect to have thirteen orgasms the first time you masturbate. Reportedly, it’s easier for people with a clitoris, although penis owners can have multiple orgasms, as well, despite what some people claim.
The question that’s often asked about multiple orgasms is why would anyone ever stop if they could just keep having orgasms. There are two answers: First, sometimes you just feel like you’ve had enough. It’s a bit like eating pieces of a candy from a candy bowl. Yes, they’re good, and no, you’re not full, so you could have more, but you’re just done, so you stop. Second, sometimes your body will stop you. After one of the orgasms in the chain, you’ll lose the arousal and your genitals will lose their sensitivity. It’s like everything gets turned off downstairs. No matter what you do, it just won’t restart.
Can I have too many?
No. And yes.
No, you can’t physically have too many orgasms. The refractory period generally puts a time delay between orgasms, and it’s usually more difficult to reach each subsequent orgasm within a few hours. In other words, you might think that it would be awesome to try to have five orgasms one day, but you might find that they become more trouble than they’re worth after the third. (Five is just an example. Your desire and/or ability may vary.)
You don’t have a limited number of orgasms, so you’re not going to run out if you use them too fast. For males, you might have a limited amount of semen per day, but that just means you’ll ejaculate less. You don’t need semen to have an orgasm. Besides, it’ll be refilled by tomorrow anyway.
And yes, you can have too many orgasms. If time devoted to having orgasms is affecting other things, like work, school, friendships, guitar practice, etc., then give it a rest. Also, if you start to feel sore down below, that’s your body’s way of saying that you should just watch TV instead.
What happens if I can’t have one?
Try again or try something different. Read what works for other people. Try using a toy, like a vibrator. Many people who were unable to have an orgasm, even though they’d been trying for years, eventually discovered something that worked for them.
Oh, and if you have a female body, focus on the clitoris, not the vagina. The clitoris is more sensitive and far more likely to produce an orgasm than the vagina is.
If you’ve gotten to the point where it feels like nothing is going to work, talk to a doctor or a therapist. They may be able to help you.
I don’t really want to have an orgasm. Do I have to have one?
No. If you don’t want to have an orgasm, you do not have to have one. You’re not going to burst from some sort of unreleased sexual energy, there isn’t some kind of fluid build-up that needs to be regulated. If you never have an orgasm, you’ll be just fine.
Even if you’re engaged in some sort of sexual activity, whether by yourself or with a partner, you can stop at any time if you decide you don’t want to have an orgasm.
If you’re aroused and you don’t have an orgasm, you may occasionally feel an uncomfortable heaviness or dull ache in your genitals. This is called vasocongestion, sometimes referred to as “blue balls” (although people without testicles can experience it, too). It is harmless and will go away on its own in a few minutes. Essentially, it’s like a traffic jam in your blood vessels down below. When aroused, your bits filled with blood, and now that you’re no longer aroused, the show’s over and all the blood tries to leave at the same time. Not everyone experiences this.
If you don’t like orgasms or don’t want to have one, there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s your body, and you get to decide what you do with it. Whether or not you like orgasms is your preference. Some people don’t like Thai food, some people don’t like to travel, some people don’t like listening to synthpop music, and some people don’t like orgasms, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
That description of having an orgasm you gave sounds horrifying! Losing control of my body, having muscle spasms everywhere, increased heart rate, irregular breathing, and maybe even spurting fluids… Why would I ever want to have that happen to me?
Yeah, good point…
When you write out the mechanical effects of an orgasm, it really does sound like the symptoms of some terrible disease. Thing is, most of those effects serve to heighten the experience. When the muscles tense or your legs stiffen or your face contorts, it feels sorta good, like a nice stretch. It’s not really pleasure, at least not on the same level as the pleasure that’s centered in the genitals, but it feels good.
The changes in breathing, biting your lip, closing your eyes, all that tends to enhance what you’re feeling. When the muscles down below begin to pulse, each pulse may bring with it a surge of pleasure.
And when you go on autopilot, it’s less like you lose control of your body and more like your body is taking you for a ride. You’re carried along by the sensations, it’s not like some alien force is making your body do things against your will. You never really lose control of your entire body. Most of the things that I mentioned can be overcome if you don’t want them to happen. A lot of them you might do semi-voluntarily, because you want to, because they feel good. The rhythmic pulsing of your genitals is about the only part that really feels involuntarily, but since it usually comes with rhythmic pulses of “That Feels Good”, it’s typically not a big deal.
A lot of people compare this autopilot sensation to a sneeze. When you sneeze, a lot of muscles do a lot of things on their own in a short amount of time. An orgasm is a bit like that, except it usually feels considerably better than a sneeze.
However, if you go into the experience thinking that an orgasm is comparable to contracting ebola, then you’re almost guaranteed not to enjoy any of it, no matter what happens. A huge component of an orgasm, indeed, of the entire arousal experience, is mental, so if you have a preconceived notion that it’s going to be terrible, then it will be.
Do they ever happen on their own?
Sometimes, yes. It most often happens when you’re sleeping. These are called wet dreams or nocturnal emissions. It probably won’t happen every night, and it doesn’t happen to everyone. In many cases, you won’t even know it happened, unless there’s evidence left behind in your underwear. You may not wake up when it happens, and you probably weren’t having a “sexy” dream. Wet dreams are often viewed as a male only issue, but females can have them too. It’s just the male side gets more attention, because ejaculation tends to leave behind an embarrassing annoyance, while on the female side, the vaginal lubrication, if present, tends to just dry up and go away.
In other, much rarer cases, it’s possible for someone who’s awake to have an orgasm out of the blue, without any intent or stimulation.
I’ve seen orgasms in porn. Will mine be like that?
Almost certainly not.
It’s very important to remember that porn is scripted and staged. It’s usually designed to appeal to the stereotypical horny male fantasy. As a result, much of what you see is exaggerated and embellished for effect. Female orgasms in porn are typically faked, and are more often the result of the director looking at their watch and saying “okay, time to come”, than the result of any kind of stimulation. You’re probably not going to scream and moan and writhe uncontrollably… then act like nothing happened two seconds later. Male orgasms aren’t usually faked completely (although it can be done…), but they’re also not representative of a typical male orgasm. In many cases, the volume and force of the ejaculation is considerably higher than average. In fact, there’s a good chance that the performers work in the pornographic industry because of those qualities. In some cases, the penis you see in the money shot isn’t even the one that’s attached to the performer you saw in the rest of the scene, and that replacement performer was brought in specifically to ejaculate for the scene.
Real orgasms do sometimes appear in porn, but it’s somewhat rare, because for the most part, real orgasms don’t play well on camera.
I’m not really a fan of my genitals. Can I have an orgasm without touching them?
Yes, but I’ll cover that in the masturbation post.
I’m not really a fan of fluids. Can I have an orgasm without dealing with them?
Yes, but I’ll cover that in the masturbation post, too.
Are there any health benefits from having an orgasm?
It may help you sleep.
It may help you relax.
It may relieve tension or stress.
It may relieve a headache.
It may relieve period pain.
It may improve your mood.
There are some claims that regular male ejaculation helps reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
But, and here’s the thing, none of those benefits are worth having an orgasm if you’re not interested in having orgasms or if you find them unpleasant. Even that prostate cancer one. Sure, prostate cancer is bad. But, do you really think you’d be better off if you do something you loathe more than 21 times a month (The amount that’s said to give the greatest reduction in risk), every month for the rest of your life? What impact will the stress that produces have on your quality of life? Not to mention that, for most people reading this, there’s probably still at least 30-40 years until you’re likely to be affected by prostate cancer. You don’t think that they’ll have better treatments, maybe even a cure by then?
Think of it like the claims that drinking red wine are good for your heart. That’s fine, if you drink red wine now and then. But if you don’t drink, they’re usually very clear that you shouldn’t bother to start drinking just for those heart health benefits, because they’re really not that great. Doctors aren’t going to prescribe an orgasm for headaches or insomnia. If you don’t want to have an orgasm, don’t force yourself to, just because of some supposed health benefits.
How often should I have an orgasm?
As often as you want to. Some people never have them, others people have more than one a day. Some people have a few a year, others have a few a week. And some people have a few every couple of months. Sometimes people have a bunch one week, then none for a few weeks. It’s all up to you. There is no “correct” amount of orgasms to have, there’s no number you “should” be having. If your friend has three a month, and you have three a day, there’s nothing wrong with you or with your friend.
Will I make any noise when I have an orgasm?
Maybe, maybe not. The stereotypical screaming moaning orgasm is usually just an act. Most people can have mostly silent orgasms if they want to, and typically don’t have a highly vocal production in any case. That’s not to say there aren’t sounds. There’s often the sound of the motion that produces the orgasm, whether that be a moving hand, a creaking bed, or a buzzing toy. Then, there can also be audible changes in breathing or slight gasps. Soft moans are common, but are often controllable.
Then again, if screaming and moaning is your thing, go for it.
[Up to Main]