Most (somewhere hovering around 95%) of women can have orgasms. Not so surprising for anyone who has had one, there is a direct correlation between the ability to experience orgasm and sexual satisfaction. The corollary, that the inability to experience an orgasm, lowers a woman’s level sexual satisfaction, is also true.
There have been so many articles and books that try to describe what women (and men) feel during orgasm. Strikingly, although the descriptions vary widely, there is so much overlap between the descriptions given by men and women. This leads me to my general principal that no two orgasms may be alike but that they are not necessarily so different between genders.
The truth is, that to most of us, whether we experience them or not, an orgasm seems, well, kind of mysterious. So what actually is happening when a woman experiences orgasm? During the excitement phase, when a woman becomes “turned on” typically her breasts swell up, her nipples become erect and her uterus tips downward. (Note: I said “typically”. Many women don’t actually experience any or all of these responses and still have fabulous orgasms.) At this point added stimulation to her clitoris, vulva, and vagina will bring on general body tension and will increase blood flow to the vulvar/vaginal area. As the blood keeps building in the vulvar/vaginal area, a woman will experience her genitals as tense and tight. For most women, this feeling, which comes with tingling, swelling and wetness is pleasurable.
During this time a woman is also getting a lot of neurological stimulation. The nerve endings in her clitoris, vagina and vulva are being stimulated and experience greater and greater stimulation. At the point where the stimulation reaches a crescendo, the nerves “shoot off” to release tension. A series of involuntary contractions occur in response. The contractions, which may happen in the uterus and vagina, (each woman is different) carry the blood away from the genitals and back to the rest of the body (unless she tries to have another orgasm). Most women experience this resolution time, as one where tension fades away and there is relaxed feeling in the genitals and often in the rest of her body as well. That’s why so many people want to have an orgasm to reduce stress.
There is such a wide range of the way women describe their orgasms. Some feel them intensely like there is an internal “explosion” when it happens. Unfortunately, those are the only orgasms depicted by books, TV and movies, so women kind of expect that to be the reality. But so many women talk about something subtler or more low-key but also extremely satisfying. And some women know that they have had an orgasm because they are aware when sex feels like it’s “over” and they feel good and relaxed even though they never felt the orgasm itself. And that is all fine!
It is important that I “bust” two crazy myths here:
The first is that it is commonplace for women to orgasm from penile penetration. Most women do not orgasm from a penis in a vagina alone. The statistic can be found all over the place, but let me repeat it, in case you missed it. Only 30% of women (that’s about 3/10 women) will have an orgasm from a penis in a vagina. Most women, (that’s around 70%,) need clitoral stimulation of some sort to actually have an orgasm. Now please don’t confuse that with “most women don’t orgasm while a penis is in the vagina,” because that is not the same thing. Many more women might have orgasms with a penis in their vagina, because they are simultaneously using a hand or a vibrator on their clitoris. But for most women it is just not realistic to have an orgasm from stimulation in your vagina alone. And so many women think that is “normal” because that is what we see on TV and movies. So relax, and stop using that as a gold standard.
The second? That there are clitoral orgasms and vaginal orgasms and that they are fundamentally different. There is no such thing as a “clitoral” or a “vaginal” orgasm. There are orgasms. Period. Some women enjoy stimulation more in one part of their genitals more than other parts. It is the combined stimulation of the nerve endings that ultimately lead to orgasm and for most women it’s some type of mixed stimulation. That’s why orgasms just feel different when different parts of your anatomy are being stimulated. Some women have more nerve endings in one part of their genitals than other parts.
No orgasm is “better” than another and there is no evidence that one type of orgasm is universally more intense than another! Different women experience stimulation from different parts of their anatomy differently.
However, wherever and with whomever you choose to have an orgasm, enjoy yourself. The really important thing to remember is that they are good for you, they help to bring blood flow into the vaginal area, keep your vagina moist and supple and they are relaxing. Best of all, they usually feel great!