Orgasm is the stage of human sexual response which is often marked by a release of tension and heightened sexual pleasure.
Orgasms usually involve involuntary muscle spasms, blood flow to the genitals, heightened sensitivity, increased heart rates and hormone release. They may also include ejaculation in both men and women, a visible sex flush and a subsequent state of deep relaxation.
Though often a highpoint of sexual activity, an orgasm should not necessarily be the primary aim, as goal-oriented sex often cultivates unnecessary pressure that detracts from the overall experience. Each woman experiences orgasms differently and no two orgasmic encounters will ever be the same. Some orgasms feel like a gentle flutter or tickle while others may be described as a tremendous release.
I advise clients to experiment with orgasms on their own to become comfortable with their natural response, which may include an infinite range of facial expressions, gestures, movements, change in breathing patterns, moans, sighs, sounds and emotions. There is no “right” way to orgasm or express orgasmic release and the porngasms that erotic film stars act out in adult films are not representative of the typical of female orgasmic response.
Some of the most satisfying orgasms may make you want to lie back and coo gently while others might induce thunderous screams, but sound volume is not positively correlated with pleasure intensity. Powerful orgasms can be experienced in near-silence to the quiet hum of deep exhales and fluttering lashes.
Most women do not experience orgasm through vaginal penetration alone and though there is a widespread debate surrounding clitoral versus vaginal orgasms, many sex experts believe that the orgasm originates in the brain and can involve the entire body. The brain, which regulates and controls our central nervous system, sends and receives the signals necessary to enjoy orgasm. This is why many people can experience physical arousal independent of subjective arousal. All the physical stimulation in the world often pales in comparison to the stimulation of our most powerful sex organ – the brain.
While we can play with our psychological, chemical and emotional arousal through fantasy, full body orgasms can be cultivated through thorough, slow exploration and stimulation of all of our beautiful body parts. The clitoris is a great place to start as you explore your orgasmic potential, but women can enjoy orgasms from stimulation of their breasts, pubic mounds, underarms, brains and even their feet.
For women who are yet to experience orgasm, masturbation is the best place to start, as it offers an opportunity to learn about your unique needs, hot spots, reactions and limitations. Tune in to Orgasms Part II for some advice on learning to orgasm for the first time.
Dr. Jessica O’Reilly is a board-certified sexologist committed to helping clients enjoy healthy, pleasurable sex lives. She has completed her PhD in human sexuality with a focus on training teachers to deliver effective sex education. She loves her work (obviously!) and splits her time between public speaking engagements, freelance writing, program development and consulting in the field of sexual health. Learn more about Jessica at www.jessicaoreilly.com