There's a lot of debate over whether the vaginal orgasm is a real thing. But if you ask people with vaginas, it turns out many really can orgasm through stimulation of the vagina, even if that's because the clit extends into it. But are clitoral and vaginal orgasms different? And if so, what does each feel like?
I asked eight cisgender women how the two kinds of orgasms felt different to them, and I was surprised to find pretty much no consistency among their descriptions. Some said the vaginal orgasm was more intense; some said the clitoral one was. Some said they felt different; some said they felt the same. This just reaffirms that everybody experiences orgasms differently, and no way is better or worse than any other.
That also means you're not necessarily missing out on anything if you don't experience both vaginal and clitoral orgasms. Only about 25 percent of women orgasm consistently just from intercourse. And that's OK. In fact, it's OK if you don't orgasm at all. There are a lot of ways to enjoy sex.
But in case you're curious, here are some women's accounts of what clitoral and vaginal orgasms feel like.
1. Anonymous, 33
"For me, it is a matter of where the touch was focused. I only started to reach orgasms through clitoral stimulation very recently, after only knowing how to reach orgasm through vaginal stimulation for all those sexually active years prior. It was a big revelation, and they feel like two different centers of pleasure, both tripping the same spasming button internally, if that makes sense."
2. Clee, 34
"I believe I've had both. But with the vaginal orgasm, there is certainly some clitoral stimulation that is helping that process along the way. I've definitely also had just a clitoral orgasm (in particular from oral sex), and for me, it's different from vaginal in that there is a lightness to it. Gosh, it's harder to come up with the adjectives for orgasms than I thought!"
3. Jacqui, 38
"For me, the differences between a clitoral and vaginal orgasm are intriguing. In my own experience, clitoral orgasms last longer and cause a longer-lasting reaction (skin sensitivity). The ability to have another one takes longer, since any touch near the clitoris is an overwhelming sensation. On the other hand, while harder to achieve, vaginal orgasms are shorter in length, but with greater force. The after-effects with vaginal orgasms aren't felt, so it's easy to keep going and hopefully achieve a clitoral orgasm right after."
4. Lizzie, 30
"I can have an orgasm from G-spot stimulation in a way where my body has had an orgasm and I ejaculate, but I don’t feel it take over my mind space. When the clitoris is involved, it becomes a full mind-body experience that completely takes me over. I feel clitoral orgasms more clearly, and they happen more slowly for me. Solely vaginal orgasms can happen fast, almost before I know what’s going on."
5. Lauren, 32
"Clitoral orgasm is highly concentrated and an eruption of pleasure. A vaginal orgasm is deeper and more widespread and it builds with waves of pleasure. It isn't focused in one spot, and the pleasure isn't as high, but it's still possessive of my body. I often think of the clitoral orgasm exploding everywhere at once, whereas the vaginal starts deep in my pelvis and, in waves, flows across my body."
6. Cynthia, 72
"Whether from direct clitoral stimulation or from internal stimulation, all my orgasms have always originated in my clitoris. When vaginal stimulation results in a clitoral orgasm, I suspect that the reason is that the manipulation of the tissues of my vagina moves or otherwise somehow affects my clitoris, so that I actually get some sort of clitoral stimulation. This results in a clitoral orgasm even though the stimulation was only indirect."
7. Gwen, 29
"Vaginal orgasms are better. They're not always easy to get, but they come in waves. It's like I'm vital and alive and the rest of the world shuts out. The best ones are A-spot orgasms. Your A-spot is up near your cervix. Clit orgasms are more reliable. I don't always get them from oral. It's easier to just give them to myself."
8. Diana, 32
"Usually, when masturbating without a toy, it is a clitoral orgasm. There is a brief tingling sensation and a release which leaves me feeling refreshed after completion. When I have a vaginal or blended orgasm, the orgasm is much more physically intense. The orgasm gives me a full-body tingling sensation, my skin is more sensitive, and I sweat and even shake. It is almost primal, leaving me feeling much more sexually satisfied and exhausted."
Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Giphy(8)