If you read up on the science behind what a male orgasm feels like, you'll learn they experience things like increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and rapid breathing. But hearing people with penises explain the sensation in their own words lets you in on the experience in a whole new way.
Though the physical signs of an orgasm may look similar from person to person, they're by no means all the same. For example, you might not have known that people with penises can orgasm without ejaculation. And while it's impossible for people with penises to have multiple ejaculatory orgasms with no refractory period, they can still have multiple orgasms.
According to an Everyday Health article reviewed by a medical doctor, there are typically four steps leading up to ejaculation during a male orgasm. They include arousal, plateau, orgasm, and resolution and refraction. During arousal, blood flows into the penis at 50 times its normal rate which — you guessed it — leads to an erection. During the plateau phase, which only lasts between 30 seconds and two minutes, the person's heartbeat starts to increase, basically in preparation for an orgasm. And in case you were wondering, Everyday Health explains, orgasms feel so good because nerves causing the muscle contractions tell the brain it's experiencing pleasure.
But "good" only scrapes the surface when it comes to what an orgasm feels like, according to a study published in Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology about how sex can affect brain rhythms. "Sex is a source of pleasurable sensations and emotional connection, but beyond that, it’s actually an altered state of consciousness," Adam Safron, PhD, the author of the study "What is orgasm? A model of sexual trance and climax via rhythmic entrainment," told Science Daily. " ... I wasn't expecting to find that sexual activity was so similar to music and dance, not just in the nature of the experiences, but also in that evolutionarily, rhythm-keeping ability may serve as a test of fitness for potential mates."
Some researchers claim that the orgasmic experience is almost identical for everyone, but it's important to remember that people have different needs, expectations, and behaviors leading up to the Big O. To find out the truth about the male orgasm, we went straight to the mouths of some people with penises. Read on for what these 10 people had to say about what the male orgasm actually feels like to them — from the weird fantasies they experience right before it, to what they do after (nap), and the feeling that they might just die before it's over.
1. Bob, 26
"Depending on the situation, it's either a slow or quick buildup, followed by an insane explosion that lasts three to five seconds. Then you either feel shame, or a feeling of 'Yeah, all right, I totally had sex,' which is immediately followed by a need to nap."
2. Eric, 25
"A male orgasm feels like the onset of a dire need at the very same moment that it's being fulfilled, in slow motion. Like a voracious, mind-shattering thirst just as a waterfall begins to surge down towards you from above. Like a tickle that creeps up from every corner of your body until you're desperate for it to stop and also to continue forever, as if squeegees are scraping through your limbs. Like a gunshot, startling and discreet, leaving you with the vibrations, the trembling steel, the blow-back."
3. Matt, 26
"It kind of transcends a pure physical feeling. It's like a whole body and mind numbness, where for a few brief seconds you strangely feel both helpless yet in complete control, mentally vacant while the entirety of your tactile sense rushes to a single point of exit."
4. Mark, 26
"There is no need to explain the male orgasm in great detail, because there's no great detail about it. Your dick gets hard, like, 'What's up. I'm here to party' ... sometimes well before the party has even started. Your dick gets warm (full party mode), then it feels like it's going to explode, like a power-up in a video game. Then you're done."
5. Jason, 30
"It's like you're wandering through this robotic state. My mind starts thinking about all these weird fantasies, and once I finish, everything becomes clear again. Everything just makes sense for a few seconds afterward. It's hard to explain."
6. Alan, 27
"First of all, the male orgasm when you're having sex is way different from when you're just jerking off. When I jerk off, it's just for a means to an end. But when I actually come inside someone, it's like this climax that you're passing on to someone else — this intense feeling that's happening when you're literally in another person. There's nothing that makes me feel more vulnerable."
7. Peter, 23
"Male orgasms are most intense when you try to hold out for as long as possible. If you just let it go once you feel like you're almost there, it's still great. But being on the edge of one and pulling back in order to go for longer creates this really powerful buildup that's totally worth the self-control it takes to get there."
8. Jesse, 26
"I've noticed that my girlfriend's orgasms are definitely longer. Ours really are just a few seconds if we're lucky. A quick burst; maybe like three to five seconds, tops. Don't get me wrong, they feel great, but I have a feeling that you ladies have it better in the orgasm department."
9. Kyle, 22
"A pressure builds, and keeps building until you can't hold it in anymore. There's a threshold that you cross when you know that once you release, you're done. What follows is like that pressure building and falling, but every time it builds, you let out more (which is why it doesn't just gush out in one go, and it comes out in steady intervals)."
10. Stephan, 32
"It begins as a welling of pressure deep within. The contractions build, and as you start to ejaculate, it feels like the best piss you've ever taken. Like the greatest relief ever. This whole time, all you want to do is hold onto whoever you're doing it with, just grab them and hold on for dear life, because sometimes you're pretty sure you're going to die."
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Safron, A. (2016). What is orgasm? A model of sexual trance and climax via rhythmic entrainment. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 6(1). doi: 10.3402/snp.v6.31763
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