5 Women Describe Exactly What An Orgasm Feels Like

by Emma McGowan

Most of us with a vagina can remember a time when we wondered if we’d ever had an orgasm. Was it that feeling in the bathtub? Or when I rubbed against my pillow? Or when he/she touched me there? I think… Maybe? Seriously, what does an orgasm feel like? While boys know pretty damn definitively when they’ve come the first time, it’s a lot harder for us to know exactly when we're having an orgasm. An 18 year-old friend of mine told me recently that she asked her mom what an orgasm felt like and the response was, “You’ll know when it happens.”

But that’s kind of bullshit, isn’t it? Most of us don’t know when it happens and are left wondering, with no one to ask, because we just don’t talk about “those things” in our culture. And if we don’t talk about them with each other, how can we empower young women to take control of their own sexuality and pleasure?

One of the reasons I love what I do here at Bustle is the fact that I’m able to talk to each and every one of you about this stuff, even if I don’t always hear back. With that in mind, here’s how I described an orgasm to my friend:

"It feels like something building up and up and up until it all releases at once."

That’s the super simple version of what it’s like for me (and for her, apparently: she immediately said, “Oh, then I’ve totally had one!” when I told her) but it’s different for everyone. To help the rest of you figure out if you’ve had one too – and also because I just think it’s fascinating to hear about everyone’s experiences – I asked some lady friends to describe what an orgasm feels like for them. Here’s what they told me.

1. Jess, 26

"A really good one starts at the bottoms of my feet and feels hot and tingly, then creeps up my legs and swells till there's a little explosion."

2. Trouble, 23

"It depends — when I'm alone and using my preferred strong vibrator, it's like lightning up my spine and in my stomach. When I've edged myself for hours, it's like all of my muscles getting warm and full at once. When I'm orgasming with my partner inside me, it's like the edging orgasm, but deeper, and more concentrated low in my body."

3. Sam, 33

"It varies. Can be anywhere between: "Ah, that was nice, shall we get some ice cream?" and: "Ultra-sensitive, spastic twitching, uncontrollable pleasure." It's a wonderful mental game."

4. Maplechaser, 28

"It feels like the inside of my vagina is fluttering its wings. Like a f***ing butterfly."

5. S, 21

"like warm water slowly spreading from my clit outward"

Images: Giphy (5); Kamila Gornia/Flickr