We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we hear the nitty-gritty of how we can actually better understand our deepest desires and most embarrassing questions? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist, to help us out with the details. No gender, sexual orientation, or question is off limits, and all questions remain anonymous. Now, onto today’s topic: what an orgasm really feels like for a woman.
Q: I’ve been trying to learn how to orgasm on my own for some time now. I think I’ve been super close a number of times (I suspect that I may have even had an orgasm?), but I’ve never felt that intense explosion that so many women talk about. I thought it would be a lot easier to tell if I was having one or not! I’m getting frustrated because I’ve been working on this for so long. How can I know if I’m having an orgasm?
A: Thanks for your question! It’s a much more common one than you’d think. When women sign up for the free orgasm workshop I give away on my website, I ask them about their current relationship with their orgasm. As of this publication, 32 percent of women responded that they didn’t know if they were having orgasms or not. You’re definitely not alone in feeling confused!
I want to encourage you not to give up hope, especially in the middle of making such great progress in your orgasmic journey! To help guide the way, here are six things you should know about what an orgasm really feels like.
Women Experience Orgasm Differently
The truth of the matter is that I can’t tell you what your orgasm will feel like. Orgasm is an incredibly personal experience. and it varies from woman to woman. A lot of women come in to my practice hoping I can tell them exactly what to expect. I wish I could give a specific answer, like “first, you’ll feel your fingers and toes start to tingle, and then after 15 seconds, your orgasm will start!” Trying to tell someone what their orgasm will feel like is like trying to tell someone what it will feel like when they fall in love; you just don’t know what that experience will be like for another person.
That being said, I can give you some general descriptions of what orgasm can feel like. Most orgasms tend to fall in three very broad categories. Orgasms may feel like:
The peak of sexual pleasure during that particular encounter
Something that feels different from the other sensations you felt
A release of built-up pressure
I’ve had women describe their orgasms as “tremors,” “little blips of pleasure,” “an out-of-body experience,” “a small sigh,” “hurts-so-good,” and “an intense, focused pinpoint of pleasure.” These individual experiences are just so different that it makes the word “orgasm” hard to describe!
You Can Have Different Kinds Of Orgasms
The same woman can have a wide range of orgasms. Orgasms are like snowflakes; no two are alike! Sometimes your orgasms may feel incredibly powerful. Other times they may feel tiny and inconsequential. That’s why it’s important not to give up hope. Just because your orgasms feel fleeting right now doesn’t mean all of your orgasms will feel that way in the future!
They Don’t Always Feel That Great
Almost all of my clients expect to have earth-shattering, mind-boggling, limb-weakening orgasms. In reality, orgasms don’t always feel amazing. Some orgasms can actually feel like a letdown (“that was it??”). Others can feel mildly painful or uncomfortable. Some can trigger emotional releases. Sometimes an orgasm feels like when you have to sneeze really badly, but the sneeze dies in your nose!
I think a lot of women feel pressured to have incredible orgasms, so they play up just how good their orgasms are when they’re talking to their girlfriends. This, of course, leads to even more unrealistic expectations about what orgasm is like. I think it’s important for us as women to acknowledge that not all orgasms are life-changing!
... But You Can Make Them Better
Like the old saying goes, practice makes perfect! The more you keep masturbating, the better you’ll get at making yourself orgasm. You should expect to have occasional duds, but more experience will help you be able to identify your orgasms more readily, and learn what your body needs to have even better orgasms. For example, you might discover that your body responds really well to a certain level of pressure or a specific stroke. Check out one of my recent articles for even more tips on creating stronger orgasms.
Your Body Has Some Tell-Tale Signs
If you find yourself truly puzzled about whether or not you’re having an orgasm, one other technique to try is paying more attention to how your body responds when you think you’re close. Again, every woman is different, but most women will have some sort of involuntary physiological response. If you feel your muscles shaking or twitching uncontrollably, if your heart rate increases suddenly, if you skip a breath, or if your chest gets flushed, you may be having an orgasm.
It Won’t Always Feel Like You’re Done
We women are lucky — we’re capable of having multiple orgasms in quick succession. A lot of women are looking for a feeling of “completion” after an orgasm, which they won’t always get since their bodies are primed to have another orgasm right away. Sometimes, an orgasm may feel like a release, but don’t rule out the possibility that you had an orgasm just because you don’t feel finished.
I know you’re frustrated right now, but the absolute best thing you can do is try to enjoy the process of figuring out how to masturbate. Remember that masturbating should feel pleasurable throughout the entire experience, not just at the end. Learn to enjoy the ride, and I promise that you’ll have more obvious orgasms in the future!
Images: MarioWageman/Flickr; Giphy