How Many Kinds Of Orgasms Actually Exist? Here's What Experts Say

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

I often come across articles with headlines like "X Orgasms Every Women Should Experience Before She Dies" Or "The Orgasm You Didn't Know You Were Missing." But how many kinds of orgasms are there, really? In my experience (and, I'd venture to guess, many others'), there's only one. So am I missing something, or have I just not realized my full potential? Should every woman really experience a uterine or nipple or left toe or god-knows-what orgasm, or is this just another sexual expectation we're placing on women?

If there are multiple types of orgasms, what seems pretty clear is that women aren't having them all. In fact, the only kind of orgasm that most women seem to have is the clitoral one. Only about a quarter of women consistently orgasm through penetration, according to Elisabeth Lloyd's The Case of the Female Orgasm. Alexis Thomas, who owns the sex-positive shop Taboo Tabou and teaches sex education at Northwestern University and around Chicago, tells Bustle the number of women who are actually orgasming through penetration alone is probably lower. "Typically, women who do achieve any sort of G-spot orgasm do so through clitoral stimulation or even a clitoral orgasm that happens before the G-spot."

Are orgasms other than clitoral ones a myth, then? Like the very existence of the G-spot, this seems to be another thing experts just can't agree on. Here are some theories, though.

Theory #1: There Is Only One Orgasm

"Orgasm happens in the brain, not the body part whose stimulation results in the response," Good Vibrations staff sexologist Carol Queen tells Bustle. For that reason, really any body part (or combination of body parts) can lead to orgasm for different people if the pathways to the brain are there. Orgasms from different body parts may feel different, but they happen in the same place, so Queen considers them all different pathways to the same result.

Theory #2: There Are Two Orgasms

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Sexpert and tantra teacher Helena Nista tells Bustle that orgasms can be categorized into external ones, which are primarily clitoral, and internal ones, which include anal, nipple, cervical, and G-spot. The clitoral ones arrive fairly quickly and are over quickly, with a sharp, localized feeling. The other ones are slow-building, long-lasting, and spread throughout the body.

Alicia Sinclair, CEO of b-Vibe and Le Wand, agrees that internally induced orgasms have their own quality. "G-spot orgasms are commonly known to be more full-body, deeper, and sometimes even more emotional orgasms," as opposed to "the quick high of clitoral," she tells Bustle.

Theory #3: There Are A Whole Bunch Of Orgasms

Sinclair says both men and women have multiple — maybe even infinite — kinds of orgasms. Just a few sources of orgasms include the A-Spot (the place deep within your vagina between the cervix and bladder that can be stimulated through vaginal penetration or anal play), the G-spot (which feels more full-bodied and can be reached through vaginal or anal play), and the prostate, which can be stimulated through anal sex. Then, there are blended orgasms, which can come from any combination of these.

Some of these kinds of orgasms may feel similar, and some might feel very different. For example, anal stimulation can stimulate the inner clitoris, says Sinclair, so it might produce something that feels like a clitoral orgasm. Others might find those sensations to be totally different. Likewise, some people say vaginal orgasms are more intense, while others say clitoral orgasms are.

The bottom line is, don't feel like something's wrong with you if you're not experiencing nipplegasms and coregasms and whatever-gasms. Some people's bodies respond to more types of stimulation than others, but they're all orgasms, and orgasm isn't what defines good sex anyway.