Big O, Little O, Is That An O?

Q. I’m not sure if I have ever had an orgasm. Although I have had fantastic, mind blowing sex, I have never felt a “moment.” How can I increase the likelihood of orgasming and even squirting during sex? 

A. I’m going to go out on a limb and say something that might get me a little heat: if you aren’t sure if you have ever had one, you more than likely have not yet had one. Yes, the devil may argue otherwise, but I’m of the opinion that if you are on the fence of “have I or have I not had one,” you more than likely have not. Now, that being said, having an orgasm is not some cannonized state, the holy grail of sex, and the be-all, end-all of what it all means. No, m’am, there is quite enough pressure on the ladies as is, and when it is added in the realm of sexual pleasure, whether by one’s own self or by a partner, it can be downright hard to experience this big fucking O that everyone keeps yammering on about. The good news is this: an orgasm is within sight. What it does sound like you are experiencing from sex, other than it being fulfilling, fantastic, and fun, is the state known as “pre-orgasmic.” According to one my favorite information hubs, Go Ask Alice, being “pre-orgasmic” is:

A pre-orgasmic person is someone who has not yet had an orgasm. This term is used especially when describing women who have not had an orgasm through masturbation AND sex. It is totally normal for women of any age to be pre-orgasmic. Experts once described these women as anorgasmic, referencing their apparent inability to achieve orgasm. The term pre-orgasmic came (excuse the pun) into vogue when experts realized that having an orgasm is possible, and even likely, for many of the women who have never experienced one.

So orgasms are more than likely right around the bend, now it is just about finding the right recipe for you.

But before we get into the tricks of the trade, have you ever wondered what an orgasm is? Sure, I mean we all know what the word “orgasm” means if you say it out loud, but I mean the meat and potatoes of the operation? You know, the technical aspects? Well, you will now. So first off, orgasm, like all good words, is actually an offshoot of the greek word Î¿ÏÎ³Î±ÏƒÎ¼ÏŒÏ‚ – orgasmos, aka, mature and swell. Sounds about right, huh? So, orgasms are basically the muscular discharge or spasm that happens in your sexual response cycle, which is a four-stage model of physiological responses during sexual stimulation. You’ve got your excitement phase, your plateau phase, the orgasmic phase, and the resolution phase. You, my darling, seem to be hitting excitement and plateau, which is when you experience signs of normal stimulation: the hot sex blush, hardened nipples and clitoris, and that oh so fresh “turned on feeling.” Plateau is where things get technically “pre-orgasmic.” This is the stage where your muscles are all tense, your heart rate is a bump-a-thumpin’, and things feel good. Your vaginal tissue swells, and the pubococcygeus muscle, aka, your pelvic floor, tightens. Famous sexual studies duo, Masters and Johnson referred to this as orgasmic platform and to get technical:

…the tissues of the outer third of the vagina, labeled by Masters and Johnson. They swell considerably, and the pubococcygeus muscle tightens, reducing the diameter of the opening of the vagina. During orgasm, women experience rhythmic contractions of the orgasmic platform. The orgastic platform is brought about through the swelling of the bulbus vestibuli that narrows the vestibulum. It is actually the narrowing and the extending of the lower 1/3 of the sheath.

So the orgasmic phase is next, which is, as you may have probably guessed, orgasm. There are two said types of orgasms: clitoral orgasm and vaginal orgasm. Clitoral is the most popular, as that is where all the nerve endings are bundled and from where you are more than likely to experience orgasm. FYI, most women or women-born folks out there experience clitoral orgasms. So if someone is pounding away at you without even remembering you have a clitoris, chances are, orgasm may not be in sight. Seriously, because science! Which took long enough, because between Freud being kind of an asshole and general sexism/religious bullshittery/whatever was the prevailing idea regarding women’s sexuality or lack there of, it’s taken way to long for clitoral stimulation to reach the forefront. Now, there are also vaginal orgasms, which consist or stimulation from the G-spot, and I personally have not met anyone who has had a specific vaginal orgasm. I have met many who say they have had the stimulation of both, and therefore had a good time. After all this, we reach the final stage, resolution. You guessed it. Everything goes back to normal. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Okay, history out of the way: what about your orgasm? So here is another part of the deal: there is a lot of information out there, whether cultural or whatever, that seems to give off the impression that women having orgasms is like the easiest thing since sliced bread. While this is true for some folks, this myth can be a source of stress if you haven’t had an orgasm or have trouble having an orgasm or if you have sexual arousal problems in general. Having orgasms can be easy in the way that riding a bicycle is easy – you must first learn to ride the bicycle, otherwise, you are just getting on some sort of contraption and wondering what the hell it is that people are all gah-gah about when you feel like flailing. Remember learning to ride a bicycle? It was difficult, but eventually you knew how to get up on it and ride it. Much like the bike, you have got to learn how to orgasm. The good part of this is lots of you time! My first suggestion would be to masturbate all by yourself. This way, there isn’t the pressure of a partner, though please remember to be kind on yourself as well! You might not have an orgasm the first time, or even the second, third, or tenth time. It’s all about practice makes perfect. The most important thing is that you have space to explore what feels good and what makes you feel like “getting there.” Fingers, toys, whatever: you can try each of these to figure out what seems to get you close. I’d actually highly recommend a low-intensity vibrator, just to see if that can’t throw you over the edge. The great thing about figuring out how to have an orgasm is that once you have sort of unlocked your DaVinci’s code, you can repeat that pattern. And the more orgasms you have, the better you get at having orgasms.

Also, let’s be honest. Public representation of orgasms? It’s bogus for the most part. Don’t you like how dudes are all like, “This is how you should orgasm!” as if they were damn experts on the matter? Look, your orgasms will not look or feel like what is represented around you. No Meg Ryan type of drama (though we applaud her real talk), no super-styled, graceful flowing locks and immaculate made-up face like Naomi Watts,and certainly, no porn star chic (NSFW). I’m apt to defend porn star chic because porn at least has the decency to present itself exactly as what it is – pure adulterated fantasy, but alas, like any mediated images, movies, whether the orgasm face in 300 (not actually pictured, but I like what’s at the link a touch more) or the orgasm face on Fleshbot (again, NSFW) may or more likely, may not, be what your orgasm feels or looks like. Don’t worry about performing – there is so much pressure to, whether because you “should” be having orgasms, or your partner keeps asking, “Did you come? How about now? What about now? ” (GET OFF MY ASS), or that the film industry thinks that you should be a multi-orgasmic monster solely because someone stuck a dick in you like it was magical orgasmic crack or something. Your orgasm is going to look and feel like your orgasm, whatever that is.

As far as squirting goes, well, that’s another battle in general. I would suggest mastering your O skills first and figuring out what makes you tick in the realm of sexual pleasure. Once you have mastered the basic foundry of your physical sexual pleasure, you can take it a step further to the realm of squirting and such. We have all sorts of how-to guides on such. Now, before all is said and done, just remember: you don’t have to have an orgasm to enjoy sex. Sex is whatever you define it as; including whatever makes you and your partner feel good. While orgasms are awesome and a whole generation of ladies fought for them, we can applaud that and make certain we have them or can do without them. Beyond the physical, the key is this: communication and knowing thyself. If you aren’t going solo, talk to your partner. If they are just pounding away at you without hitting your clitoris like a midnight adult film, then you probably aren’t going to have an orgasm. Say that. Show them what feels good. If they are a partner worthy of your time, they will listen and work with you. The key to communication? Knowing thyself. It takes practicing and experimenting and figuring out not only what physically feels good to you, but how often you get aroused, what you get turned on by, what it takes for you mentally to “be there,” and what it is you want out of sex. Know thyself, my love. That is your key to physical pleasure and beyond.

6 replies on “Big O, Little O, Is That An O?”

I wasn’t sure if I’d had one for a while because I started masturbating when I was pretty young and didn’t know if that was it or if it would be somehow different with someone else. Practice apparently makes perfect, because I can have vaginal and clitoral ones really easily.

Although I agree that it’s rare, and it took me until I was having regular mind-blowing sex with Boyfriend for this to really start, I actually have just as many (if not more) vaginal orgasms than clitoral orgasms during sex (all clitoral all the time when I’m masturbating though.) It just works for me, and man knows how to hit the G-spot like a damn pro.

Not that I am disagreeing with anything you said, just wanted to put this out there and be an outlier.

I have, in my bevy of male partners, had one and only one vaginal orgasm. Plenty of guys who were *sure* they could/had, only to be disappointed when I indicated that I still needed my final round of applause. But other than the v.O. being awesome because I kind of wasn’t expecting it, I can’t say one is better than the other for me. They’re all fantastic!

Also, I kind of love the science of orgasm stuff in this post. Good stuff, but then again I might just be a physiology nerd.

I don’t think there’s actually any particular scientific consensus on ‘clitoral’ v ‘vaginal’ v ‘insert anatomical reference here’ orgasms.

But yeah, I agree – if you’re not sure, I’d say you probably haven’t. Though it might not be spectacular at first – more of a really nice-feeling genital sneeze – the sensation is quite distinctive (for me, anyway – not having experience orgasms in anyone else’s body :) ).

I’m also going to recommend Emily Nagoski again – she has a short free ebook on the topic that’s a fun, quick, empathic, and grounded – from here

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