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How Does An Orgasm Happen?

A Biological & Psychological Look At Orgasms

By Leigh NorénPublished 3 years ago 3 min read
How Does An Orgasm Happen?
Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash

Orgasms aren’t magical

In online sex coaching and sex therapy, a large part of my job entails busting myths about sex, sexuality and relationships. One of the biggest myths is the idea of orgasms as mysterious events that we cannot control.

In part – this is true, at the very least it can feel like we have no control over our climax. Lots of people struggle with coming before they want to, not having an orgasm as quickly as they’d like to, or not coming at all.

The thing is though – orgasms aren’t magic – they’re the result of several processes in your mind and body. Here are a few of them.

Orgasms are the peak of pleasure

Orgasms are usually referred to as the peak of pleasure – and this isn’t just because orgasms may feel intensely pleasurable – it’s because they actually are.

You can think of orgasms as the product of a sexual build-up. In order for orgasms to happen, the sexual stimulation you’re receiving, whether from a partner, a sex toy or yourself, starts to build towards a climax. When the same kind of stimulation is repeated for a while, this build-up will start to occur.

If you have difficulty orgasming during sex, make sure you’re not mixing up your technique while you’re mid-build-up. This can throw off your orgasm completely. Steady stimulation will get you there.

However, orgasms aren’t just the result of the correct stimulation. How does an orgasm happen? You need both physical stimulation and mental stimulation.

Orgasms are about the brain

Your biggest sexual organ isn’t your genitals – it’s your brain. This is where the good stuff happens, where your desire for sex is created and it’s also an area that needs to be stimulated in order for you to climax.

Being turned on in order to have an orgasm might sound obvious, yet a lot of clients I see who struggle to orgasm, miss this crucial part. It’s easy to get stuck in your head with ideas about having to come or taking too long to come. These un-sexy thoughts quickly remove any sexual stimulation of your brain – and your sex drive plummets.

Stimulating your brain is all about finding what turns you on.

Are there particular sounds you enjoy? Fantasies you can play out in your head, or right there in bed with a partner? Are there toys, aides or gadgets that can make sex more exciting? Whatever it is and even if it’s multiple things – use it all to make sure you’re turned on to the maximum. Because when you are, coupled with steady stimulation, orgasms become easy.

But you need more. The third important thing to know about how does an orgasm happen, is that your PC muscles are an important part of orgasming.

Orgasms are about the pelvic floor

PC-what? Your PC-muscles or your pelvic floor muscles, are several muscles that stretch from your tail-bone to your pubic bone, making up a kind of hammock of muscles.

When the sexual build-up is happening, through mental and physical stimulation, these muscles are getting ready to do a serious work-out. When the eruption of pleasure occurs, they go through a series of contractions – involuntary ones. This is believed to be part of why orgasms feel so good.

And the longer and more intensely they contract, the longer and more intense your orgasm can become.

But in order for them to do this, the pelvic floor muscles need to be toned. So, if you’re finding it hard to climax, this is an important piece to focus on, along with the other parts of the puzzle.

The 3-part puzzle

Orgasms aren’t magic – and this is a good thing. It means you can learn how to have one, if you want to. These most important things to make sure of, in order to have an orgasm, are:

  • Toning your pelvic floor muscles so they can contract fast enough during your orgasm
  • Making sure your brain is turned on and you’re experiencing strong sexual desire, building towards a peak
  • Using the same steady physical stimulation, once you get on the build-up track to coming

Now you know the answer to the question, how does an orgasm happen, what will your first step be?


Leigh Norén is a sex therapist and coach with a Master of Science in Sexology. She helps people reduce stress, shame, & anxiety surrounding sex -- so they can get their sex drive back and enjoy their partner again. If you’re looking to learn how to overcome libido, download her free resource, The Desire Test.

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About the Creator

Leigh Norén

Sex therapist with a Master of Science in Sexology. Offers free online resources for a better sex life and relationship, sex therapy, and online courses.

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