What Does an Orgasm Feel Like?

by Teela Hudak about a year ago in sexual wellness

And is it the same for everyone?

What Does an Orgasm Feel Like?

What does an orgasm feel like? It's a common and pretty understandable question. So if this is a question you're not sure how to answer, then don't worry because you're not alone. A lot of people, particularly women, struggle with knowing if they've ever had an orgasm. Many others have a hard time pinpointing when and if their orgasm occurred.

Media such as movies, TV, and pornography would lead us to believe that all orgasms are earth-shattering experiences that leave us unable to move or think. While it's true that some orgasms may be that way, not all of them are. Much of what we see in media is exaggerated for the sake of entertainment.

Orgasms can have a real range of sensations and intensities. These all depend on a variety of factors.

What an Orgasm Feels Like... The Broad Strokes!

Describing what it feels like is often like trying to define what an orgasm really is. There is no one universal answer to this question. That's because, like so many aspects of sexuality, it depends on each individual person. How we process the experience is framed from the collection of experiences we've had, what we find thrilling or pleasurable, and how we think and feel about sex. The answer is further complicated by the fact that no two orgasms are really the same.

There are some common things that happen during an orgasm such as:

  • Increased breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Squeezing/contraction of muscles
  • Some people experience a reddened face, neck and chest which is often called a sex flush
  • The brain releases dopamine and oxytocin
  • Body fluids are released

People describe how this makes them feel in a variety of different ways. Some common descriptions include:

  • Fireworks
  • Explosions
  • Melting
  • Intense energy
  • Pulsing between the legs
  • Sensational rollercoaster
  • Overwhelming warmth
  • Ebb and flow of energy that builds up to a focal point
  • Electricity surging through the body
  • The moment between falling asleep and waking up
  • The feeling of being tickled while you have to pee
  • Body numbness

Who really knows what other people are feeling? That's why it can be so difficult to describe. The reality is that it will feel a little unique for everyone and it may feel different at different times.

What Things Can Impact How an Orgasm Feels?

So why does a person experience a range of differences in orgasm? The answer to that is actually a bit complex. There are a lot of things that impact our sex drive and experience of sex.

The first and foremost of them is our mindset. How do we feel about sex and our bodies? Are we comfortable in our own skin? Do we feel we have a healthy and active sex life? Are we embarrassed about sex? Do we feel self-conscious when we are with our lover? Do we stop to enjoy what's happening or are we in our own head too much? All of these things can impact our enjoyment of sex and ultimately how we experience an orgasm. Since we are never in exactly the same mindset and mood all the time, this can influence our experience from one orgasm to the next.

Orgasms can also be impacted by our sexual experience. If we are relatively unexperienced, we may not know what we like as much or our bodies may not be used to that type of stimulation. Even experiences like masturbation can help increase the intensity and satisfaction of our orgasm. The more types of sexual experiences we have, even if just masturbation, helps us discover what we like. It's how we determine what really gets us off. This cuts the time we spend looking for what feels good, and can contribute to a more satisfying overall experience.

Another impact to our pleasure can be how connected we feel to our partner and how important we deem that sense of connection. For people that place a high value on emotional intimacy, feeling close to your sex partner can stimulate your sexual interest on another level. It can complement and intensify physical sensations during sex. After all, sex is all about connection. If we are feeling one with our partner on a mental, emotional, and/or spiritual level, then the physical act of coming together will feel more intense than with someone who we don't share that same sense of connection.

Our orgasm can also be impacted by how well we feel. Are we stressed? Sick? Do we eat reasonably well? Feel well? Are we exhausted? Dehydrated? How we feel physically plays a large role in our orgasm. Sex is like any other physical activity. It's a healthy exercise. How much we put into it and get out of it will depend on how good we feel.

Vulva VS Penis: Do Orgasms Feel Different?

Research into brain testing during orgasms has revealed that the brain activity during an orgasm is completely the same regardless of what genitals a person has or what gender they identify as. On a neurological level, it is the same. There are some key differences in the experience for those with vulvas when compared to those with penises.

The biggest differences stem from how anatomy works. On average, people with vulvas take approximately 20 minutes to reach orgasm. It is also possible for these people to have multiple orgasms in a row, one right after another. This changes the experience because the feeling of buildup is longer before the first release. Sometimes, people with vulvas don't experience that sense of completeness or finality because their body is already ready for the next orgasm. This can be an advantage though because when someone is properly stimulated, they can just continue to go through waves of pleasure.

People with a penis have a much shorter buildup time. On average, it can take only three minutes for penile orgasm. In most cases, the individual needs a recovery period before they are able to have sex again. This recovery time ranges from person to person. Because of this, once a penile orgasm has happened, there is usually a strong sense of completion and sexual satisfaction. They also experience a higher release of hormones like nitric oxide, vasopressin, oxytocin, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which can make it extremely difficult to stay awake.

The overall sensation of the orgasm is different to compare between the two anatomies, but they are generally described in the same terms. The largest differences lay with the anatomy function.

Exploring the Joy of Orgasms

If you're still unsure if you've had an orgasm there is nothing wrong with continuing to explore your own sexuality until you are sure! The most important things are that you are comfortable and making choices that will benefit your long-term health and happiness. Whether you are exploring on your own or with a partner, just pay attention to your body's reactions. This will be the best way to discover the keys to unlock your pleasure!

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sexual wellness
Teela Hudak
Teela Hudak
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Teela Hudak

Teela is a Vancouver-based Sex Educator & Relationship Expert. Learn more at: https://exploresextalk.com/

See all posts by Teela Hudak