Learn About Sexuality

How we know that someone has had an orgasm

A sex education should include a description of sexual techniques that may be used to pleasure men and women. These should differentiate between those techniques which assist with orgasm and those which provide sensual pleasure. We orgasm with a frequency dictated by our responsiveness. We think about sexual activity because some trigger causes us to think about sex. Most men are already aroused when they have an opportunity for sex.

Achieving orgasm relies on a number of factors. The most critical issue is that an individual must have the necessary responsiveness. Responsiveness is a male characteristic. So men are much more likely to experience orgasm than women are. Further factors include a degree of privacy, a degree of confidence for men in the sociable situation and a relaxed state of mind.

Orgasm is just one part of the arousal cycle, which varies but is a unique experience. The ideal scenario involves enjoying psychological stimulation (conscious erotic fantasy or subconscious response to eroticism) combined with genital stimulation (of the aroused sex organ: penis or clitoris) that culminates in the release of sexual tension (in the form of an orgasm) followed by a pleasurable aftermath (of orgasm) including waves of post-climax echoes and sensations of lassitude.

One of the key characteristics of orgasm is that it occurs sporadically. This is difficult to appreciate when an individual is highly responsive. It is much easier to see when a person is less responsive. Due to the novelty of the situation, a man may ejaculate spontaneously if he is highly aroused, young or inexperienced. Women never orgasm spontaneously. Female orgasm must always be consciously generated. Men, also have to work at achieving orgasm to a greater or lesser degree depending on their state of arousal.

Achieving orgasm involves applying consistent stimulation until orgasm and then desisting. The time taken to achieve orgasm depends on various factors including our current state of arousal. But that period of stimulation cannot be determined in advance. You cannot set you watch and demand that someone reaches orgasm at an exact point in time. This makes it very unlikely that lovers can orgasm at the exact same moment as each other.

Orgasm is a subconscious response but typically we have to take conscious actions to achieve it. If we are aiming for orgasm, we want to control our own stimulation because only we know the state of our own mind. We want to synchronise stimulation with what is happening in our heads to optimise the mental impact of orgasm (satisfaction obtained from sexual release).

We do not experience the same sensations every time we have an orgasm. On some occasions the feelings of release are much more satisfying than on others. Factors that affect orgasm quality include: our pent-up need for sexual release, our ability to achieve a mental focus on eroticism and probably general factors such as our state of mental well-being.

Men and women experience orgasm differently. A man has the turn-on of penetration and domination. A man is very conscious of his need for release. He has the sensation of ejaculating and release from sexual frustration. Even for a woman a release feels best when some time has elapsed since the last orgasm. The focus on eroticism is a fantasy scenario for a woman but could be a turn-on for a man such as a new sexual partner.

Achieving orgasm involves some considerable effort. Both men and women experience an increase in heart rate and heavier breathing. For men, this effect is increased if they have engaged in vigorous intercourse for some time. They may even break out in a sweat on occasion. For women, the effect is much less so they don’t sweat. Female masturbation revolves around mental concentration rather than physical effort. The breathlessness may result from the sensations of sexual release when they are powerful. A woman may tense and hold her breath for short periods as she concentrates on building her arousal, which may add to her breathlessness.

Adults must be proactive about taking the necessary steps to orgasm. If a person wants to achieve orgasm, then they are motivated to seek the correct stimulation or to provide it for themselves. The clitoral organ is only ever tumescent (rather than erect) and even when it is a woman is not consciously aware of her physical arousal. During masturbation alone, a woman instinctively uses the correct stimulation technique (as men do).

Erotic stimulation … effects a series of physiologic changes which … appear to involve adrenal secretion; … increased pulse rate; … a flow of blood into … the penis … and the clitoris; … often considerable loss of perceptive capacity; increase in nervous tension; some degree of frigidity in whole or part of the body at the moment of maximum tension and then a sudden release which produces local spasms or more extensive convulsions. (Alfred Kinsey 1948)

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