Learn About Sexuality

Orgasm is a very specific one-off sexual release

For a fifth of men (22%) orgasm is primarily a genital reaction while nearly half of men (45%) have some build-up (body tension). The remaining four variations are similar to the first two but can include additional trembling, fainting, frenzied movements, convulsions, collapse, laughter and talking.

Muscular tensions in the pelvic region increase, culminating in a peak that is suddenly dissipated (providing a sense of release). Orgasm involves the sporadic contractions of the muscles, the sensations of ejaculation of sperm (men only as there is no equivalent female sensation) and the sensation of the extra blood (accumulated in the genitals) flowing away from the area.

The movements and breathing that go with orgasm are a consequence of being aroused. Simply mimicking these symptoms will not cause orgasm. We cannot have an orgasm simply by tensing pelvic muscles or panting for example. These responses arise naturally because they are instinctive. Nor do Kegel exercises have any effect on our ability to orgasm or on the quality of our orgasms. Arousal is the key driver. The better the fantasy or arousal stimulus the better the sexual release.

Orgasm occurs as a culmination of sexual tension resulting in a release of sexual energy. During orgasm a person loses full consciousness of their immediate surroundings. As a guide, if a woman is not sure then she has never had an orgasm.

Orgasm is just one part of the sexual 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 relaxation and lassitude.

Orgasm occurs as a result (i.e. at the end of) activity that is focused on achieving it. To orgasm through intercourse, women would have to time their orgasm to coincide exactly with a man’s every time. Once a man has achieved orgasm, for a while he has little interest in engaging in sexual activity. So a man only wants sex when he knows (or is reasonably confident) that he will achieve orgasm. This is the difficulty men have in understanding that women might engage in sexual activity of any kind without ever achieving orgasm.

It is suggested that a woman needs a man with a loving attitude to ‘enjoy’ sex. But enjoying sexual activity is very different to achieving orgasm. Orgasm is not the sensations women feel from being on the receiving end of intercourse.

Just as a man achieves orgasm by stimulating his penis from start to finish of sexual activity, so too a woman must stimulate her clitoris from start to finish. An orgasm is a one-off sexual release by definition. Anyone who has just had an orgasm does not want further stimulation. Orgasm involves a release of tension that is built up as a person becomes aroused. Even for a woman, one orgasm is followed by a period of resolution before another is possible.

Orgasm is a one-off peak or climax by definition. Activity that is focused on orgasm ends when the objective (orgasm) is reached. No one wants stimulation to continue after their own orgasm. Who ever heard of a man who continues to stimulate a partner once he has had an orgasm? Yet men will accept that a woman has an orgasm (sometimes even that she orgasms multiple times) and that she still continues to be willing to engage in sexual activity.

Once a woman feels the tension start to build, her mental focus (which blocks out all awareness of her physical surroundings) is on the fantasy until she reaches orgasm. It’s difficult to identify where the sensations of orgasm come from exactly. The process is much less predictable with a lover when a woman doesn’t use fantasy.

A woman ceases stimulation once orgasm is reached. The clitoris is too sensitive for further stimulation to be pleasurable (or even comfortable). There is no reason to continue stimulation. Orgasm coincides with the sense of release and the end of our ability to be aroused by a particular fantasy. Orgasm, when it is our objective, defines the end of that activity.

This sudden release of neuromuscular tensions constitutes the phenomenon which we know as sexual climax or orgasm. (Alfred Kinsey 1953)

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