Orgasm is a unique experience that we experience as a result of the interaction between our mind and our body. Orgasm is a subconscious response but we need to take conscious actions to achieve it.
A responsive person definitely knows when they have had an orgasm because they took very specific and focused steps to get there. Arousal (and hence orgasm) relies on what happens in the mind. Women often assume they have had an orgasm just by engaging in intercourse. So we need to also consider the external signs and behaviours that indicate a person has had an orgasm.
The key evidence for orgasm is that we do not want the stimulation that caused the orgasm to continue. Sexual activity that is focused on the goal of orgasm, ends when orgasm is achieved. Typically we stop engaging in all sexual activity. This is why sex ends with a male orgasm but never with female orgasm. This is the clearest evidence that women do not orgasm with a lover. We know women do not have orgasm as a goal because there is never a point at which they can no longer participate in sexual activity.
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.
A man may not want his performance observed in case it is judged lacking. A man doesn’t want competition. Foremost a man wants to concentrate on the eroticism of the scenario so that he can enjoy the best release. He doesn’t want any interruptions until he has ejaculated. He may not want a partner to be distracted. Women want privacy because of embarrassment.
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 arousal to a greater or lesser degree depending on their responsiveness.
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 your 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.
We do not experience the exact same sensations every time we have an orgasm. Sometimes the release is more satisfying that at other times. Factors that affect orgasm quality include: our pent-up need for sexual release, our ability to achieve a mental focus on eroticism and factors such as our general state of well-being. Orgasm ends the arousal cycle. It ideally involves enjoying psychological stimuli (conscious erotic fantasy or a subconscious response to eroticism) combined with genital stimulation (of the tumescent 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.
A woman masturbates by applying an instinctive stimulation technique (as men do). Specific anatomy is stimulated to achieve orgasm. This is because mental arousal causes tumescence in the genital region. If women experienced orgasm routinely then the female turn-ons as well as the anatomy involved in female orgasm would be common knowledge. If we are aiming for orgasm, we want to control our own stimulation. We want to synchronise stimulation with what is happening in our heads to optimise the mental impact of orgasm (satisfaction obtained from sexual release).
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. Female arousal depends on mental concentration rather than physical effort. A woman may tense and hold her breath for short periods as she concentrates on her arousal, which may add to her breathlessness.
The feelings that accompany orgasm are unique and do not equate exactly to any other human experience. We lack the vocabulary to describe it because we never talk about these sensations. The feelings of arousal are like excitement. We feel a slight adrenaline rush. We hold our breath to concentrate on the feelings. Our mind is totally absorbed in what is happening. The sensations of orgasm are sweet, joyful and satisfying.
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)