What does an orgasm feel like?

By Ashley Cobb

There are orgasms and then there are ORGASMS! The Big O! For some, they’re earth-shattering for others they’re a small release. Orgasms exist on a spectrum, they varies from person to person but one thing everyone can agree on is that orgasms are the cherry on top of a very delicious cake. In fact, in French, orgasms are known as le petit mort, or “the little death”, which doesn’t sound too pleasurable when you think about it. However, oddly enough some people describe orgasms as an outer body experience, so maybe little death is the perfect name.  

To gain a better understanding of how orgasms feel, a 1970 study asked male and female college students to describe their orgasms. Most of the descriptions involved a pleasurable release of built-up tensions, experienced as an explosion of sensation, sometimes bordering on the ecstatic, and finally a wave of warmth, peace, and relaxation. Despite having similar orgasm experiences, orgasms do differ by gender. A huge difference in males is the refractory period. After having an orgasm males go through a time out period where they are unable to have an erect or another orgasm---this only last for a certain period of time. Men are literally one and done, whereas females can have multiple orgasms in a session. 

What does an orgasm feel like?

In general, orgasms are a sharp, sudden burst of pleasure after a lead-up of building stimulation and pleasurable feelings.

The female orgasm has four stages:

1. Excitement,the build-up of erotic tension usually achieved through foreplay.

2. Plateau is the concentration of pleasurable feelings and an increase in tension.

3. Orgasm, the “bursting” feeling and release of the sexual tension, combined with the release of several different hormones.

4. Resolution, is the “afterglow” combined with the release of melatonin.

Males also have the same four steps leading up to ejaculation during a orgasm. Excitement, when the penis fills with a high volume of blood, giving him an erection.’ Plateau is when the body prepares for an orgasm — usually somewhere between 30 seconds and 2 minutes before he’s ready to blow. His heart rate increases, his muscles tighten and spasm, and pre-ejaculatory fluid (pre-cum) gets the urethra cleaned out and ready for sperm. Orgasm occurs with ejaculation; incredibly intense contractions in the penile muscles that propel the semen out in short bursts. Resolution, shortly after orgasm, all of that muscle tensions starts to fade, the blood drains from the man’s penis and he begins to lose his erection.

While the male orgasm is primarily related to ejaculation, female can experience orgasms several different ways. The blending of different sensations and the activation of the pleasure centers of the brain are different for each woman. That’s why the question "What does it feel like to have an orgasm?" differs from woman to woman.

The four main ways women experience orgasms are clitoral, vaginal, blended and nipple.

Clitoral Orgasm

Clitoral orgasm which is the most common type of female orgasm achieved through stimulation of the clitoral glans. A clitoral orgasm can be sharp and intense, usually is short-lasting, and can feel like a bursting sensation for some people.

Vaginal Orgasm

Vaginal orgasm involves the G-spot, a sensitive area inside the vagina, about halfway up along the front wall. Not all women experience vaginal orgasm, although it may be possible for all women. Vaginal orgasms typically happen during intercourse and may last longer and feel more like a whole-body climax rather than localized at the clitoris. They’re not as intense as clitoral orgasms, generally.

Blended Orgasm

Blended orgasm is defined as a clitoral and vaginal orgasm that happens at the same time. The intensity of clitoral orgasm accompanying the deeper, more immersive pleasure of a vaginal orgasm.

Nipple Orgasm

Lastly, nipple gasms happen when your nipples get aroused, they send a message to your genital sensory cortex. That’s the same part of the brain that’s in charge of genital stimulation. Nipple orgasms as a wave of pleasure. The sensation spreads across your erogenous areas, building up and up until it crashes across your body. 

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