How do i know im having a orgasm


In This Section

  • Sex and Pleasure
  • How do I talk to my partner about sex?
  • Arousal
  • Orgasms
  • Sex Toys

What’s an orgasm?

An orgasm is what usually happens when you reach the height of sexual arousal. It usually feels really good. When you have an orgasm — aka cum or climax — sexual tension increases until it reaches a peak, and pressure in your body and genitals is released.  

What happens when you have an orgasm?

Every person’s body is different, but there are a few physical signs of an orgasm. The most noticeable sign is a very intense, pleasurable feeling in your genitals and throughout your body. The muscles in your vagina or penis, as well as your anus, contract (squeeze) about once per second, 5-8 times. Your heart rate and breathing levels also go up. 

During an orgasm, your penis usually squirts a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) of semen (cum) — this is called ejaculation. It’s possible to have an orgasm without ejaculating or to ejaculate without having an orgasm, but they usually happen together.

It’s common for your vagina to get really wet before and during an orgasm. It’s also possible for a different fluid to squirt or dribble out of your vulva before or during an orgasm (this is sometimes called female ejaculation, or squirting). This fluid isn’t pee. Ejaculation from a vulva is less common than ejaculation from a penis  — some people do it and some people don’t — either is totally normal. 

Right after an orgasm, your clitoris or the glans (head) of your penis can feel very sensitive or uncomfortable to touch. You may have “sex flush” — your chest, neck, and face change color for a short amount of time. Orgasms release endorphins (feel-good hormones), so you might feel sleepy, relaxed, and happy afterwards — this is why some people orgasm to relieve pain, stress, or help them go to sleep.

Orgasms don’t feel the same for every person, or every time you have one — some are very intense, some are very mild, and some are in-between. They vary for a number of reasons, including how comfortable you are, how sexually excited you are, and how much sexual tension you built up before you had your orgasm. 

How can I tell if my partner has an orgasm? | Planned Parenthood Video

How can I tell if my partner has an orgasm? | Planned Parenthood Video

How do you know how to orgasm? 

Most orgasms happen during masturbation or sex (like oral, anal, or vaginal sex), when you or a partner stimulates (touches or rubs) your genitals. People with vulvas usually have orgasms through stimulation of their clitoris, vagina, and/or anus. People with penises usually have orgasms through stimulation of their penis, testicles, and/or anus. A few people can have orgasms from other things, like nipple stimulation or even just thinking sexy thoughts.

Many things can impact your ability to have an orgasm, like your hormones, emotions, past experiences, beliefs, lifestyle, relationships, physical or mental health, taking certain medicines, and using alcohol or drugs.

Some people can have orgasms quickly and easily, others need more time and effort. You might be able to have an orgasm in some circumstances but not others, depending on who you’re with or what you’re doing. Everyone’s body is different and there’s not one “right” way to have an orgasm. 

Some people need to have certain parts of their body stimulated in a very specific way or with certain objects (like vibrators) to have an orgasm. A lot of people with vulvas have orgasms by stimulating their clitorises, but not by penetrating their vaginas — some can’t have an orgasm through their vagina at all. All of these differences are normal. It may take time and practice to learn how to have an orgasm. Experimenting with what feels good can help you understand your body and what feels good for you.

Try not to put any pressure on yourself or your partner to have an orgasm. Not everybody can have orgasms during sex or with other people around. Or sometimes the circumstances just aren’t right (you’re nervous, tired, or distracted for example). Some people never have orgasms at all. If you and/or your partner don’t have an orgasm, it doesn’t mean you’re not into each other or you’re bad at sex. Sex and masturbation can be intimate, enjoyable, and fun with or without orgasms. If you’re struggling to have orgasms and it bothers you, you may have orgasm disorder. It’s really common, and there are treatments to help.

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How To Know If You Had An Orgasm

Photographed by Ashley Armitage.

You might have heard an orgasm described as a vaginal sneeze or called “la petit mort” — French for “the little death.” And though both these are common comparisons, let’s be real. They're not exactly sexy. Others might describe orgasms as fireworks or a cresting ocean wave — prettier, sure, but more abstract. With all these euphemisms floating around, it’s totally possible to come and then have to stop and think, “Wait… was that an orgasm?” And if you’ve never had an orgasm before — as is the case for around 10-15% of cis women — questioning what just happened is even more understandable.


Additionally, orgasms feel different to different people, and they can even feel different to the same person at different times. Sexologists even say that people with vulvas can have 14 different types of orgasm. That's right: one person can "experience wildly different orgasms” in different situations, Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist who specializes in teaching women how to orgasm, previously told Refinery29. 

While different people experience orgasms differently, there are some commonalities. You might notice a few of the signs on this list, or you might feel all of them — it's very individual. Basically, if your body had a reaction during sex and you now feel better than you did before, Marin said, you probably had an orgasm.

You feel tension, then a release

The reason some people say orgasms feel like a sneeze is that both experiences begin with a buildup of tension, followed by a sudden release. They're both reflexes — one just feels a whole lot better than the other.

You feel happy and relaxed

When you orgasm, your brain is flooded with feel-good chemicals including oxytocin and dopamine. These hormones promote feelings of euphoria, bonding, empathy, and closeness. Basically, you'll feel good.

You feel sleepy

In the same way orgasms can make you feel relaxed, they you may also make you sleepy. One 2017 study found that people who had an orgasm before bed reported getting a better night's rest. More research is needed to confirm the link, but the authors of this study say we can likely thank oxytocin.


Your muscles spasm

Many people experience some sort of involuntary muscle contractions during or just after an orgasm. This can happen in your vaginal walls, butt, thighs, legs, and stomach muscles.

Your breathing and heart rate change

During or just after an orgasm, you may notice that you're breathing more deeply and your heart rate is slower. One 2008 study found that, on average, people's heart rates were highest at the beginning of an orgasm, and they returned to a baseline about ten to twenty minutes after.

Your skin is flushed

Many people may find that the skin on their face, neck, and chest gets red and might feel hot to touch. This is sometimes called a "sex flush" or "orgasm flush" — and NARS' famous "Orgasm" blush is designed to mimic it.

Afterwards, your body feels sensitive

After an orgasm, many people report that their genitals feel sensitive — so sensitive that they don't want to be touched for at least a few minutes. If you'd like to continue the sex session, concentrate on other areas of your body — or your partner's — for a while before returning to your vulva.

Was there an orgasm? 5 Signs of True Satisfaction

Let's start with history. The word "orgasm" has been in the language for a long time. Its origin goes back to Ancient Greece. In a literal translation, the word "orgasm" means "swell with moisture, burning with passion. " From the point of view of physiology, it sounds less poetic: the culmination of sexual intercourse, the highest peak of pleasure.

* * *

Specialists distinguish between several types of orgasm. Although, of course, it should be understood that this division is very conditional. And yet.

The simplest is the genital orgasm. He is also the most common. It is clear that based on the anatomy (genitals - genitals), this type of orgasm manifests itself locally and occurs as a result of contraction with a certain frequency of muscles in the pelvic region.

The genital orgasm is short in time, but felt rather acutely. If we understand the anatomical nuances in more detail, then we should distinguish 3 varieties of genital orgasm: clitoral, vaginal and uterine, which, of course, can take place as separate phenomena, or follow each other or even occur almost simultaneously.

A rather rare occurrence is a breast orgasm. And it almost never occurs spontaneously. It is achieved after special exercises that can be learned. As a rule, a chest orgasm occurs against the background of a genital one.

And the most desired one is an orgasm of the whole body. Actually, this should be considered the highest satisfaction, a true orgasm, the very highest peak on which all women strive to be at least once (and ideally, regularly).

This orgasm is long, steady and incredibly strong. His plume even the next day responds with a pleasant languor throughout the body. And sometimes, even three days later, echoes of such an orgasm are felt.

* * *

Women describe orgasm differently. Pleasant warmth spreading through the body. Acute pleasure - sweet, sometimes, to the point of unbearability. An irresistible desire to throw out the emotion outside - into the breath, into the rumbling, into the groaning of the body. One thing is similar in all these descriptions - it is too difficult to find words to express their feelings. But that's the mystery of the true orgasm, that he, unfortunately or fortunately, can not be expressed in words.

But those specific actions with which women often try to simulate an orgasm, are manifestations of sexual pleasure (or worse, they are a mask for the absence of it): moans, screams, imaginary convulsions, confused rapid breathing. Passionate requests are of the same kind: "Yes, yes! Don't stop! Oh, how good!", which in English sounds like: "Yes, yes! Once more! Oh, good!"

Actresses in pornographic and erotic films play the orgasm so spectacularly. And, having apparently seen enough of such scenes on the screen, many women mistakenly take them for a manifestation of a true orgasm - so they imitate in real life what they saw pseudo-passion, deftly played sexual madness. But, alas, too exaggerated, beautifully built, intelligibly filed "orgasmic" behavior, much better, testifies in favor of the simulation.

* * *

True orgasm is determined by only 5 objective signs. And they already, according to experts, it is impossible to simulate.


We are talking about contractions of many muscle groups: vagina, uterus, pelvic floor, anus, abdominals. Moreover, these are, as a rule, muscle contractions spontaneous, but rhythmic, literally with second intervals like a pulsation.

The contractions of the abdominal muscles are clearly visible, and the man feels the contractions of the muscles of the vagina with his own penis, which makes him more excited. Such intensity of contractions cannot be done consciously, it happens on the verge of instinct - just like we pull our hand away from contact with something hot or when we get an electric shock.


When experiencing an orgasm, a woman involuntarily performs sufficiently energetic body movements to bring her erogenous zones closer into contact with the male stimulus. The purpose of such actions is not to allow pauses, not to slow down, to achieve swiftness and an increase in passion until the desired climax occurs.

At these moments a woman is no longer interested in caresses, kisses, or words of love. She will not allow a man to be distracted by all these tendernesses. In anticipation of the explosion, all female nature is concentrated only on physiology.


A true orgasm is always accompanied by flushes of blood to the skin. The forehead, cheeks, chest area turn red. The woman feels hot. Perspiration appears on the body. In the minutes of orgasm, a woman has an erection of her nipples, clitoris, and labia. Even a very experienced lover is unlikely to be able to imitate such a state.


Excitation of a woman during orgasm reaches such a degree that vaginal discharge is excessive, beyond the physiological need. Moisturizing lubrication and vaginal secretion, sometimes, so much that the abundance of fluid begins to "sound" during intercourse, and immediately after the completion of sexual intercourse, it may even be outside.


All talk about a blissful smile, an unearthly, angelically enlightened expression on the face during orgasm is nonsense! Or the prerogative of beautiful cinema. Bliss comes later, and at the moment of orgasm - it is impossible. Because bliss is given to the face consciously, purposefully.

Whereas during an orgasm a woman is not able to control her facial expressions. The face of a woman experiencing an orgasm (the same, by the way, applies to men) is distorted by an unsympathetic grimace.

This is a kind of instinctive additional effort of the muscles of the face, helping to sink deeper into orgasm and surrender entirely to the highest physiological (actually, animal) pleasure. Well, of course, and not without involving the entire psycho-emotional nature of feeling, which is characteristic exclusively of the human body.

* * *

After a true orgasm, many women are in a state of slight prostration, as if they lose their sense of time and reality. Relaxation of the body in this case occurs gradually. As if leaving, moving away, a wave. Or the fire goes out, fading very slowly, but no, no, yes, flashing with separate flames.

Psychiatrists jokingly say that true orgasm is one of the forms of impaired consciousness. But in every joke, as you know, there is some truth. If you watched V. Menshov's film "The Envy of the Gods", then, of course, you remember the sex scene in the truck, in the finale of which the heroine of Vera Alentova, shocked by what she experienced for the first time, asks in bewilderment: "What ... was it ... was it? .." And this and had an orgasm.

The Ultimate Guide to the Female Orgasm

Orgasm is elusive and entirely dependent on the brain, but we've made it a hallmark of great sex and truly believe in what we can recognize by appearances. Let's see where we went wrong.

What men need to know

1. External signs are not an indicator of orgasm

Moans, convulsions, arching of the back, protruding "claws" are not signs of orgasm. Media and porn have created a toxic stereotype that a real orgasm should resemble an exorcism.

Neuroscientist, Dr. Nicole Prause (Nicole Prause) dedicated to this study, which decided to check which external signs allow you to accurately understand that the orgasm was.

The result caused a strong reaction from the public, because none. According to her, many women during an orgasm did not betray their condition with absolutely no external signs.

2. Women moan to stop sex

According to statistics, women often fake orgasm in general: 67% of women do it sometimes, and 25% imitate it with every sexual contact. But only 20% of men believe that their partners could imitate pleasure.

Most men consider groans to be proof of orgasm. This interested the researchers, and they found out that in fact everything is exactly the opposite: a third of women regularly imitate an orgasm, intensifying the sounds they make, half of those who imitate do it periodically.

3. Demanding an orgasm will not help one achieve it.

In general, the expectation of visible evidence of orgasm itself is logically explained by sociologists. Charlene L. Muehlenhard, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Kansas at Lawrence, has shown in her research that men consider a woman's orgasm to be a measure of the quality of their work.

And many do not finish their actions until they receive verbal evidence of this. That is, in the literal sense, they will continue to move inside the woman until they receive an acceptable reaction in response.

At the same time, we are only learning to talk about sex, and we are not able to adequately perceive the information that the partner has not received an orgasm. This leads to the fact that we pay more attention to visual signs than to the real feelings and sensations of a partner.

This approach also let men down: now we have to dispel the myth that ejaculation always means orgasm, although this is not so.

For example, this is how women look before, during and immediately after orgasm. With such facial expressions, women could sit across from you on the bus, and you would not have suspected anything. The photo was taken as part of his About Project by Brazilian photographer Marcos Alberti.

Woman before, during and immediately after orgasm /

4. Nevertheless, there are still outward signs of orgasm

Orgasm is a powerful nerve signal that travels through the spine to the brain. So, obviously, he has some physical signs, but it is usually difficult to notice and isolate them.

Obstetrician-gynecologist Lisa Masterson (Lisa Masterson) told what happens to a woman during an orgasm.

First of all, this is a rapid heartbeat. Then the muscles begin to contract (but not as they show in the movies, but rather like convulsions - they can be barely visible) of the ankles, toes and, most importantly, the muscles of the vagina. Contractions inside the vagina can be felt with your fingers.

Then there is an actual orgasm, during which the pupils dilate and the clitoris throbs. You can try to feel it with your lips. And finally, as Dr. Masterson adds, if you do a really good job, the woman will sweat (not because she jumped on the bed, but because of the increased heart rate and muscle contraction).

Woman before, during and immediately after orgasm /

5. It is the brain that brings to orgasm, not technique

To be more precise, technique plays a huge role, but only if the person in bed with you is comfortable.

Only a quarter of women have regular orgasms during intercourse, no matter how long it lasts, the size of the penis, how the woman relates to the man or their relationship.

These statistics come not only from one study, but from a comprehensive analysis of 33 studies over the past 80 years by Elisabeth A. Lloyd in her book The Case of the Female Orgasm.

So most likely there are two scenarios.

Either the girl in your bed knows exactly what to do with her in order to have an orgasm, and tells you about it. Then you need to listen to it, and not remember your previous experience or pictures from porn. If a girl knows that for an orgasm she needs, for example, at least an hour of oral sex, and tells you about it directly, this is great news for you. It means that she is very comfortable with you, she went through the jungle of her doubts, fears and distrust and, perhaps for the first time in her life, voiced what she wants in bed.

Either she hasn't had an orgasm yet and can't tell what she likes. In this case, previous experience can help you, only it is important to remember: she does not know how to achieve orgasm, but to understand whether she is pleased right now or not, of course, can, therefore, you do not need to put pressure on her. After all, you are studying it with her, she is already embarrassed, do not behave as if you are in a hurry somewhere, and the process of satisfying your partner tires you.

Remember that orgasm still happens in the brain. And if it has already been at least once, then you clearly understand its approach, distance, possibility or impossibility.

Sometimes he can “disappear” in the process: a few seconds “before” he cramped his leg - everything, most likely, a change in position will delay the orgasm or completely “frighten it away”. Or the girl will understand that she can’t “catch” him in any way - this is also normal and does not speak of your failure as a lover. This suggests that the girl's brain is not ready for orgasm right now, even if she herself is quite ready.

6. Diversity of practice can help

It has long been known that heterosexual women experience the fewest orgasms. The reason is that they have less oral sex.

Australian researchers interviewed 5,000 heterosexual men and women about their last sexual encounter and found that 96% of the time it was vaginal penetration. Only 24% of women spoke about cunnilingus. In 1% of cases, it was anal sex for a woman. Mutual massage of the genitals, on the other hand, was received equally by all: 76% of people reported it.

From 95 to 98% of men received orgasms from any of these influences. For women, the statistics were very different. Orgasms from vaginal penetration alone were reported by 50% of women. When genital caresses were added to this, the percentage of women who had orgasms increased to 71%. Vulvar massage, vaginal penetration and cunnilingus resulted in orgasms in 86% of women.

In addition, there are studies that confirm that only 8% of women are able to regularly orgasm only from vaginal penetration. And the point here is not in the ability of their partners, but in physiology: their clitoris is located closer to the vagina than the rest.

Study author, Ph.D. Professor Kim Wallen adds that despite this figure, Hollywood continues to portray the 8% as 100%, which is a hindrance to both women and men.

So if your partner only gets an orgasm from penetration, it's her anatomy, not your penis.

Anything that helps a girl stimulate her clitoris, whether it's handjobs, cunnilingus, or anything else, is more likely to bring her to orgasm.

Woman before, during and immediately after orgasm /

What women need to know

Your pleasure matters

According to statistics, 90% of women faked an orgasm when they realized that they could not achieve it. The reasons for imitation were given as follows: to stop sex because of boredom, fatigue, discomfort, pain, time constraints, in order to please a partner.

Lack of orgasm is least of all related to the technique and skills of the partner, the presence of sex toys, and so on. A Finnish study showed that the main factor for achieving orgasm was psychological comfort: it increased sexual desire, arousal, self-esteem and openness.

So stop thinking that your orgasm can wait until better times. Hundreds of studies are devoted to studying the causes of female imitation and lack of orgasm and show that this is a widespread problem that demonstrates deep problems in society, in relationships between people. Even 20 years ago, the female orgasm did not bother anyone - and it's time to change that.

What affects the number of orgasms

Psychologists and sociologists have found that there are four variables that affect the likelihood of orgasm to some extent.

  1. The older and more educated, the greater the likelihood of orgasm, as women become more confident in themselves to demand attention in bed and talk about sex.
  2. Women with liberal views have more orgasms than those who adopt conservative (religious and social) views, in which women's feelings are always in second place.
  3. The more comfortable and happier a woman feels in a relationship, the more she reveals herself sexually.
  4. Women who have experienced sexual abuse or other sexual trauma experience fewer orgasms.

The third point is the most important - the level of comfort, pleasure and happiness in the relationship. In "ideal" relationships, orgasms were reported by 70% of women, in sexual contact with casual partners, the number dropped to 49%.

Reasons that may prevent you from reaching orgasm

1. Movie stereotypes

Some women fake an orgasm because they don't know how long it will take them to really achieve it, or what exactly they need to do to make it happen.

Vivienne Cass, Ph.D., author of The Elusive Orgasm, blames the media portrayal of orgasm: “Men and women see these intensely orgasmic women in movies and think it's normal. Meanwhile, there is also porn. Because of him, most are used to seeing women cum in a few seconds.

As a result, not only men are waiting for the "rite of exorcism", but women are also waiting for some unusually vivid sensations, because of which they may ignore their real orgasm or consider it not strong enough.

But each orgasm is unique in its sensations, duration and intensity, it is important to learn to feel your body, and not adjust your expectations, focusing on a woman arching on the screen.

2. Critical attitude towards one's body

Psychologists believe that a woman's critical internal judgments about her own body interrupt the gradual increase in sexual arousal, and this is a very important factor in achieving orgasm.

A woman's inner voice lists the main concerns: "my breasts are too small", "they don't look like other women's breasts", "my breasts are deformed", "the vagina is too dry/wet/narrow/wide", "my vagina is ugly", "I don't feel clean enough downstairs so I don't have oral sex. "

Psychologists note that many women have learned a negative attitude towards their body from their parents, in the process of learning about hygiene and other issues. If the genitals had no names, they could not be touched, but could only be washed, then the genital area is associated exclusively with excretory functions.

Women's shame eventually extends to everything below the waist. It is difficult to enjoy touching parts of the body that you used to consider dirty, and this interferes with getting an orgasm.

3. Lack of adequate sexual socialization

Many women have acquired distorted views of sex at an early age. Negative attitudes of parents towards nudity, masturbation, sexual practices with first partners have a strong influence on how men and women perceive sex and sexuality.

As a result, people come to view some sexual activities as acceptable and "clean" and others as "dirty" and "bad." In addition, some religions regard sex as an expression of the base, sinful nature of people.

It is hard to imagine that a person brought up in such a system would suddenly fall in love with sex at the age of 25 and quickly open up sexually. Psychologists still agree that as a result, an adult woman will be inclined to perceive sex as a forbidden and shameful act, and for her desire and pleasure she will feel guilty and expect negative consequences.

4. Fear of awakening repressed memories of trauma

One in three women in the world has experienced some form of violence and harassment, and this cannot be ignored. Such an experience leaves an imprint, especially in a country where it is embarrassing to ask for help and you will not wait for the support of society.

In this case, most of the affected women received traumatic experience before the age of 18, and often the culprit was a relative. This undermines the whole system of a woman's trust in the world in the future.

In such cases, intimacy becomes a difficult event, because the woman experiences problems with trust, comfort, and confidence. Sex can eventually provoke guilt, emotional pain, and any resemblance between her partner and the one who caused the injury increases the likelihood of painful memories returning.

5. Fear of losing control

To feel that you are in control of a situation is one of the basic human needs. When you grow up in a country where men think they can say anything to you, yell at you in the street, touch you, stalk you, and the word “no” is perceived only as a flirtation, control becomes a defense mechanism that was hard to build and will be hard lose.

Psychologists say that women who are forced to rely on maintaining control as a defense mechanism tend to resist their own desire to express themselves freely during sex.

What to do to help yourself achieve orgasm

1. Look at your genitals

If you have never done this, then take a mirror and look at your genitals. At least find out where the labia minora are and what the clitoris looks like.

Get to know your body

Give yourself 30-60 minutes to get to know your body. You can start by taking a bath or shower. You can use oil, lubricant or lotion. Focus on how the touch feels, where it feels best. Move to the genitals, try to understand which areas feel good to touch, and where it is perceived as a simple touch of any other skin area.

Then rest and run the sensations of touch again in your head: perhaps a specific place and intensity of touch will come to your mind. Try it. And do not rush to go directly to masturbation, it is important to get used to your own body and pleasure in general.

Psychologists believe that this should help normalize such behavior so that it is no longer read as stress.

3. Masturbate

It is also important to make the process of masturbation comfortable, so it's time to study the reaction of your genitals to touch. If you figure out exactly how and where you need to be touched to be pleasant, then this will help in getting an orgasm. It will also increase blood flow to the genitals, which will also benefit in achieving orgasm.

Give yourself as much time as you need and feel free to get into the process thoroughly: your position, your use of lube, your arousal (an erotic novel, porn or fantasy), music, anything that will help you relax.

And don't worry about the time: it can take 5, 10, 20, 30, 45 minutes to reach orgasm. Don't dwell on it, only your pleasure matters.

4. Learn to talk to your partner

Once you've figured out what you like, have gotten used to the idea that your pleasure is important and achievable, convey it to your partner.

If this is a one night stand, he will need direct guidance - and do not accept his refusals or selfishness. It is better to agree on everything in advance: your pleasure should also be in the partner’s plans, he should be ready to listen and hear you.

5. Do not imitate

Unfortunately, some women imitate orgasm not just because they are tired or missed orgasm, but to avoid trouble in the form of physical violence.

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