We believe that pleasure and orgasms are a lifelong journey – and such an inspiring territory to explore – whether you’re multi-orgasmic or are just starting to learn what your body is capable of. If you’ve never had an orgasm, or if they’ve been hard to come by, don’t worry. Absolutely nothing is wrong with you, we promise!
It’s common for people with vulvas to find orgasms elusive for a number of reasons, from lack of education to negative cultural messaging to sexual experiences that have been less than satisfactory, and sometimes for no obvious reason at all. But the better you know your body, and the more comfortable you are, the more likely you’ll be to experience satisfying waves of pleasure solo or with a partner – with or without a climax.
Sexual pleasure, just like any art, is a combination of creativity, dedication, education, practice, and learning through trial and error. An orgasm isn’t an item to cross off a checklist, especially since goal-oriented sex makes orgasm less likely for most people. Follow what feels good, and build on that. It’s all about the journey, not the destination, and the journey can take you some very interesting places.
Despite what you might have seen in movies (or porn) where vigorous thrusting is all anyone needs to dissolve in shrieking ecstasy, 70% of people with vulvas need direct clitoral stimulation in order to climax. This is why clitoral orgasms are widely regarded as the most accessible orgasm, and you can have them any number of ways – by hand, with a vibrator, via oral stimulation, or with the ever-popular detachable showerhead.
With more than 8,000 nerve endings, and the only part of the body made purely for pleasure, the clitoris is an extraordinary design. Its full structure wasn’t discovered until recently, and showed that it’s not just a little button. It’s actually a large, deep-seated internal organ that extends across the pubic bone and under the labia, and wraps around the vaginal opening.
In fact, when you touch anywhere in the genital region, there’s a good chance you’re actually stimulating some part of the clitoris – and since every body is unique, this may partially account for why our needs are so individualized.
If you’ve had trouble locating your clitoris – or your partner’s clitoris – find the place where the labia come together at the top of the vulva. The clitoral shaft is attached to the pubic bone, and you can trace it with your fingers down between your labial folds. Try pulling back the hood of your clitoris (yes it is retractable, just like the foreskin on a penis) to expose the glans. This round button-like feature of your body will feel a little firmer, and much more sensitive to touch.
If you have never had a clitoral orgasm before, explore stimulating not just the glans of your clitoris, but also the clitoral shaft and outer labia. Under your outer labia lie your vestibular bulbs, which are erectile tissue that usually love pressure and different types of touch – they are attached to the clitoris internally. You can explore the entirety of your vulva with different types of pressure either from your hands, a toy, or your partner’s mouth.
We often hear unhelpful cultural narratives that claim penetration is the be-all and end-all of sexual intimacy, and many of us may believe that something is wrong if we can’t climax from penetration alone. And many people never have – about 25% can orgasm from internal stimulation alone, and many more do with internal and clitoral stimulation combined.
The key to internal orgasms is the legendary and elusive G-spot, which isn’t really a spot. It’s a bed of glands, erectile tissue, and nerve endings that’s located a couple of inches inside the vagina. Its anatomy and placement are different for everyone, which explains why some people climax easily from penetration and some never do. It’s also closely interlinked with our friend the clitoris – so in some sense, internal orgasms are clitoral orgasms.
The G-spot is usually the last bed of erectile tissue to respond when you are aroused, so stimulation won’t feel as amazing as it could unless you’re already in a heightened state of arousal. When this happens, your labia will be full and engorged and your g-spot area may feel swollen and fuller than usual.
If you have never had a G-spot orgasm before, you can try internal massage wands to explore what type of stimulation feels good. Remember, no pressure! Orgasms are wonderful however you achieve them, and pleasure is wonderful even if you don’t climax.
Now we enter into the lesser-known world of orgasmic legend. Are cervical orgasms real? They certainly are. Have most of us experienced them? Maybe not. But they’re worth trying for, so let’s start with the basics.
Your cervix is located at the very back of your vagina, and vaginal depth varies from person to person. Some people will be able to reach the cervix with their fingers, some will need to use a toy or their partner’s penis to stimulate it. When you’re in a heightened state of arousal, your uterus makes a move called “tenting”. This means the cervix is pulled upward, which exposes the nerve endings around it – key to the elusive cervical orgasm.
So cervical orgasms are most likely to happen when you are already very very very turned on. Once you are aroused, feeling open and well-lubricated, try a slow circular stimulation around the end of the cervix (which feels a bit like the end of a slippery nose). If your partner is exploring with you, make sure you are tracking what feels good and letting them know what pressure, speed, and type of touch is really working for you. Enduring any type of touch that you aren’t loving is a total turn-off, and definitely won’t let you enjoy some of these deeper orgasms.
Wait, what? Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of the AFE, sometimes known as the “deep spot”. Though some people with vaginas have likely known about it for millennia, it wasn’t officially “discovered” until 1997.
Also called the A-spot, its official (unsexy) name is the anterior fornix erogenous zone. Like the G-spot, it’s also located on the inside front wall of the vagina, but it’s higher up – right in front of the cervix. You’ll likely need a slim wand toy to access the AFE, unless you or your partner have long fingers (or other parts), but if you can get there, you may be richly rewarded. A study showed that A-spot stimulation significantly increased vaginal lubrication, and over a third of participants experienced orgasm – perhaps much to their surprise.
If G-spot stimulation doesn’t do much for you, consider changing up the geometry. People who have figured out their A-spot orgasms report aiming – or telling their partners to aim – quite deeply, angled towards the navel. The AFE may be easier to reach if you pull your knees to your chest.
Yes, they’re real. Anal orgasms are yet another illustration of how complex and interconnected our pleasure wiring is, and how unique our experiences are.
Some people have a lot of nerve endings concentrated in the anus. Additionally, the internal anal sphincter is connected with the entire parasympathetic nervous system, and the anus shares deep nerve connections with the vagina, vulva, and our friend the clitoris as well. This can all make for an incredible full-body O – when undertaken with care, patience, and lots and lots of lube. Since the anus and the clitoris can talk to each other, try a combination of types of stimulation, and see what happens.
Anal play is an absolute no-go for some, and of course you shouldn’t do anything you’re not totally comfortable with, so always make sure you check in with a partner when you explore new regions of the body.
The Kama Sutra has a lot to say about breasts and sex, and with good reason. One study found that nipple stimulation can activate the genital sensory cortex, the area of the brain that responds to genital stimulation – still more evidence that our intimate parts aren’t as separate as we might think. Some people even experience orgasm from nipple play alone, including many folks with disabilities that reduce sensation below the waist.
Though nipple-only orgasms are pretty rare, it’s still very worth paying all those nerve endings some mindful attention. Those who have them say that nipple orgasms tend to sneak up on them – so even if nothing much seems to be happening, be patient.
Nipple stimulation also can produce a burst of oxytocin, which increases feelings of love and attachment. And some people say they’ve been able to “train” themselves to climax just from massaging their nipples. We can think of worse ways to spend an afternoon or two.
Wet dreams aren’t just for horny adolescents. Since the brain is the largest sex organ, it should come as no surprise that some people have orgasms in their sleep. Dreams can feel very real, so the brain sometimes can’t tell the difference between real physical touch and the experiences of the sleeping subconscious.
In fact, some people report only having orgasms in their sleep. If that’s the best way for you to get there, it can represent a fascinating erotic playground. You can examine your dreams by keeping a diary and documenting what turns you on in dreamland, and trying to explore this, or aspects of it, when you are awake.
Or, if you’re especially intrigued by the idea of exploring all the potential of orgasmic dreams, consider learning how to lucid dream. It’s not easy to do, but a well-honed lucid dreaming practice can actually enable you to control your dreams – like a Star Trek holodeck of the mind. Tips and instructions abound on the internet, and the sky’s the limit.
Onward and Upward
What have we learned? The whole vulva and vagina, the entire body, and the entire brain can contribute to incredible orgasms. We talk about zones, spots, and specific anatomy as a way to locate potential pleasure – but that’s just a starting point. Everyone’s body is different, and your favorite trick may be out of the question for someone else. The most important takeaway is that your pleasure and your body are your own. The more you know and practice, the more potential you have to experience extraordinary pleasure – solo or with a partner.