The Story of O: Myths, Multiples, and More

An orgasm is a rush of pleasure that usually comes from contractions of the muscles in the vagina, anus, and abdomen. It can feel like light pops, waves, vibrations, an explosion, or anything in between.


An orgasm is a rush of pleasure that usually comes from contractions of the muscles in the vagina, anus, and abdomen. It can feel like light pops, waves, vibrations, an explosion, or anything in between.

During an orgasm, several areas in your brain are active, leading to the release of the hormones serotonin and oxytocin. Experts believe this could lead to a boost in happiness, bonding with your partner, or a reduction in stress.

Orgasm intensity varies from time to time and from person to person. Hormones may play a role, sexologists say. Some women report feeling more desire at certain points in their cycle, which could make an especially satisfying orgasm more likely.

The difference between clitoral and vaginal orgasms is where you are being stimulated. These orgasms may feel very different to some women—fuller and deeper during intercourse, say, but more focused on your genitals if you masturbate by touching your clitoris. But experts say whats going on in your body is about the same. Its all caused by clitoral stimulation.

“Though the tip is usually the most sensitive part by far, research shows that most of the clitoris is erectile tissue inside a womans body,” explains sex educator Dorian Solot. “So when internal stimulation feels good, its the nerves and erectile tissue of the clitoris that are being stimulated. Now that we understand this, we realize theres really only one kind of orgasm.” (A man, by the way, can have an orgasm if his penis or his prostate is stimulated. The sensation is usually, but not always, strongest in the genital area. “Men are more similar that way than women,” says sex researcher Beverly Whipple, PhD, professor emerita at Rutgers University.)

The G-spot may be a hot spot—or not. Also known as the urethral sponge, the G-spot is an area about 2 inches inside the vagina toward the belly side. It wraps around the urethra, swelling with fluid during arousal. If sufficiently stimulated, it can be felt through the vaginal wall. But it doesnt always feel good. (The G-spot got its name from American gynecologist Ernst Grafenberg.)

Multiple orgasms are two or more in a row before a woman returns to her pre-orgasmic state. But each one has its own buildup, Solot says. “Its not the same as one big orgasm with a bunch of after-shocks.” Plenty of women say theyre blissfully satisfied with a single good one. Others may find that theyre too sensitive to have more than one in a short period.
Kara Jesella
Last Updated: March 20, 2008

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