Yes, There Are 11 Different Types of Orgasms. Here's How to Have Each
The more Os, the merrier
Any type of orgasm feels incredible, and there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the strokes and touches that you know bring you to the brink every time. But variety really is the spice of life. You wouldn't eat the same three meals every day, nor would you wear the same outfit over and over. So why not expand your sexual horizons and explore the 11 different types of orgasms the female body is capable of?
Before getting started, it helps to understand what an orgasm actually is. “An orgasm is a physical reflex that occurs when muscles tighten during sexual arousal and then relax through a series of rhythmic contractions,” Sherry Ross, MD, a California-based ob-gyn, tells Health. Each climax can feel different in terms of intensity and duration, depending on how and what part of your body is being aroused, she says. Besides providing a physical release, it's also an emotional one—allowing you to feel closer to your partner or simply de-stress after a tough day.
Some kinds of orgasm focus on the vagina only; others allow you to feel earth-quaking intensity in places you never thought of as erogenous zones. You owe it to yourself to find out the pleasure your body can experience—allow us to get you up to speed with all the different Os out there.
The clitoris is the go-to sweet spot for most women when they want to experience the pleasure and release of an orgasm. But while clitoral orgasms may be the most accessible kind, this tiny, mostly hidden bliss button is highly individualistic. Every woman prefers a different types of touch here to reach climax.
“The clitoris is a very sensitive part of a woman’s anatomy, composed of millions of nerve endings similar to that of the penis,” says Dr. Ross. Having it touched, caressed, or stroked via direct or indirect stimulation (in other words, through fabric, or by touching the labia surrounding the clitoris) prompts an increase in blood flow to the area, making the clitoris engorged and in need of release.
A study from the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy found that several types of clitoral strokes (think up-and-down, back-and-forth, and both wide and small circles) can lead to orgasm. Experiment on your own and show your partner what you like. If clitoral orgasms don't come easy for you or you're having trouble reaching climax, consider looking into sex toys designed with clitoral orgasm in mind, such as a mini vibrator you or your partner can wear on your fingertips.
Your G-spot is on the front wall of your vagina, about halfway between your vaginal opening and cervix. It's not something you can see but you can usually feel it; insert a finger into your vagina and press forward (making a come-hither motion). You should detect a slightly bumpy or ridged area, says Dr. Ross. For some women, it feels spongy.
Pressing this spot gently and stroking it lightly is what many women do to prime themselves for a G-spot orgasm. “When you’re sexually aroused, the G-spot will fill with blood and swell up," says Dr. Ross. Touching it in a way that feels good to you with fingers, your partner's penis, or a vibrator can trigger what many women describe as a deeply intense, shaken-to-the-core kind of climax.
If you can handle two, three, or even four times the intensity and pleasure of a regular O, this kind of orgasm is for you. A blended orgasm is a climax that happens when more than one erogenous zone is being stimulated at the same time. G-spot penetration along with clitoral touching is one way to experience the explosive orgasm that typically results. But it could also come from vaginal penetration along with clitoral, nipple, or anal stimulation—or all of these simultaneously.
“The more stimulation there is, the more blood flow will result, and the bigger the orgasm will be,” Prudence Hall, MD, gynecologist and medical director of the Hall Center in Southern California, tells Health. Many combinations of touching and teasing can trigger a blended orgasm, but if you're looking to have one with a partner, consider the woman on top position (because your hands, and your partner's, are free to touch your clitoris, breasts, or butt) or bringing a vibrator into the bedroom.
Anal sex or anal play isn't every woman's cup of tea. Some love it and others don't care for it at all. But if you're in the former category (or you've never tried it before and think you might be), an anal orgasm is one you should know about.
Because the anus and rectum are so close to the vagina and clitoris—and are connected by a thin stretch of tissue called the perineum—they share many of the same nerves and muscles, including the PC (or pelvic floor) muscle, says Dr. Hall. The PC muscle is highly sensitive for many women, and stimulating it can trigger a vaginal orgasm—and an anal one as well, she says.
Still not sure about this one? Take it from the many women who do report having orgasms from anal sex. But this type of sex does come with risks that are important to consider before you try it. Safe sex is a must for you and your partner.
Deep vaginal erogenous zone orgasm
The clitoris and G-spot aren't the only pleasure buttons below the belt. Real women as well as sex researchers say that there are additional erogenous zones inside the vagina that when touched the right way can lead to what's collectively known as a deep vaginal orgasm.
First comes the A-spot, located on the high front (or anterior) wall of the vagina just beneath the cervix. Next is the O-spot (for orgasm), which can be found on the back wall of the vagina, almost behind the cervix. “I can’t see these when I look at a vagina," says Dr. Hall. But the ligaments here contain nerves that appear to be highly sensitive for many women. If fingers, a toy, or a penis fills the vagina enough at the high end of it and those nerves are really stimulated, it can be very, very pleasurable, she believes. "It could cause the whole uterus to contract during an orgasm—there can be massive contractions in the whole area," she adds.
Yes, female ejaculation really exists; it's the hallmark of this type of orgasm. “Sometimes when women are sexually aroused or stimulated there is an expulsion of fluid from the glands around the urethra or anterior surface of the vagina during or before orgasm, though it’s still hotly contested where the fluid actually comes from,” says Dr. Ross. The fluid is typically clear and doesn't resemble urine, and there can be a moderate amount released or a full-on gush.
G-spot stimulation is the type of touching that typically leads to squirting. But caressing and teasing the area surrounding the urethra has also been known to result in a soak-the-sheets climax. “No one really knows the exact number of women who experience a squirting orgasm, so with that uncertainty in mind, it was found that 10-50% of women have, at one time or another, had a 'gushing' moment during orgasm,” says Dr. Ross.
In this video, sex therapist and Health contributing editor Gail Saltz, MD shares the top reasons that sex, either on one’s own or with a partner, can help improve your physical and mental wellbeing. From burning calories and strengthening your vaginal walls, to reducing stress and helping you sleep, sex offers a range of health benefits. Watch the video to learn all about it.
You know your breasts and nipples are major erogenous zones; your nipples especially react to being touched and stroked, since they're loaded with nerve endings and super sensitive skin. But some women really can experience a big O just by having their nipples caressed and kissed. There's no clear consensus on how many women are able to orgasm without any below the belt contact, and researchers aren't sure why nipple orgasms happen.
But hey, if the idea appeals to you, you could have a lot of fun trying to figure it out. With enough kissing, sucking, and caressing, “these are zones that can bring some woman to orgasm,” confirms Dr. Ross.
Reaching climax while engaged in a tough workout may sound a little strange. But workout-induced orgasms, or coregasms, are real. A study from Indiana University found that 370 of 530 women surveyed had experienced orgasm or sexual pleasure while working out, usually from core-based exercises.
“One of the ways to induce an orgasm is to super-squeeze your PC muscles and you can develop them and make them stronger,” says Dr. Hall. “If someone has very well developed PC muscles and during exercises they really start to contract them, I think orgasms are absolutely possible during that.” But most women will need some type of clitoral and/or vaginal stimulation to go along with that if they want to see stars as well, she adds.
We've had sensual dreams before. But this is a whole other thing. “Some women can have an orgasm during an erotic dream while sleeping,” says Dr. Ross. One report indicates that 37% of women have had one of these sleep orgasms by the time they’re 45, but it’s difficult to know how common they really are.
Sleep orgasms usually start with a sexy dream, which causes increased blood flow to the genitals as well as major relaxation, which somehow allows the body to reach orgasm while a woman isn't even awake.
You can't have too much of a good thing, right? That's the appeal of multiple orgasms, something women can indulge in because unlike men, females don't experience a refractory period after climaxing that requires some downtime before gearing up for round two.
“Women reach a certain heightened state of ecstasy with their first orgasm, and then can stay up there on this plateau,” says Dr. Hall. “With more and more simulation, they can have multiple orgasms.” Many women do experience this, she says, but not every woman will want to.
But if you do, here's a strategy: keep contracting your pelvic muscles on your own (by squeezing and releasing the way you would if you were holding in your urine stream), suggests Dr. Hall. This keeps blood flow high, which increases sensitivity and makes orgasm number 2 easier to reach. If you don’t go all the way back down to the pre-arousal state, you can work your way up to another orgasm more quickly.
To get our top sex stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for The Health Hookup newsletter