It’s that time of year again! National Orgasm Day is approaching (July 31st) and we at ONE® are tingling with excitement to celebrate with you all this year! In honor of this oh so enjoyable holiday, we thought we’d pay homage to the orgasm by sharing a host of fun facts about climaxing to blow…your minds!
It’s not just your genitals, orgasms involve many bodily systems and processes
We thought we’d start off with some hard science. Orgasms are a part of many peoples’ healthy sex life, and if you are lucky enough to have experience orgasms, it might feel like your genitals are the stars of the show, and they definitely play their part. However, the experience of an orgasm actually is like a carefully choreographed, fully-body ballet.
Here are some other areas of the body that contribute to achieving orgasm:
- Brain – The brain is the conductor, carefully turning down the activity in the decision-making and reasoning parts of the brain (lateral orbitofrontal cortex), and increasing activity in the parts of the brain responsible for processing touch, movement and arousal (including the hypothalamus and thalamus).
- Pituitary and Adrenal Glands – These glands are responsible for producing important hormones to make your experience as pleasurable, pain-free and comfortable as possible, including oxytocin (the love hormone), dopamine (the happy hormone), endorphins (more happy hormones) and vasopressin (the body osmosis hormone, e.g. blood flow and pressure).
- Muscle Groups – An orgasm can include a number of muscle groups, from head to toe, including your heart, lungs, diaphragm, pelvic floor and anus. The contraction of these muscles is responsible for everything from your increased blood flow, breathing and flushed appearance, ejaculation and the rhythmic “pulses” of pleasure.
So while your genitals may run the anchor leg during an orgasm, it is truly a team effort!
There are a bunch of different types of orgasms
As scientific research has evolved, researchers have also discovered a number of types of orgasms, beyond gendered categories.
Here’s a quick run down:
- Clitoral orgasm – an orgasm stemming from direct clitoral stimulation (these are relatively common, accounting for 60% of reported orgasms in a 2019 study)
- Vaginal orgasm – an orgasm stemming from vaginal stimulation, though the line between vaginal and clitoral orgasms can be a bit unclear, depending on your sexual activity, which leads us to…
- Blended orgasm – aptly named, these are simultaneous clitoral and vaginal orgasms together
- Anal orgasm – an orgasm stemming from anal stimulation, either through anal sex, sex toys or fingers/hands (sexperts believe this is largely due to the proximity of the rectum to the vaginal canal or prostate)
- G-spot orgasm – an orgasm resulting from stimulation of the G-spot, within the vagina
- Nipple orgasm – an orgasm achieved through stimulations of the nipples alone, which can similarly trigger an orgasm through the same neuro-pathways in the brain
The human body is truly a work of art, and a vision of evolution! In fact, many people who have undergone gender affirming or gender reassignment surgery are able to experience these types of orgasms. The brain remaps some of these same pathways over time, so while the physical organs and genitalia may have changed, the pleasure and effects can still be reached through different forms of stimulation. The more you know!
Some people can have multiple orgasms during a sexual experience
This is not a myth! There are many people who can achieve orgasm over and over during a sexual experience, regardless of gender. People with vaginas can experience several, even dozens of orgasms in one sexual experience. While it is less common in those with penises, there are an estimated 7-10% of people who can experience multiple orgasms (not accounting for a breather between rounds, or refractory period).
Researchers are still exploring this further, as there are different types of orgasms that can occur following the first orgasm of an encounter, including short bursts within the space of a few minutes or even smaller “aftershocks” that continue over time.
Everyone experiences orgasms differently
Orgasms are as individual as the people experiencing them! Generally speaking, there are some common side effects of orgasm:
- Contraction of the muscles of the penis or vagina and the anus, approximately once a second for five to eight “pulses”
- Increased heart and breathing rate
- Flushing of the face, neck and chest, increased sweating
- Vaginal secretions or penile ejaculation
- Sensitivity to the touch of nerve endings in the clitoris or the head of the penis
- Feelings of contentedness, relaxation, and sleepiness
Of course, all of these factors can vary and there are some experiences that are less common. For example, an estimated 10-70% of people with vaginas were found to ejaculate during orgasm (clearly, additional research is needed there based on that broad range). Also, experts disagree on how long the average orgasm lasts: some say anywhere from 20-35 seconds, some say between 10 and 60 seconds, and others say up to two minutes. All that matters is that it feels good for you and your partner(s)!
There are many ways to reach orgasm, outside of sexual intercourse
Along those same lines, there is a pervasive cultural belief that real orgasms can only be achieved through sexual intercourse, but this is a myth! There are erogenous zones all over the body (including wild cards like the scalp, armpits, back of the knees and feet).
Only you and your partner(s) can determine the best way to enjoy your sexual experiences. One thing to think about – a recent study found that men averaged about 4 minutes before orgasm, while women estimated that range was closer to 10 to 20 minutes.
By exploring beyond solely sexual intercourse, you may find you and your partner(s) achieving orgasm more frequently in all different parts of the body. From oral sex to masturbation (mutual or otherwise) to kissing and cuddling, every sexual experience can be pleasurable, and can lead to orgasm if the mood is right for you and your partner(s).
Here are a few more fun sexual activities that can put you and your partner(s) on the path to orgasm:
- Oral sex
- Masturbation (mutual or otherwise)
- Kissing and cuddling,
- Sex toys (read more about toys here)
Every sexual experience can be pleasurable, and can lead to orgasm if the mood is right for you and your partner(s). Orgasms are not one size fits all!
There are many positive health benefits to orgasms
Besides feeling great, orgasms boast some great short term and long term health benefits including:
- Better sleep quality
- Less anxiety
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Lower risk of prostate and ovarian cancer
Want to learn more about other health benefits of sex? Check out our recent post here.
It does not happen for everyone, every time, and sometimes it doesn’t happen
Sexual health is just as important as any other part of your general well-being, and sometimes, there are bumps along the way. Many people experience sexual dysfunction or even more generally, challenges with finding a fulfilling and satisfying sex life. These conditions can be caused by a variety of factors including mental health, hormonal levels, diet and lifestyle, anatomy and genetics.
Some common challenges around orgasm are:
- Anorgasmia (the absence of having orgasms)
- Premature ejaculation
Both conditions are common in people from all walks of life, though 1 in 3 men 18-59 years old report experiencing premature ejaculation and up to 43% of women report infrequent orgasm (according to recent research). Are you experiencing any of the above conditions, or something similar? The best next step is to talk to a medical professional or sex therapist – these folks are equipped with the knowledge, skill and discretion to figure out what might be happening and how best to resolve it.
Looking for other tips and tricks for maintaining your sexual health? Check out our blog post here.
Orgasms do not necessarily mark the end of a sexual experience, and they don’t need to be the goal
And finally, to end on this note, orgasms are great but orgasms are not the only thing that matters in a sexual experience. Research from the Kinsey Institute has actually shown that orgasm, for some, is considered less of a sign of a successful sexual experience than things like frequent kissing and cuddling, more frequent sex and higher sexual functioning. As long as your body feels good, regardless of whether orgasms occur, you’ve found a great sexual experience.
Ok, we said the list was over, but we have one more bonus fun fact for you all! If you’re looking for a one stop shop for premium products to help you maximize the intensity and the number of orgasms in your life, ONE® has you covered. Whether it’s standard condoms, specialty condoms, custom sized condoms, personal lubricant or curated bundles…we have it all.