ORGASM … IT’S NOT THE GOAL: Sex is a great way to pleasure your partner and experience pleasure with your partner. So, focus on the journey, and not the destination. Sex shouldn’t be a race to the finish line. Use it as a way to learn about your partner’s pleasure — and your own. It will make for a much more enjoyable experience. And if you do orgasm? Well, that’s just a cherry on top.
What is an orgasm?
An orgasm (also known as climaxing or coming) is a feeling of pleasure that happens during a sexual activity including solo masturbation.
Hormones and the body - a sensory experience:
Orgasm with a vagina, how does it happen?
When a person with a vagina is stimulated the blood vessels dilate within the genitals. This increases the blood supply which causes fluid to pass through the vaginal walls making the vulva wet and also for the vulva to swell. The heart rate and breathing can quicken. The area of the vagina can become firm as the blood flow to the vagina reaches its limit and the clitoris pulls back against the pubic bone. Unlike people with a penis, people with a vagina do not have a recovery period after an orgasm, so it is possible for them to continue to have orgasms if they are stimulated by their partner again, this is also known as multiple orgasms.
Did you know the breasts can increase by size during an orgasm? As the blood levels in the body pump up, vessels dilate and the skin around the breasts swell making them temporarily increase in size from up to 15 or 25%
Orgasm with a penis, how does it happen?
When a person with a penis is stimulated, blood flows into the penis causing the penis to increase in size and become rigid, also known as an erection. The testicles are drawn up towards the body as the scrotum tightens and the thighs and buttock muscles tense. Contractions happen in the pelvic floor muscles, the prostate gland, seminal vesicles and vas deferens which push semen into the urethra where it is carried out of the body, known as ejaculation. Unlike a person with a vagina a person with a penis is unable to have multiple orgasms, there is a recovery phase where the penis and testicles return to their original size.
What can affect orgasms?
It can be common for many people to not be able to orgasm. Studies show 75% of women never reach orgasm from intercourse alone and 10% to 15% never climax (1)
Several things can stop or prevent a person from having an orgasm are (4):
- Problems in a relationship
- A previous traumatic sexual experience
- Physical health problems/conditions
- Emotional, physiological and mental health and wellbeing
- Hormones – hormonal changes such as changes in and during the menstrual cycle as well as hormones being affected by certain medications such as antidepressants (could have an effect on a reduction in a person not wanting or feeling like having sex), genital sensitivity, difficulty maintaining an erection or a reduction in the natural lubrication the body produces.
- Alcohol and drugs – can decrease natural vaginal lubrication and make it difficult to maintain an erection. Note alcohol and drugs can also affected someone’s capacity to consent to sex or anything sexual.
If you are concerned or feel you have any of these you can speak to your GP, a counsellor or a trusted adult for further support.
Orgasm and porn
Porn is nothing like real sexual relationships. In porn actors are used, they are surrounded by a production crew, lights and pressured to perform. There are breaks and re-takes which can give the impression that the sex is lasting for a long time when actually it isn’t and the actors can pretend to have an orgasm when they are not having one. This is completely different to real relationships where people feel a connection and are attracted to each other sharing an intimate moment. So never compare your relationship and sexual experience to what you see in porn or with anyone else’s stories or experience. (5)