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.
Some types of orgasms focus on the vagina only. Others allow you to feel the earth-quaking intensity in places you never thought.
“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 told Health.
Besides providing a physical release, orgasms also have emotional effects. During an orgasm, aka climax, your body also releases feel-good chemicals like oxytocin.1 The oxytocin released during an orgasm and the skin-to-skin contact during sex also helps you emotionally bond with your partner.2
But people with a vagina can experience different types of orgasms that feel different in terms of intensity and duration.3
Curious about expanding your sexual horizons? Here’s every way you can orgasm.
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“The clitoris is a very sensitive part of a woman’s anatomy, composed of millions of nerve endings similar to that of the penis,” said Dr. Ross. This sex organ looks like a small erect tissue on the exterior of the vulva, but it also extends internally into your vagina. Stimulating the clitoris directly, or touching the labia surrounding the clitoris, prompts an increase in blood flow to the area, making the clitoris engorged and in need of orgasmic release.4
A 2018 study found that stroking the clitoris back and forth, and in wide and small circles, can lead to an orgasm. In that same study, 36.6% of people said they needed clitoral stimulation to orgasm during sex. Another 36% said orgasms felt better with clitoral stimulation – even though they could achieve orgasm without it.3
Oral sex is also a great way to enjoy a clitoral orgasm. If clitoral orgasms don’t come easy for you, or you’re having trouble reaching climax, consider looking into sex toys. There are toys designed with clitoral orgasms in mind.
Stimulating the G-spot is another way to achieve an orgasm through penetrative sex. However, researchers still debate its location. The general consensus is that the G-spot is located in the front wall of your vagina, about halfway between your vaginal opening and cervix. Some researchers argue it’s a sex organ, while others believe it’s part of the clitoris’ network of nerve endings.5
So how does one find the G-spot? Insert a finger into your vagina and press forward (making a come-hither motion). You should detect a slightly bumpy or ridged area, said Dr. Ross. For some women, it feels spongy.
Touching this spot with fingers, a penis, or a sex toy can all lead to a G-spot orgasm. “When you’re sexually aroused, the G-spot will fill with blood and swell up,” said Dr. Ross. Some people also report a G-spot orgasm feels deeply intense compared to other types of orgasms.5
An orgasm from penetrative vaginal sex — that doesn’t intentionally stimulate the clitoris and G-spot — is considered a vaginal orgasm. Besides the clitoris, the vagina has additional erogenous zones. The A-spot, or anterior fornix, is located on the high front (or anterior) wall of the vagina just beneath the cervix.6 This area can trigger a deep vaginal orgasm when touched the right way. Some people may also orgasm from touching the cervix, itself.
“It could cause the whole uterus to contract during an orgasm with massive contractions in the whole area,” said Dr. Prudence Hall, MD, a gynecologist and medical director at The Hall Center in Southern California. This is because these areas contain ligaments with nerves that can be highly sensitive.
However, some people may never have a vaginal orgasm. In a 2018 study of more than 1,000 women, 18.4% said vaginal sex alone couldn’t make them climax.3 If you have trouble climaxing via vaginal penetration, try different positions that help you hit the right zones. Some research found that folks could make vaginal penetration more pleasurable by angling the hips and having shallow penetration just inside the vagina.7
Health recognizes that not everyone who is female was born with female reproductive organs and that not everyone who is male was born with male reproductive organs. Health also recognizes that people may not identify as any one sex or gender. The information in this article is based on how researchers present their results, and the gender- and sex-based language used most accurately reflects their research design and outcomes.
Your breasts and nipples are major erogenous zones. According to Dr. Ross, you can have an orgasm by stimulating these areas. The nipples especially react to touch since they’re loaded with nerve endings and sensitive skin. Some people find that having their nipples caressed, kissed, or sucked, can result in a powerful orgasm.9
There’s no clear consensus on how many women can orgasm without contact in their genitals. Researchers also aren’t exactly sure why nipple orgasms happen. But research has found nipple stimulation activates the part of your brain that controls genital stimulation.10
Having a nipple orgasm can take some practice, and you might not be able to orgasm through nipple play alone. But, you can enjoy a nipple orgasm solo or with a partner. Try licking, sucking, and caressing the nipples in a circular motion to increase blood flow. With the right touch, you may eventually climax.
A blended orgasm is a climax that happens when more than one erogenous zone is being stimulated at the same time. Think G-spot penetration along with clitoral touching, but it could also come from vaginal penetration along with clitoral, nipple, or anal stimulation — or all of these simultaneously.11
“The more stimulation there is, the more blood flow will result, and the bigger the orgasm will be,” said Dr. Hall. If you’re looking to have a blended orgasm with a partner, consider the “woman on top” position. Your hands, and your partner’s, will be free to touch your clitoris, breasts, or butt during penetration. Or, bring a vibrator into the bedroom.
Unlike people with penises, people with a vagina can experience multiple orgasms because they don’t require as much downtime between an orgasm and arousal.12
To experience multiple orgasms, Dr. Hall suggests contracting your pelvic muscles on your own (by squeezing and releasing the way you would if you were holding in your urine stream). This keeps blood flow high, which increases sensitivity and makes a second orgasm easier to reach. If you don’t go back down to the pre-arousal state, you can quickly work your way up to another orgasm.
During an orgasm, some people can release a gush of clear fluid – aka squirting.13 Squirting is also sometimes called female ejaculation, but some researchers don’t consider them the same thing.14
“No one really knows the exact number of women who experience a squirting orgasm, so with that uncertainty in mind, it was found that 10-54% of women have, at one time or another, had a ‘gushing’ moment during orgasm, ” said Dr. Ross.15
G-spot stimulation typically leads to squirting, but caressing and teasing the area surrounding the urethra can also result in a squirting climax. “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,” said Dr. Ross.
Reaching climax during an intense workout may sound unlikely, 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.16
“One of the ways to induce an orgasm is to super-squeeze your [pelvic floor] muscles, and you can develop them and make them stronger,” said Dr. Hall. “If someone has very well-developed [pelvic floor] muscles – and during exercises they really start to contract them – I think orgasms are absolutely possible during that.”
Hall added that most people will need clitoral and/or vaginal stimulation to go along with that if they want an orgasm. However, you may also not want to orgasm during a workout, especially if you’re out in public. So avoiding additional clitoral or vaginal stimulation during exercise may help you avoid an orgasm in the gym.
Similar to the “wet dreams” people with penises may experience, it is possible for folks with a vagina to orgasm during their sleep.11 Sleep orgasms, or nocturnal orgasms, likely start with an erotic dream.17 This can lead to increased blood flow to the genitals and lubrication, making your body orgasm while you’re snoozing.
A 2012 study found people who slept on their stomachs were more likely to have erotic dreams and sexual sensations. This may be because sleeping on your stomach can be more constricting and physically stimulating (think bedsheets, pajamas, etc., pressing on your body). Still, the exact reasons folks have sleep orgasms aren’t totally proven or understood.18
Research on sleep orgasms is extremely lacking and outdated, but we know people have them. The most cited study is from the 1950s, but it reported that 37% of the female participants had a sleep orgasm by the time they were 45.17.
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