A Complete Guide to the 8 Different Types of Orgasms You Can Have
If you find yourself more frequently wanting to wind down after a rough workday with your favorite vibrator, or spend whole weekends pantsless with your partner, it makes perfect sense. Given that sex has been shown to chemically reduce stress, tough times seem to call for more frequent self- or partnered pleasure — and perhaps the pursuit of different types of orgasms.
“You can experience orgasm throughout the entire body — orgasms are not limited to the genital area,” explains Shannon Chavez, Psy.D., a psychologist and sex therapist in Los Angeles. “An orgasm is a reflex that is triggered by stimulation of areas of the body that are sensitive to touch. The buildup leads to contractions and involuntary spasms of the pelvic floor and energy being released as an orgasm.”
For the record, sexual pleasure and the big O aren’t mutually exclusive. As Anne Hodder-Shipp, an American College of Sexologists (ACS)-certified sex educator notes, “Sex and pleasure are fun and amazing, regardless if orgasm is the outcome.” But while there’s no need to feel pressured to head into every romp with the mission to get off, what better use of all of this extra time at home than to explore the different ways you can experience pleasure — and potentially climax?
Here, eight types of orgasms your body is capable of, according to experts.
Most women gravitate to the clitoris when aiming for an orgasm, which comes as no surprise to experts, given how the clit was designed. “This type of orgasm is the most intense for most people because of the concentrated number of nerve endings throughout the anatomy of the clitoris,” notes Chavez. In fact, the main function of the clitoris is pleasure, she explains.
How to do it: “Clitoral pleasure can be enjoyed by simulating the glans of the clitoris, which is the part we can see at the top of the vulva above the urethra,” says Hodder-Shipp. “Some people like rubbing up and down, some like a circular motion, some like deep vibration from a vibrator. There’s often one side of the glans that’s more sensitive than the other, so notice how it feels when you adjust the contact area.”
You can also access the internal portion of the clitoris by inserting something (finger, sex toy, whatever feels good — just make sure it’s clean) and pressing up on the “roof” of the vagina, explains Hodder-Shipp. “That’s sort of the ‘apex’ of where all the parts of the clitoris connect together, and many people find it intensely pleasurable to stimulate that area at the same time as the glans on the outside,” she notes. “I recommend using lube for pretty much everything, but especially for external clitoral play, for a smooth, comfortable glide along sensitive areas.”
Lots of women have been curious about hitting the often evasive erogenous zone known as the G-spot since reading their first women’s mag, but it’s a controversial concept. Chavez explains that experts debate whether or not the G-spot is really a unique spot or part of the internal clitoral body. Regardless of its anatomical roots, you can stimulate it just as you would your clitoris. In fact, you might have “accidentally” hit it on occasion while stimulating your vagina internally with a sex toy or having penetrative sex.
How to do it: “Try two fingertips inside the vaginal canal on the high front (anterior) wall where you will feel a rigged area of tissue,” says Chavez. “Massaging or stimulating this area with a device, hands, or through penetration with a penis or device, can build up to an orgasm response.”
Chances are you’ve had sexual encounters, either solo or with a partner, in which you’ve enjoyed pleasuring a variety of hot spots all over your body. Blended orgasms are the result of two, three, or more erogenous zones being stimulated at once in order to trigger an orgasm, says Chavez. “The most common blended orgasms involve direct stimulation to the clitoris, G-spot, nipples, and vulva and vagina (which stimulates the internal body of the clitoris),” she notes. “There is a neural super highway in the pelvic area that connects all the organs in the genital area.” The result: an extra-intense O.
How to do it: Tending to various spots simultaneously is the key here, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming in the least. In fact, Chavez recommends going slow and steady.
“With a partner, have them use their hands or mouth on your nipples or clitoris, and use a sucking and licking motion with a flexed tongue,” advises Chavez. “While stimulating these areas they can use hands or a device to stimulate the vulva, Introitus (opening of the vagina where there are many nerve endings) and anterior wall of the vagina where you will feel the mound of nerves that is referred to the G-spot. Stimulate these areas slowly so that arousal can build up.”
Although women don’t frequently experience orgasms through anal stimulation, they do report arousal and pleasure from it. If butt play feels like something you want to delve into, you might find you can bring yourself to a climax that way, thanks to the proximity of the anus and rectum to the vagina and clitoris and the fact that they share nerves. “Stimulating the anus by rubbing the outside of the anal opening and using a lubricated finger to probe gently and penetrate the anal canal can evoke intense sensations due to the nerve endings in the anal area,” explains Chavez.
How to do it: You’ll definitely want to reach for the lube, as anal tissue is especially sensitive and prone to tearing. Then, go slow and move your way up to more intense stimulation and deeper penetration. “You can also use a vibrator on a low setting to stimulate the anal opening and perineum area — between the base of the genitals and anus — where there is a fleshy area with multiple nerve endings that will respond to stimulation and sensual touch,” says Chavez.
Hodder-Shipp adds that toys safe for butt play will have a wide base, which prevent them from going too far into the anus and, in turn, become difficult to retrieve without help.
Known as the anterior fornix, the A-spot is is similar to the G-spot. It’s located on the anterior wall of the vaginal canal, but is deeper within the canal than the G-spot, and closer to the cervix, explains Chavez. That’s why an orgasm resulting from its stimulation might also be referred to as a deep vaginal erogenous zone orgasm. “It is on average five to six inches from the vaginal opening,” explains Chavez.
How to do it: Use a position that increases depth can help locate the spot such as the CAT (coital alignment technique, or a variation on missionary that focuses on clitoral stimulation), or any position where the knees and legs are closer to the chest and allow an angle for penetration, she recommends.
There’s a reason feeling your nipples caressed, licked, or even squeezed can send electricity down to your clitoris. “The nipples have a concentrated area of nerve endings that can be stimulated like the genital area and that can trigger an orgasmic response due to sensitivity and intensity through touch,” notes Chavez. “The nipples also act like a phallic object like a penis or finger that when stimulated sends a signal to activate the pleasure center of the brain. This is known as anatomical echoing and can happen with nipples, the tongue with passionate kissing, and sucking on fingers and toes.”
How to do it: Chavez advises stimulating–or asking your partner to stimulate—your nipples in any way that feels good, from sucking to stroking and massaging.
Hodder-Shipp says some people like sweeping up-and-down massage using the whole hand, others like just fingertips on the nipples, while others like circular motions around the areola. “Sometimes a pinching or twisting motion on the nipple itself can feel even more intense than massage or touch,” she notes. “The goal is to explore and discover with an open mind — and be open to the fact that you might end up feeling kinda ‘meh’ about nipple play, too.” She also recommends using a body-safe massage oil or silicone lube for nipple massage to reduce friction.
You might not think of an intense boot camp workout as the fast track to a pleasure-filled climax, but it can happen. “Intense exercise of the muscles around the core of the body can trigger contractions in the pelvic floor leading to an orgasm,” explains Chavez. “The orgasm is more of the same sensation that you would feel with external stimulation of the clitoris than deep penetration in the vaginal canal. The contractions throughout the pelvic floor can cause a build up of erotic energy in the pelvic area and a release when relaxing the muscles.”
How to do it: Chavez says intense core workouts — think crunches, hip raises, or leg lifts — could trigger sexual pleasure while working out, or, a full-on “coregasm.”
Yes, you can literally think your way into climaxing, and it might be more likely to happen while you’re fast asleep in dreamland. “During sleep, your body is relaxed and in a restorative state,” explains Chavez. “Muscles are more relaxed, and breathing is deeper, which allows for the body to relax more easily and become more easily aroused. If you are dreaming about erotic stimuli and having a sex dream, your body can trigger an orgasm through the sensory experience provided through the dream.”
How to do it: While getting turned on before bed might set you up for a sleep orgasm, it’s not exactly the type of climax you can actively pursue. That said, you can enjoy a similar “thinkgasm” by focusing on sexual fantasy, stimuli, or turn-ons that evoke an emotional and physical response, says Chavez. “This is also why erotica is such a powerful stimulant for females, because it triggers fantasy and evokes the same emotional response,” she notes.
All Types of Pleasure Count
Whether you get off best when you take a long, CBD-infused bath, get lost in soft kisses, or experiment with fingers, toys, or intercourse that leads to a breathless orgasm, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to sexual pleasure. It’s also important to remember that a variety of factors — emotional state, sense of comfort and safety, hormone levels, arousal level, whether or not someone is taking certain medications, and more — that influence orgasms, says Hodder-Shipp.
“Each action, whether it’s massaging a clitoris, pressing against the urethral sponge, or doing an abdominal crunch, can — but not always — lead to orgasm, because they stimulate one or more of the major nerves in the pelvic area that connect to the brain,” she notes. A climax won’t necessarily follow from based solely on the body part(s) being stimulated, she says. In other words, there’s a lot to love about the journey, no matter what your next sexual escapade ends up looking and feeling like.