Some experiences are difficult to put into words, and most aspects of sex fall within that category. What does an orgasm feel like, anyway? It stands to reason that many women in particular would have this question. As Louanne Cole Weston, certified sex therapist, said in WebMD, “about 10 percent of women have never had an orgasm — either with a partner or during masturbation.” Whether you’ve never had an orgasm, or you’re pretty sure that you have but want to double-check, it can be difficult to know how your experiences measure up to other women's.
And to make matters even more complicated, women may have more than one type of orgasm. According to a 2013 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, “despite a common assumption that there is only one type of female orgasm, we may infer, on the basis of our findings, that the different reported perceptions from these two types of stimulation can be explained by the different parts of the clitoris (external and internal) and CUV complex that are involved.” So women can have two types of orgasm? Well, there may be even more. As sexologist Carlen Costa, told Refinery 29, there are 12 types of orgasms that women may experience. With all of this information floating around, it’s no wonder many women are left to wonder if their feelings of pleasure are really an orgasm or not.
Unfortunately, there is no one simple answer to this question. "I can't tell you what an orgasm feels like because every woman's orgasm is unique," clinical psychologist Sheryl A. Kingsberg said in Healthy Women. "Scientifically, however, it is described as the 'sudden release of muscular and nervous tension at the climax of sexual experience." Every woman's body may react in a different way.
What do those muscular reactions generally feel like? "There is instant contraction/squeezing of muscles of vagina, uterus and anus once every second, five to eight times when you are having an orgasm," according to New Health Advisor. If that sounds too clinical, then consider this explanation from Planned Parenthood: "It’s kinda like a rollercoaster, and the orgasm is that moment you go over the hill at the top." This is a pretty common metaphor for the experience.
If you have never orgasmed, are you expecting earth-shattering fireworks? It may be time to manage your expectations. "Some women have orgasms and don’t know it," according to The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada. "Some women do not experience orgasm in the sense of feeling their pelvic floor muscles contract." You may just feel your arousal peak and then become relaxed: and that's fine. Every woman's experience is different.