Am I having an orgasm?
September 10, 2009 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Two questions about sex.

I am a mid-twenties heterosexual woman and have been with my partner for about a year. We have a lot of fun, both in bed and generally. My partner really cares about my pleasure, and he has been nothing but the embodiment of GGG.

However, some possibly stupid questions:

1. When I masturbate by myself, it gets to a point where my vagina tightens up and feels pretty good, and then starts contracting. I'm pretty sure that's an orgasm. When I'm having sex with him or when he is going down on me, my vagina tightens up and feels very, very, very good, far better than when I'm masturbating, but I never get the contractions. The pleasure gets more and more intense, until a point, where further stimulation doesn't add to the pleasure, and I tell him to stop (and he does). Is that also an orgasm? Googling seems to indicate that all orgasms should involve involuntary contractions, plural, but I also know that sexual response varies pretty widely.

2. If I'm not having an orgasm because there aren't physical contractions, what can I do to get them? Kegel exercises? I don't think it's an issue of pleasure, because sex with him feels so much better than masturbation. We've tried the Rabbit and the Bullet, but they both end without contractions even though, again, they feel fantastic.

Frequency of masturbation isn't an issue. I only masturbate a couple times a month, and not having either sex or masturbation, even for weeks at a time because we're separated due to work, doesn't change anything.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
When you masturbate by yourself and feel the contractions -- are you sure you aren't just more aware of them because (perhaps) you have a few fingers inside your vagina?
posted by ecsh at 9:18 AM on September 10, 2009

My vaginal contractions are a lot less pointed and obvious during penis-in-vagina sex than they are during manual stimulation. The number of contractions and intensity also varies, even when masturbating. Sometimes I'll have just one or two; sometimes I'll have more.

If you want the same sort of contractions that you have during masturbation, show him how you touch yourself (and the speed, etc.) and have him do so during intercourse or oral sex. But honestly, I wouldn't worry about what is- and is not- an orgasm. If it's not an issue of pleasure--if you're having good, happy, joyful sex--then what's it matter if your climax meets the technical definition of an orgasm?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:24 AM on September 10, 2009

1) In my experience, orgasms from masturbation are definitely less intense than from couple-stuff, but orgasms from couple-stuff are much harder to attain. When I'm on my own I can control the physical side and the mental side, but with a partner there's all kinds of delays and such. Of course this is different from girl to girl, but if I am plateauing and not reaching a definite release, then I don't call it an orgasm. However, that's not necessarily a bad thing unless you're unhappy about it.

For 2) I don't really think there's any surefire way of hitting the peak, besides just working together to figure out what it takes. One thing that seems to work for me when I'm hitting a plateau but not completing is to ask my partner to stop and cuddle for a bit (which it seems like you do), and then start again in a minute or so when I've backed down a bit.
posted by muddgirl at 9:24 AM on September 10, 2009

I don't want to generalize, and "your mileage may vary" - but if you don't know you are having an orgasm, you aren't.

The best description I have heard: It's like sneezing through your crotch. You know when you sneeze, right? You ever have those almost-sneezes, where you go ah-ah-ah-ahhhhh, but no -choo? Sounds like you aren't having the -choo part.

I had a girlfriend who was in the same boat - mid-20's, not orgasmic. She was one of the best lovers ever. Eventually we got her to climaxing. That's when I first heard of Kegel exercises. Kegels are good.

For what it's worth, don't pin your hopes and aspirations on orgasms. Some of it may be anxiety related, you know, trying a little too hard. There are other causes, too. I started antidepressants a few months ago, and have become an-orgasmic; there may be biochemical reasons for you not climaxing, and that's ok. What PhoBWanKenobi said above.

My ex-wife was the opposite. She masturbated frequently, and could climax pretty much at will. It didn't help our relationship in the long run.

You might want to try some additional stimulation during sex - sounds like the toys/tools thing has helped some. Fantasizing was always good for me to orgasm, when I wanted to time it right. There is definitely a significant mental component . Try some various things maybe, and keep at it.

Best of luck to you.
posted by Xoebe at 12:47 PM on September 10, 2009 [3 favorites]

The two activities - PIV and self-stimulation - are not mutually exclusive.
posted by megatherium at 1:36 PM on September 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think a guy's interpretation of female orgasm might be a little off. No offense meant, but describing to another something they can never experience themselves is pretty difficult. Lots of "ah-, ah-, ah-" and one big "-choo!" seems more male than female to me.

I think what you are experiencing is totally normal. Orgasms from masturbation and orgasms from sexual intercourse can be different, and yet both be enjoyable. Don't get too tied up in whether or not you are following a medical definition of "orgasm" during each activity. If you are enjoying sex, you are doing it right.

To answer your questions, though, without hooking you up to some kind of machine that can monitor this, yes you are probably having orgasms during masturbation and during intercourse.
posted by Houstonian at 3:48 PM on September 10, 2009

I'm female and I was just getting ready to reply with the sneeze analogy when I saw that Xoebe beat me to it. My impression from the original post was also that the author probably isn't quite getting there. The release of tension is a hallmark of orgasm--it sounds like maybe that happens when she's masturbating, but definitely not with her partner.

One last thought. It's also very common to have heightened sensitivity after orgasm--what felt great a minute ago is now too intense after the release of tension. So, if that's happening with your lover (feels good, Feels Good, FEELSGOOD FEELSGOODFEELSGOOD--relax--OW! tooMUCH!) then maybe you are having an orgasm.
posted by Sublimity at 6:05 PM on September 10, 2009

It sounds to me like you are getting overstimulated before you orgasm. It can only feel good for so long before you have to have that final release, if you don't go through that release then you will inevitably enter into a zone of not being able to do anything without backing off for a few minutes. Female orgasms are all about the tension and release.. don't worry about the contractions. It can be feel very similar to tensing your muscles and then releasing them.. in fact that usually happens all together during an orgasm.

I agree that if you don't know if you are having an orgasm then you probably aren't. It sounds like you are getting close, you just have to figure out how to make your body release that tension at the right moment.
posted by trishthedish at 6:47 PM on September 10, 2009

Oh, I also meant to say that the sensitivity that you get after an orgasm is definitely different than the sensitivity that comes from overstimulation.

Also, stop thinking about it so much, stress doesn't help orgasms.
posted by trishthedish at 6:50 PM on September 10, 2009

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