Orgasm is essentially a process that happens in the brain, though it’s facilitated by stimulation of various other body parts. As such, there’s really an infinite number of ways to have an orgasm. Some people need direct, intense stimulation of their genitals to get there; others can get off from more oblique stimulation to erogenous zones like the nipples or anus; still others don’t even need any physical stimulation to get off, and can “think themselves off” using fantasy, focus, and deep breathing. The human body is amazing!
What’s important to remember is that no type of orgasm is inherently less or more “real,” valid, or desirable than any other. Whatever way(s) you can or can’t come are just fine – and it’s also okay if you can’t come at all, or don’t want to. (Anorgasmia is a real thing, and doesn’t necessarily mean someone is “broken”!)
That said, here are five basic types of orgasms that exist in the wide-ranging spectrum of different orgasms our bodies are capable of…
These are the most basic, standard orgasms for most folks, and usually the first ones we learn to have when we start masturbating. For many of us, they’re a reliable ol’ faithful, a method we fall back on when nothing else works, or maybe even the only way we can get off. (Which, again, is fine!)
An advantage of these orgasms is that it’s usually fairly easy to teach a partner how to get us off this way. After all, the penis and the head of the clitoris are on the outside of the body, where they can be easily accessed and seen. Even if you require a particular type of touch on your external bits – say, a hard and fast penile stroke, or tight circles on the upper-left quadrant of your clit – it’s usually relatively easy to relay that information to a partner. Yay for communication!
The G-spot and prostate (also known as the P-spot) are structurally and functionally similar in many ways, and their owners report similar sensations when they orgasm from these spots: these orgasms are often said to be deeper, stronger, and to extend to the full body rather than being limited to just the genital area.
For some people, fluids may be expelled when these spots are stimulated to high degrees of arousal – known as “milking the prostate” or “squirting” – and that may make some folks self-conscious, so it’s often a good idea to lay down a towel or waterproof mattress pad before playing with these spots, so everyone can relax.
Freud believed the vaginal orgasm was inherently more mature and more valid than the “juvenile” clitoral orgasm, but he was wrong, as he was about a lot of things! Just as people with penises usually need those penises stimulated if they’re going to reach orgasm, people with vaginas typically have orgasms via the clitoris. But exploring orgasms through other routes can be fun and often leads to mind-bending pleasure, so long as you can rid your mind of the myths about which pleasures are less or more valid!
The A-spot – also known as the anterior fornix, the AFE (anterior fornix erogenous) zone, or the deep spot – was described by Malaysian researcher Dr. Chua Chee Ann in the ‘90s. It’s a spot deep inside the vagina, on the front wall like the G-spot, but a few inches deeper, in front of the cervix. Chee Ann did an experiment which found that stimulation of this spot caused his patients to lubricate quickly, experience wild heights of pleasure, and sometimes even have an orgasm on the exam table. Wow!
Many people enjoy deep vaginal penetration but may not know why. They might think they like having their cervix touched – which might well be true, too; some people love cervical stimulation, though lots of other people report having their cervix bumped is painful or uncomfortable. The A-spot, however, is its own thing, and can result in deep, powerful orgasms for people who like having this spot touched.
Dr. Chee Ann recommended a “scooping” motion with fingers inserted deeply, similar to the “come hither” motion often recommended for G-spot stimulation. Toys can also be helpful, especially those long enough to hit the spot (6”+) and possessing a subtle curve toward the tip of the toy, to allow it to bypass the cervix and crest up into the A-spot. Use lots of lube and go exploring!
Combining some of the above techniques can create an orgasm that is more than the sum of its parts. For example, for many people with vaginas, stimulating the G-spot or A-spot alone doesn’t feel like much, but adding clitoral stimulation into the mix can kick things up to eleven. Similarly, prostate stimulation is often enhanced if there’s something happening to your penis at the same time, whether that’s stimulation by hands, mouths, toys, or any other way you like to be touched.
It can even be fun to see how many different forms of stimulation you can cram into one session! Play with your internal and external erogenous zones, your nipples, anal opening, perineum, and even lesser-acknowledged hotspots like the inner thighs, neck, underarms, backs of the knees, or soles of the feet. Whatever spots ache to be touched, try touching them in conjunction with more reliable pleasure zones, and see what happens!
Tantra educator Barbara Carrellas teaches a technique she calls the breath and energy orgasm: a way of reaching climax without even needing physical stimulation. It incorporates deep, methodical breathing, an ongoing awareness of the body’s “chakras” or energy centers, and flexing and relaxing of the pubococcygeus muscle (the one you squeeze when you do Kegel exercises or try to stop the flow of pee). Carrellas did an MRI experiment a few years back which proved that she was indeed having orgasms when she did this, even though they happen differently from most people’s idea of an orgasm.
You can take this idea even further and add other non-physical elements, like fantasizing, watching porn, or even watching a partner do sexy things while you’re cuffed to the bed and unable to move! Even if you don’t reach orgasm from all this mental stimulation and focus, you’ll likely be super turned on by the time you’re done, and there are tons of fun places to go from there.