O is for Orgasm

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am a sex and intimacy coach and psychologist and I’ve spent the last 30 + years helping people who were struggling maintaining conscious relationships with great sex to create exciting sexual and intimate relationships. We are working our way through the erotic alphabet one letter at a time. Today the letter is O and O is for Orgasm.

Many people don’t feel as if they have had satisfactory sex unless they have reached an orgasmic peak. Some people believe orgasm is only located in the genitals but people can have full-body orgasm too!

Joining me to talk all things orgasm is my husband Terence Scott. If you have listened to the show over the past year, you know that we have been together almost 11 years, married for 5 years, are polyamorous and are in a 24/7 authority transfer based relationship.

Before we talk type and tips, let’s talk anatomy. Physiologically, the brain and the circulatory system are deeply involved in orgasm in both men and women. The brain is the centre of sexual excitement and the brain stimulates increased blood flow into the genitals. The central nervous system fully engages the nerves that feed the genital area which is hooked into the brain’s reward system and a feedback loop builds until the peak is reached.

Both men and women experience some of the same physiological phenomena. Blood fills the penis, nipples and lips for men and for women the labia, clitoris, nipples and lips. Both experience rhythmic pulses during orgasm. Many women also ejaculate. There are so many ways to make an orgasm happen.

Using sex toys to change the intensity of orgasm, guarantee an orgasm, and experiment with multiple orgasms is great fun. 37% of women have trouble with orgasm and an even higher percentage don’t have an orgasm during penetrative sex. A good quality sex toy can go a long way to creating sexual satisfaction.

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All orgasms are not alike. They can be affected by cognitive state, psychological state and what chemicals are in your body at the time (including hormones, drugs, alcohol, other medications). Your genitals are enervated by several pairs of nerves and when different combinations are stimulated, you have different sensations.

So-called blended orgasms occur when a bunch of areas in the genital area are stimulated – clitoris, vagina and G-spot for example and each level of sensation is additive so the orgasm is layered, deep and can last longer. There is such a thing as a cervix orgasm as well! This can occur through stimulation of the cervix and is known for being extremely intense.

There is such a thing as a nipple orgasm just as orgasms can come as a result of playing with the anus, visual imagery, breasts, auditory stimulation and fantasising. The length of time an orgasm lasts gets longer as you get older (Isn’t that a great reason to keep having lots of sex as you age?)
Cumming can relieve pain. Endorphins block pain receptors in the brain and oxytocin (released during orgasm) also suppressive pain and perception of pain.

The types of difficulty women have include:
Primary anorgasmia – when a woman has never been able to reach orgasm
Secondary anorgasmia – when a woman who previously was orgasmic is now not able to reach orgasm.
Situational anorgasmia –when not reaching orgasm is as a result of the situation.

Medications can have a negative effect on the ability or each orgasm. This includes SSRI antidepressants like Prozac and Citalopram which are notorious for inhibiting orgasm.

The biggest difficulty people have in my experience is letting go. In order to have an orgasm, you have to let go. One of the great joys of orgasm is that you cannot control it. You have to relax and be open to the sensations and let your body, mind, heart and spirit respond to the stimulation and love you are experiencing.

If you have trouble relaxing, try releasing some of the pressure. If you don’t reach orgasm, you haven’t failed. Just enjoy the experience you are having.
If you practice meditation, this is a good time to employ your strategies to quiet your mind. Allow your breathing to deepen. Focus on one sensation only — that point where your bodies are connecting, the smell of her, the taste of his lips. Breathe into the sensation and just enjoy.
Kegel exercises do lead to better orgasms. It appears that the stronger your pelvic floor muscles are, the better your orgasms are likely to be.

It takes an average of about 20 minutes of stimulation for women to reach orgasm. Some women are able to reach orgasm within 30 seconds of self-stimulation, but this is unusual. Keep in mind that stimulation doesn’t only mean physical stimulation, but includes mental stimulation as well. Orgasms last on average 18 – 22 seconds.

Four pairs of nerves are involved in orgasm in women.
These nerves all take information back to the brain and provide differing sensations and types of orgasm. This is one reason why all orgasms don’t feel alike. If you stimulate all four pairs of nerves, the ‘blended’ orgasm will be far more intense than an orgasm that is the result of stimulating one pair of nerves. Three of the pair of nerves first transmit information to the spinal cord which is then sent to the brain. The vagus nerve transmits straight to the brain — which means even women with complete spinal cord bisection can experience orgasm if this pair of nerves is stimulated.
There are so many ways for us to get off!
Many women ask how often they should be having orgasms, and if their current frequency is “normal.”
When I was in my first, sexless marriage, I thought I was the only married woman who was having no sex at all. Even the clients I was seeing reported having sex at least monthly. When I finally plucked up the courage to talk to a friend, I found out that I was not alone.
Havelock Ellis was a researcher in the early 1900s who spent a lot of time studying sex and sexual behaviour. In his research about the frequency of sex (in married couples, of course), he reported these recommendations according to various religious and cultural groups:
• Zoroaster, the Persian religious leader decreed sex should occur once in nine days.
• Hindu authorities decreed three to six times per month.
• Solon, an Athenian statesman stated three times per month.
• The Koran decrees once per week.
• The Talmud decrees once per day to once per week depending on the occupation of the husband.
• Martin Luther, founder of Protestantism states twice per week.
In my practice, I see that rhythms vary over time, mainly related to health, stress levels, how relationships are going, and whether or not a woman is single. One thing I can clearly say is that when in a relationship, more sex and more orgasms are definitely better.
More orgasms increase emotional intimacy, as well as positive feelings about your mate, your relationship, yourself — and often the whole of your life.
The good news is that research suggests a clear relationship between the age of the person and the likelihood of experiencing orgasm when having sex.
This means it isn’t too late to get yourself into your maximum orgasmic prime!

I want to thank Adam and Eve for sponsoring the A to Z of Sex. Don’t forget to grab yourself an erotic bargain at and use the code ATOZSEX to get your free gifts!
We are skipping P and Q (and will return to them later) because next week, I have an amazing guest for R is for Rope – Midori will be joining me to talk all things rope, Shibari, about the art of feminine dominance and so much more. That is live on 12 December 11 am PST/ 2 pm EST/ 7 pm BST.