If you asked 100 different women “What is an orgasm?” you’d probably get 100 different answers. Orgasms are a very personal experience and although the physical release is the same, the physical feelings and the emotional attachment are different for everyone. The female orgasm involves the entire body — from head to toe. If the planets, or pieces are not aligned, achieving this orgasm is difficult. 

When experienced, an orgasm physically feels like a collection of rhythmic contractions, according to sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson. These contractions occur in the uterus, vagina and in the muscles of the pelvic floor. Other muscles of the body may contract when a woman climaxes too and the body may become warm in response to the sexual release.


When describing what an orgasm is, instead of simply saying it is the physical release in response to sexual stimuli, look at the four phases of sex. Women experience the build up to the orgasm, the orgasm itself and the after effects. Each of these phases may require a longer or shorter amount of time depending on a woman’s mental state, her hormone levels, her attraction to her lover and her comfort.

In the first phase, the physical act begins and a woman may become flush as her heart rate and blood pressure increase. The kissing and touching of foreplay increases blood flow to the vagina, the nipples and the clitoris. This phase can take a while if the woman is trying to relax and get into a rhythm with her partner, or she may speed it up if the physical sensations are intense and she wants to quickly achieve orgasm.

The second phase is a plateau before the release of the orgasm. Physically, the vagina continues to engorge in response to stimulation, whether it is from a hand, a mouth, a penis or a toy such as a vibrator or dildo. Some women respond to vaginal stimulation, but most women prefer clitoral stimulation. The clitoris is located above the entrance to the vagina near or between the fold of the two outer vaginal lips.

As stimulation of the clitoris or vagina increases, a woman begins to breathe faster, her heart rate quickens and she may shift uncomfortably waiting for the release of pressure from the engorged lips.

An orgasm occurs during the third phase. This is when the vagina, pelvis and uterus contract. The contractions may be intense or dull depending on a woman’s response. The contractions are a large part of the feeling of what an orgasm is. Contractions can feel incredible.

If a woman is having difficulty achieving orgasm, she may be able to encourage the contractions by performing kegel exercises and consciously contracting her pelvic floor muscles. These contractions and the clitoris stimulation will hopefully take her over the edge into the climax and release.

The fourth phase is the relaxation when the blood moves away from the vagina. A woman’s heart and breathing rates return to normal levels although her body may experience a warm sensation. Some women are able to have multiple orgasms, and they begin the cycle again.


According to the Mayo Clinic, most women do not experience an orgasm from vaginal stimulation alone. Instead, clitorial stimulation is usually the most effective way for a woman to climax.

The clitoral orgasm is probably the closest linked to the male orgasm according to obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Steven R. Goldstein, who practices at the New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City and who is a professor at the New York University School of Medicine in the obstetrics and gynecology department. The comparison is in the engorged tissue followed by a release and then the blood flow away from the area.


Another part of what an orgasm is relates to the G spot. While not all women can experience this sensation, the G spot provides another point of stimulation. It is located on the upper, front wall of the vagina, so it is reached from the inside, unlike the clitoris, which is located on the outside of the vagina. The G spot is approximately between one and two inches behind the pubic bone and often feels spongy or harder than the rest of the tissue.

When stimulated, the G spot provides a different orgasm feel. Women can stimulate both the clitoris and the G spot for a stronger orgasm. This is typically achieved through the help of a lover or a toy with one hand on the clitoris and the other inside the vagina. G spot toys are angled to easily reach the sensitive area.


Other part of the female anatomy contribute to what an orgasm is. The body has many nerve endings and some women can climax when their breasts and nipples are stimulated. Some women can also have an orgasm by thinking of sex or imaging a physical connection with a lover. The brain is a powerful contributor to a woman’s ability to orgasm. If she is distracted or her focus is shattered, an orgasm is much more difficult to achieve.


Stories exist of women who have orgasms when performing abdominal sit-ups, or when riding down a bumpy road. These are rare, but a condition does exist called Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder. Although these women often experience many orgasms in a day, they do not get relief from the constant discomfort of an engorged vagina. The condition is a misfire of nerve endings and many times sex or masturbation makes the problem worse and orgasms only bring minute relief.


Besides an intense feeling of pleasure, release and eroticism, an orgasm can provide pain relief. When a woman climaxes, her body releases the chemical oxytocin, says Lisa Stern who is a nurse for Planned Parenthood. Oxytocin reduces the pain from headaches, arthritis and even childbirth. It typically lasts approximately 10 minutes, so use this pain-relief technique as needed.


A woman requires approximately 20 minutes to achieve an orgasm. This may not often coincide with your partner’s ability to climax. If this is a concern, have an open discussion about your needs and how they are fulfilled. The more comfortable you are discussing what an orgasm is to you and how your lover can fill your needs, the more satisfying love-making will be for both of you. Remind your lover that most women require more than vaginal stimulation, so regardless of how long he is able to hold out, you still may not climax without oral or manual stimulation. According to Nurse Stern, one in three women cannot climax with vaginal stimulation alone.


One way to improve your ability to climax is to have sex in a variety of positions. The various acts may prolong sex which can help you achieve an orgasm, plus the unique positions may also prevent your mind from wandering to what to cook for dinner, which helps you stay focused and in the moment. Try the G Spot position for amazing orgasms.

Dr. Debby Herbenick, a scientist at Indiana University agrees and also reminds us that sex improves with age. She states that 70 percent of women in their forties and fifties achieved orgasm when making love, compared with 61 percent of women in their early twenties.

Women become more comfortable with and have a greater understanding of their bodies as they age. Plus, older women are usually in long-term relationships which increases the trust and confidence they have in their partner’s love making abilities. There’s nothing stopping you from ditching sexual anxiety for good, however.

Orgasms are a natural and healthy part of love-making and relationships. Your lover should take the time to learn your body and how it responds to his every touch, kiss and penetration. He needs to appreciate your female body and have the patience required to help you achieve an orgasm.

Whether you have multiple orgasms, or one intense release, a climax is something to cherish and look forward to. It’s a great way to start or end your day, plus it burns calories!

Even if you’re not in a relationship, an orgasm is a natural, physical response. An orgasm feels good, it improves your mood, can alleviate pain and provides an intense physical release. Do not compare your orgasm to anyone else’s, nor should you compare the way you achieve an orgasm. Understand that you are beautiful, perfect and unique and both you and your vagina deserve to be treated that way.

Leave a comment