The 12 Types of Orgasms — What They Are & How To Have Them

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
This article was originally published on June 27, 2015.

Are you satisfied with your sex life? As a sex-positive, intersectional feminist and sexologist, I hate hearing that people aren't having great sex or aren't experiencing enough full-bodied pleasure in the act. We deserve to have regular orgasms. Although many of us are still learning, debating, and practicing (the best part), what's essential is understanding that we are all capable of experiencing orgasm in a variety of different ways.

Cue Nicki Minaj. Her Minajesty recently announced that “[she] demand(s) that [she] climaxes” and that every woman should demand the same. She goes on to say that giving and receiving pleasure should be 50/50. Whatever 50/50 looks like to you in any given sexual encounter or experience, that's up to you and your partner to negotiate before, during, and after.

Seriously friends: Your body is capable of some of the most intense, satisfying, and healing energy-producing force. An admirable sex expert Lou Paget says that vagina-bearers can experience 10 different types of orgasms, while penis-bearers can have eight. But, I think there are 12.

Betty Dodson, the Godmother of Orgasms, has some of the best tips and advice about climaxing. Dodson speaks to the experience of the orgasm via the lens of what it feels like — not just the mechanics of what makes it happen. She says “clitoral and penile orgasms result from stimulation of the pudendal pathway, while orgasms that result from G spot, vaginal, and rectal stimulation often involve the pelvic nerve. Stimulating the pelvic nerve, via the rectum, can also lead to pleasure in some surprising ways.”

From healing migraines and relieving stress to soothing pain, boosting your immune system, and giving your body an effective workout, orgasms really are a cure-all.

So, let’s take a look at 12 types of orgasms — and how you can achieve them.

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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
Some experts say this small, spongy area above the front vaginal wall is a myth. Otherwise known as the Graffenberg spot, it is, according to Lelo, “the most mysterious of erogenous zones. For some, it’s downright mythical, with the big G’s mere existence still subject to ongoing debate. Try telling that to the estimated 30% of women reporting that they achieve their orgasms through penetration alone.”

Exactly. It doesn’t really matter if you believe it or not — what matters is this: If applying pressure to this mysterious area in your body feels fantastic, then go for it.

How to have one? Use a circular “come hither” motion and with applied pressure, and massage the area slowly. Don’t be afraid to get your hands a little wet and maximize orgasmic potential by gently having the labia kissed at the same time.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
According to a study reported on Science of Relationships, “researchers discovered that stimulation of the nipple activated an area of the brain known as the genital sensory cortex. This is the same brain region activated by stimulation of the clitoris, vagina, and cervix. What this means is that women’s brains seem to process nipple and genital stimulation in the same way.”

So, it IS possible! Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that our brains are actually the biggest sex organ that we have — and their influence on how we experience pleasure on the whole is huge.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
Your lips are packed with closely set nerve endings, classified as a mucocutaneous region of the body similar to the outer vulva, nipples, and clitoris. This means that they have the power to get you aroused.

This type of orgasm requires some time commitment. Slow lip synching, tongue rolling, and teasing are all part of building up your arousal and should, in my opinion, be a part of foreplay all the time, anyway. Achieving orgasm this way requires deep focus, but it can happen.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
Yes, your butt. For many women, anal intercourse feels fantastic.

If you want to try it, use a healthy dose of lube and slowly work your way in and around the anal area, while preparing for penetration. Anal penetration should at first be a slow process, especially if you’re new to the sensation. The tight muscles and thin epithelial cell layer within are subject to tearing, but they are also able to provide you with sensational pleasure. Graduated bead strands are a good starter toy to add to your sex toolbox.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
The urethra. Yes, the pee hole. Surprised? Well, as Lou Paget states in her educational interviews, the urethra is actually surrounded on three sides by the clitoris. This is because your clitoris is actually a lot bigger than you think it is — it goes three to five inches deep inside you. When your U-spot is stimulated, the erectile tissue surrounding the opening engorges with blood, thus triggering the Skene’s Glands to produce prostatic fluid (the stuff of squirting) and you to become aroused.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
This is your inner vaginal zone, also known as the anterior fornix. Look for it at the front vaginal wall, up towards your belly-button area. Some say it’s a great pressure point because it can be considered as indirect stimulation of the G-Spot — much like the U-Spot and clitoral hood are indirect stimulation of the clitoris itself. This zone is best explored when you’re quite aroused and your muscles are super-relaxed.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
This is also known as the deep-spot orgasm or posterior fornix. It's similar to the A-Spot in that it responds best to pressure, rather than repeated stimulation. Finding this area is the result of deep penetration.

For some vaginas, this area may be quite sensitive and possibly feel painful rather than pleasurable if the pressure is forced. Many people report experiencing intense orgasms with stimulation of this spot; some say it feels a little like anal sex, which makes sense, as the posterior fornix shares the same nerves as your anus.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
Lelo says: “You’re much more likely to reach the big O if your partner takes a more leisurely route around this most sensual of areas before honing in on the clitoris itself.”

Almost all of us with clitorises are capable of having a clitoral orgasm, and, in fact, many of us aren’t capable of coming to orgasm via the other styles. This is because the clitoris can be considered the hub of pleasure; that little love button holds the key to numerous bundled nerve endings — approximately 8,000. Compare that to the penis' 4,000.

Whether you're receiving oral sex, applying pressure, or breaking out your favorite pleasure product for a more consistent vibe, clitoral orgasms are definitely ranked as a favorite. Your clitoris is best served with a blend of direct and indirect stimulation; the more you become aroused, the more sensitive and erect it becomes. This is why foreplay is such a big part of the overall pleasure-inducing experience.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
Zone orgasms are ones that are experienced via stimulation of an area that isn’t necessarily thought of as erotic. These are orgasms that are brought on by stimulation of that “special sweet spot.” Areas such the clavicle, nape of the neck, inner thigh, or prostate can lead you to experience a zone orgasm. Zone pleasure is great to explore on your own or with a partner, to see what moves you.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
Blended orgasms are when more than one area is being stimulated at the same time. Simple. One hand here, a mouth there, a leg wrapped tightly around and pulling you closer…

Try massaging your nipples and breast tissue while rubbing a vibrator on your vulva, or penetrating your anus while stroking your labia. Sex is about pleasure, connection, and many other wonderful things — but sometimes, sex is also about getting the job done and releasing the sexual energy within your body.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
Fantasy/mental orgasms happen because of stimulation of your biggest sex organ: your brain. These orgasms are brought on via intimate thoughts and exploratory fantasies nestled deep within your mind.

Have you ever woken up from a sex dream where you experienced one of the best orgasms you've had in a while? Have you ever fantasized so hard about that babe on the subway that when you get to your office you needed to excuse yourself and spend a couple of minutes alone in the restroom? These are the orgasms that, after some training, can be had just with your thoughts. No touching.

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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
Multiple orgasms come in two forms: sequential (one right after the other, with rest time in between) and serial (one right after another).

How to have them? Enticing your body to have multiple orgasms will definitely require some down time for self-exploration. Some of us are hard-wired to have difficulty experiencing even one orgasm, let alone multiple. If this is you, know that you are not alone.

Using a variety of techniques, stimulants, or fantasies is what can bring you to more easily achieve the multi-magic. If multiple orgasms are your goal, then once you've reached your first orgasm, take a second, regroup, breathe, and then try to have another.

I recommend reveling in the rushing endorphins after one orgasm and then reapplying a building pressure to that same spot, whether it be your clitoris that is already erect, your anus, or the walls of your vagina.

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