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Did I Come?

Q. I have been sexually active with my guy for over a year now, and he has lately been concerned with whether I have an orgasm. My question is, how do I really know? I get wet and it feels fantastic, oral sex is the best, I mean my body will shake. Are orgasms from oral sex only? What is the exact definition of an orgasm for a woman? He has one every time…but it’s different. So is it technically an orgasm even if it’s not huge? I just want to know how to explain it to myself, so I can explain it to him.

A. It sounds to me like you are experiencing great sexual pleasure from oral sex, and also that you aren’t technically having an orgasm. This is a tough thing to try to explain to an easily-orgasming guy.

The way I try to explain it in class is to draw it. I draw a “typical” male response pattern, with a fairly steep incline (arousal), a brief leveling off at a fairly high level of excitement (plateau), then a single spike (orgasm) followed by a steady decline (resolution). This is the pattern found by Masters and Johnson in the 60’s, and it is pretty common for most men most of the time. The thing is, for women, there isn’t one single pattern. The phases outlined by Dr. Johnson and her husband don’t necessarily go in that order, they don’t necessarily all occur, and orgasm doesn’t necessarily end responsiveness for women. Some women experience the typical male pattern, but (to use the same language) what it sounds like you’re experiencing is a slower incline (arousal phase), and a very, very, very long plateau phase. Usually when I draw it on the board, men get that what women are experiencing in that case feels VERY good, and even though it isn’t technically an orgasm, is quite satisfying.

You’ll know you’ve had an orgasm when you experience a sensation of release, and probably muscle contractions. You won’t have any doubt. Since you’re experiencing the heights of pleasure during oral sex, it sounds like you experience more sensations from the clitoral nerve pathway. You would probably experience similar pleasure during other activities, if you were using a vibe on your clitoris, or either your or your sweetheart’s fingers. If you would like to experience orgasm, I suggest Tickle Your Fancy by Sadie Allison. It is a very fun book, quite hip and full of great tips. If you want something more classic, but nonetheless effective, try Sex for One by Betty Dobson or For Yourself by Lonnie Barbach. The latter two can usually be found used at one of our great local bookstores.

Everybody’s different, and I can certainly understand why you want him to understand how good sex feels to you, and how much you appreciate him even though your experience is different than his. The trick is to help him see that his way isn’t necessarily better for you, even though he has probably never considered it through another lens before.

This experience is SO common, in fact, that it is the number one reason why over 60% of college women fake orgasm at least some of the time. To all the heterosexual college men reading this, of course it isn’t YOUR partner…