What Are Orgasms?

Surprisingly, there is not a lot known about the orgasm surprisingly, and for the past century, hypotheses about the orgasm and what it is have changed drastically. In fact, there isn’t even one single type of orgasm for a man, but multiple different types.

In this article, we’ll cover what orgasms are, the causes, facts that we currently know, and misconceptions and why orgasms are overall beneficial for your health.


What Are Orgasms?

While this question seems easy to answer, it’s more complex than first meets the eye. It turns out that a universally agreed-upon definition of an orgasm does not currently exist. That being said, it is most simply understood as “the peak of sexual excitement… a powerful feeling of physical pleasure and sensation, which includes a discharge of accumulated erotic tension”. This is the definition of an orgasm that most people would probably agree upon.

Causes of Orgasms

There are a variety of factors that can contribute to orgasming. Whether that be physical, in the stimulation of certain body areas and erogenous zones, or even through mental stimulation. Physically, however, there are two variations of responses to stimulation resulting in orgasm:

  • Myotonia: this is when the muscles tense, including both voluntary and involuntary contracting and flexing.
  • Vasocongestion: this response is when the body tissues fill up with blood, causing them to swell in size.

There are three specific sensitive spots that can result in heightened sexual pleasure for men. The three sensitive spots are as follows: 

  • The frenulum, which is located just beneath the head of the penis.
  • The perineum, or the skin located between the testicles and the anus. 
  • Finally, the prostate gland. This can be stimulated externally by massaging the perineum or internally by insertion.

There are certain studies that are looking into whether the central nervous system may also play a role in orgasms more so than genital stimulation. 

Facts About Orgasms

As orgasms are broadly known but not clearly understood, here are some interesting facts that you may not have known about orgasms.

Orgasm Side Effects

There can actually be a multitude of surprising side effects after orgasming. This can range from hallucinating, the sudden onset of terrible headaches to in rare cases, post-orgasm illness syndrome. This can cause a person to develop flu-like, allergy symptoms after orgasm, whether with a partner or through solo masturbation.

Premature Ejaculation

It’s not just men that may suffer from premature ejaculation when orgasming. Although this may affect between 20-30% of men, a recent study shows that women can also have premature orgasms. An even more surprising 3% of these say that this occurs chronically.  

Faking Orgasms

In a reverse of the previous fact, it isn’t just women who fake orgasms. A 2010 study showed that 28% of men surveyed had faked an orgasm with their sexual partner before. This included such reasons as wanting to show more love and consideration for their partner or being too drunk to finish.

Multiple Orgasms

Although not common nor should it be expected, men can experience multiple orgasms. Edging is a technique that can be used to increase both the intensity of orgasms and the chance of having several orgasms. It is, however, perfectly normal to only have a single orgasm during sexual intercourse or even not at all.

Misconceptions About Orgasms

Now we’ve looked at some facts surrounding orgasms, let’s clear up some common misconceptions surrounding them.  

Length of Orgasms

Some people may have heard that orgasms last for minutes. In fact, the average male orgasm lasts anywhere between 5 to 15 seconds, although this can be longer for some. 

Epididymal Hypertension

Epididymal hypertensionmore commonly known as ‘blue balls’, happens when excess blood remains in the testicles from multiple erections not followed by ejaculation. Some people may have heard that this condition can be fatal. 

While very uncomfortable and potentially concerning, this condition is not dangerous and generally any discomfort will go away once the erection has passed and the blood flow returns to normal again.

Ejaculating During Orgasms

Most people equate orgasming to ejaculation with men. However, some men may experience a dry orgasm. This is when the semen is redirected into the bladder instead of released via ejaculation. This is later released when urinating, although why this happens is unknown.

Why Orgasms Are Beneficial

There are many benefits to having frequent orgasms, not only for your self-esteem but also for your physical and mental health. Even if you’re not in a sexual relationship, this can still be achieved with regular masturbation. In TENGA’s Global Self-Pleasure report, “those that do not masturbate regularly tend to be less satisfied with duration, and quality of masturbation and orgasms.”. So, by increasing your frequency of masturbation, you can in turn help potentially improve the quality of your orgasms.

There are also multiple benefits, both physically and mentally that can come post-orgasm which we’ve covered here in our article on the Benefits of Masturbation. Just remember, that orgasms aren’t always the same for everyone, and what makes one person climax may not work for another. What’s important is to explore your own body and learn about what works best for you in order to achieve satisfying orgasms.

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