How do I know I've had an orgasm?

Q:

I am a female in my late 20s. I don’t think I've ever had an orgasm. How would I be able to tell if I had? Would my boyfriend know? What does it feel like?

A:

The first thing I can say is that if you are not sure that you have experienced an orgasm, you probably haven't. An orgasm is [usually] pretty hard to miss. That being said, it is also different for everyone.

According to Emily Nagoski’s book, Come As You Are, the only general consensus about female orgasm is the feeling of release or being done(page 266). A multitude of factors come into play when ascertaining an orgasm and its intensity: masturbating versus partnered sex; manual, oral, or toy stimulation; how into the sex you are [or aren’t]; where you are in your cycle. Some women report feeling a pulsing sensation in their vulva. Some women report extra lubrication, or a flush of extra fluids. The point is, you will know it when you have it. And, if you don’t know, then you probably haven’t. That’s okay, though. Just keep in mind that only around 10% of females will orgasm from vaginal penetration alone. That means that 90% of women need supplemental stimulation in order to orgasm, like using a toy or rubbing your clit during sex. I have also read articles that some women do not experience their first orgasm until their 30s, or even later.

Now, if you are not sure if you have had an orgasm, how can you expect your partner to know? Have you seen those videos on Facebook and YouTube about how clueless men are as to whether or not their partner was able to climax? Not to say all men are that out of touch – just that you cannot expect that of him. Your better bet is to learn how to climax individually, and then share that information with him.

I would also like to add that yes, orgasms are great, but it is not the end-all be-all measurement of enjoyable sex. At the end of the day, are you enjoying the sex you are having? If you are, then that will pave the way to make orgasm more possible. If not, then why are you having it?

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Written by Karen Washington
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Karen Washington is a graduate of the Adler School of Professional Psychology and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She specializes in sex therapy, with a foundation in communication and self esteem. Karen works with couples and individuals through discrepancy, dysfunction and disorder to achieve their desired sex life. She firmly believes in presenting education and information through the lens of humor, especially when it comes to sex. Full Bio

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