Each person has unique erogenous zones and genital sensitivity, meaning there is no universal way to orgasm. There are 3 common ways of reaching your big O, but your body is not limited to them. “There are several reliable paths to orgasm,” says Dr. Britney Blair. And all paths leading to your bliss are good.
You may find that some points of pleasure are better for you than others. Want to explore more types? We’ve got you covered! Keep reading to discover 6 types of orgasms you may want to try. The categories are External Clitoral, Internal Vaginal, Anal, Nipple, Erogenous Zone, and Cerebral.
The clitoris is the hot spot of pleasure located at the top of the vulva. Under the surface, these nerves spread like a butterfly throughout your vulva, clitoral hood, vagina, and pelvic floor muscles. With about 15,000 nerve endings, it is a very sensitive and pleasurable area.
About 75% of people with a vulva require more than penetration to orgasm, and that’s where external clitoral stimulation is pivotal. (10) Forms of stimulation to try: oral sex, sex toys like vibrators, forms of indirect contact like over the panties, grinding, or dry humping.
The Clitoral Stimulation Exercise:
The Lover app has a guided exercise to help you explore your vulva. With a calm voice, you are introduced to new parts of yourself. Discovering what types of touch and pressure feel good, learning new strokes you can try, and how to immerse yourself in pleasurable sensations.
Internal or Vaginal Orgasm
Most people find orgasming from internal stimulation more challenging than clitoral. About 1 in 5 women are able to orgasm from vaginal sex alone. (11) This is often regarded as a G-spot orgasm.
The G-spot is not in the same location for everyone so it is difficult to say it is from this exact place or simply a combination of stimuli from the entrance of the vagina, the wall of the vagina, and the cervix.
Photo from @frecklesnur
Nipples and areolas are a common erogenous zone for all people, but more popularly women. A single nipple is a home to hundreds of sensitive nerve endings, capable of tons of pleasure when stimulated.
One questionnaire found that amongst 301 women and men ages 17-29 about 82% of women felt heightened arousal when their nipples were stimulated and 52% of men agreed. (7) Healthline reports that theoretically, everyone is capable of orgasm from nipple play, but this may vary depending on the mood, sensitivity, tenderness, hormonal changes, and other external factors. (8)
Why Can I Orgasm from Nipple Stimulation?
According to a few researchers, the signals that your brain receives from your genitals when orgasming are similar to those sent from your nipples to induce pleasure. Dr. Komisaruk and Dr. Whipple found that stimulating the breast or nipples resulted in the same oxytocin production that vaginal or clitoral stimulation produced.
Some people with vaginas can orgasm from anal sex because their anus is so close to the vaginal wall and pelvic floor. According to Dr. Patti Britton, a clinical sexologist, the opening of the anus is considered an erogenous zone for most people. (4) According to Dr. Otto’s 1999 study, only 9% of 205 women reported orgasming from anal orgasms. (1) Whereas 26% of 130 men reported orgasming from anal sex.
“When I think about sex education that people might have in high school or younger, or even when you go to see a healthcare provider, it is extraordinarily rare that anal sex is even mentioned as an option for women,” said a female participant in a study conducted in 2018. She’s right. Anal sex in one study was only endorsed by 34.4% of heterosexual women. (6)
How to Safely Have Anal Sex:
Before engaging in anal, you might need to prepare yourself by using the bathroom and taking a thorough shower. Then make sure to relax and prep your muscles!
"It's critical to train your anal sphincters to accommodate for the size of your partner or the toys you plan to use,” says Dr. Goldstein. (3) Just like other muscles, the anus requires "periodic exercise" to be used correctly and comfortably. To exercise the muscles, try inserting a finger to warm yourself up.
The anus is not self-lubricating so the use of lube is incredibly important for safety and comfort. If in doubt, use more lube. To avoid incidents, use a flared base.
Photo from Pexels
Erogenous Zone Orgasm
Although researchers face several challenges calling non-genital orgasms. Those who experience “zone” orgasms have many of the same physical feelings in similar extremes as a genital orgasm. (1)
What Erogenous Zones Cause Orgasm?
Some examples include, “having their neck licked, their fingers sucked or their thigh/groin area stroked.”(1) This list also includes earlobes, underarm, side of the hip, inside the thighs, and the toes and fingers. Komisaruk and Whipple conclude that “Just as pain is not restricted to any one part of the body, neither is pleasure.”
The Body Tour Exercise
In this series of exercises, the Lover app helps you to discover your erogenous zones. Similar to the clitoral stimulation exercise, you are lead in a meditative style around your body, discovering new places and pleasure points. You make mental notes of these places. Then, you can use them to communicate about your body to your partner and have mind blowing sex.
Cerebral “Brain” Orgasm
The brain is the biggest sexual organ in the body, and alone is capable of causing orgasm without any genital stimulation! Men often experience “night emissions” and women can orgasm from erotic dreams. In fact, a study in 1948 reported that 83% of men in the USA had nocturnal emissions. (1)
Many anecdotal reports from Vice news and even internet celebrities claim they can use just their brain to have an orgasm.
Photo from @movienart_
Fostering Fantasy Exercise
Have you forgotten how to lose yourself in a sexual fantasy? You're not alone! In this guided sexual fantasy exercise, Lover helps you to re-engage this very natural (and helpful!) part of your mind. Orgasms are achieved and experienced uniquely by everyone, and all of those routes are completely normal.
Want to try these out for yourself? Download our app!
Komisaruk BR, Whipple B. Non-genital orgasms. Sexual and Relationship Therapy. 2011 Nov 1;26(4):356-72.
Ewe, Koh. People Tell Us How They Orgasm Without a Single Touch. Vice. 2021, July 12. https://www.vice.com/en/article/m7e5q4/how-orgasm-no-touch-sex-experience
Hsieh, C., Breslaw, A., Smothers, H. (August 18, 2020). The 30 Biggest Misconceptions About Anal Sex. Cosmopolitan. https://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/news/a17749/anal-sex-misconceptions/
Steig, C. (Jan 4, 2019) Why Anal Sex Is Pleasurable For Some People, But Not Everyone. The Refinery 29. https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/does-anal-sex-feel-good
Benson, L. S., Gilmore, K. C., Micks E. A., McCoy, E., Prager, S. W. (2019). Perceptions of Anal Intercourse Among Heterosexual Women: A Pilot Qualitative Study. Sexual Medicine, 7(2);198-206 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esxm.2018.12.003
Roberts, H., Clark, A., Sherman, C., Heitzeg, M. M., & Hicks, B. M. (2021). Age, sex, and other demographic trends in sexual behavior in the United States: Initial findings of the sexual behaviors, internet use, and psychological adjustment survey. PloS ONE, 16(8), e0255371. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0255371
Levin, R., & Meston, C. (May 3, 2006) Nipple/Breast stimulation and sexual arousal in young men and women. Journal of Sexual Medicine. (3):450-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2006.00230.x. PMID: 16681470.
Brito, J. (October 10, 2019). How to Have a Nipple Orgasm: 23 Tips for You and Your Partner. Healthline.com. https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/nipple-orgasm
Andrews, T., & Saint Thomas, S., (June 26, 2019). Here’s Exactly What You Should Know About How to Have a Clitoral Orgasm. Cosmopolitan. https://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/a19775940/clit-orgasm-how-to/
Castleman, M., & Ma, L. (March 16, 2009) The Most Important Sexual Statistic. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-about-sex/200903/the-most-important-sexual-statistic
Herbenick D, Fu TC, Arter J, Sanders SA, Dodge B. (Aug 8, 2017). Women's experiences with genital touching, sexual pleasure, and orgasm: results from a US probability sample of women ages 18 to 94. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. 1-2.