Orgasms aren’t as easy to come by as you might think. Research suggests as many as one in three women struggle to come from sex, so don’t take it for granted if you’re one of them! However, we have good news if you’re not one of the ladies who gets off easily through intercourse: There are at least 10 different subcategories of orgasms (yep), which means it’s possible you just haven’t discovered your particular mode of pleasure yet. And, hey, if you have, there are plenty more to explore!
Some experts prefer to divide orgasms into three broad types—genitally focused (e.g. a clitorial orgasm that many of us have had through sex or masturbation); full-body (e.g. vaginal orgasms, which are more intense and aren’t just exclusive to feelings in your vaginal area, despite the name); and blended (more on those below). But we were intrigued enough to want to find out exactly what a more granular breakdown of orgasm types looks like.
Here are 10 different types of orgasms, according to experts.
A clitoral orgasm is—you guessed it—a direct response to stimulation of your clitoris. “This is the most common type of orgasm a woman can have, most likely because the clitoris is so accessible,” says sexologist Emily Morse, Ph.D. “Once you’ve found it, it’s fairly easy to simulate, whether by yourself or with a partner. In fact, many women stumble across it by accident, whether from a close encounter with a pool jet or their detachable shower head.”
On a more technical level, when the glans (or external part) of your clit is stimulated, it activates a nerve called the pudendal nerve system—one of many nerve systems in your vagina, says Kira Manser, MEd LCSW, executive director of The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health and consultant for digital women’s health clinic Maven. Another way to make it happen: shallow vaginal stimulation with a lot of friction along the vagina walls can arouse the roots of your clitoris (technically called the crura and bulb), causing an orgasm that is focused in your genital area, rather than your whole body.
G-spot orgasms—a.k.a. vaginal orgasms—are the second most common type of orgasm, says Morse, but they’re quite a bit more elusive than clitoral ones. “They can be more challenging for many women to achieve because of the G-spot’s location, which is located about two inches inside the vagina, on its upper wall,” she says. “Plus, it requires about 15 minutes of consistent, direct stimulation to make the magic happen.”
When G-spot orgasms happen, your pelvic and hypogastric nerve systems can trigger a fuller-body orgasm (rather than just focused in the genital area), and even vagaculation—a.k.a. squirting. Read more about the mysterious G-spot (including the controversy about whether it really exists) here.
A blended orgasm is just what it sounds like: a combination of both clitoral and G-spot stimulation.”Blended orgasms are the mind-blowing result of a combination of internal and external stimulation,” says Morse. How will you know them? Since double the number of nerve systems are being activated, you’ll experience double the arousal and pleasure. If your orgasm feels ultra-strong occasionally, it could be that you’re having a blended orgasm.
Cervical orgasms are a result of direct stimulation of the cervix, which is located in the most interior part of your vagina. “A cervical orgasm can be achieved when the woman is already really aroused,” says Morse. “If she’s not aroused enough, it can be painful.” Morse says cervical orgasms can take time and practice, and can generally only happen with a dildo, vibrator, or penis, which are deep enough to actually reach your cervix.
“Only about 10 percent of people enjoy cervical stimulation,” adds Manser. “It can be achieved through very deep penetration, and activates three nerves, which tends to create a fuller-bodied or even sometimes a blended orgasm.”
Multiple orgasms—having at least two orgasms during a single sex session—are what Morse calls the Holy Grail of pleasure. “Multiple Os happen from consistent, often indirect stimulation,” she says. “Many women struggle to have them due to sensitivity, but patience is key.” Want to up your odds of having more than one orgasm? Take a short break or catnap after your first climax before going again, says Morse. The good news is, some research by SKYN Condoms hints that multiple Os might be on the rise, since 44 percent of women reported having at least two orgasms during one session.
There are other body parts, circumstances, and factors that can up your orgasm potential or strength, says Morse—including your nipples. “Nipples are not often used to their full orgasmic potential,” she says. “Stimulating the nipples releases oxytocin, which causes sexual arousal in women, including vaginal muscle contractions and an increase in blood flow to the genitals.” So don’t neglect them!
It’s possible to have an orgasm without a partner, a sex toy, or even your hands, says Morse. “You can have a ‘mindgasm’ by combining deep breathing techniques with meditative erotic thought and controlled Kegel contractions,” she says. “You can even take your Kegels to the next level with certain sex toys—like this pelvic strengthening device—that are designed to strengthen your pelvic floor and increase the intensity of your orgasms.”
That’s right—women can have wet dreams, too. “During REM, if your dream is hot enough, the blood flow to your vagina will increase and can lead to your very own nocturnal orgasm,” says Morse. “This is nothing new, and certainly isn’t uncommon. Sex research pioneer Dr. Alfred Kinsey found that almost 40 percent of women had experienced at least one wet dream—and that was back in the ’50s!” she adds.
Some women actually orgasm while they exercise, a type of orgasm nicknamed “coregasm.” “Most people who’ve experienced it say it’s not as intense as sexual orgasms,” says Dr. Carolyn DeLucia, a gynecologist at VSPOT Gyno Spa. “It usually happens after a strenuous cardio workout, which quickens the heart rate and releases endorphins, followed by a lower-abdominal workout, which increases blood flow to the vagina, sometimes causing mild orgasm.”
Exactly how it happens is still up for debate, says Morse, since many factors, such as anatomy, core strength, and exercise type, impact coregasm potential. “But the one exercise that was found to be most often associated with coregasms is a leg-raising and ab workout known as ‘Captain’s Chair,'” says Morse. “Worth a try!”
Music-gasm or Skin-gasm
This one comes last because, while it feels good, it definitely doesn’t feel as good as the others—at least not in that way. Frissons, a.k.a. a feeling of chills, goosebumps, or a tingling spine, can happen as a result of a sudden change in music or sound. While it can be felt as a physical wave of pleasure that may even make you shudder, it’s not usually a sexual experience. “There’s a reason why many people who have felt a ‘music-gasm’ or ‘skin orgasm’ often associate the two,” says Morse. “They trigger the same response in the brain. Both an amazing song and a sexual touch release dopamine, resulting in that feel-good sensation.”