You get an orgasm, you get an orgasm, you get an orgasm!
August McLaughlin is a writer, sex-positive advocate, and frequent speaker on sexuality and gender issues. Her brand and podcast, Girl Boner, is all about recognizing and embracing female sexual pleasure for the powerful (and necessary!) thing that it is.
The most iconic moment of pleasure, of course, is the orgasm. That's exactly why, here, McLaughlin shares an excerpt from her book, Girl Boner: The Good Girl's Guide to Sexual Empowerment, about the seven different types of orgasms women can have, from G-spot orgasms to back-gasms (yes, really!). In this case, knowledge is power *and* pleasure. Read up, be amazed, then go forth and O—in whichever way you like.
In my opinion, there are two basic types of orgasms women experience: spectacular and especially spectacular. There's the, OMG, that rocked my world! type and the less intense, more whisper-like orgasms that aren't any less valuable, and everywhere in between. Even the subtlest orgasms can feel especially spectacular at times, and regardless, who's to judge? There's no contest or criteria you need to meet. What matters is that you're able to freely cultivate and welcome whatever pleasure you desire.
For kicks, here are more specific female orgasm varieties worth savoring:
C-gasms and V-gasms: "Clitoral" versus "Vaginal"
Do you prefer caressing, kissing, and other Girl Boner goodness on the outside, inside, or both? A recent study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine confirmed what many vulva owners know from experience—that stimulating the external part of the clitoris can lead to orgasm, which does not involve the internal root of the clitoris. So while this kind of climax is often simply called "clitoral orgasm," that's a bit misleading, seeing as "vaginal orgasms" tend to involve the inner and outer clitoris. So really, "clitoral orgasms" are "external clitoral orgasms," if you want to get technical about it, and vaginal orgasms tend to be C + V. I just call them delicious. (Try these sex positions for clitoral stimulation to get that C + V.)
G-spot orgasms are known to be exceptionally powerful V-gasms. The G-spot, considered highly erogenous and she-jaculation-able, is located on the front wall of the vagina, usually about halfway between the cervix and vaginal opening. (Here's more on how to find your G-spot.) If someone inserts a finger and makes the "come here" motion, they're likely to stimulate it. Doggy style and "woman on top" are two positions that can make way for G-spot orgasms. You can also stimulate it with a toy designed for G-spot stim. (Reminder: If you don't experience G-spot pleasure, that's a-okay.)
Have you ever woken up in the middle of an orgasm? Or with noticeable swelling and wetness down below? You may have had a sleep-gasm, aka "wet dream." I frequently hear from Girl Boner fans who've experienced them since covering the topic on my blog. While we generally don't learn about female wet dreams, they're most definitely a thing! Several folks have expressed shame around them, but they are natural and potentially wondrous. They may signify that your sexy imagination took flight in dreamland (which you may recall, if you awoke mid-gasm!) and that your body is working just fine. Some people experience them more often during less sexually active periods. If that's the case for you and you'd rather delight in climax fully aware, prioritize sexy play.
Side note: If you have a child with a vulva, it's not a bad idea to let them know that wet dreams are normal around puberty.
(If autocorrect turns "gasms" into "gasses" one more time, I swear...) Back-gasms are a term that I, and likely others, use to describe climax derived from back stimulation. If you've ever experienced orgasm during a soothing back rub or massage, you're not alone! The phenomenon makes sense, if you think about it. Relaxation plays a huge role in arousal and the ability to experience climax, and when are you more relaxed than mid-massage? A listener wrote me last year, sharing that she'd experienced her most intense orgasms ever during massage. According to Kait Scalisi, M.P.H., who weighed in on the Q, anatomy plays a role here, too.
"Not only do the nerves to our pelvis run through our low back, but as women we tend to carry a lot of tension in the muscles in the hips and pelvis," she said. "Simply releasing that helps us experience more pleasure and even orgasm." (And this is just one of many reasons you should get a massage.)
Yep, there's another type of C-gasm worth savoring! As Barry Komisaruk's research confirmed, cervical stimulation may play an important role in arousal and pleasure. Kim Anami, a holistic sex and relationship coach, described cervical orgasm to Cosmo as "along the lines of what we call in Tantra a full-body orgasm, or an expanded orgasm." Rather than stay localized in your genitals, she said, it spreads throughout your body, and can bring tingling that lasts for hours, potentially bringing "intense feelings of love and spiritual transcendence." Keep in mind that cervical stimulation can feel too sensitive or even painful for some folks, so foreplay, lube, and honoring your limits are key. (Consider opting for organic or natural lube.)
Whether you experience full-on orgasm from nipple stimulation alone, or those enticing sensations rev up your Girl Boner along the way, you've experienced what many consider nipple-gasms. In his fMRI research, Komisaruk was surprised to learn how erogenous nipples can be. "Nipple self-stimulation activates the same [brain] region as orgasm," he said, "which was a big surprise to my male neuroscience colleagues, but not to my female neuroscience colleagues." (Yes, male nipples tend to be just as sensitive!)
Thinking Off, aka "Hands-Free" Orgasms
For some women, experiencing orgasm is as simple as ready, set, daydream. Komisaruk was skeptical when he heard that some women "think" their way to orgasms until related findings rolled in. Using four physiological measures of orgasm—heart rate, pupil dilation, blood pressure, and sensitivity to pain—he and his team studied 10 such women. Not only did the women experience orgasm through thought alone, but when compared to climaxing through self-stimulation, the magnitude of the physiological shifts were about the same. (I'm filing this under #LifeGoals.)