Woman lying in bed having an orgasm

What is an orgasm? The different types & how to get one

For many sex-lovers, an orgasm is the most coveted sensation in the world, and is generally achieved through masturbation or sexual intercourse with a partner.

If you regularly climax you should count yourself fortunate, as according to past studies having an orgasm does not come easy for everyone.

In 2017, UK sexual health company FPA discovered that 80% of women in the UK could not reach an orgasm through intercourse.

Another study conducted in the same year showed that in a relationship, only 65% of heterosexual women climax in comparison to 95% of straight men

Although it appears that women are less likely to have an orgasm, a national probability survey in 2015 showed that 16.3% of men between ages 16-74 frequently found it difficult to climax. 

If you are struggling to achieve orgasmic pleasure for yourself or partner, read on to find out the different types of orgasms and how to achieve them.

What is an orgasm?

An orgasm, otherwise known as ‘climaxing’, is used to describe the feeling of intense pleasure that occurs during sexual activity.

According to Brown University, sexual arousal increases blood flow to the genitals while tensing the muscles in this area and throughout your body. 

An orgasm reverses this process through a series of rhythmic contractions in the muscles, which then relaxes the body and returns it to its pre-arousal state.

The orgasmic experience usually involves ejaculation or the extraction of discharge from accumulated erotic tension, which is often referred to as ‘coming’. 

Although some people face orgasmic dysfunction, which is when someone finds it difficult to orgasm, the majority of people can have an orgasm.

How to have an orgasm and the different types

Although an orgasm is a sensation in itself, there are various forms of categorisation for orgasms. 

Some people have one type of orgasm, others multiple, and some can’t orgasm at all. 

But, there are some people who haven’t discovered what sexual stimulation their body needs to reach a climax. 

Here are some types of orgasms and how to achieve them that may appeal to you:

Vaginal orgasm

A vaginal orgasm involves sexual stimulation of the vagina, particularly during vaginal intercourse. 

Vaginal orgasm is often misconceived as the best way or the only way for women to orgasm, but studies have shown that is often the most difficult for the majority of women. 

However, women can get a vaginal orgasm through sexual penetration when the erogenous zones inside the vagina have been stimulated in the right way.

The best way to get an orgasm through penetrative sex:

  • If you’re with a partner or alone, aim to use a penis, fingers or sex toys for vaginal penetration
  • Experiment with different motions; you can try the “come hither” or circular motion, or an in-and-out movement
  • Whatever motions feel the most pleasurable, repeat these motions to build sexual excitement and get more aroused
  • You can then start to experiment with different paces and depth. The wall of the vagina is where the G-spot can be found, and if hit with regular and strong pressure, particularly stimulating the nerves at the high end of vagina, it can be very pleasurable and lead to an orgasm, and even female ejaculation
  • Once you know what feels most pleasurable to you, you should focus on that when trying to achieve orgasm, and you enhance the experience by thinking about sexual fantasies

Clitoral orgasm

The clitoris is a small erectile part of the female genitals located at the anterior end of the vulva above the vaginal opening. 

It is the most sensitive organ in the female vagina due to its high concentration of nerve endings and is the primary source of female sexual pleasure (or where orgasms most commonly come from). 

According to a US study in 2017, 36.6% of women between ages 18-94 needed clitoral stimulation to reach an orgasm during sexual intercourse.

By stimulating this highly-sensitive erogenous zone alone, you can reach an intense orgasm.

Tips on the best way to get a clit orgasm:

  • Gently rub the clitoris area with the fingers, palm, mouth or tongue in a back and forth, circular, or tap motion for stimulation
  • As you become more turned on, it begins to produce arousal fluid, which can help stimulate the vagina and clitoris more comfortably. Sometimes, vaginas can not get wet on their own, so you might need some lubricant
  • If you want to, you can start experimenting with pressure, speed, or vibration for faster and harder pressure. You can even stimulate the clitoris using a penis or sex toys
  • Apply even more pressure as the orgasm begins to intensify, but if the clit is too sensitive ease the pressure

Erotic rose flower imitating the female genitals

Anal orgasm 

An anal orgasm is achieved through sexual stimulation of the nerve spots in the anus. They are much more common in men because of the prostate, but can be achieved just by rubbing the anus in men and women. 

Here is the best way to get an anal or prostate orgasm:

  • Make sure you’re relaxed and lubed up, as the skin around the anus is prone to tears. Also, a hot bath is recommended to relax tight muscles in the anus. The more relaxed you are the more comfortable anal sex is 
  • Indulge in some erotic foreplay beforehand to get aroused like kissing, touching or licking the anus, or if alone, watching porn or focusing your mind on sexual fantasies. This can help penetration easier and more comfortable
  • Using fingers, a penis or sex toy like a butt plug or strap-on, rub the outside of the anal opening and stimulate inside of the anus gently to tease your butt before inserting it in. If you’re using fingers, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly and trim and file your nails right down to prevent tearing delicate skin and protect yourself from bacterial infections
  • There are also various positions you can try with or without a partner such as doggy, facedown or cow position to make anal sex easier and more pleasurable for you
  • Once you’re comfortable, you can apply whatever speed or motion you enjoy to enhance your sexual pleasure that’ll give you more chances of having an orgasm

For women, the anus and rectum are very close to the vagina and clitoris, and even share many of the same nerves and muscles. This makes an anal and vaginal orgasm possible through anal sex.

Blended orgasm

Although it can be tricky to achieve an orgasm, some people are lucky enough to experience various orgasms at once. 

Women, in particular, have blended orgasms, which is when a clitoral and vaginal orgasm happens simultaneously, resulting in a more intense bodily response. 

Trying to stimulate different erogenous zones at once can help with having an orgasmic experience.

Here are some tips on how to achieve a blended orgasm.

  • If you’re performing solo, use a sex toy or fingers in the vagina and stimulate in a “come hither” motion before fully inserting to get aroused. You can use a penis or the fingers of your partner
  • With the other hand, start to rub the clitoris and use lube if you need to. You can even use a clitoral vibrator while penetrating with fingers or even a sex toy designed for internal use, like a dildo 
  • If with a partner, they can use their mouth and tongue to stimulate the clitoris, otherwise known as oral sex, while using their fingers for penetration. Or, during sexual intercourse, your partner can rub the clitoris with their fingers

For men, you can try and reach a blended orgams by masturbating while using an anal toy or partner’s penis for heterosexual couples.


Woman's pulling on sheets in orgasm

What does an orgasm feel like?

In general, it’s quite challenging to describe the sensation of an orgasm, and as you might expect, it’s different for different people.

However, overall, it tends to be described as an explosion of overwhelming sensations, a pleasurable release of built-up tension, and a feeling of warmth and relaxation.

Below are some descriptions of an orgasm from men and women on Reddit:


“It’s like a pleasure firework going off inside and making every nerve tingle.”



“Like a bright warmth starting in the vaginal region and just spreading to encompass the entire body, leaving behind a tingling sensation and feeling of elation in its wake.”



“I can’t feel my toes, and all my muscles are completely incapable of holding me upright.” Banaltram


“It’s like a really nice release. After you finish your body and mind relax for a little while and it becomes almost zen-like.”



“You usually end up clenching your teeth and moving your body in awkward ways, because everything just kind of goes haywire with overstimulation.”




“The pleasure is so intense I spasm, shudder and usually yell out whatever is on my lips at the moment.”



Here is what can generally happen to your body during an orgasm:

  • Your heart rate increases
  • Breathing becomes heavy
  • Blood rushes to genitals 
  • Involuntary contraction of genital muscles including uterine and anal
  • Body vibrations or shaking
  • Pupil dilation 
  • Ejaculation 
  • Brain releases oxytocin and dopamine and endorphins into the bloodstream, which can make you feel happy, empathetic, giddy, or sleepy

Woman lying in bed having an orgasm

Why can’t I orgasm?

If you or your partner are not the type to orgasm during intercourse or generally find it difficult, remember there are various kinds of ways to achieve an orgasm, and some experiences work better for certain people than do for others.

We advise experimenting with various sexual activities like the ones mentioned prior to discover what releases your sexual tension into a desirable orgasm. 

You can use sex toys and lubricant to help or enhance the sexual experience whether you’re doing it solo or with a partner.

If you feel like you’ve tried everything you can to reach an orgasm but are still struggling, seek some professional advice from your GP or a sexual health clinic to try and overcome these obstacles.

Remember, orgasmic dysfunction is quite common with many factors influencing this issue so it’s not unusual if you find it hard to orgasm.

Here are some insights on sex toys to help you reach the best orgasm.

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