Orgasms Part 1 – What is an orgasm?

For my first real post, I’m going to start with one of the main reasons I made this site to begin with: a presumed difference in my sexual libido from every other mainstream woman’s.  Mostly I’m going to talk about orgasms.
What is an orgasm?  If you look up the dictionary definition, it says “the physical and emotional sensation experienced at the peak of sexual excitation, usually resulting from stimulation of the sexual organ and usually accompanied in the male by ejaculation.”  I pulled that definition from – one of the most popular online dictionaries.  Notice that it has a general definition of an orgasm, and then a really easy way to tell when a male orgasms.  But the female orgasm just falls into the definition of the “peak of sexual excitement.”  I mean, that’s good enough, I guess.  But who knows or decides where the peak of sexual excitement really is?  In a man it’s obvious.  In a woman?  The only definition I have is what a man’s peak looks like…
And that’s where I ran into problems.  In one of my past relationships, a few weeks after first starting to have sex, my ex asked me if I had ever orgasmed before.  And I, having been masturbating for years, said, “I don’t know.”
What do you mean, “I don’t know?”  You’d think that wasn’t even possible for me to answer.  How could I have been masturbating for so long yet not know my body well enough to know if I’d ever orgasmed before?  The answer’s simple if you think about it: my only comparison was a male orgasm.  And I don’t work that way.
Let’s see if there’s another definition.  The American Heritage Medical Dictionary says, “The highest point of sexual excitement, marked by strong feelings of pleasure and marked normally by ejaculation of semen by the male and by vaginal contractions within the female. Also called climax.”  I like that one.  It’s even and it says what a female should be experiencing during an orgasm as well as what a male is.  And Encyclopedia Britannica says, “climactic physiological state of heightened sexual excitement and gratification that is followed by relaxation of sexual tensions and the body’s muscles.”
I like those definitions.  I like the American Heritage Dictionary because it has markers of experience for both the male and female orgasms.  And I like the Encyclopedia Britannica definition because it doesn’t have male or female definitions – it just has one definition.  And lo and behold, the definition works for anyone.  (Though it’s a rather simple definition that could do with some further explanation…that I’ll get to later.)
There were two thoughts going on in my head when my ex asked me about orgasms.  One was, “whatever he’s doing to me feels really good and I don’t want him to feel bad if I say I haven’t orgasmed.”  And the other was, “have I ever orgasmed?  I feel like I should say yes because of what I’ve been feeling, but from what I’ve read I don’t know if it’s an orgasm…”
I didn’t say either of those thoughts out loud.
In fact, when my ex asked me about orgasms, the conversation went a bit like this:
Him: “Have you ever orgasmed before?”
Me: “Um, I don’t know?  I don’t want to say no…but I’m not sure.”
Him: *accepting this as normal*
Me: “But I don’t want you to stop what you’re doing…because it feels really good.”
After that conversation I just stopped thinking about it.  One part of me just gave up and decided to call my orgasms orgasms, and other part of me said, if it feels good and I’m not horny when he’s done, then we’ve all done well.  I metaphorically threw my hands up in the air and gave up.
I broke up with my ex, dated a few other guys but didn’t sleep with anyone, and then I got together with my current boyfriend.  And after some amount of time of sleeping together, he asked me the same question.
At this point I knew I was having orgasms.  Or, at least, I thought I knew.  Kind of.  Even though they still didn’t seem like what was “supposed” to happen.
But with this guy, I was more honest.
Me: “I don’t want to say no because I really don’t want you to stop what you’re doing.”
Him: “Ok…”
Me:  “And I know I’ve got peaks and dips and stuff, and I can explain it all to you…but nothing I’ve read really seems to match what I’m feeling.  But I can’t not call it an orgasm, because nothing else comes with a definition that’s close enough.”
But at that point in time, that answer wasn’t good enough for me.  And since his original question had been something more along the lines of “tell me how to make you feel good,” I wasn’t willing to stop with an answer of “I don’t know.”  Because I did know.
I knew that if he played with my clitoris it would send me up a wall (in a good way), and if you pressed that spot inside my vagina then it would both make me feel good and help me hit that relaxation point of a climax.  And I knew that I didn’t really have a “stopping point” but at the same time there were points when I could stop and feel good having stopped.
That was the kicker right there – the “stopping point” versus points when I could stop.  That’ what made me the most nervous.  Because if I didn’t have a “stopping point” then I never really reached orgasm, right?  Even though I consistently had brain explosion moments of ohmygodthatfeelssogoodpleasestopdon’tstopohgoddon’tstop?
Because orgasms only fit that one definition of peak-explosion-relax, right?  Wrong.  But I didn’t know that then.
Tune in next week for Orgasms Part 2…

About mybodymystory

Looking at things differently. I write about my personal experiences with society, especially regarding what messages I, as a woman, have received over time. I write about my body, not the body the media thinks I have or wants me to have. I write about my responses to sex, relationships, and political issues. This is my story of my body. There are a lot of things I write about that I believe overlap with other women. Come check out my story and see if you agree. Feel free to disagree, just be respectful about it.
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