This is the time of year when I offer adult sex ed classes. In this new pandemic world, when putting any number of us in a room together is a portent of doom, I am resigned to offer up some of this knowledge via pen and paper. This is hardly sufficient and I’ll barely scrape the surface on favorite topics but alas, it is the reality we live in.
Orgasms are loaded. I’ve talked about the pressure to perform to get to the great, big O during sex. I’ve debunked the bullshit about sex is only sex with an orgasm. And I’ve emphasized the importance of well-rounded sex from hand-holding to fucking. These insights have been offered up in the midst of other columns on other topics.
In this piece, I want to work our way through the entire O.R.G.A.S.M!
OmphalosSomeone long ago (probably a religious dude) decided that the only good orgasm for the female body is when a penis has been inserted into a vagina and the convulsions were meant to assist in procreation. Sure. Why not? Why shouldn’t female bodies and pleasure be rotating around the great god, Dick?! The problem with this is that vaginal orgasms don’t need a penis, semen, or sperm to happen. A finger, a fist, a dildo, and while birthing a child can get this job done.
This is good news for penis owners everywhere! There is no more pressure to have the biggest, thickest, longest dick on the planet. It is unnecessary for vaginal pleasure. Very rarely does penetration—fast pumping and thrusting into the vagina—lead to orgasm for the vagina owner. Stop thinking that penetration is the be-all and end-all to orgasm.
And certainly, the vagina is not the center of the world, nor should it be!
RondelThe clitoris is a bundle of nerves with legs. It is made up of erectile tissue and it wants all the attention. It is very easy to focus on the small nub at the top of the clitoris that likes to peek out from under the clitoral hood. However, I encourage you to focus all around the vulva (the exterior genitals on a female body) because behind the labia are the legs of the clitoris. They want stroking, too!
Depending on the person, spending time beyond the glans of the clitoris (the nub) can be an intense build-up to an orgasm and when you touch the glans—bam!
GlaiveThe penis is the clitoris on the outside of the body. The glans or head of the penis is packed with nerve endings just like the glans of the clitoris. The penis, also made of erectile tissue, fills with blood when aroused and can be triggered by any number of things from thoughts, images, memories, touch, or smells. Although we call it a boner there is no actual bone in the penis so it cannot be broken. It can be sprained or bruised and the testicles (cradled in the sac of skin called the scrotum) are especially fragile. It is important to apply the right amount of pressure to the penis and testicles to provide pleasure without also harming the body.
There are a variety of ways to pleasure the penis without penetration. Sure, most penis owners want to stick it into something. However, a hand job or a blow job can be as or more pleasurable than penetration.
ArseholesI wrote an entire piece on the perineum (taint, choad, etc.) and included a solid section on prostate massage. Let’s talk about actual penetration to stimulate the prostate. The prostate is tucked up near the bladder on the male body and is one of the organs that helps to produce semen—the liquid that sperm swim and survive in. Stimulating the prostate can feel very deliciously good for the owner and can create its own orgasm. At the very least, it will greatly enhance a penial orgasm.
The best tools for the job are another penis or a specifically curved dildo that has a flared base for wearing in a harness or to be held by hand. The anus is tender and delicate so please protect it with copious amounts of lube. Also, if you are new to anal sex start small and work your way up to thicker dildos or a full-on penis. It is not a badge of honor to be limping around the next day and messing up your important and necessary bodily function of removing waste.
Anal sex is for everyone who wants it. Yes, female bodies typically do not have a prostate and yet, anal sex can still lead to stronger, deeper orgasms.
SalaciousYou can sign up for tantric sex classes or the like. You can read all the books and spend time meditating your way to orgasm. It is not a myth or some mystical, elusive path to orgasms. The trick is time and focus. I don’t know about you but I do not have the time nor the energy to focus on deep tantric sex. This doesn’t mean you can’t flirt with this practice!
Rather than going on a date to a restaurant with your lover, find a quiet room (adults with kids rent a hotel room for as long as you can afford the babysitter or begged time from a family member) and then worship each other. Make out for an hour. With your clothes on. Don’t touch each other’s genitals. Explore bodies. Experience sensations. Play with light and hard touch. Light a candle. Play music. Try different types of clothing: satin, silk, lace, etc. Leave the lights on!
Some people can have orgasms just from nipple play. What other erogenous zones get skipped in the dark?
MontageOrgasms look different on different bodies and not all sex leads to an orgasm. A penis may or may not ejaculate during orgasm. One person may have a vaginal orgasm during penetration. Another person may only have an orgasm when their nipples and clitoris are stimulated at the same time. Someone else may prefer anal play to achieve orgasm. Whatever the process to get to your body to orgasm, it is unlikely that a sexual partner will get you there alone. If you have never had an orgasm through masturbation, it will be a struggle to communicate what feels good to a lover. Self-exploration is the key to unlocking your own orgasm.
Orgasms can feel like they are happening deep in the body and others may feel like they are dancing across the skin. Whatever your O face looks like, the most important piece of sexual knowledge I can share is…
…sex is pleasurable and satisfying without orgasm.
Erin Brandt (she/her/hers) has been a sexologist for 15 years. When she’s not spreading sexual knowledge, Erin can be found learning from her child, hiking with her partner, cuddling with her pitbull, knitting with her cat, dancing with friends, and searching for the nearest hammock and ocean breeze. Want more? Visit www.positivesexed.com.