I’ve seen a lot of posts and articles lately about the different “types” of orgasms. These posts usually feature some sort of bullet list that includes clitoral, G-spot, “blended” or “combination” orgasms, and sometimes “coregasms” (orgasms that occur from sit-ups and other exercises that engage the core). I’m glad sex educators are talking about the fact that orgasms don’t have to come from only one specific body part, but why do we continue to try to squeeze sexual anatomy into binaries and categories?
The thing about orgasms is: they can come from anywhere on our body (or not even using the body!). We usually think about orgasms as being centered around the genitals, but that’s a pretty limited understanding. “All the science shows that orgasm is a brain-mediated event. We may know it being triggered by our genitals but it doesn’t mean it can’t be facilitated by anything else,” Dr. Mitch Tepper explains in this incredible video about orgasms after spinal cord injury. “With the right intention and the right attention, literally anything can become orgasmic.”
I have known folks who reached orgasm from all sorts of different touch: one person could come from nipple stimulation alone, another from having his thumbs sucked on, and someone I dated even told me she had once orgasmed from deep-throating a dildo (J E A L O U S).
If you’re used to orgasming from touching one specific place on your body (e.g., your clitoris or penis), it could be fun to experiment with expanding your orgasmic zone. For years, my solosex pratice focused on one part of my clitoris (the left vestibular bulb, to be specific). As I explored partnered sex in my late teens and early 20s, I discovered that adding vaginal penetration into the mix (aka “a blended orgasm”) deepened the sensation, and eventually that anal stimulation could lead to my most intense and satisfying orgasms. When I started training as a surrogate partner, I realized I could expand the orgasmic areas of my body potentially infinitely. These days when I masturbate, my orgasm usually comes from a combination of vulva, vaginal, anal, and sometimes armpit stimulation, along with a whole lot of body movement.
Here are some solosex ideas to try out if you’re seeking to expand your center of orgasm:
- Follow your typical masturbation routine. As you get turned on, start exploring areas surrounding your typical center of orgasm. If you usually focus on the glans of your clitoris, try touching further down your vulva, along the crura and bulbs of the clitoris, and/or the entry to your vaginal canal. If you usually use up-and-down motions on your penis, try extending your strokes to include your testicles, perineum, and/or inner thighs.
- Spend a masturbation session exploring an erogenous zone other than your genitals, like your ears, neck, nipples, anus, or toes. It’s unlikely that you’ll orgasm the first time you try this, so instead of focusing on climaxing, shift your focus to expanding your pleasure. You can also pair this touch with genital touch, which will start to build neural connections between your old erotic habits and your new erotic explorations.
- Experiment with movement: rock your hips back and forth, shake or wiggle your legs, send ripples of breath down your torso.
Don’t expect to have an orgasm the first time you try a new masturbation technique; it usually takes a lot of time and practice to build the neural pathways that lead to a deeper orgasm. Note how your body feels different as you try on new routines, and give yourself credit for small changes. Most importantly, have fun with it! Follow what feels good.
P.S. Strong rec to watch the entire “Sexuality after SCI” video series from Mount Sinai Hospital, whether you have a disability or not — this series was truly life-changing (and sex life-changing) for me!