MSP Sex Q&A: How are orgasms supposed to feel?


Question: Okay, so I am pretty sure that I am (finally!) having orgasms. Only they don’t feel like I thought they would. Like, there’s no “high”. How are orgasms supposed to feel?

Answer: Every woman’s experience of orgasm is different and, for reasons we don’t fully understand, not all women experience the “euphoric high” or sense of calm related to orgasm. Some women may simply experience less dramatic orgasms than others; then again, sometimes orgasm feels differently from different types of stimulation.

As an example, some women find that orgasms from clitoral stimulation (especially with a vibrator) may feel more “sharp” or “electrical” but may not feel as deeply satisfying or euphoric as orgasms that result from vaginal intercourse. Other women feel completely the opposite and may find more depth from masturbatory orgasms than partnered orgasms. There’s not a right or wrong, or a certain type of orgasm that’s better than another across the board, it’s just that there are a range of experiences to be had.

I wonder if you’ve tried different types of stimulation such as hand stimulation of your genitals, vibrator play, cunnilingus (oral sex performed on a woman), intercourse, or the use of fantasy, dirty talk, or really souping up the romance in your sex play. These are just some possibilities – more are available in The Guide to Getting It On and in The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex. Also, you might play around with your level of arousal as many women find that a slow build-up, with intense feelings of arousal, may have a stronger “release” and sense of contentment than those that build and occur more quickly.

If you have a question about sex or relationships, send it to me! Your confidentiality will be respected.

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at