Hey, it’s Monday again – and you know what that means! Time for another blog. I have another interesting question and response below. Remember to keep sending your questions about sex. Ask away!
Dear Dr. Carroll: You said that the female orgasm is the result of direct or indirect clitoral stimulation. However, my girlfriend claims to be able to have three distinct types of orgasms – clitoral, vaginal, and anal. What’s up with that?
Answer: All women say their orgasms feel differently at different times. Different stimulation, moods, emotions, and even time of month can influence how an orgasm feels. Some women tell me their orgasms during masturbation feel better than their sex orgasms, while others tell me they like their sex orgasms better. The bottom line is that the majority of orgasms are triggered by direct or indirect clitoral pressure – so regardless of the actual sexual behavior they are engaging in, an orgasm can “feel” different even though it’s caused by the same thing. Orgasms are the release of built up blood (vasocongestion) in the clitoris and vaginal tissues along with a release of muscle tension (myotonia). I say the “majority of orgasms” are caused by clitoral stimulation because some women are capable of “thinking themselves off,” or using a sexual fantasy alone to reach orgasm. This is fairly rare, however.
For a long time people believed that the clitoris was only a small button of erectile tissue at the top of the vulva. However, today we know that the clitoris actually has 18 or more structures, some of which are readily visible, while others are not. Although the clitoris is much smaller than the penis, it has twice the number of nerve endings (about 8,000) as the penis (about 4,000). It has a higher concentration of nerve fibers than anywhere else on the body, including the tongue or fingertips!
My guess is that your partner’s head is in a different place during some sexual behaviors and this may affect her experience of orgasm. Physiologically they are the same, but her emotional responses to them may vary. In the end, who cares what causes them – if they feel good, do it.