What is an orgasm? According to Master and Johnson’s Four-Phase model, orgasm is the third stage of sexual intercourse, preceded by excitement and plateau and followed by resolution. Orgasm is the peak of sexual excitement; it is a feeling of intense physical pleasure and sensation which includes the discharge of accumulated sexual or erotic tension from the body. The theories about orgasms have shifted and changed dramatically over the course of the past century. For instance, health experts have only recently started acknowledging female orgasm. As late as the 1970s, most women had claimed that they had never experienced an orgasm. Even the healthcare experts had identified it normal for women to not experience orgasms two decades back. How do female orgasms work? Most sexually active people state that female orgasms are harder to achieve than male orgasms. It requires patience and communication along with the intensity of the sexual stimulation. However, unlike men, women do not always reach the point of climax or orgasm during the process of sexual intercourse. It is, thus, necessary to understand the significant stages required to be fulfilled to attain female orgasm. Stage 1: Excitement At this stage, the blood flow is higher in and around the genitals and the pleasure points of the female anatomy. At this stage of arousal, the heart rate increases, alongside the blood pressure and breathing. Excitement is the beginning of sexual pleasure for women when they feel a sense of excitement and an onslaught of pleasure. Stage 2: Plateau At this stage, the rate of arousal increases and the body reaches a peak of sexual tension determining that the body is ready for the act of sexual intercourse. Stage 3: Orgasm Orgasm is the release of all the accumulated sexual tension in the body. It is also known as the climax for it reaches the peak of sexual intercourse or self-stimulation. It results in the ejaculation of body fluids from the genitals and a sense of warmth and pleasure engulfs the pelvic area that eventually spreads across the entire body. Stage 4: Resolution Resolution is the stage where the body of a woman relaxes after the stimulation and the blood pressure gets normal again. What are the pleasure points in a woman? The female body has about 34 erogenous zones that can reach the plateau if stimulated. The most important 14 pleasure points are: LipsNeckNapeEarsBreastsNipplesClitorisVaginaInner thighsStomachScalpButtLower backCalves How many different types of female orgasms are possible? Orgasms can be caused by the stimulation of the erogenous body parts. However, the most common types of female orgasms are clitoral orgasm, vaginal orgasm, exercise-induced orgasm, orgasm due to sleep and stimulation of the nipples, anus and other sensitive body parts. What are the different stimuli responsible for orgasm? Many articles claim that there are as many as four to fifteen different types of orgasms. However, only a few are scientifically researched. It is difficult to classify the different types of orgasm due to limited evidence to support that different stimuli cause different orgasm types. Clitoral stimulation The clitoris has a bundle of nerve endings, like the male penis. It swells, enlarges and becomes more sensitive when a woman is sexually aroused. Stimulating the clitoris is the easiest method of experiencing an orgasm for women. 7 out of 10 women who participated in heterosexual intercourse reported that they experienced orgasm due to clitoris stimulation even when they did not intend to orgasm. Although most women reported enjoying direct clitoral stimulation that involved the clitoris being stimulated in circular motions or ‘up-and-down’ movements. Vaginal stimulation Vaginal stimulation occurs through intentional stimulation of only the vagina. 1 out of 5 women reported experiencing orgasm through vaginal stimulation alone. The ability to orgasm through vaginal sex can be related to the G-spot. Stimulation of other pleasure points Although most women do not experience orgasm without the stimulation of the genitals, a handful of women claim to experience orgasm by stimulating the nipples, breasts, anus and skin surrounding an injury. Is orgasm possible outside sex? Theoretically, it is impossible to experience orgasm outside sex. However, some women have claimed to experience orgasm by self-stimulation and stimulation of other erogenous pleasure points of the body. Can you orgasm by simply exercising? Working out, lifting weights, cardio and abdominal focused exercise can induce orgasms. This process of experiencing orgasm is known as coregasms in popular culture. Since both exercising and sexual intercourse requires stimulation of the muscles around the genitals and increased blood flow around the pelvic area, coregasms make sense biologically. Similar to sexual intercourse, exercising also releases endorphins and other neurotransmitters leading to orgasm. Orgasm when asleep Although it is scientifically difficult to experience sexual arousal or orgasm during sleep, some women have reported to experience orgasm in their sleep. While researchers explain that it is psychologically possible to orgasm from sexual dreams, practically it is yet to be proven. Another research explains that the stimulation of the bedclothes or the bedding against the genitals may cause sexual arousal or orgasm. A guide for better orgasm Experiencing an orgasm is not as easy as it is for men. However, for both the parties involved in the sexual intercourse, they should spend quality time to build-up arousal (popularly known as foreplay); changing the intensity of touch or stimulation(including pausing and restarting the stimulation); understanding the pleasure points or erogenous zones of the body; stimulating the nipples, clitoris, anus or breasts; and engaging in new sexual positions, behaviours or types of sex. Benefits of orgasm According to some women, orgasms make them look younger and fresher. It also improves the skin, hair and the overall health of a woman. Orgasm or pleasurable sexual intercourse boosts a woman’s mood, relieves stress, immunity and helps in fostering better relationships. A small group of researchers have claimed that female orgasms help in better sperm retention. While it is not yet proven, an unconfirmed study has proven that the female body retains sperm better after an orgasm compared to conception before orgasm.