Hello, and welcome to your daily episode of WTF they never taught you during sex ed—that is, if you even had a program. G-spots don’t exist, lube is always necessary, and BDSM isn’t just for bored couples. Today though, we’re talking all things orgasms.
By now, I’m hopeful that you’ve had some time to dabble in solo sex and masturbation. My bet would be that you know a thing or two about what makes you tick—or, at the very least—how to have an orgasm. But have you ever noticed that your orgasms are different?
That’s because no two orgasms are the same. In fact, they can vary based on lots of things: intensity, sensation, situation, excitement, and possible fears or inhibitions. Maybe you experience a seriously fast heart beat when you’re going to town on yourself, but not when you’re with a partner… that’s totally normal.
With any orgasm, you may experience shaky legs, erect nipples, a tightness in or around your vagina, etc.—but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll happen every single time you orgasm. It’s also worth noting that just because your girlfriends talk about their orgasms doesn’t mean you’ll experience them the same way they do. (Yup, raise your hand if you’ve ever had FOMO that Becky could orgasm from penetration and you couldn’t).
But since female sex research notoriously sucks, and there’s really no definitive way to tell if you did have an orgasm or what it’s supposed to feel like, we rounded up quotes from 30 women who describe what their orgasms feel like to better help you understand yours.
- "It feels like your vagina is squeezing and relaxing all at the same time. It's truly a sensation you can't really describe, but I imagine it to be like squeezing a kegel ball and then releasing it." —Ashley N., 34
- "This is going to sound a little strange, but bear with me. You know that feeling when you've been holding in your pee for like 20 minutes and it feels almost like a tickling sensation? That's what an orgasm feels like...but more intense." —Michelle A., 21
- "It feels like I have an electrical current running directly through my vagina. It’s just this crazy moment where every single cell is screaming Yes!" —Emily G., 22
- "It feels like you’re on a roller coaster and you’re finally at the top, and then you feel that stomach drop. The anticipation and buildup ends, so you just feel a smooth release. It feels cleansing, almost like the warm feeling you get after taking a few deep breaths." —Jen F., 24
- "It feels like crying, sneezing, and laughing all at the same time." —Katherine L., 22
- "I picture it kind of like a waterfall bursting over a cliff when it happens. Even if that does sound a little like peeing. But it’s this intense pressure that eventually gets released, and it feels incredible." —Suzanne T., 20
- "It’s hard to describe how it feels during the actual orgasm—aside from, like, amazing—but afterward, I almost feel a reverb bouncing through my clitoris. That’s how I know for sure." —Christine A., 32
- "It’s like when you scratch your back but you just can’t reach the right spot under your sweater, BUT THEN YOU DO!" —Sophie L., 27
- "It’s like I’m SHOOK and I feel everything but nothing at the same time!" —Lara K., 19"
- "I would describe it as, like, a giant explosion that starts deep inside me, almost like...radiating from my belly button down through my clitoris." —Sabrina S., 34
- "The song ‘Bubbly’ by Colbie Caillat perfectly encapsulates the female orgasm. ‘It starts in my toes, and I crinkle my nose.’" —Victoria M., 24
- "I know for sure I’m going to orgasm when my partner keeps up the same repetitive sensation until I get there. I can’t come if someone keeps changing up the rhythm unexpectedly. I have to get into a groove, then when I orgasm, it feels like water gushing out of a bathtub." —Isabel R., 19
- "My mind goes totally blank when I’m orgasming. All I can think about is my body, like, pulsating and then letting completely loose. I injured my back once and had to take muscle relaxers. Having an orgasm is sort of like a giant dose of Prozac and muscle relaxers all at once." —Carter C., 26
- "You know how it feels to pee? Well, it’s honestly pretty similar to that for me. It’s like all this buildup and then when I release, it feels similar to when you really have to pee and all of a sudden can." —Michelle T., 23
- "When you eat a watermelon Sour Patch Kid after really craving one." —Sophie L., 27
- "I can tell I’m having an orgasm when I feel like my body is, like, approaching a cliff. It’s easy to get ‘stuck’ there on the cliff without going over, but when you do, it’s just a giant flood of sensation. This is maybe TMI, but I can also sort of feel my vagina pulsing afterward." —Anna G., 28
- "I have so much pleasure going on inside of me, the only thing I can do is feel my body react, whether I start shaking or feel a wave of hot and then calm wash over me. It’s almost confusing—something feels so good it almost hurts, so you want more and you want it to stop at the same time, and then you cross a line into an orgasm, and then when it’s a big one, it just totally consumes you." —Alexandra L., 28
- "I experienced one orgasm that almost made me feel like I blacked out. It started with that pulsating feeling, then my head was spinning, my body shaking uncontrollably. It was like a volcanic eruption...but down there. Then I collapsed beside him, unable to move, think, or speak." —Haley B., 24
- "It feels like a release and is really great for the split second before it happens. And then it’s over way too soon and I want more. But sometimes, you can get lucky and feel these aftershocks if you position yourself right." —Lexa P., 25
- "I know when it starts because every muscle begins to tighten and my upper thighs begin to quiver. I break out in a light sweat and it feels as if a faucet is being turned on inside me. I know the big O is complete when I feel like I need a snack and a nap." —Nina G., 29
- "I would describe it as every ounce of sexual energy being sucked from my body, starting at my toes and fingertips and working its way in until it pulses from my vagina. Then once it’s over, I’m a noodle." —Jaclyn E., 22
- "It’s a total-body experience where everything disappears except for the hot, tingly sensation that makes you feel like you’re being pulled from all sides." —Lexi A., 24
- "My breathing gets irregular, I can’t focus on anything, and I lose myself. My whole body stops moving, and I just want to clench up and enjoy the explosion that’s erupting throughout my entire body. It feels overwhelming but so awesome at the same time. I end up falling on top of my husband, telling him to stop moving." —Heather B., 27
- "Everything starts to tighten, and my breathing gets faster and more difficult. Then all of a sudden, there are waves of pleasure going through my whole body. It’s so intense that sometimes all my muscles just kinda want to stop working." —Rebecca R., 30
- "The best explanation I can think of is the feeling of pleasure builds up like filling a glass of water until it overflows." —Molly S., 28
- "It’s like melting and exploding at the same time. You don’t have any control, and it’s maybe the only time in your life when you’re not worried about anything but that very moment." —Jaimesa J., 32
- "An orgasm is like a blend of dancing and riding the craziest roller coaster ever. Hot, sexy, screaming, heart-pumping fun." —Codi K., 26
- "When I orgasm, I shake so bad I have to grab my partner’s hand and squeeze it until I am done. I get so hot and my body spasms. Sometimes my legs even lock up." —Vanessa G., 29
- "It’s like an overwhelming feeling of tingles throughout your body. You’re light-headed, your vision goes blurry, and all you can feel is an instant lightness of your body and amazing sensation in your clitoris." —Chelsea R., 30
- "The few seconds before an orgasm feel so primal—you’re not focused on anything else except this rising, inexplicable wave coursing through your body. It’s a complete release, and the more intense it is, the more you feel like you just exorcised every ounce of stress out of you." —Julia P., 26
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.