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What Is a Vaginal Orgasm?

By Amanda R. Bell
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A vaginal orgasm is a female orgasm that occurs due to stimulation in the vagina rather than directly on the clitoris. In some women, stimulation in this area can cause an increase in blood flow to the area, resulting in a build-up in tension. Once the tension is released, a vaginal orgasm occurs, which can cause contractions in the vagina and surrounding area. Many women are not able to achieve this type of orgasm, which some researchers believe is because the base of the clitoris, which is inside of the vaginal canal, is not close enough to the surface.

The two primary types of orgasm that a woman can achieve are clitoral and vaginal orgasms. The clitoris, located above the vaginal opening and beneath the clitoral hood, contains over 8,000 nerve endings that can cause a woman to experience sexual pleasure. When this gland is stimulated, it can cause a woman to reach orgasm. A vaginal orgasm, however, is reached through stimulation in the vagina itself, typically through penetration.

Stimulation inside of the vagina can cause an increase in lubrication and blood flow to the area, increasing sensitivity of pleasurable nerves in the area. The increase in blood flow can cause a build-up of tension in this area of the body due to the higher than normal amount of blood. After a certain point, the blood flow rushes back, resulting in a release of the tension and causing a sensation of pleasure. This release, known as an orgasm, can cause enjoyable contractions of the muscles inside the vagina, rectum, and, in some cases, even the uterus.

While some women experience a vaginal orgasm due to the location of pleasurable nerves in the opening and outer third of the vagina, many researchers believe that a vaginal orgasm is also caused by the clitoris. In some women, the base of the clitoris, which is located inside of the vagina, is close enough to the wall to be stimulated from the inside, rather than directly on the outer part of the clitoris. This area, often referred to as the “g-spot,” varies in location by individual.

A large portion of women find it difficult or impossible to achieve this type of orgasm. While the reason for this varies, some doctors believe that this is because the base of the clitoris is not located deep enough or in a prime location in the vaginal canal to be stimulated from the inside. Difficulty achieving a vaginal orgasm can also be due to hormone levels or where a woman’s nerves are located in and around the vagina.

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Discussion Comments

By anon1002816 — On Feb 22, 2020

Yressure towards the rectum from the vagina. That is all you need. Try it. you will find that when women say size matters, that is why.

By anon1002632 — On Jan 11, 2020

I'm late to this discussion, but I have an opinion.

I have been a participant in vaginal orgasms from a few different women.

There was commonality: a mutually trusting environment, languid foreplay, and cowgirl positioning (female on top).

What I experienced was the tightening of large muscle groups, a ballooning of the vagina (this was fascinating because my erection touched nothing at times) and vocal utterances aimed at the room in general. The same with my orgasm as well.

No discussion about the events. None was needed.

By anon1002268 — On Oct 11, 2019

Sigh. And so the misinformation continues. If you break down the controversy regarding vaginal orgasms, it usually comes down to experts in sexology and experts in anatomy.

Anatomically speaking, the base of the clitoris is not inside of the vaginal canal (as stated in the 1st paragraph). The upper 2/3rds of the canal does not have sufficient nerve endings to initiate an orgasm (that's by design, by the way). For the 20 to 30 percent of females who anecdotally report orgasm via penetration alone, the most likely cause is clitoral stimulation. Researchers are, in fact, looking at the distance between the glans of the clitoris and the vaginal opening. It appears as though women who report orgasm from penetration alone tend to have a distance of 2.5cm or less between the clitoral glans and the vaginal opening. This, of course, would mean the orgasms are, in fact, clitoral, not vaginal.

By anon1001882 — On Jul 15, 2019

As a man, I can tell you that what they clinically call a "vaginal orgasm", is actually a sensual and whole body thing. Tons of emotion and trust is involved and its more like letting go, rather than making it happen.

Enjoy your body. Enjoy life.

By anon1000886 — On Jan 20, 2019

I am one of those women who only has vaginal orgasms. This is why I never masturbate; it is pointless to me since it will not give me the pleasure I want. I don't really need long foreplay, if any. The orgasms I can get only from the penetration. It has to be deep and long, so I can reach a climax a few times. My husband became an expert in this kind of erotic performance. We have been married 12 years and usually have sex 4/5 times a week.

By anon994296 — On Jan 29, 2016

How can a woman who hasn't had a orgasm have one?

By anon318796 — On Feb 09, 2013

@jennythelib: Recent research still suggests that "vaginal orgasm" is a myth, at least regarding the belief that it is distinct from a clitoral orgasm. Most scientists these days state that clitoral and "vaginal orgasms" are of the same origin; they state that what is often referred to as a vaginal orgasm is actually a kind clitoral orgasm because the clitoris is much bigger than was previously thought, extending into the vagina, and the "vaginal orgasm" (as separate from the clitoris) has never been proven.

And as research has consistently shown, most women (70-80 percent) need direct clitoral stimulation to orgasm. The vast majority of women do not orgasm from penetration of the vagina because the vagina has relatively few nerve endings, far less than the clitoris.

At least this article mentions that many women cannot achieve a "vaginal orgasm" and that "many researchers believe that a vaginal orgasm is also caused by the clitoris."

By rugbygirl — On May 03, 2012

@jennythelib - I'm glad you pointed out the idea of the value judgment. I am all about women learning how to orgasm through every means available to them - but only for the fullest expression of their sexuality and the most fun possible. Not because some kinds of orgasm are "better" than others.

Something else to keep in mind is that even for women who are capable of achieving vaginal orgasm, the "traditional" woman-on-bottom position is still probably not the best way to go. A woman may need to be more in control of the angle, depth, and speed of penetration in order to achieve orgasm - that is, she may need to be on top (or some variation thereof).

And if you require clitoral stimulation - eh, so what? Personally, I'm a fan of bringing my vibrator into the equation. I refer to it as my husband's "assistant."

By jennythelib — On May 02, 2012

I always thought that vaginal orgasm was a myth, but apparently the latest research suggests that it might indeed be a separate phenomenon from clitoral orgasm.

The problem is that in the past, and too often today, there have been value judgments attached to the two kind of orgasms. A vaginal orgasm was seen as more "womanly," more "real," while a clitoral orgasm was immature and masturbatory. So the woman asking how to have a vaginal orgasm may be asking not so much because she feels like she's missing out, but because she feels like she "should" be able to have orgasm through procreative sex.

But we now know that a lot of women, maybe even *most* women, are simply not capable of reaching orgasm through vaginal penetration alone. No, there is nothing wrong with you if you can't!

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