Written by Emily Nagoski, Ph.D.
If so, you're reading the wrong article. Despite what many magazines would have you believe, there's no such thing as a rainbow variety of orgasms, and you're not sexually inadequate if you aren't having them every night, all night. At Coral we know there is only one kind of orgasm. And this is very good news!
Orgasm is simply the explosive release of sexual tension. How that tension is generated doesn't matter, and humans (particularly females), in their vast sexual plasticity, can have orgasms from nearly any kind of stimulation, given practice and a sexy context. Mostly women have orgasms via clitoral stimulation, but we can also have them via shallow or deep vaginal penetration, internal or external anal stimulation, inner thigh or breast stimulation, earlobes, toes, backs of the knees, small of the back, arches of the feet... pretty much if there's sensation, you can learn to have orgasms from it!
In fact, some people can even have orgasms just by thinking about it. It's not totally well understood yet, but the "energy orgasm" is one of the many different kinds I explore in my guide to female satisfaction.
In exploring the energy orgasm, remember, first, that an orgasm is the explosive release of sexual tension, which is generated by giving your "Sexual Excitation System" something to respond to: Your brain notices the sexy things in the environment and sends signals down to your genitals to say, "Turn on!" Mostly we think of sexy stimuli as sensory experiences, touch, sound, taste, smell, sight, but they can also be imagined sensory experiences.
When you think about a body part being touched, the area of your brain that represents sensation to that body part "lights up" too, as if you that part actually were being touched. Energy orgasms work because we can stimulate our genitals with our brains. People who have energy orgasms are using their brains to generate those "Turn on!" signals without external stimulation. It's a neat trick, to put it mildly.
How can you do it? Here are a few strategies to try:
Be ready to dedicate the entire window of time to sexual pleasure. Get yourself in a calm, happy, and sexy context (turn off email and phone, etc.), lie in bed (or wherever) and use a combination of imagination, muscle tension, and breath to increase your arousal level.
Have you ever sat staring idly out the window fantasizing about sex, and have you noticed that the fantasy can turn you on, even though you're getting no physical stimulation? Thoughts can create real physical changes in your body, and you can use this to your advantage. This is why people fantasize even while they're having sex: the added juice of the fantasy heightens arousal when the physical sensations aren't enough to get us where we want to go. It might be an explicitly sexy story, or it might simply be imaginary sensations over the surface of your skin or it might be a non-sexual but blissful situation. Try lots and lots of things.
Develop muscle tension throughout your body.
You know all the "sexual tension" that gets released explosively at orgasm? In large part, it's actual physical muscle tension, especially in your abdominal muscles, buttocks, thighs, and especially your pelvic diaphragm (a.k.a. the pelvic floor muscle or pubococcygeal muscle or PC muscle or Kegel muscle, the muscle you tighten to stop yourself peeing midstream). Slow rhythmic contractions of the pelvic floor muscle generate sexually relevant stimuli that get sent to your brain and stimulate it to send back down "Turn on!" signals. As you're lying there fantasizing, add slow, strong contractions of the pelvic floor muscle.
Focus on your breath.
Your breath is tied inextricably to your sexuality. You may have noticed that when you get close to orgasm, you gasp, your abdominal muscles lock down, and you hold your breath until it releases in a gush and then you gasp again. You have a second diaphragm in addition to the pelvic diaphragm; the thoracic diaphragm is an arch of muscle under your ribcage that governs the expansion and contraction of your lungs. When it contracts, it flattens out, creating more space in the lungs, so you inhale, and when it relaxes it arches up, decreasing the volume of the lungs, so you exhale.
So what we just learned about muscle tension and sexuality tells us something: If, with high levels of sexual arousal, your muscles contract in rhythmic waves, then your thoracic diaphragm will do the same. Hence the gasp (contract!) and hold (stay contracted) and exhale, often a forceful, noisy chuff of air (relax), then gasp (contract!).
As you become aroused, you'll begin to breathe more deeply as your body's demand for oxygen increases, and then as you get closer to orgasm your breath will lock into this pattern. Pay attention to your breathing and allow it to change. Allow your arousal to grow with it.
So there you have it. There are no negative consequences to not having an energy orgasm; in fact, going through this process without having an orgasm will still teach you loads about your own sexuality, give you pleasurable sexual experiences, and expand your sexual horizons. I don't know if EVERYONE can do it... but, hey if you try and don't manage an orgasm, you've still had a really nice time, right?