Fact No. 1
Fact No. 2
Fact No. 3
Fact No. 4
The Quickie
4 minute read

Cum. La petit morte. The Big “O.” A home run—maybe even a grand slam! One of the most mysterious parts of sexuality, the orgasm, is known by many names. The much sought-after feeling is oftentimes thought of as the main reason for sexual intercourse. Some people even use it as a qualifier—if you don’t come, it doesn’t count as sex.

Any way you cut it, orgasm is a loaded topic, with questions and expectations swirling around it.

Common Questions About Orgasms

When trying to figure out info about the Big “O,” people often ask:

  • What does an orgasm feel like?
  • How do I know if I’m having one?
  • Whose job is it to give the orgasm?
  • Was this even sex if no one came?
  • Shouldn’t a person come every time they have sex?
  • If my partner doesn’t orgasm does that mean I’m not good at sex?

Sorting out all the information can seem overwhelming! Here are the facts:

Increase Your Chances Of Having An Orgasm

An orgasm doesn’t necessarily happen every time a person is sexual. Sometimes they’re not getting the specific stimulation their body needs, or maybe a medication is interfering with their ability to come. Anxiety and pressure can also interfere with the ability to orgasm—the more anxious someone is, the less likely they are to build arousal.

If you’re in your head worrying about how you look, whether your partner is having fun, or if orgasm is going to happen, you’re probably going to be too distracted to enjoy the pleasure journey. You might call this being overly “goal-oriented.” But learning how to orgasm is all about enjoying the full arousal ride.

To increase your chances of having an orgasm, consider the following:

1. Prioritize Your Pleasure

One of the biggest myths that people are taught is that during partnered sex your focus should be on your partner rather than yourself. This falsehood is a sure way to miss out on orgasm achievement. Knowing how you like to be pleasured, the parts you like touched, and how you like them touched is integral in achieving an orgasm.

If you have no idea what you like or how you like it, this is a great time to explore masturbation, also called solo sex. Set some time aside where you have privacy and explore different touches, pressures, areas, and note what feels good and what doesn’t. Keep doing what feels good.

One of the biggest myths that people are taught is that during partnered sex your focus should be on your partner, rather than yourself

2. Have Realistic Expectations About Orgasms

Many people’s first exposure to orgasms is through movies and porn. Unfortunately, the orgasms we see in some pornography, movie network television, and read about in erotic novels are not necessarily representative of real-life orgasms. Let those dramatic, over-the-top Hollywood images go.

The reality is, everyone’s orgasm looks and feels different. Some people describe their orgasm as feeling like they are exploding over an edge—their bodies reach a peak of tightness and then it is released. Others describe orgasm as a pleasurable feeling for a period of time, that then goes away. Every person’s experience of orgasm is unique.

3. Try New Things

Once you’ve decided to prioritize your sexual pleasure, try something new. Whether you are by yourself or with a partner, experiment with new positions, pressures, and fantasies. By breaking out of your normal routines, you can discover new sensations and feelings.

And don’t be afraid to try new sex toys! If you’re used to a vibrator, try out a penetrative toy, or a g/p-spot toy, to introduce your body to new arousing sensations. Finally, don’t forget during any sexual play, new or not, to use lube!

Some people describe their orgasm as feeling like they are going over an edge where their bodies reach a peak of tightness and then it is released

4. Keep Calm And Carry On

Lastly, if you try these tips and an orgasm does not happen, don’t give up. Remember, sexual play can be pleasurable even without an orgasm. And, like all things, practice makes perfect! So try, try, and try again. That’s part of the fun.

If you’re practicing solo sex, take your time, get comfy, and release any pressure on yourself. If you aren’t alone, don’t hesitate to state your preferences, use vocal and physical guidance and remember to focus on you! If everyone shares what they need to experience pleasure during sexual interactions, everyone can enjoy the interaction without the pressure of trying to guess.

Pro-tip? Take matters into your own hands… literally! Go ahead and touch your own clit even while playing with a partner!

Take matters into your own hands… literally! Go ahead and touch your own clit even while playing with a partner!

Finally, being with a person who does not orgasm with you does not mean that you are not a skilled lover. It just means that you two can have some fun exploring arousal together!

And if nothing else, remember: Don’t chase the orgasm, let it come to you!

Related Articles:

Top 10 Tips For Having An Orgasm

How To Find The Clit

Types Of Orgasms: Clit Orgasm vs G-Spot Orgasm


Myths and facts

Setting the record straight.

No items found.


At O.school, we know that few things are one-size-fits-all. Read on for insights from Pleasure Professionals and other experts:

No items found.

Community voices

Check out what the O.school Community is buzzing about and send your questions and stories to submit@o.school.

Upcoming streams

Want more? Check out our live streams and on demand videos.

No related streams available.

View full calendar

Sex Ed Videos

Previously recorded streams we love.

Did I Cum?

Did I Cum?

Not all sex has to focus on orgasms as the end goal, but lots of us aren't sure what an orgasm feels like. Join this livestream to learn what your body does during orgasm, signs of orgasm and the different ways your to build bigger, better orgasms.

Orgasm Anarchy

Orgasm Anarchy

Whether you wish you knew how to have an orgasm, wish your orgasms were better, or just wish every sex education talk would stop focusing solely on how to orgasm, this talk will change how you think about the big O.

Types Of Orgasm: Clit Orgasm Vs G Spot Orgasm

Types Of Orgasm: Clit Orgasm Vs G Spot Orgasm

Pleasure Pro Louise Bourchier explains the difference between a G Spot and a Clitoral orgasm

Video transcript

Sensual Sex: How To Use All Your Senses In The Bedroom

Bring more sensuality into your bedroom. Explore ways to engage all your senses in sex and erotic play.

Fact No. 1
Fact No. 2
Fact No. 3
Fact No. 4
The Quickie
5 minute read

From what we’re taught in sex-ed, to portrayals in porn and popular media, it’s easy to get the impression that sex means penetration—perhaps with stops along the way for making out and manual or oral stimulation. But sex can be so much more!

Tuning in to the sensual aspects of sex, can bring a new level of richness and intimacy to sex play. It can also be a creative way to take things slow, accommodate an injury or disability, or heal from trauma, allowing you to be sexual together in a context where intercourse isn’t necessarily the end-game.

Tuning in to the sensual aspects of sex, can bring a new level of richness and intimacy to sex play. 

Focusing on each of the five senses is a great way to bring more sensuality into the bedroom. If you’re ready to incorporate new ways of being intimate with a partner, read on for some simple suggestions.

Erotic Sounds

Talking dirty, putting on music to set the mood, encouraging our partner with moans, gasps, and screams—sound is something many of us already incorporate into our sex lives. Talking dirty can be a wonderful way to build tension and amp up arousal without ever laying a finger on your partner. 

Tell them what you love about their body, what you’re feeling, what you’d like to do to them or have them do to you. If you find yourself tongue-tied when it’s time to talk dirty, reading erotica to your partner can be a super-sexy way to incorporate aural pleasure—without the pressure of having to come up with something yourself!

Music is nearly universal in its appeal and power to evoke feeling. Check out a sexy playlist on Spotify, or make your own.

What it’s great for: Particularly for those in long-distance relationships, sound can be a great way to stay connected. For people who want to get to know their partner better, exchanging fantasies, reading to each other, or trading sexy playlists can be a wonderful way to get closer. 

Tantalizing Tastes

Eat together! Fruit—sweet and juicy, with many varieties resembling vulvas— is one of the sexiest foods there is. Slowly savoring a ripe peach while letting its juice drip down your chin—while your partner watches, of course—can be just as erotic as a strip-tease. 

Drizzle each other with honey or paint each other with chocolate, and revel in the combination of sweetness and the natural saltiness of their skin. Yum! Just remember, don’t put these on the genitals because they can cause yeast infections.

Talking dirty can be a wonderful way to build tension and amp up arousal without ever laying a finger on your partner. 

What it’s great for: If you want to experience something deeply sensual with your partner, but aren’t quite ready for genital play, taking pleasure in food and a variety of tastes together can be extremely sexy. For people who have experienced body dysphoria or struggled with their body image, enjoying food in a sexual context can be a liberating way to redefine their relationship with food and their bodies.

Sexy Sights

Watching porn together is a classic way to enhance a sexual experience and spark conversation around preferences, boundaries, and new things you might like to try. Beyond porn, though, there are numerous ways to have a sexy visual experience. 

An erotic coloring book can be a fun way to explore new sexual territory in a low-stakes, playful context. Playing dress-up, or experimenting with different makeup looks, can allow you and your partner to explore diverse roles, play with gender, and bring a sense of fun to your sexual expression.

What it’s great for: Like sound, sight can reach across distance: if you have a phone or webcam, you can put on a show for your partner, no matter how far away you are. For gender-diverse individuals, exploring different looks with your partner can be intimacy-building, and increase your confidence. Sexy coloring or drawing is a wonderful way to spark conversation around what turns you on and what you might like to try without the expectation of full-on intercourse.

Stimulating Smells

Scented candles, essential oils, and perfumes all have their place. But there are many ways to bring your sense of smell alive during sex play. 

Although many of us have been taught that natural body odors are offensive, in reality, the wealth of pheromones and other volatile compounds in your partner’s sweat, breath, and genital aromas can be among the most powerful aphrodisiacs in existence! Close your eyes and inhale your partner’s unique aroma - because smell is so closely tied to emotion and memory, you may be surprised by what it evokes.

What it’s great for: Reveling in the natural scents of your partner’s body, and witnessing them enjoying your own, can be a tremendously powerful way to unlearn body shame and unlock new horizons of sensual pleasure.

Arousing Touch

There are many ways to enjoy sexual touch—from massage to sensation play. Gentle stroking with fingertips or a toy, even playing with your partner’s hair can all be great ways to share pleasure and build intimacy. 

Sensual touch away from the genitals can be especially suitable for people who are uncomfortable with genital touch—because they’re experiencing body dysphoria, processing trauma, recovering from an injury, or simply aren’t interested—being touched in a caring, sensual way by a partner who isn’t expecting the encounter to end in intercourse can be tremendously healing. 

What it’s great for: Having a safe place in which to experience sensual touch without the pressure to have penetrative or oral sex can be affirming, healing, and intimacy-building. 

Close your eyes and inhale your partner’s unique aroma.

Even if you usually want sex to result in intercourse, exploring diverse ways to experience sexual pleasure can enhance your sex life and your bond with your partner (and yourself!). 

Related Articles:

What Is Sensation Play?

How To Flirt

How To Talk Dirty 

How To Make Out

The Best Sex Toys To Spice Up Your Long-Term Relationship

How To Talk To Your Partner About Watching Porn Together


Video transcript

Loading next article...