Hump Day: Difference Between Clitoral and Vaginal Orgasms?

Welcome to Hump Day, TrèsSugar's sex advice column! Are you confused about sex? Do you have trouble having an orgasm? Is there something you'd like to try but you're worried it's too weird? Send your questions to TrèsSugar, and our friend Dr. Charlie Glickman from Good Vibrations will offer his sound advice!

Today's Question:

"Is there a difference between a clitoral orgasm or a vaginal one? I keep hearing there's a difference and I want to known which one mine is!" To find out Dr. Glickman's answer, read more

Ever since Freud, people have been arguing over the difference between clitoral and vaginal orgasms. He thought that clitoral orgasms were something that women would outgrow during puberty, although he never explained how that would work. Unfortunately, the idea that some orgasms are better than others has led to many women feeling embarrassed about their sexual experiences.

Most of the time, when people talk about clitoral versus vaginal orgasms, they’re talking about which part of the body is being stimulated. I’m guessing that you know which part of your body is being pleasured, so in that sense, you already know whether you’re having a clitoral or vaginal orgasm, or perhaps you’re having both at the same time. Some women report that clitoral orgasms feel more focused while vaginal orgasms feel more expansive. But not everyone finds that to be the case, so if your orgasms feel similar no matter what fun you’re up to, don’t be surprised. As long as you enjoy the experience, go for it!

I think it’s worth mentioning that the majority of women (some research says as many as 70 percent) need some sort of clitoral pleasure to orgasm. It’s not a question of arousal or connection to one’s partner as much as it’s a question of whether your nerve endings are getting stimulated in a way that works for you. To make it a bit more complex, some people have slightly different concentrations of nerve endings in different places, so what each person likes can vary quite a bit. And for most women, the outer third of the vagina is much more sensitive than further in, so vaginal stimulation that focuses on the outer portion can feel quite different than deeper penetration.

What that means is that some women need to experiment a bit to find out what works best for them. Sadie Allison’s book Tickle Your Fancy offers lots of tips in a fun and friendly format. Some women discover that using their hands or a vibrator on the clitoris during intercourse makes things feel much better. Some of the smaller vibrators, such as the Water Dancer or the Laya can be held with one hand and their compact size makes them easy to use during sex with a partner.

(Don't forget to send your questions to TrèsSugar and we'll pass them on to Dr. Glickman!)

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