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An orgasm, also known as a climax, is a pleasurable physiological, and to no small degree a psychological, response to sexual stimulation[?], that can be experienced by both males and females. The orgasm is one of nature's ways of making certain that an animal will engage in sexual intercourse, thus propagating its own genes.

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Human orgasm


In a human male orgasm, there are rapid, rhythmic contractions of the prostate, urethra and the muscles at the base of the penis, which force stored semen to be expelled through the penis's urethral opening. This is referred to as ejaculation. The process usually takes from 3 to 10 seconds. The process is usually, but not always, extremely pleasurable. Note that it is possible to ejaculate without reaching orgasm, and to have an orgasm without ejaculation. Following orgasm, a refractory period occurs during which a man cannot have another orgasm. This period can be anywhere from one minute to over half an hour, depending on the individual and his age.


In a human female orgasm, orgasm is preceded by moistening of the vaginal walls, and an enlargement of the clitoris due to increased blood flow trapped in the clitoris's spongy tissue. Some women exhibit a sex flush; a reddening of the skin over much of the body due to increased blood flow to the skin. As a woman comes closer to having orgasm, the clitoris moves inward under the clitoral hood, and the labia minora (minor lips) become a darker pink. As orgasm becomes imminent, the vagina decreases in size by about 30% and also becomes congested with blood. The uterus then experiences muscular contractions. A woman experiences full orgasm when her uterus, vagina and pelvic muscles[?] undergo a series of rhythmic contractions.

After the orgasm is over, the clitoris re-emerges from under the clitoral hood, and returns to its normal size in less than 10 minutes. Unlike men, women do not have a refractory period, and thus can experience a second orgasm soon after the first; some women can even follow this with a third, or even fourth orgasm; this is known as a multiple orgasm. Research shows that about 13% of women experience multiple orgasms; a larger number may be able to experience this with the proper stimulation (such as a vibrator) and frame of mind.

Orgasms in both men and women are often associated with other involuntary actions, including vocalizations and muscular spasms in other areas of the body. Also, a generally euphoric sensation is associated with orgasm.

Female Ejaculation

Many women experience an expulsion of fluid during orgasm. In many cases the origin of this fluid is the Skene's glands. For further details, see female ejaculation.

Vaginal Orgasm

A distinction is sometimes made between clitoral and vaginal orgasm.

Many doctors and feminist advocates have claimed that vaginal orgasms do not exist, and that female orgasms are obtained only from clitoral arousal. To a substantial extent, this was a reaction to Freud's misconception that vaginal orgasms were the only valid form of female orgasms, with clitoral orgasms being an "immature" phenomenon. This was contradicted by many women's personal experiences, but this evidence was ignored by the Freudian establishment. As a reaction to this, feminist advocates responded with a model of female sexuality based on many women's experience that emphasised the importance of the clitoral orgasm at the expense of the vaginal orgasm, to the extent that some held that the vaginal orgasm was a mirage, created by men for their convenience. The clitoral-only orgasm school of thought became an article of faith in some feminist circles. This now appears to be almost as wrong as Freud's ideas.

A new understanding of vaginal orgasm has been emerging since the 1980s.

we need more material on how these ideas evolved -- please contribute here if you have detailed knowledge of this subject

Many women report that some form of vaginal stimulation is essential to subjectively experience a complete orgasm, in addition to or in lieu of external (clitoral) stimulation. Recent anatomical research has pointed towards a connection between intravaginal tissues and nerve endings on one hand, and the clitoris on the other. This, combined with the anatomical evidence that the internal part of the clitoris is a much larger organ than previously thought could also explain credible reports of orgasms in women who have undergone clitoridectomy as part of so-called female circumcision.

See Also

human sexual behavior, human sexuality, sex, female ejaculation, G-spot

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