7 women describe what an orgasm is like

Words by Melissa Kenny
Title image Sylvia Kristel in Emmanuelle (1974)

"No woman gets an orgasm from shining the kitchen floor", declared Betty Friedan fiercely and famously in the sixties, well on her trajectory to becoming one of the most salient figures in the women's movement. Quite right, wasn't she? But repression and regression aside, what does one even feel like?

Foreplay stalwarts might consider them overhyped. Corporate cannibals—goal-oriented and results driven—might rise too quickly to the conquest. What about DIY versus partnered? Multiples? Having the first one in a long while? Or with someone new?

We consulted seven modern women to describe their versions.

Subject A: "A deep, hot, reverberating earthquake, without the civilian deaths."

Subject B: "When you really desire, it hurts. It's an ache that builds on hunger and power—the promise of some small transcendence. You feel like a snake awoke and now uncoiling. Stretching out, more and more—until its skin cracks open and its underneath is revealed, raw and softly brand new."

Zabriskie point, 1970

Subject C: "You know how men often say "I'm gonna come, I'm gonna come" right before they come? I feel like if I announce its impending arrival too soon I might frighten it away before getting off. My pussy doesn't like to make those kind of promises; god forbid she makes a detour and fails to land the spaceship. It's like you're filling a balloon with warm honey. You keep going. You keep filling. Then BOOM. It happens. Everything goes black for a second. It doesn't last for long and you're grasping at the soggy remnants of plastic crying out for its full, spherical perfection to last just a little longer. But it's that prolonged ooze post-orgasm that is highly underrated. The part where you're being bathed in ripples of warm, viscose honey and you've got that stupid smile on your face. You feel fucking goooood."

Subject D: "I suppose it's like that feeling when you're almost awake but still kind of asleep and having a really good dream—like you know it's not real but it also feels a bit real, but you know it's just temporary and it will be over soon, but it's a good feeling for a second."

Sylvia Kristel in Emmanuelle, 1974

Subject E: "Like eating chocolate for the first time after a diet."

Subject F: "Can it be a poem? Lol. Sky rockets alight, anytime delight. Whether with my hand or something harder, sweet baby Jesus, it's even better without any armour."

Subject G: "The only way I can describe an orgasm is to differentiate between one achieved alone and one achieved in company. In solitude, there’s a presence of control. Of discipline. Of stamina. It lasts as long as I’d like. I can muster a smile, revel in my ability, all before doing it all over again. I can hardly tell you what it’s like in company—I’m never there! It’s exhausting, rendering me completely useless for the following half hour."

Want more orgasm stuff? Us too. We unfolded the history and monopoly of the orgasm here, and we house many tools for sweetening satisfaction here.


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