How Do You Orgasm? A CHEEX Guide

Here’s what happens when you orgasm and what you can do to make it work.


As we bid farewell to July, we celebrate National Orgasm Day, a holiday dedicated to raising awareness about sexual pleasure, the issues surrounding it, and the sheer joy of getting orgasmic. Although sex and intimacy are about so much more than reaching an orgasm, there are wonderful benefits to losing yourself in the moment of the climax.

Research shows that engaging in sexual intimacy triggers the release of oxytocin, a hormone known for inducing relaxation during activities such as hugging, kissing and caressing. Among other things, oxytocin lowers stress levels and improves your mood. Additionally, the experience of orgasm leads to the release of various hormones, including dopamine, which is associated with feelings of pleasure, desire and motivation.

As much as sexual climax is about the body, it is equally about the mind. So whether pleasuring yourself or creating pleasure with another person, take a minute and reflect on what gets you to that climactic moment.

What Is an Orgasm?

Orgasms are defined as the climax of sexual excitement, marked by muscle contractions and, for people with penises, ejaculation. You can experience orgasms in multiple ways, both solo and with partner(s). A powerful combination of visual/mental stimulation and physical sensation often enhances the experience. While genital stimulation is integral to sexual pleasure, erogenous zones across the body, such as nipples, lips, ears, buttocks, anus, toes, fingers, and inner thighs, also contribute to the excitement. Add a touch of kink, like a leather outfit or a love for feet, and the journey to orgasm becomes even more thrilling.

Attaining orgasms, whether alone or with a partner, involves building trust, practising and exercising patience. Sexual dysfunction, encompassing issues like pre-ejaculation and vaginal dryness, can present challenges on the path to pleasure. Recognising personal boundaries and creating a sense of safety and peace at the moment are vital in overcoming insecurities and fears. Understanding that orgasms are part of a four-stage process, from flirtatious texts to naked play, allows individuals to navigate the ever-shifting states of arousal. Familiarising yourself with the nuances of the “sexual response cycle” enhances your awareness of your body’s preferences in touch and pleasure.

Attaining orgasms, whether alone or with a partner, involves building trust, practising and exercising patience. Sexual dysfunction, encompassing issues like pre-ejaculation and vaginal dryness, can present challenges on the path to pleasure. Understanding your boundaries and feeling safe and peaceful in the moment is an essential way of relaxing and letting go of insecurities and fears. Know that an orgasm is part of a four-stage process. From flirtatious texts to butt-naked playing, we are constantly moving between varying states of arousal. The more you can recognise the characteristics of this “sexual response cycle”, the better you can understand your body’s preference for touch and pleasure.

Every Orgasm Is Different

Contrary to popular belief, penetrative sex is not the only way you can reach an orgasm. Anal sex, oral sex, clitorial massage, tantric massage, flogging and pain facilitation are all ways of stimulating the body’s sexual response cycle. Audio erotica, pornography, dressing up or watching a strip tease can also get you in the mood. The fusion of mental eroticism with physical arousal kickstarts the sexual response cycle into a connection with heightened pleasure.

Our “sexual response cycle” defines the build-up and come-down of an orgasm, and it differs from person to person and from experience to experience. Based on a cycle of desire, arousal, orgasm and resolution, tuning into the changes that happen in the body is a good way to read one another’s mood and become more in tune with the sexual chemistry bubbling away beneath the surface. Bear in mind that not everyone’s intention when engaging in sexual activity is to orgasm, sometimes people are motivated by a desire for intimacy, money or a BDSM power dynamic.

You might experience some of these physical changes in a different order, and that is completely normal because we are all different.

The Build-Up

The journey begins with desire, the feeling of becoming turned on. This initial stage can last from a few minutes to several hours. With flirtation, touch, erotic language or sexually stimulating visuals, we can recognise desire through our nipples becoming harder and erect. Your pussy might start self-lubricating, and you might feel the vaginal wall begin to swell. Breasts can become fuller, while an increased blood flow to the genitals results in the swelling of the clitoris and labia minora (the inner vulva). Similarly, an increased blood flow to the penis triggers an erection, tightens the scrotum and prompts the secretion of lubricating fluid.

The Edge

The second stage is marked by a heightened sense of arousal that lasts until you reach the brink of an orgasm. All the aforementioned characteristics increase and intensify. The vagina will continue to swell, and the vagina wall may adopt a darker colour. The clitoris enlarges, becoming highly sensitive—maybe even tender to the touch. In the case of a penis, pre-cum may be released, and the testicles move upwards, into the scrotum. Meanwhile, blood pressure, heart rate, and breath rate climb, accompanied by increased muscle tension. Interestingly, muscle spasms can also begin in your feet, hands and face.

It’s at this point that you can play with “edging”. Keep yourself or your partner on the brink of their orgasm by playing with the intensity of your touch. Stop and restart what you’re doing to prolong the build-up. This can result in a more intense and pleasurable orgasm and is a great way to experiment with power dynamics by being in control of someone else’s climactic moment.

An Orgasmic Bang

Stage three is the almighty orgasm, the briefest of the phases, spanning as little as a few seconds. It’s the climax of the sexual response cycle, but the result can vary widely. It might manifest as a quick burst of muscle tension accompanied by some heavier breathing but also a full-blown, bodily eruption of mysterious lightning bolts of pleasure that transport me into another dimension. The experience often hinges on safety and relaxation within the given person or environment.

Physically, an orgasm can be discerned through the following characteristics: breath rate, heart rate and blood pressure reach their peak, resulting in a rapid intake of oxygen. At the same time, a sudden, powerful release of sexual tension prompts rhythmic contractions in vaginal muscles and the uterus. In the case of penises, muscle contractions lead to the ejaculation of semen. Also, muscles in your feet can spasm, and a body rash “sex flush” can appear on the skin.


The concluding stage, called resolution, marks the gradual return of the body to an unaroused state. The engorged genitals relax and diminish in size once again. At this time, it’s important to tune in to each other’s needs, whether through a comforting hug or other forms of after-care, such as rehydration, sleep and gentle caressing. Notably, for male-bodied people, it is difficult to have multiple orgasms because it takes longer to recover after ejaculation. However, women and people with vulvas can have multiple orgasms during and after resolution, an indulgence I wholeheartedly encourage.


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