What is an orgasm like?

Dorothy Black says we need to do away with comparison and expectation when we talk about our orgasms.

Lima had her first orgasm at the age of 40, roped up and suspended from the ceiling, her lady bits coerced into the wow by an experienced Dom. A Dom that was not her husband.

I remember this fact when a sweet 20-something I know descends on me mid-meeting gushes about her first orgasm. She’d never had one before and it was a celebration. I love this about women who find their orgasm later. It’s like they’ve just woken up. So the value of orgasms has been on my mind lately.

I guess it started with a dinner yack yack a year or so ago about the big O. My girlfriends and I were hanging out discussing what sex sounds and looks like. As one does.

Lima, who was 38 at the time, admitted she’d never had an orgasm. Married for a million years, not one moment of ecstasy.
As she tried to explain her experience, we tutted and cooed in compassion and then set out to explain to her via the medium of physical theatre what each of our orgasms sound and look like, a la When Harry Met Sally.

The neighbours must’ve been concerned.

Lima confirmed that, indeed, not one jot of that was something she had ever experienced. So we tried to explain: The build up, the tingles, the swollen, lusty yumminess of a pussy wanting more, the heat and rush of all the sexy-time love drugs coursing through your body, while the tension builds and builds in your bum and thighs and tummy and your little honeypot of pleasure until everything in and around your vagina clenches and contracts in waves and then it feels like a big release etc etc blah blah.

Well we tried, because frankly, an orgasm cannot be explained to someone who has never experienced one. It might act as a marker, but that is all.

And I have to admit, I started wondering if we were trying to out-orgasm each other … if Lima’s possible orgasm might’ve been scared off by all the theatrics. They say comparison is the killer of joy.

I didn’t have to worry. Two years later, Lima sandwiches the fact of her first orgasm between a conversation about kid’s tennis and birthday parties. No big deal. She’d just found the way that worked for her – having no control and being with an experienced partner.

I look at the all the emphasis placed on how to orgasm (bigger, better, faster, more) in women’s mags, the media frenzy about the wild orgasms filmed in Hysterical Literature and the sort of ridiculous orgasms that are taken for really real in crap reads like 50 shades and it seems to me we’re still not allowing for the sheer scope of variety not only in women’s bodies and what each can experience, but what orgasms are like.

If there is one thing I will tell anyone that’s never orgasmed before is that not all orgasms are wild explosions in the sky. Not all leave you laughing or weeping. Some can be pretty meh.

Sometimes orgasms feel almost stingy or tired. They can be as disappointing as they can be mind-blowing and life-changing. They can build forever and dump you a little pool of ‘is that it?’ or come out of nowhere and hit you upside the cervix like a lightning bolt from Zeus himself. They can be loud, empowering and squealing, but they can just as easily be quiet, whimpering and vulnerable. Some white coats have even suggested that a woman’s body can give all the signs of orgasming, without the whole over-the-rainbow thing. Which is why a lot of women can enjoy this continual feeling of deliciousness and think that’s it.

We need to do away with expectation and comparison. We especially need to stop talking in terms of dysfunction when it comes to women who’ve not yet orgasmed. It’s something that I find especially upsetting in light of all the pressure and failure women are harried with when it comes to their bodies.

I’m a firm believer that every woman can find her own orgasm. Maybe, they just need to find it roped and suspended from a ceiling.

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