An Orgasm By Any Other Name

An Orgasm By Any Other Name

… would it feel as sweet? Deep down, I don’t seem to think so.

Internalized Descriptions of Orgasm

If I had to guess, I’ve probably consumed erotic material through reading more than anything else1. Fanfiction came into my life when I was around 12 or so, maybe earlier. I’d started reading stories on sites like literotica around that age as well. I found myself drawn pretty quickly to the ‘T’ and ‘M’-rated stories that were usually better written and contained more serious romance, and often contained ‘eventual smut’ or ‘lemons2’.

As my sexuality burgeoned and I’ve grown, I honestly can’t say I’ve let go of fan fiction. I still read it regularly and through our decade-plus acquaintance, I come back to it over any other form of porn. There was a point in time where I really enjoyed professional lesbian porn, and amateur porn…but my understanding of orgasms definitely came from fan fiction over those others.

Traditional porn has been railed3 against enough w/r/t its depictions of female orgasm. Fan fiction doesn’t seem to have escaped porn’s influence, though, because orgasms are just as consistently overblown and typified in smutty fan fiction offerings. I’d give examples, but the content isn’t particularly important to me at the moment; rather, I want to explore the effect that content had on me.

In my head, an orgasm was supposed to be a moment where your mind goes clear and your body tingles, shivers and shakes, and ‘explosive’ pleasure simultaneously radiated from and focused itself within your genitals.

As you might have guessed already, I never got that. I still haven’t. This image of orgasm as a thought-disrupting, body-shaking event has cast doubt on my sexual experience. I’ve read books and thought about what I’ve felt but the only lasting product is more doubt (any encouragement or reassurance I can give myself tends to be short-lived).

Have I ever had an orgasm?

I don’t know. Maybe? I don’t quite quake with pleasure or involuntarily pulse and clench around what, if anything, is inside me. When I masturbate, I tend to ‘break’ at multiple points just to take a bit of a breather. Sometimes I clench or pulse my clitoris/vagina during this break, but that’s conscious and deliberate on my part.

So how do I even determine when I’m “done” with sex? Basically when I get tired or feel like my sexual response has sort of deflated. So this sounds like the resolution phase of the sexual response cycle. I seem to have an extended plateau phase with no ‘spike’ or distinct “waves of pleasure throughout my body,” a common description listed by the link above.

Except…(an aside4)

Before I had toys, I masturbated by sort-of planking with my fists(and a balled-up t-shirt or whatever) and grinding onto my mons veneris/clitoral shaft/bridge area. I could build the tension in small bursts, ‘til finally I would get a few bigger flashes of pleasure. And then I’d feel pretty much “done,” though sometimes I’d do this repeatedly before I felt satisfied. Christian guilt aside, I felt broken in many ways for masturbating this way. It always struck me as bizarre.

Despite the fact that this mode of masturbation seems to fit the sexual response cycle more “typically,” or closer to the way I want to, it’s never been good enough in my mind.

It’s still the only real way that I get a more complete sensation of being “finished” or satisfied; I could thrust away all day with my dildos and never get that feeling. And I never have gotten the same feelings out of my clit any other way, though different types of touching and other positions with pressure do feel kind of good.

When I’m ‘in play’ I tend to stimulate myself in bursts, too, but I wouldn’t know to say the downtime is an orgasm or is caused by one. And there’s the rub: I’m the only one that can know. Yet it seems like I won’t call anything an orgasm that isn’t like this:

The heat and pressure of K.’s5 mouth is too much. A. digs her nails into the headboard, bucking her hips out of the rhythm K. has set once, twice before stiffening with ecstasy. Her muscles lock up, then melt as wave after wave of bliss courses through her. Her insides clench and quiver, and she throbs in the seal of K.’s lips, surrendering to the powerful pulses.

Somehow, because I’d never describe my own sexual sensations at any point this way, I have this dissatisfaction with what I do feel. Ironically, I’ve become so critical of my pleasure that I think I’ve even diminished it. I’ve certainly downplayed what I do feel that’s good, because it doesn’t fit the pictures I have of what good(a “real” orgasm) is.

It’s not hard for me to see how this has affected my life.

To be honest, this is part of the reason I became set on starting my own blog, and why down at the bottom there it says “a sex and discovery blog by Jean.” I have this idea that I still have more to discover about my body, which I’m sure I do in a positive exploratory sense, but I also think of it in a “confound you! give me what I’m looking for” sense. I want to encourage the positive sense and diminish that demanding, dissatisfied voice.

At any rate I’ll be getting into different series of posts that (I hope) will help me explore healthy ways to both care for myself and grow. Meditation, kegels, lush and patient and thoughtful self-care.

Photo by Daniel Apodaca on Unsplash

  1. don’t get me wrong, I’ve consumed my share of…everything else too. 

  2. I still don’t know why the community was dead set on referring to any explicit sexual content this way. Sometimes, for lighter stuff (so not ‘real’ sex, whatever that means), authors would use ‘lime’ instead. :thinking: 

  3. pun intended. 

  4. don’t question my commitment to the Shakespeare theme. 

  5. this is from RaeDMagdon’s ‘Married Life’. I edited the characters’ names out, just to focus on the sexual content.