It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
So you want to learn how to have multiple orgasms. Who could blame you? While orgasms don’t have to be at the center of all your sexual encounters—forgoing orgasm-focused sex is great too—it’s completely normal to want to experience one orgasm after another. So if you’re someone who thinks “The more, the merrier” where orgasms are concerned, you’ve come to the right place. While there is no universal way to guarantee multiple orgasms, experts do have tips for making it happen. Read on for some of the best strategies for making multiple orgasms way more likely the next time you feel up for round two (or three or four).
For starters, what exactly are we talking about when we say “multiple orgasms”?
Pretty much what it sounds like: “The term multiple orgasm generally refers to successive orgasms during a singular sexual encounter,” Jess O’Reilly, Ph.D., Astroglide’s resident sexologist, tells SELF. But it doesn’t automatically mean you’re orgasming over and over without a moment’s break. Multiple orgasms can present differently in different people.
“Some people experience a series of smaller orgasms culminating in a more powerful climax at the end,” says O’Reilly. “Others experience multiple orgasms in a row with very little or no time in between, and some find that their arousal levels dip before returning to plateau and orgasmic levels.”
Can everyone with a vagina have multiple orgasms?
First, some good news: If you have a vagina and a clitoris, your body is likely pretty dang primed to have multiple orgasms. That’s because your refractory periods—the breaks your body takes after an orgasm when the genitals are unresponsive to stimulation—are typically much shorter than those of penis-having people. “Because orgasm involves increases in circulation, heart rate, breath rate, brain activity, and muscular spasms, the refractory period serves as a natural way to bring your bodily functions back to their baselines,” says O’Reilly.
The clitoris often only needs a minute or two before it can handle more stimulation, she explains. As for penis-having people, their refractory periods can range “from several minutes to a full day or longer, and they tend to be longer with age,” says O’Reilly.
If you can typically orgasm the first time with no problem (though not everyone can, it’s important to remember), experts don’t see any logistical reason why you shouldn’t be able to have an encore. But don’t feel discouraged if you attempt it and can’t quite orgasm again. “Many [people with vaginas] have the potential to be multi-orgasmic, but there can be roadblocks,” ob-gyn Michael Krychman, M.D., executive director of the Southern California Center for Sexual Health and Survivorship Medicine, tells SELF. We’ll get to some of the roadblocks throughout the article as we talk about how to overcome them.
Ready? Let’s talk about how to have multiple orgasms.
1. Figure out how to orgasm once first.
If you’re here, we’re guessing you probably have that under control, but in case you don’t, you’ll want to focus on orgasm number one before planning for the reprise. Plenty of people with vaginas have trouble orgasming. There’s even a medical term for it: anorgasmia. According to the Mayo Clinic, a ton of factors can impact your ability to orgasm, such as mental issues (like stress or poor body image), physical issues (like taking certain medications), or relationship issues (like lack of connection and communication).
All told, it might require a little digging to get to the root of the problem, but if there’s one thing to keep in mind, make sure you’ve tried utilizing the clitoris. Most people with vaginas require at least some clitoral stimulation to get off, per the Mayo Clinic. If you need some ideas, this article is full of anecdotes from people with vaginas, all about their favorite ways to orgasm.
2. Switch up stimulation.
After your first orgasm, it all comes down to experimentation. If your clitoris is so sensitive that you can’t bear to touch it, loop in the rest of your body. “Try different kinds of stimulation,” says Dr. Krychman. Maybe that’s playing with your breasts or having your partner kiss you everywhere except your clitoris. The point is to continue arousal in whichever form feels best for you. Go ahead with that for however long you like, and feel free to check back in with your clitoris when you think the sensitivity has abated.
You might also want to engage your other senses to keep your arousal up. Sensation play is the act of stimulating all your senses, such as using a blindfold to play with sight or working in pleasurable pain. Check out this article for tips on how to try sensation play.
3. Or take advantage of a sensitive clitoris.
On the other hand, sometimes toying around with a sensitive clitoris might actually be the ticket. According to O’Reilly, some people find that overstimulation can lead to an unexpected additional orgasm—and even if it doesn’t, you might still find it enjoyable in a hurts-so-good way. It’s all about what you can handle. If you’re into the feeling of oversensitivity, go for it. But if something hurts or you truly can’t see it leading to a pleasurable feeling, don’t keep going just for the sake of multiple orgasms.
4. Don’t put the pressure on.
Remember those roadblocks Dr. Krychman mentioned? A lot of them are often mental, like putting too much pressure on yourself to make it happen. Trying to have multiple orgasms because you feel like you have to for some reason is often a way to guarantee it won't happen. “A watched pot never boils,” says Dr. Krychman. “Focus on the journey.”
What that might mean for you is that setting out with the goal of multiple orgasms in mind is not the way to go. Experts often recommend taking the focus off of orgasms in order to have orgasms in general, so where multiple orgasms are concerned, try setting out to have a pleasurable session with your partner that’s longer than usual. Maybe it will include multiple orgasms, maybe it won’t. The point is to not try so hard.
5. Engage your pelvic floor.
Focusing on clenching your pubococcygeus (PC) muscle via Kegel exercises might also help with your orgasmic quest. “As you orgasm, press your hand over your entire vulva and pulse between contractions while squeezing your thighs together. You may be able to increase and intensify the orgasmic contractions and carry yourself to another wave of orgasmic pleasure,” says O’Reilly.
If you don’t know how to do Kegels, you might want to figure it out outside of sex first. Identifying the right muscles is key, since many people don’t actually know how to engage their PC muscle. There are several ways to do this. The Mayo Clinic suggests stopping your urination mid-stream while you’re peeing and paying attention to which muscle you use to do that. On the other hand, Harvard Health Publishing recommends pretending you’re trying to avoid passing gas or tightening your vagina around a tampon. None of the above are very sexy, I know, but they get the job done.
6. Focus on your breathing.
Throughout the entire experience, make sure to breathe! Some people unconsciously default to holding their breath while building up to orgasm, but concentrating on it can help. “At orgasm, breathe slowly, purposefully, and deeply while contracting and purposefully releasing your PC muscle. For some, breathwork is key to multiples,” says O’Reilly.
Mindfulness in general is also a helpful part of any sex life, whether you’re going for multiple orgasms or not. Remember that our minds and bodies are super connected, so feelings of anxiety and stress can get in the way of our ability to orgasm in general, according to the Mayo Clinic. Breathwork can help us get out of our heads and stay in the present moment, which can help with orgasms.
7. Whip out some toys.
We talked above about switching up sensation, and an excellent way to do that is through the use of toys, especially if clitoral stimulation is your orgasm MVP. Plus, you wouldn’t be the first person to find it easier to orgasm with toys than with a partner—a very handy thing to keep in mind when trying for multiples. Toys can also be helpful for your partner, who might need to switch up how they pleasure you as much as you need to switch up how you’re receiving pleasure.
8. Try new positions.
There is no magical position guaranteed to give you multiple orgasms, but moving between different positions is a solid technique. Positions that provide easy access to the clitoris or that lead to indirect clitoral stimulation are good places to start. Think riding your partner, receiving on your hands and knees, or wrapping your legs around your partner while seated on a counter.
If you think G-spot stimulation might be where it’s at for you, try positions that allow for deep penetration. Riding and resting on all fours are solid positions for this too. And don’t forget the digital stimulation (you know, fingering) which allows for a targeted ~come hither~ motion.
9. Don’t be afraid to take matters into your own hands.
You might think about masturbation and partnered sex as two completely separate sexual experiences, but that simply doesn’t have to be the case. Pleasuring yourself with a partner or for a partner is a valid part of partnered sex, and it might be exactly what you need to keep the orgasms coming. Because hey, chances are no one is better at making you orgasm than you are. We know our own bodies best.
10. Remember it’s supposed to be fun.
Seriously, don’t force yourself to chase multiple orgasms if trying to make it happen is taking away from your enjoyment of sex. As O’Reilly says, “Sometimes one orgasm is more than enough,” so there's no need to push yourself to the brink.
Don’t be afraid to call it and try again another day if it’s not happening. After all, it can take some practice. Luckily, this is just about the most enjoyable type of practice there is. “It varies from person to person,” says O’Reilly. “You’ll need to experiment to see what works best for you.”
Written by Zahra Barnes.
This article originally appeared on SELF US.