When Elly Belle, a 23-year-old writer from Brooklyn, masturbated for the first time in college, she assumed that she had never had an orgasm with her previous partners. But once she paid attention, she realized that she was experiencing multiple short and subtle orgasms – about three or four in the course of five minutes – and that, in fact, she had already experienced them before.
“I still longed for that spectacular orgasm that most of us know for movies, TV shows and popular culture,” he recalls. “When I started to enter more queer spaces and I had more open conversations about sex, orgasms and what I liked and what I did not, I realized that we are all different, I felt that I could achieve it and that I could feel pleasure for myself. way”.
However, her partners were not always open-minded, which led her to fake longer orgasms at times. “It has happened to me in recent years, more or less, that I am with a partner and wants to make me reach that magnificent orgasm, and then I have to explain to her that this is not going to happen, that’s what my orgasms are like and, really, they are not doing anything. I have smaller orgasms and they arrive in series “.
Intimacy ConAmore, a 40-year-old activist from Dallas, says that some of her sexual partners made her (and themselves) feel embarrassed by her short orgasms. “Some men wondered if they were good enough because I had not had an orgasm,” she says. “So I said yes and it had happened more than once, but my body is usually much more subtle and quiet than other women and very different from what you see in porn.”
This phenomenon is sometimes described as “mini orgasms,” a term coined by sex educator Ginny Brown in an article in Everyday Feminism. Brown cites Masters and Johnson’s book, Human Sexual Response, which documents three patterns of female arousal, one of which seems to have many mini climaxes of pleasure instead of one potent one.
There are few explanations for this pattern in Human Sexual Response, but Markie Twist, professor and coordinator of the sexual therapy program at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, believes that they could have referred to mini-orgasms when talking about the status of orgasm: “This state Stress physiological is created either by a series of rapidly recurring orgasmic experiences between which the intervals recorded in the plateau phase can not be demonstrated, or by a single prolonged orgasmic episode. ” Her research suggests that this type of orgasm is not long but that there are many orgasms in series.
“From this research-50 years ago-cis women continue to share that some have mini-orgasms,” says Twist. “Women have great variety in their abilities, forms, classes and quality of orgasms, and this means that this pattern is possible and so are many others.” For unknown reasons, this pattern seems to be more common in women with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities, Twist adds. She believes that many women who think they have never had an orgasm are actually mini-orgasmic.
But due to the lack of research on this phenomenon, some experts are more skeptical. “Mini orgasmic” is not a term recognized by scientists, says Nicole Prause, a neuroscientist and founder of the sexual research center Liberos. Prause believes that the Masters and Johnson data show maximum levels of arousal that stop before orgasm. “Now we have some examples of people, especially women, who enter a brain state associated with reduced cognitive control that seems to be necessary before orgasm, then return to a compromised state that increases sexual arousal,” he says. “The impulses are not related to any physiologically defined contraction as climax.”
Justin Lehmiller, researcher at the Kinsey Institute and author of Tell Me What You Want, agrees that the pattern that Masters and Johnson documented is “a prolonged excitement in the plateau phase that never reaches orgasm,” but believes that some women they experience mini orgasms. “I do not question women who describe their orgasmic experiences in this way because we know that the human sexual response, including orgasm, can be experienced in different ways for different people,” she says. “But in terms of knowing if this is a common phenomenon or what the physiology behind it is, we would really need scientific research that specifically focuses on that.”
While experts may debate whether these phenomena count as orgasms, women who have experienced both mini-orgasms and normal orgasms say they are similar. For a 37-year-old consultant in London, who prefers not to use her name because publicly speaking about sex can put her job at risk, the larger orgasms consist of a series of vaginal contractions, while the tiny orgasms are a unique contraction. “I have a spasm of internal muscles and a rapid flow of extra moisture, and it makes me hold my breath or moan,” he says. “A much faster and reduced version of the absolute climax that is the conventional vision of orgasm”.
Movies, television shows and porn often represent the female orgasm so strong and dramatic that it can lead mini orgasmic women to feel like they are missing something. But Belle likes to be mini-orgasmic. “When I had already experienced enough, either with myself or with others, I realized, ‘Oh, that’s how things work for me and it’s okay’,” he says. “Especially when I started having really good sexual experiences, like with women in college, I realized that it was a pleasure for me and I should not judge or try to change the way I experience or express that for another person.”