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Permanent link for Foreplay, Orgasm and Self-Pleasure on February 16, 2021

Part of our Sex Ed Series

Let’s talk about “The Big O.” Sex is supposed to be pleasurable for everyone involved and with some practice, exploration, and  communication between you and your partner(s), you can make sex feel amazing, and increase your chances of an orgasm (but know, that doesn’t have to be the goal of sex). Many people say the “Big O” will feel like fireworks exploding throughout your body, and you can make it happen in LOTS of different ways. You or your partner(s) might not reach orgasm during every sexual activity, which is totally normal, but there are ways to be sure that the experience is still filled with pleasure! 

Foreplay
When it comes to sex, there’s a lot more to it than just penetration. No matter who is involved, foreplay can be necessary for a good time! Typically, foreplay is anything that happens before intercourse: think kissing, massaging, fondling, eye contact, dirty talk, etc. Foreplay helps warm up your bodies for the fun to come - physically, mentally, and emotionally. This is the time to build up the sexual tension and desire between you and your partner(s) to have the best, most pleasurable sexual experience possible. For people with a vagina, engaging in foreplay creates a natural vaginal lubricant for better sex, and to help get to the arousal level necessary for orgasm. For people with a penis, foreplay stimulates the body in preparation for sexual activity. Foreplay really is a win-win for everybody involved!  But, foreplay doesn’t have to lead to anything more. Sometimes, you and your partner(s) will feel satisfied enough by your other sexual activities to stop before intercourse ever occurs. (That’s why a lot of people use the term “outercourse” instead of foreplay… because it’s fun all on its own).

Orgasm and Erogenous Zones
For everyone involved, foreplay on its own can get you to reach orgasm. For people with a penis, an orgasm is pretty obvious. At the climax, the penis ejaculates semen, and the body is filled with the feeling of ecstasy. This orgasm can happen through penetrative sex, as well as blowjobs, hand jobs, prostate stimulation, nipple play--anything you like that gets you turned on! As for people with a vagina and clitoris, an orgasm is not always as noticeable. Blood flows to the clitoris to become erect just like in a penis, and requires similar stimulation as well. Among professionals, there’s not a set definition for this kind of orgasm, but the most common explanation is just the feeling of “fireworks.” The feeling flowing through your body during an orgasm can leave you screaming for joy or sighing of relief. If you’ve never reached orgasm, or are unsure if you have or not, try out new techniques and explore your body to find what feels good to you! When you finally get to the Big O, you’ll know it. Your body is covered in zones that stimulate sexual feelings, so be sure to feel around. 

Those specific places on your body that feel extra good to touch are called erogenous zones . Some popular spots are the ears, neck, nipples, inner wrists, the vaginal or penile region, and inner thighs, but to ensure your best experience, experiment with yourself or your partner(s) to find your favorites. Everyone has different erogenous zones on their body that feel good, and when you know your own, you don’t even need a partner to reach the sweet bliss of an orgasm. 

Solo Sex
If you’re not involved with a sexual partner, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to experience sexual pleasure on your own (if you want to). Masturbation is a safe and fun way to stimulate your body to an orgasm without having to rely on someone else for arousal. Despite masturbation having a stigma surrounding it, it's a completely normal and healthy thing to do for people of all genders.  Touching yourself  in the comfort of your own home is the best way to explore your body and find what you like (or don’t)! Masturbation is not only a fun way to pass the time, but it lets you take your sexual pleasure into your own hands--literally!

Toys
Whether you’re being intimate with your partner or having a solo sesh, sex toys are a great way to add some spice to life! Before buying toys, it's important to know what places and techniques you enjoy when masturbating so you know what kinds to get. If you have a vagina and find pleasure from penetration, you may want to try different types of dildos. Or if you prefer clitoral stimulation, vibrators could be a good choice for you. For people with a penis, popular toys are different kinds of sleeves and penis rings. People of all genders can also enjoy anal stimulation in sex and masturbation, so toys like butt plugs, anal beads, and dildos are perfect for some backdoor action (but be SURE that whatever toy you put into the anus has a flared base to avoid it getting stuck!). And, don’t forget, no matter the toy, you should always clean it!

Hard Time Reaching Orgasm?
As I mentioned, sex should be a fun time for everyone, but sometimes your body can have a difficult time reaching orgasm, and that is totally normal!  Differentiating sexual pain from a lack of pleasure is important in these times. If you feel any discomfort or irritation, you might want to consider making an appointment with a health care provider to see if this uncomfortable feeling is caused by any kind of health concern. (Also, we have a blog coming up about pain with sexual activity, so stay tuned!) 

If you aren’t experiencing pain, but sex still just doesn’t feel good, even after foreplay and different types of stimulation, you should have a conversation with your partner(s) about what you’re feeling. Your mindset is just as important as stimulation when it comes to sex, so communicate your needs, try to relax, listen to your body, and be in the moment to help your chances of a big finish.  When having any type of sexual relation with another person, the expectation tends to be that it ends with an orgasm for everyone, but that’s often not the case. So remember: while pleasure should still be important, orgasms do not have to be the end goal in any sexual encounter. Our bodies are complicated things, so be sure to listen to what you’re feeling in the moment. 

The Grand Finale
Sexual pleasure is about understanding your own sexual needs, and knowing the right ways to satisfy them. There is no “right” way to get to an orgasm, so it's all up to what you enjoy. Whether you’re a sexpert or newbie, take some time for yourself to explore these sexual desires--your body will thank you!

By: Camryn Lane, WIT Peer Educator

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Page last modified February 16, 2021