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Do orgasms affect men differently than women?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Obviously, there are some differences between the sexual organs of men and women, but the two sexes actually experience orgasms quite similarly. In both men and women, an orgasm is the climax of sexual arousal, and it results in a pleasurable throbbing sensation caused by involuntary muscle contraction. In men, this contraction happens in the penis and ejaculatory ducts; in women, the vagina and uterus contract. In both sexes, the pelvic muscles, rectum, and other muscles throughout the body go through this rhythmic contraction and relaxation. For men, orgasm is often accompanied by ejaculation, which is the release of semen through the urethra. Women don't usually ejaculate, but women are much more likely than men to have multiple orgasms in a short time frame. Both men and women experience other effects of orgasm, like a faster heart rate, heavier breathing, and the release of "feel-good" hormones.

Madeleine M. Castellanos, MD
Psychiatry
All men have a point of what we call "ejaculatory inevitability" during sex when they can't hold back from an orgasm, no matter what. And all men have an "ejaculatory threshold," which is the amount of stimulation they can experience before reaching this "point of no return."

Women, on the other hand, don't experience ejaculatory inevitability -- they can "lose" an orgasm even as it's happening. There are pros and cons to both situations: Sure, it's tougher for some women to climax, especially if they're distracted. On the other hand, women are able to enjoy multiple orgasms and have rarely been accused of coming "too fast". Orgasmic bliss is more of a sure thing for guys, but it's got its own downside: It's easy for some men to pass that point of ejaculatory inevitability sooner than they -- and their partners -- would like. That's called premature ejaculation.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.