How Do I Know If I Have Had an Orgasm?

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I’m in my first year of college and most of my friends are sleeping around. They talk about having orgasms, which sounds mind-blowing! I’ve never been very comfortable with my body; I don’t even masturbate. But I’ve had sex a few times and I think I felt something like an orgasm. However, it wasn’t anything like what my friends are describing. Is there some kind of test I can take? How do I know if I have had an orgasm, for sure?

How to Know if You Have Had an Orgasm (The Real Answer)

Okay, first, there's one thing we can all do to improve our sex lives immensely. It doesn't require technique or encyclopedic knowledge. In fact—it doesn't even require a partner. This one thing (and my very first suggestion to you) is to stop comparing yourself and your experiences to others!

I get it. We all do it.

Society encourages us to measure life's meaning based on the experiences of everyone else, so it just feels natural to compare. But in the long run, you’ll be happier and have more time and space for the enjoyment of sex, when you stop comparing yourself to others. You see, what really matters isn't your friends' experiences, but rather the intimacy you share with your partner.

Is It an Art or a Science?

Now getting to your question about orgasms—there isn’t really a test you can take. An orgasm is not just a measurable, physical experience. Instead, it's more holistic and takes into account your body, your mind, and possibly even your spirit. 

However, a few telltale signs can indicate what one would call an "orgasmic response." These include:

  • An increase in heart rate and blood pressure
  • An increase in muscle tension
  • A flush of your skin
  • A release of tension, followed by a feeling of deep relaxation

Of course, everybody's different. You might experience one or several of these things and not even feel like you had an orgasm. Whereas, someone else may experience things that aren't on this list like a euphoric high or increased lubrication in the vaginal area.

Floating With the Current

So how can you can you really tell?

Most people would probably respond by saying: You’ll know when you’ve had one. But this sounds condescending. Like—if you’ve never had one, how could you really know? Instead, consider whether or not the sex you’re having is pleasurable: Does it feel good? Does it feel like something you want to do more of? Or are you holding yourself back and reducing the pleasure you’re feeling (which can alter your experience of a climatic orgasm)?

Figuring out if you’ve actually "had one" can be a dead end street. Because if you did, does that then mean you stop exploring other ways of feeling good? Think of it this way: Focusing on an orgasm is like driving down a one-way street that stops at the riverbank. There's no mystery to how it will end, even if you do end up wet. 

But if you shift your focus towards achieving sexual pleasure in the moment, you don’t have to stop at the riverbank. You get to jump in the river and float with the current—never quite knowing where you’ll end up. Sounds fun, doesn't it?