The Male Orgasm: Everything you need to know

10 min read
The Male Orgasm: Everything you need to know

With studies showing that the majority of straight men orgasm in nearly all of their sexual encounters, it stands to reason that most men would consider themselves to be somewhat familiar with the male orgasm. 

If you're a man, there's a high likelihood you're fairly familiar with it as well - at least the standard affair involving your penis, a bit of stimulation, and finally an ejaculation. But how familiar are you with the prostate orgasm? Have you ever experienced the intensity of a blended, or whole body orgasm? What about the phases of arousal - did you know there is what's known as a 'sexual response cycle' consisting of four steps?

It's safe to say that when it comes to the male orgasm, there's definitely more than meets the eye. That's why we've put together this article consisting of a basic introduction to this deceptively deep topic. Here we'll take a dive into what an orgasm really is, as well as investigating the phases of arousal men go through. We'll even introduce you to the multitude of unique and intense orgasms men are capable of having!

Increasing your familiarity with the male orgasm is a great step towards improving your sexual experiences

Increasing your familiarity with the male orgasm is a great step towards improving your sexual experiences. Becoming more aware of what's happening with your body - as well as what new techniques and experiences are possible - can be beneficial for both solo sex and sex with a partner, so take the plunge and read on!

What is an orgasm?

An orgasm is generally defined as being a pleasurable release of sexual tension, happening when your arousal is built up until it hits its peak. When your excitement is at its highest point, this tension is finally released with an orgasm.

Orgasms usually result in a feeling of intense pleasure throughout your body, and particularly in your genitals - the muscles in which (and in your anus and perineum) will have rhythmic contractions for several seconds. Most often, men will ejaculate during an orgasm. However, it's possible to have an orgasm without ejaculating, and vice versa.

While there are many similarities, there are also several differences between the male orgasm and the female orgasm. Below, we'll take a look at some of the main differences!

 

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Male orgasm vs female orgasm

To start with, there's the obvious - males and females have different genitals. The male orgasm involves contractions of the muscles in the penis and anus, and the female orgasm involves the contraction of muscles in the vagina (and anus).

While women can sometimes ejaculate, only men ejaculate semen. This means that the male orgasm (as it usually goes hand in hand with ejaculation) has a biological purpose, as it is necessary to fertilize the female's eggs, resulting in a pregnancy. That's not to say the female orgasm is any less important, just that it doesn't have a clear biological function in the same way as the male orgasm.

While women can sometimes ejaculate, only men ejaculate semen. This means that the male orgasm (as it usually goes hand in hand with ejaculation) has a biological purpose

For men, the average orgasm lasts around 3 to 10 seconds. The female orgasm on the other hand tends to last a lot longer - up to 20 seconds and sometimes even longer than that! Men also have a refractory period, meaning they physically cannot orgasm for a while after their first. Since women have no refractory period, they can actually have multiple orgasms consecutively, being able to orgasm several times in a row with practice and a bit of luck!

However, that doesn't necessarily mean men have a reason to be envious. Studies have shown that the majority of straight men climax during almost all of their sexual encounters, whereas only just over half of straight women could say the same. The stats are similar for bisexual men and bisexual women. However, gay men and lesbian women reportedly have a much more consistent rate, which is similar to that of straight men. Interesting!

A possible explanation for the orgasm gap in straight and bisexual men and women is that it can take a little more work and concentration for women to orgasm. Lots of women find more success if their partner includes multiple different kinds of stimulation and not just intercourse - not every woman can even have a vaginal orgasm. Generally, getting to the point of orgasm in men tends to be more straightforward, requiring less precision. It's worth noting though that sex can still be satisfying without orgasm - everyone has different preferences after all!

The men's arousal phases: Steps to ejaculation

When you're sexually aroused and taking part in activities which are sexually stimulating, you and your body go through a sequence of numerous changes. These steps, or phases, of sexual arousal are both emotional and physical, and it can be useful to understand how your body in particular is affected during each stage, especially if you're looking to find the root of any sexual problems you might be experiencing.

The steps we cover here actually apply to males and females - the main difference is usually the timing of each phase. We'll be focusing specifically on men here, and the unique changes that happens to men during the sexual response cycle.

Step 1: Excitement

The amount of time this first stage lasts can vary quite a bit depending on the sexual encounter - it might last a few minutes, or a few hours! At this stage both your breathing and heart rate will speed up, and the tension in your muscles will increase. Your nipples may become erect, and your skin may get flushed and red. Your genitals will see increased blood flow, resulting in your penis becoming erect. Your scrotum will tighten as your testicles swell and start to release lubrication.

Step 2: Plateau

In this stage, which lasts until right before you orgasm, everything we mentioned in the first stage will continue, and can escalate even more. This results in your breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure increasing further, as well as your scrotum getting more tight. As your the tension in your muscles increases more, you might start to have muscle spasms.

Step 3: Orgasm

The quickest step of the cycle, the orgasm culminates in a sudden release of sexual tension. Your body will have involuntary muscle contractions and spasms, including in the base of your penis which causes semen to be ejaculated. During orgasm your breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure peak, and your whole body may get red or flushed.

Step 4: Resolution

The resolution is the final step, in which all the changes of the previous stages are reversed. Your breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure should return to their usual state, as will any erect or swollen parts of your body. You'll likely feel content at this stage, as well as tired. Additionally, it's common to feel closer to your partner. Unlike women, men can't have another orgasm immediately after the first due to their refractory period, which differs from man to man, and generally gets longer with age.

The different types of male orgasm

Ejaculatory orgasm

An ejaculatory orgasfm is the usual kind of orgasm you'll have through the sexual stimulation your penis, either through masturbation or sex. As the name suggests, this orgasm involves semen being ejaculated from your penis.

Prostate orgasm

The walnut sized prostate gland is located under your bladder, and some go as far as calling it the 'P-spot' - the male equivalent of the G-spot. Accessed through your anus, the prostate is extremely sensitive, to the point where men can orgasm when it is stimulated with something like a sex toy, or even your finger. 

Blended orgasm or whole body orgasm

A blended - or whole body - orgasm can be achieved by combining multiple types of stimulation at once, including stimulation of your penis, prostate, and any other of the several erogenous zones of your body. When timed correctly, this can result in separate orgasms at the same time, which, as you can imagine, can be intensely pleasurable!

Pelvic orgasm

A pelvic orgasm is a type of orgasm which can be achieved through the sexual technique known as edging. Edging is when you bring yourself to right before the point of climax - to the edge - before stopping so you don't actually orgasm. This can be repeated as much as you like, and can be done by yourself or with your partner.

Many claim that edging both gives you more control over your orgasms, and results in much more intense pleasure when you finally let yourself climax!

Multiple orgasms

The phrase 'multiple orgasms' can refer to two separate types when it comes to men. One kind is when you climax, rest for a while, and then attempt to go again. If your refractory period is short enough, you may well be successful, and might orgasm without ejaculating semen at all, or just a reduced amount. On the other hand, it can refer to the kind of multiple orgasm that women are capable of having, where you orgasm over and over again without needing to rest for your refractory period.

The phrase 'multiple orgasms' can refer to two separate types when it comes to men

However, the evidence for the latter - having multiple male orgasms one after the other - is mainly anecdotal, and male multiple orgasms aren't often the focus of real scientific studies. That's not to say it's impossible, just that the exact conditions and methods aren't fully known as of yet. The former though is much more achievable, especially in younger men with a shorter refractory period.

Male orgasm FAQs

Can I have an orgasm without ejaculating?

Yes, you can have an orgasm without ejaculating. This is called having a dry orgasm, or orgasmic anejaculation. Dry orgasms can have numerous causes, some of which are only temporary, but some can be either last a very long time, or even be permanent. The causes of dry orgasms include:

  • Multiple or repeated orgasms - this can cause your body's semen stores to get depleted, meaning less or none is released the next time you orgasm

  • Testosterone deficiency - this can happen to people who have a hormone imbalance, and also can occur with age

  • Damage to nerves - this can be a result of injuries to the spine, or as a side effect of illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis

  • Blockages in the urethra or the ejaculatory duct - this can be caused by growths such as cysts, or even trapped sperm

  • Genetic abnormalities - your genes may mean you simply don't produce enough semen and don't necessarily have a health issue

  • Certain surgeries - various kinds of surgery can affect the nerves and muscles that allow you to ejaculate semen, such as having your bladder, lymph nodes, or prostate removed.

In some cases, what can appear to be a dry orgasm can actually be what is known as retrograde ejaculation, which is when semen goes backwards into your bladder as opposed to coming out of your penis. This can happen if your bladder doesn't remain closed when you orgasm - meaning semen is allowed in, and is released later on in urine.

Retrograde ejaculation, and dry orgasms in general, aren't necessarily a big problem unless you want to have children. If you have any concerns about dry orgasms, visiting a healthcare professional like a doctor can help find the cause, and if applicable, can help treat the issue.

Can having a vasectomy impact the quality of an orgasm?

Many men who are interested in getting a vasectomy are worried that it will have a negative effect on their sex life, and on their orgasms in particular. Luckily, vasectomies do not affect your sex life, and the feeling of having an orgasm and ejaculating should not change.

In some cases, the first couple of times you ejaculate after having a vasectomy can be uncomfortable, but this discomfort should go away. If it doesn't, it's important to raise this issue to a doctor.

Overall, having a vasectomy should not affect your orgasms, ejaculation, erections, or sex drive. On the contrary, lots of men find that the reduced stress - since there's no risk of unplanned pregnancy - can make orgasms feel even more satisfying, as well as increasing sexual desire!

Can recreational drugs improve my orgasm?

Recreational drugs - both legal and illegal - have been combined with sex for an extremely long time, partially due to how they can make orgasms and other pleasurable feelings more intense. However, drugs can also reduce the intensity of orgasms, and can have a multitude of effects on many other aspects of sex, including increasing or decreasing sex drive, changing how the body responds to sex (such as causing erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation), and increasing sexual risk taking.

This unpredictability is because sex - and sexuality - are complicated, relying on intricate relationships and changes in biology and emotions, all of which can be affected by drug use

This unpredictability is because sex - and sexuality - are complicated, relying on intricate relationships and changes in biology and emotions, all of which can be affected by drug use. It's even possible to become sexually dependent on drugs, which can alter behaviour, feelings, and make it hard to enjoy sex - or function properly - without them.

It goes without saying that drugs can be dangerous, and using them for any reason can develop into a substance abuse issue. Anyone who is struggling with substance abuse should seek help, either from a doctor, mental health professionals, or support groups.

How can I extend the length of my orgasm?

There are numerous ways of extending the length and intensity of orgasmic feelings. It's something many men have attempted, which has resulted in a variety of techniques to try.

One idea some swear by is that of Tantric sex. Essentially, Tantric sex is using energy either instead of, or in combination with, physical stimulation. When we say energy we don't mean heat or electricity - it's more energy in the spiritual sense. Proponents of Tantric sex claim it can be used to achieve deeper and longer sensations than ever before, so by all means investigate this one if you're that way inclined! 

Practicing edging can help your orgasms last longer, and make them more intense!

Earlier on we mentioned edging, the technique involving getting right before the point of orgasm before stopping, waiting a little, and then repeating this process several times before eventually letting yourself climax. Practicing edging can help your orgasms last longer, and make them more intense! Moreover, practicing kegels and other exercises which strengthen the pelvic floor muscles can have a similar effect.

Finally, blended orgasms - orgasms involving multiple erogenous zones being stimulated at once, such as your penis and prostate - can result in prolonged orgasmic feelings if done correctly.

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