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The Truth About Multiple Orgasms

Mood and connection matter more than technique.

Key points

  • 15 percent of women experience multiple orgasms about half of the time they have sex.
  • Positive mood and feelings of connection to one's partner most often lead to multiple orgasms.
  • Understanding the science of multiple orgasms is helpful, but they aren't a prerequisite for mind-blowing sex.
Emiliano Vittoriosi/UnSplash
Emiliano Vittoriosi/UnSplash

Whether you’ve experienced them yourself, witnessed them in your partner, read about them in erotica, or seen them portrayed on Netflix, multiple orgasms are often shrouded in enigma.

Are they real? Or just an invention of porn that breeds unrealistic sexual expectations and insecurity? How common are they? How can you increase your or your partner’s chances of experiencing them? Can simply understanding them improve your sex life in general?

To begin, yes, they are real. According to most research studies on the topic, approximately 15% of women experience multiple orgasms and do so about half the time they have sex. Despite their low prevalence, however, sex researchers agree that almost all women can achieve multiple orgasms, should they want to.

So, what’s the multi-orgasmic hold-up? A nationwide lack of sexual education, which leaves many of us in the dark regarding female sexual anatomy and pleasure. Also, a culture so steeped in sexual guilt and shame that conversations on the topic never seem to happen.

Until now! Let’s first begin with a more concrete definition. Sex researchers define multiple orgasms as more than one orgasm during the same sexual experience occurring just a few minutes apart. Sometimes multiple orgasms occur with a slight break in stimulation – no more than a minute or so. Other times, there’s no break in stimulation at all.

In the largest study to date on multiple orgasms, it was found that a woman who is multi-orgasmic most typically experiences three total orgasms during a sexual experience. Researchers found there was a huge range in that number, however, ranging from 2 to 20, with one woman reporting up to 100.

The same study found that during partnered sex, the first orgasm occurs on average 13 minutes into the experience, with each sequential orgasm after that occurring about every four minutes. During solo sex, women reported the first orgasm occurring seven minutes in, with each successive orgasm occurring just under four minutes. You don’t need a partner to have multiple orgasms.

This leads to an important question — why do the second, third, fourth, and even fifth orgasms arrive so much more quickly? Researchers believe it’s because the blood flow and genital swelling that results from the first orgasm make each subsequent one easier to come by. The same study also found that whereas the type of sexual stimulation used for the first orgasm was most often clitoral (either from fingers or a sex toy), the second was more likely to result from penetrative sex.

This is consistent with the general finding that over 82% of women require clitoral stimulation to have an orgasm at all. Despite the pedestal we place it on, penetrative sex is not a particularly efficient way for a woman to climax…at least at first. According to this study, penetrative sex becomes a much more likely path to female orgasm after the first climax — one likely brought on clitorally.

It's also helpful to understand the emotional context and psychological characteristics of women who identify as multi-orgasmic. Of the women in this study, a positive mood, feeling relaxed, and feeling emotionally connected to one’s partner were consistently rated as essential to multiple orgasms. Having a partner she trusts who excels at sexual communication and who demonstrates an interest in helping her orgasm is essential. A partner with porn-star skills? Not so much.

From a psychological standpoint, research shows that multi-orgasmic women are quite varied. On average, they report being more sexually adventurous, more sexually assertive, and more sexually motivated compared to non-multi-orgasmic women. However, this wasn’t true of all women. A significant portion reported levels of sexual desire and motivation that were on par with non-multi-orgasmic women.

What this suggests is that a woman doesn’t need to have an off-the-charts sex drive, think about sex all the time, masturbate constantly, or be totally sexually uninhibited to be capable of multiple orgasms. The largest variable standing in the way of most women experiencing multiple orgasms is simply a lack of knowledge and understanding about their bodies and a lack of sexual entitlement.

It's also essential to note that although multiple orgasms are nice, they aren’t necessary for sex to be incredibly satisfying. On the one hand, it’s important to educate women and their partners about everything their bodies and minds are capable of. It’s critical that women be empowered with information about pleasure and anatomy. The “orgasm gap” is real and deserves to be addressed. We all deserve more than a sexual landscape where only 63% of women, compared to 92% of men, report having orgasms at all during heterosexual partnered sex.

At the same time, multiple orgasms don’t always equate to mind-blowing sex. In fact, studies show that intimacy, a sense of emotional connection to one’s partner, and chemistry are often more predictive of sexual satisfaction than how many orgasms occur.

The takeaway? Use this information to feel informed and empowered. Use it to experiment and to feed your sexual curiosity. But don’t fall victim to multiple orgasms "Fear of Missing Out." Fight the pressure. The focus, relaxation, and attainment of the right headspace for one orgasm are often already plenty. Ultimately, more isn’t always better, and quality usually trumps quantity.

Facebook image: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock


Gérard, M., Berry, M., Shtarkshall, R. A., Amsel, R., & Binik, Y. M. (2021). Female multiple orgasm: An exploratory internet-based survey. The Journal of Sex Research, 58(2), 206-221.

Walker, A. M., & Lutmer, A. (2023). Caring, Chemistry, and Orgasms: Components of Great Sexual Experiences. Sexuality & Culture, 1-22.

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