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How Can You Know For Sure That You've Had An Orgasm?

Soooooo...how can you know you've seen the mountaintop...exactly?

Sex

Yes, yes. Orgasms. Before we get semi-surface-level-knee-deep into this thing, let me just say that, if there are two times in life when the same response is probably annoying as hell to the people who personally can't relate, it would have to be when it comes to being in love and having an orgasm. And what reply am I referring to specifically? It's when someone asks, "So, how do you know when it's actually happened?" and those who've been through it, pause, reflect, exhale and then say, "Girl, you just…know."

On the climax tip, I get that, if you've never truly been to the mountaintop before, hearing that answer isn't really offering up much help (although there is a ton of truth in that statement). And so, whether you've never had sex before and you're curious (if that's you, please check out "Here's How Your First Time Having Sex Can Still Affect You") or you've had a fair share of sexual experiences but things are still unclear as far as whether you've had as much fun as everyone else, I'm gonna try and break down how you can know that you've had an orgasm before. Get your glass of wine and sit back.

So, Really—What Is an Orgasm?

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I'm not really sure how I can truly be "'bout it" when it comes to this kind of topic without divulging some of my own past sexual journey. When it came to my first healthy orgasm (I was sexually molested as a child and teenager, which is why I phrase it that way; we'll have to dive into the layers of that another time), I was in college—and it was with myself. My first boyfriend also came into my life my freshman year. He was younger than I was (I didn't know that until we got arrested together for his cousin having a gun in my car; also another story for another time), so neither one of us really knew what we were doing. We continued to talk off and on throughout the years and, honestly, looking back, I think a part of what kept us holding on, is we both wanted a sexual do-over. He ain't ugly (by any stretch) and neither am I. Sometimes, you just…wonder.

Anyway, it wasn't until a professor in college said, "How can you get a man to please you when you don't even know how to please yourself?" (he was saying this to a table of college freshman which is kinda creepy in hindsight) that I said, "Yeah…" and entered into the world of masturbation (another topic that I'll have to share my personal take on at another time). And when I compared that to the intercourse I was experiencing with my boyfriend, yes—I definitely knew when I had my first orgasm and he definitely wasn't in the picture. I then started experiencing orgasms via oral sex with my second sexual partner and lawd—talk about cuing in Peobo Bryson and Regina Belle's "A Whole New World" (with a DeVante Swing remix to it)! Ever since my early college years and experiencing sexual instances when I truly felt like my body was gonna explode, I know, without question, that I've had an orgasm before. At this point in my life, many times over too.

And What Exactly Does an Orgasm Feel Like?

I think the best way to describe it, without it looking like a science paper, is to say that an orgasm is the pinnacle of sexual tension that comes as the result of rhythmic contractions that occur within your uterus, pelvic floor and vagina—all at the same time.

It typically transpires in three phases:

Excitement: Which is when you're aroused (typically during foreplay) and then blood starts to rush to your genital region. It's also when there is an increase of testosterone, dopamine and serotonin in your system which makes you feel warm and stimulated.

Plateau: This is when sexual tension builds, right up to the point where you feel a mixture of thinking you might have to pee (that's the best way to describe it, I think) and you having very little control over yourself. When you hear people on movies doing all of the yelling 'n stuff? It's usually right at this point.

Orgasm: This is when the contractions come. They aren't painful (like when a woman is giving birth). They feel really good—and a bit overwhelming. The warmth that you started to feel during the excitement phase then spreads all throughout your body, a huge release transpires and you finally are able to catch your breath and start to resume a regular breathing pattern. As far as how long orgasms last, the average is somewhere between 18-51 seconds a piece (I say, "a piece" because some people can have multiple orgasms).

OK, so now that you know what an orgasm is, let me just briefly go (back) over what some of the signs are that you've had one:

  • Increased heart rate and breathing
  • Warm feelings, starting in your genital region
  • Multiple vaginal contractions
  • Hyper-sensitivity immediately following (especially in your vaginal region)
  • An immediate feeling of calm and serenity after

There Are Multiple Kinds of Orgasms. Vaginal Being the Most Challenging.

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Now that you know what an orgasm is from a technical standpoint, it's important that I reiterate that orgasms don't only happen via intercourse. I've already shared that my first ones came from masturbation and receiving oral sex. The two things that both of these acts have in common is the focus is put on stimulating my clitoris (including my clitoral hood).

The clitoris is amazing because there is no scientific reason for why it exists other than sexual stimulation. So, the chances of you having an orgasm increase, astronomically so, if the focus is put onto your clitoris, along with your erogenous zones. In fact, this is why a lot of medical and sex experts believe that there are (at least) 11 different types of orgasms a woman can have including a clitoral, anal, nipple, blended and vaginal one.

So, the first thing to keep in mind—and it truly can't be stated enough—is it's important to know the difference between an orgasm and a vaginal orgasm. If you've experienced many of the things that I've described, then there's still a good chance that you've had one before. However, it's the vaginal one that can give women a bit of trouble; around 70 percent of women, to be exact.

Why is that? A lot of medical and sex experts believe that, physically, it may be tied into the fact that the closer a woman's clitoris is to her vaginal opening, the easier it is for her to experience a vaginal orgasm. That makes sense if you think about the fact that it's our clit, not our vagina, that stimulates us the most. So basically, this means that probably the main reason why a lot of women don't have vaginal orgasms is due to how their body is naturally designed (if their clitoris is able to be directly stimulated during intercourse)—not because anything is necessarily "wrong" with them.

Yet what if you're one of those kinds of people who doesn't like being told "no", in any area and so, you're simply not content with accepting that maybe you should shift your focus on having orgasms period and not just a vaginal one? In walks my final point for today.

What Can You Do to Increase Your Chances of Experiencing a Vaginal Orgasm?

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I write about orgasms a lot. That's how much I dig 'em (check out "What Is A Super Orgasm & How Can I Have One?", "Want A More Intense Orgasm? These Tips Are Sure To Make You Cream", "10 Weird & Random Things That Can Prevent An Orgasm"). I really do think that striving for an orgasm period, should be the greater goal, but if you want to give having a vaginal orgasm a more intentional shot, here are five things that you can do.

Try some orgasmic meditation. Stress is the enemy of, just about everything. And the reality is that one of the main reasons why a lot of us have a hard time climaxing is because we have a really difficult time relaxing. If you can relate, something that can help is something that is known as orgasmic meditation. In short, it's when you and your partner practice a form of "mindful touching". You get quiet, you deep breathe and he intentionally focuses on stroking your clitoris as a form of an erotic build-up. Think of it as meditative edging. It's erotic AF while also extremely calming at the same time. You can read more about it by checking out "What Exactly Is 'Orgasmic Meditation'?".

Bring more foreplay into the mix. On average, men can climax within five minutes while it takes us somewhere between 15-20. A lot of that time has very little to do with the orgasm itself; it's all about getting to the excitement part that we talked about earlier. What helps that to happen is foreplay. One of the reasons why I wrote the articles, "9 Sex-Related Questions You & Your Partner Should Ask Each Other. Tonight.", "8 Men & 8 Women Told Me What They Wish Their Partner Would STOP Doing In Bed" and even "Are You Ready To Apply Your Love Language To Your Sex Life?" is because, if there's one thing that all of those posts have in common, it's driving home the point of how important communication is.

Real talk, a lot of people aren't "sexually incompatible", so much as they are not being truly open and honest about their sexual wants and needs. Trust me, if the foreplay is on point, it is so much easier to have an orgasm—any kind but especially a vaginal one.

Get into the right/best positions. All sexual positions serve a purpose, but certain ones can accomplish certain goals quicker than others. When it comes to trying to have a vaginal orgasm, some of the positions that can help you to best achieve your goal include the reverse cowgirl (it's a great way for your partner's penis to stimulate your clitoris during penetration); being on your side (he can rub your clitoris during penetration); what I call the "cat position" (it's just like doggy style but you're on your stomach rather than on your knees; deeper penetration can happen that way); the chest bump (which is when you're in the missionary position but your arch your back while being thrusted; it angles your clitoris to touch his shaft) and, when your legs are over his shoulders (again…deeper penetration).

Have an emotional connection. If you go to your favorite search engine and you put "married sex is best" in the search field, you'll see quite a few links to articles on why sex is best when you're in a long-term and fully committed relationship. A big part of why is because you can fully trust your partner with your desires, your fantasies, your vulnerabilities, what has worked (and has not) worked in the past. Listen, you can have good mechanical sex with a whole lot of people. But even the most sexually active (or sexually cynical) person will vouch for the fact that when there's an emotional connection with the person you're "engaging with", sex really doesn't get much better than that—physically or otherwise.

Don't overthink it. It's kinda crazy that so many of us overthink when, more times than not, all that really does is create problems that don't exist. When it comes to trying to have a vaginal orgasm, please never let it leave your mind that your partner enjoying you as you enjoy them should be the main focal point. If you chill out, relax and let things naturally happen (as your clitoris is getting well taken care of), you've got a far greater chance of having one than if you worry about "getting there" all of the time. Orgasms are wooooooooooonderful. Don't let anyone tell you that they're not. But you are still a sexy, beautiful, amazing woman whether you have one or you don't—vaginal or not. Keep that in mind and watch how many fireworks go off for you. Most likely when you least expect them to…too. #wink

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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