Who Knew There Was Such A Thing As "Bad Orgasms"?

Just when you thought you've heard of it all...


Y'all, you don't even have to say it. With as much time as I devote to studying the topic of sex, on a pretty consistent basis, even I have moments when I will stumble across a concept that leaves me a bit stumped. Although it has indeed been a while since I've partaken of the beautiful act known as coitus, my memory is still quite keen. And while some sex was better than others (see "What Exactly Does It Mean To Be Sexually Compatible?"), I generally didn't have problems achieving orgasms (also see "Why You Should Stop Faking Orgasms ASAP"). Annnnd, from what I can recall, all of them were pretty damn good.

That's why, when I checked out an article that was recently featured on Health's website and I noticed that it was exploring the entire concept of what a "bad orgasm" actually is, you know a sista was super intrigued. I'd be baffled if at least a few of you aren't too. So, just what is a bad orgasm, you ask?

What in the World Is a “Bad Orgasm”?!


OK, so there is a study that was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, right? If you want to read it in its entirety, you can do so by clicking here. Just a heads up, it's long and technical, so if you want a general concept of what it revealed, it's this. After surveying approximately 726 different people, the researchers came to the conclusion that we are capable of having orgasms that aren't all that pleasurable. And, if we continue to have them, they are able to create negative impacts on our relationships, our psychological health and our sexuality overall.

For the record, while the study did also delve into what happens to people when they have orgasms during sex when it is not consensual (because sometimes our bodies mechanically respond to sexual stimuli no matter how much our minds and emotions aren't into it), the part of the study that was featured in Health's article is referring to the kind when both parties agree to "do it".

And just what kind of sex is consensual, brings forth an orgasm and still the orgasm is considered to be bad? That's a really good question. Let me answer that by offering up more questions. Have you ever had sex with your partner in order to avoid having a difficult conversation or disagreement that you didn't want to get into? Have you over "pushed yourself" to climax in order to give your partner the impression that you are just as satisfied as they appear to be? Have you ever had an orgasm with someone, whether it was via oral sex or intercourse, and the overall experience felt kind of empty because the emotional connection simply wasn't there (whether that's ever or at a particular time)? Perhaps you don't have a problem with "getting there", but the sex and climax ends up being borderline painful because you're not wet enough or the way that you are being penetrated isn't as comfortable as you are generally accustomed to. Has that ever happened to you before?

Dayum. When you look at it this way, you're probably thinking, "Whoa. I've been having way more 'bad orgasms' than I ever should have been." The researchers agree and that is the overall purpose for why they are trying to get us to grasp on to the concept of what a bad orgasm is. They want us to realize that, when it comes to having truly great sex, there needs to be more focus on "great" and less on "orgasm"; especially since, for the most part, orgasms are merely a physical reaction to sexual stimulation.

Not to say that our minds and hearts can't help to make climaxing easier (especially for women), but if after you "reach the mountaintop", you basically feel like you actually would've preferred doing something like clean your fridge, clip your toenails or even just avoided your partner altogether…does that sound like good sex to you? Exactly. That technically would qualify as being a bad orgasm. (Bad sex too when you really stop to think about it.)

How Do Good Orgasms vs. Bad Orgasms Compare to One Another?


The more I gave bad orgasms some thought, my mind went back to a lot of the conversations that I've had with women—both online and off—about how sex for them is "just OK". It's not because they aren't attracted to their partner or that he is lacking in his abilities; it's because they just don't feel as into the experience as they want to be. One woman, in particular, she recently shared with me that, while she climaxes on a very consistent basis, she wants no kissing, no cuddling and she actually wants to get the heck up out of dodge within 10 minutes of the act being over. Not just some of the time. Pretty much most of the time. Yeah, now that I know what a bad orgasm is, I think that she definitely falls under the umbrella of it.

Adding to her sexual experiences, because word definitions are a big deal to me, I revisited what "good" and "bad" mean. When something is good, it's high quality. It's also morally excellent, kind and beneficial. Some synonyms for good include positive, satisfying, wonderful, pleasing, welcome, gratifying and agreeable. Sit on those for a moment, would you?

Taking all of this into account, I then thought about a guy I know who tells me all of the time that, during the act of sex, he keeps walls up with his partners because—and this is a direct quote—"I am not there to bond with them. I am there to perform a service." Bless his heart. He said that, not because he's a jerk; it's basically because he goes into the act with "make them cum" on the brain—that is all that he's really focused on. That is all that he is actually trying to achieve—you make me orgasm, I'll make you orgasm. Have a nice day. It's not a connection. It's merely transactional. A lot of casual sex is just like this. Whew. This concept of bad orgasms is getting bigger and bigger the more I think about it.

And that, that made me think about what the word "bad" means. I don't know about you but, whenever I usually think about it, I think about something (or someone) being wicked, evil or morally void. But did you know that something that is defective is also bad? So is something that is deficient, inferior in quality or—get this—"lacking skill or talent". Some synonyms for the word "bad" include cheap, blah, amiss, careless, substandard, offensive and just plain off.

So, in putting all of this together, if an orgasm is truly good, it's going to come from having a positive, satisfying, welcome and beneficial experience. You will be able to look back on the act and the climax about being able to apply all of these words. On the flip side, if the orgasm is bad, it's going to feel like the experience was deficient in some way. It might also feel cheap, blah…maybe even something went down that was amiss or slightly offended you.

Or, after your partner got off of you (or you got off of him), in your mind you thought, "I mean I came and, while I can't quite put my finger on it, something is…off." If you can say that, my dear, you've just had what is known as a bad orgasm.

That's the bad news. The good news is this—the cool thing about this entire concept is, now we can put a name to why sometimes sex "does what it is supposed to do" in the general sense, but we're still not walking away feeling as content as we actually should. Bottom line, it's because not all orgasms are equal. Some are good. Some are bad. And that's because some benefit our entire being while others…don't.

Yeah, I can only imagine how many people you're gonna share this idea with. While you're at it, forward this article to your partner to see what his thoughts are on the notion. Sex is simply too incredible to be out here thinking that, so long as you have an orgasm, it should be enough for you. Naw sis. If that orgasm isn't good—by every definition of the word "good"—then it is bad. And you deserve more than to be out here settling for bad orgasms. Feel me? Chile, I know that you do.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

Want A More Intense Orgasm? These Tips Are Sure To Make You Cream

10 Things You Didn't Know About The Male And Female Orgasm

How To Orgasm With Your Partner At The Same Time

My First Orgasm Changed Everything I Thought I Knew About Sex

Feature image by Giphy

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.


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

Featured image by Shutterstock

This article is in partnership with Staples.

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