A Cornucopia of Climaxes

Important note: This piece, and the piece it links to, includes references to my personal sex life. Family members and others who don’t want to read about that stuff, please don’t read this one.

I’ve been thinking about orgasms.

Just for a change.

Orgasms, I think we can all agree, are great. (I know — what a controversial and groundbreaking assertion! Alert the media!) But lately, I’ve been thinking about the vast variety of climactic sexual experiences that aren’t, technically speaking, orgasms. I’ve been thinking about sexual experiences that feel, in some sense, like an orgasm, or like a second cousin of an orgasm — a shiver, an explosion of energy, a feeling of relaxation and release — but that probably wouldn’t register as “orgasm” if I was hooked up to a Masters and Johnson orgasm- measuring machine.

We have a poverty of language about sexual pleasure. And this includes a poverty of language about climactic sexual pleasure. Every time I read about the four stages of human sexual response cycle (excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution), I feel like I’m looking at a map of a forest that’s only mapping out the one path from the parking lot to the main lodge, without showing any of the trails and creeks and pastures. Technically, I suppose these not-quite-climactic climaxes fall into the “excitement” or “plateau” phase of the response cycle… but that language doesn’t capture the feeling of rich, complex satisfaction these other trails have to offer.

So here are some of the not-exactly-orgasmic sexual climaxes I’ve experienced, and the language I’ve come up with to describe them.


Thus begins my new piece on the Blowfish Blog, A Cornucopia of Climaxes. To find out more about some of these varieties of sexual climaxes — and to share your own with the rest of the class — read the rest of the piece. (And if you’re inspired to comment here, please consider cross-posting your comment to the Blowfish Blog — they like comments there, too.) Enjoy!

A Cornucopia of Climaxes

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