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COLUMN: Kinsey Confidential answers a question about orgasms

Why did I suddenly become multi-orgasmic during intercourse? I became that way two years ago. I enjoy it, but why all of a sudden?

Multiple orgasms are generally considered to be more than one orgasm occurring in a row, happening with continued stimulation — and there’s been fairly little research on them. 

A recent United States probability survey found that just less than half of adult women report having experienced multiple orgasms, which is consistent with some earlier research. That said, we don’t know what proportion of women could experience multiple orgasms given certain circumstances. Some of these circumstances include, for example, if women maintain stimulation (during masturbation, intercourse or other kinds of sex play) and try to have a second or third orgasm, or if they use a vibrator. Vibrators are associated with quicker and more reliable orgasms across sexes. 

We do know that not all who have multiple orgasms have had them since they first became sexually active. Anecdotally, many women have a similar experience as you do — they were sexually active for a while before having multiple orgasms for the first time. We also know that not everyone who is capable of having multiple orgasms has them with any regularity. For some people, it's not a frequent experience. Others don’t try to have multiple orgasms, and for some who want to keep trying, their partner might not continue stimulating them past the first orgasm. 

As to why yours just started happening, I cannot say. Some women find that orgasms — whether single or multiple — come more easily during sex that is particularly exciting or emotionally intimate. We do know, from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, that increasing proportions of women report having orgasms in their 30s, 40s and 50s. So there is some sense, building on previous research, that orgasms may become easier with time, experience and a familiar partner. Orgasm tends to become a bit more difficult in older age, however, often due to vaginal dryness, a person’s own health issues or their partner’s health issues.

I’m sorry we can’t explain the orgasm change more specifically for you, but we are glad, of course, that you’re enjoying this new development in your sexual exploration.

Kinsey Confidential is part of a joint partnership between the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington (IU SPH) and The Kinsey Institute. The column is written by Dr. Debby Herbenick, professor in the IU SPH. Read past Q&A or submit your own question at Follow us on Twitter @KinseyCon  

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