A full-body orgasm is the type of orgasm that can be felt pulsating throughout the entire body. This type of orgasm is usually still triggered by the same genital stimulation that usually gets you off, but the resulting waves of pleasure may feel like they're rippling across the whole body because of intense muscle contractions being felt in the abdomen and elsewhere in the body—or simply because you're maintaining holistic awareness of your body instead of localizing attention on your genitals. That's why full-body orgasms are a regular part of tantric sex, as tantra is all about focusing on manifesting and moving sexual energy throughout the body.
If you want to give it a try, here are a few expert-recommended ways to try to have a full-body orgasm:
1. Semen retention
In tantric sex, semen retention is a practice in which a person with a penis has an orgasm without ejaculating. "By practicing semen retention, you can learn to move that sexual, orgasmic energy through your body so you feel the sensation of having an orgasm without actually ejaculating," the late, widely renowned tantric educator Psalm Isadora wrote at mbg. "This technique will help you transmute the urge to ejaculate into a rush of full-body orgasmic energy."
To do it, Isadora said you must pull the energy from your genitals throughout the entire body using the "microcosmic orbit."
- Right as you're about to orgasm, inhale slowly.
- As you inhale, visualize pulling the orgasmic energy from your penis up the front of your body.
- If needed, you can also use a feather-light touch with your hands to help draw the energy upward.
- When the energy reaches the top of your head, exhale and send it back down. Let the pleasure wash over you.
Edging is when you stop yourself from orgasming just before it happens, when you're right "on the edge" of coming. "We're not talking about trying to stop an orgasm when it starts. That's not safe," Isadora clarified. "We're talking about bringing yourself to the edge of an orgasm, pulling back, letting the orgasmic feelings move through your body, and then repeating the cycle over and over."
It's similar to semen retention in practice, but people of any gender and body type can practice edging. It can be particularly difficult for people with penises who usually have an easier time being stimulated to orgasm, but it can be done with practice and produce powerful, full-body pleasure sensations when timed right.
- When you're right on the metaphorical edge of hitting your climax, stop or slow the sexual activity—but stay aroused.
- Wait about 30 seconds, during which you or your partner might continue giving you another gentler form of stimulation, like soft touches along the thighs or a gentle caresses of the breast.
- Begin the more intensely stimulating sexual activity again. Repeat from No. 1 until you're ready to climax.
- People with penises might go from hard to soft and back during this process. Don't worry; that's the idea!
- You can also use the microcosmic orbit technique described above to move the sexual energy upward. Every time you restart the sexual activity, you're getting a new powerful pulse of energy to move upward, such that it begins to feel like waves and waves of pleasure rippling up your body.
- When you finally release, the orgasm should feel like a stronger, more fuller-bodied experience.
3. Cervical orgasms
Cervical orgasms are a type of orgasm achieved by stimulating the cervix. Some people describe these orgasms as feeling more fuller-bodied. It's not exactly clear why; sex researcher Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., MPH, tells mbg there's no scientific research suggesting there'd be a connection between the cervix and the rest of the body. It's possible that because the cervix is located at the very back of the vaginal canal, reaching it often involves deep penetration that totally fills up the vagina and even presses up further into the body internally. This "full" feeling might explain why cervical orgasms can feel so totalistic.
You can use a penis or a firm sex toy to reach the cervix and stimulate it, usually through a vigorous thrusting motion. Importantly though, the cervix can be very sensitive and may even hurt when it's hit initially, so it's important to work up to cervical stimulation. Starting out with stimulating the clitoris and getting the vagina aroused and opened up is important, and it might help to have a regular clitoral orgasm first before trying for the cervical orgasm through penetration. (Here's our full guide to having a cervical orgasm.)
4. Energy orgasms
If you really want to lean into the tantric sex angle, go for the energy orgasm—a type of orgasm that involves no touch whatsoever. As tantric educator Leslie Grace, R.N., explains, this involves separating the experience of an orgasm from the physical stimulation usually needed to make it happen.
To have an energy orgasm, you'll have to really commit. Set aside some time and create a cozy, sensual, romantic bedroom environment to help get yourself in the mood. Then follow these steps, per Grace's instruction:
- Lie back comfortably with your knees bent and feet on the bed or floor.
- Take long, deep breaths to relax the entire body.
- Focus on your genitals, visualizing yourself stimulating yourself slowly and sensually (without actually doing it).
- If you're with a partner, they can hold one hand over your genitals and create a motion of moving the sexual energy from your genital area upward, starting with small strokes and then building up to longer ones reaching all the way up your body.
- In rhythm with your breathing and with your partner's hand and energy movements, start to undulate and create a wavelike motion with your body.
- Make noise! Start out with soft moans and really start to let loose and get loud as the sexual energy begins to build.
- Increase the speed of your motions and sounds of your moans. You'll start to feel the pressure building. Keep going until you finally reach that orgasmic peak!
(For more in-depth instructions, here's our full-energy orgasm guide.)
General tips for having a full-body orgasm.
Even if you're not interested in trying any of the above fancier methods, full-body orgasms can also happen during your normal sex sessions. Here are a few tips that can help make it happen:
1. Stimulate the upper body during sex.
For people with vulvas, nipple stimulation triggers the same pleasure network in the brain as clitoral stimulation. Having both happening at the same time can feel like a unifying, full-bodied experience. Regardless of what genitals you and your partner have, you can still dig your fingers into each other's back or scalps during penetration--anything to draw the attention upward and connect the arousal from the bottom to the top of the body.
2. Undulate your body.
While you're having intercourse or getting orally stimulated, literally rock your body and create wavelike motions with your hips, back, shoulders, and head. Keep your whole body engaged in the experience of pleasure.
3. Breathe deeply during sex.
Most people tend to hold their breath or breathe in a quick, shallow, panting sort of way during sex. But that type of breathing is limiting: "The more you breathe, the more you feel and the more sexual energy you raise," Barbara Carrellas, a tantric sex educator who teaches courses on breath and energy orgasms, tells mbg.
"Think of your body as a 30-gallon container. If you breathe very little during partner sex or masturbation, you raise very little energy—perhaps the amount that might fill a coffee cup. If you breathe more fully and deeply than you usually do from the beginning of a sexual experience all the way through to orgasm, you fill up your entire container. With all that energy, you are much more likely to experience a longer, deeper, expanded, extended orgasm."
4. Make a lot of noise.
First of all, moaning is sexy, and sometimes hearing yourself making sexual noises can be like an audio cue to your brain that good-feeling things are happening. You can essentially arouse yourself with your own voice, not to mention your partner. (A 2019 survey found the majority of people feel more confident in bed when their partner is making a lot of noise, FYI!)
But in tantric sex practices, using your voice is thought to be another way to move your energy. Using a lower-pitched voice moves energy down your body toward your genitals, and using higher pitches moves energy upward. Try using your sexual noises as part of how you're drawing sexual energy upward in your body to get that full-body feeling.
What does a full-body orgasm feel like?
Just like orgasms in general, full-body orgasms feel different for each individual. Carrellas says it'll depend on what your experience of a regular orgasm is like.
"If you think orgasm is chiefly a physical experience (e.g., a sexual climax attained by stimulation of the genitals and other erogenous zones), then an orgasm would qualify as full-body if you felt physical sensations in a large percentage of your body," she explains. "If you have a more expanded view of orgasm (e.g., a release of tension and expansion of energy flowing through the body/mind and connecting you to spirit), your full-body orgasm experience might include a physical tingling accompanied by a huge emotional release and a feeling of oneness with nature."
She adds, "Tingling, vibrating, expansive sensations in nongenital body parts, gigglegasms, crygasms, blissgasms, and feelings of expansiveness, peak experience, peace, and connection are all common."
Remember, practice makes perfect. Even if you aren't able to have a full-body orgasm right away using these techniques, all of them should bring an elevated and more pleasurable experience to your sexual activities. Enjoy the ride, no matter the outcome.
Kelly Gonsalves is a multi-certified sex educator and relationship coach helping people figure out how to create dating and sex lives that actually feel good — more open, more optimistic, and more pleasurable. In addition to working with individuals in her private practice, Kelly serves as the Sex & Relationships Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and she’s been trained and certified by leading sex and relationship institutions such as The Gottman Institute and Everyone Deserves Sex Ed, among others. Her work has been featured at The Cut, Vice, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and elsewhere.
With her warm, playful approach to coaching and facilitation, Kelly creates refreshingly candid spaces for processing and healing challenges around dating, sexuality, identity, body image, and relationships. She’s particularly enthusiastic about helping softhearted women get re-energized around the dating experience and find joy in the process of connecting with others. She believes relationships should be easy—and that, with room for self-reflection and the right toolkit, they can be.
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