An orgasm is the involuntary, rhythmic contraction of genital muscles followed by the warm, tingling sensation of pleasure radiating through the body. To be sure, sex can be totally amazing without an amazing orgasm or without any orgasm at all. But if you desire more from your orgasms, here are a few ways to lengthen, intensify, and multiply a climax for a more extreme, explosive orgasm:
1. Strengthen your pelvic floor.
In the book The Sexology of the Vaginal Orgasm, author Karl F. Stifter writes that the muscle of your pelvic floor, called the pubococcygeal muscle (PC), sends measurable electronic signals when repeatedly contracted, unlike any other muscle in the entire body. These signals travel through the spinal cord to the brain, stimulating the prostate in the male and the uterus in the female and releasing pleasurable endorphins. It's no wonder that the perineum is referred to in the Taoist tradition as the hui-yin, or "power center" of our sexual bodies.
So what do we do with the PC muscle? Well, you can squeeze the PC by tensing around your genitals as if to stop urinating or prevent bowel movement. Squeeze it when aroused in order to intensify pleasure, to stop an orgasm, to bring it on, or to prolong it. Prolonging an orgasm can be done by squeezing the PC to pause the sensation of orgasm, then releasing the contraction to continue the flow of pleasure.
The more you practice squeezing and holding the PC on your own, the better control you will have with your PC muscle during sexual activity. For muscle strengthening, squeeze 10 to 30 times, not more than three times a day, varying the duration and power of the squeeze.
2. Don't just breathe...breathe creatively!
Breath is a fundamental ingredient of sexual pleasure. For one, it brings oxygen to all of your glands and body parts. Very crucially, breath brings oxygen to those glands that produce the endorphins and hormones released during orgasm and enhances blood flow and sensation in the genitals.
Here's a very simple exercise: Really try to play with your breath when aroused. Try panting. Short, shallow breaths can take your body into a higher state of arousal. On the other hand, taking long, slow breaths can slow down arousal, relaxing your body on a physiological level, and thus helping you be more sensitive and attuned to touch.
3. Explore different means to an end.
Essentially, your body gets used to following the same neural pathways. Try a different hand when self-pleasuring or a new sensation; substitute one toy for another; and so on. You can expect a period of adjustment as your body learns to climax differently, but this kind of training means that you expand your means to get there, which often means you get there more often!
4. Go multiple.
With a clitoris, the most successful method I've learned and taught is to go for the second and subsequent orgasm within a minute of the first, using the same technique (e.g., stroking) as before. Your genitals will already be engorged, which is a prerequisite for climax, so you're already "in the zone." It takes some practice, but it's helpful to know that it's entirely physiologically possible for anyone to have multiple orgasms. Often, women just don't know that they can do it, so they stop at one.
Those with a penis can multiply their orgasms, too. Alfred Kinsey's reports from the 1940s and 5'0s were the first to reveal brain scans showing that the function of orgasm and ejaculation are governed by two separate parts of a man's brain. In fact, in both tantric and Taoist practices, men are taught to experience the contraction and pleasure of orgasm without releasing semen, known as semen retention. It's the ejaculation that is tiring and is the end of erection—not the orgasm itself. This topic could be multiple books unto itself, and I highly suggest consulting Mantak Chia's famous book, The Multi-Orgasmic Man. (Here's our full guide to multiple orgasms for men.)
5. Play at the edge.
The longer you're in that pre-orgasm zone, often the bigger and more intense the orgasm. Staying in that zone, however, requires a concerted effort. First, it often involves using the pelvic floor and breath, though it can also include pausing the party altogether to add another sensation into the mix, or to do something else entirely in order to remain at the edge...without tipping over!
The key is to find ways to feel relaxed while tapping into your sexual energy. Try doing this alone, as it takes practice—and there's no such thing as too much practice. But keep in mind: It's also essential to communicate with your partner. (Here's our full guide to edging for more powerful orgasms.)
Get to know what makes you aroused. Explore what path your arousal takes: Does it peak and then stop? Does it fizzle out slowly? Does it never lift off? Practice staying in a state of arousal as long as possible, and get yourself on a steady diet of non-goal-focused, exploratory self-pleasure.
Above all else, remember that your body knows exactly what to do. All it needs is to remember and be gently trained and retrained.
When you're ready, try to have a full-body orgasm next.
Emma Michelle Dixon, Ph.D., is a freelance writer and mindfulness coach based in Sydney. She has a Ph.D. in Economics and has taught workshops, talks, and retreats on sexuality and personal development. She specializes in holistic healing modalities, bodywork, relationships, and trauma.