How do I know if I've had an orgasm?

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Dear Sex Counselor

I have a long-distance relationship. I probably only see my boyfriend maybe one week out of the month if I’m lucky. Anyway, he likes to have phone sex. I’d never done this before, so at first I was uncomfortable with it. I had also never masturbated by myself before. Now that I have the hang of it, and I know what he wants to hear, I really enjoy it. When we’re done or during the process he would ask me if I "cummed"? What does it mean when you "cum"? Is there a difference between that and female ejaculation? Does a woman know when she "cums"? Is there some kind of feeling? Also, when we have sex he’d tell me I’m gushing or flowing. Is that "cum" or just ejaculate? I get extremely aroused with both the phone sex and the intercourse I have with him. How do you know when you have an orgasm?


When someone asks if you have "cum" it means they are asking if you have had an orgasm. For most women, you usually know when you have an orgasm if you feel a tremendous buildup of muscle tension, and then have a big release of that tension, along with a pleasurable feeling and (usually) muscle spasms of the vagina, uterus, and anus/perineum (the perineum is the area between the vaginal opening and the anus).

Women have orgasms most often through stimulation of the clitoris (the small bud of tissue at the front of your vulva/lips) that is prolonged, and continues until that feeling of pleasurable release.

Generally, we think that if you don’t know if you have ever had an orgasm, then you probably have not had one yet. It is possible to enjoy sex and experience a lot of pleasure without having an orgasm. If you do want to have an orgasm, you might want to try masturbating alone, focusing on intensely stimulating your clitoris, to see if you can have an orgasm.

Many women find that they need additional stimulation (more than hand, tongue, or intercourse can provide) and use a vibrator to have orgasms. You can use a vibrator during masturbation, during intercourse, or both.

Some women do ejaculate fluid during orgasm, and some do not. If you don’t ejaculate, that does not mean you are not having an orgasm. Some women find that they ejaculate even when they are not having an orgasm. If you are not ejaculating, that doesn’t mean you aren’t having orgasms. Many women’s vaginas do get very wet with lubrication during sex; this is not ejaculation.

I would encourage you to explore further and see what kind of stimulation takes you to that place intense feeling, then release. If you are concerned that you aren’t having orgasms, and can’t seem to get yourself there, then I recommend the book The Elusive Orgasm. It’s a great book designed to help women learn more about our bodies and sexual responses so we can enjoy more pleasurable orgasms. In the meantime, I think it’s great that you and your boyfriend have found a way to have sex long-distance. Try adding a vibrator to your self-pleasuring during your phone sex, and see what happens.

The Sex Counselor