Give or contribute to an orgasm?

Can You Give an Orgasm? By Cory Silverberg

Yesterday this seemingly simple question came through the About Sexuality Facebook page: “What gives a woman orgasm?”

Still not understanding what of Facebook is (completely) public and what is (thinly) private, I thought I’d share my response here. It goes like this:

Thanks for your question, which is an interesting one.

First I think we need to ask, can you ever actually give someone an orgasm? That is, is an orgasm something that can be given or is it something that must be experienced?

For example you can give someone a massage, but you can’t give them relaxation. You can give someone an ice cream cone but you can’t give them the pleasure that can come from eating it.

Mind you not everyone likes massages or ice cream. And some of us do like a massage but being touched reminds us of other times we’ve been touched in ways we didn’t like or want. And some of us love ice cream but are lactose intolerant and so we feel pain when we eat it.

What’s the analogous offering when it comes to orgasm? I guess it is that we are giving sexual stimulation. And giving our sexual attention and intention. These can be great things, as long as they are wanted and as long as we give them in a way that allows the person on the receiving end (in the case of your question, the woman) to experience them as pleasurable. But for our hypothetical woman to be given an orgasm, what we’d need to do is give her whatever it is she needs to have an orgasm. And is that even the same as giving an orgasm? Is giving someone a series of parts that make up a thing or experience the same as giving them that thing or that experience?

What are the things that we would give if we wanted to give an orgasm? That might be physical stimulation of a certain pressure and speed and duration in a particular part of her body. It might be intellectual stimulation, mental, emotional stimulation. It might also be creating a time and space where the person can relax and focus on their own body and pleasure.

It’s impossible for me to say. I can offer many generalizations, but when it comes to a specific woman, or anyone, there’s no way I could tell you how to give an orgasm. Mostly because I don’t actually believe you can give an orgasm. The best you can do is create the circumstances, lay the groundwork, and offer a lot of energy and intention. And be open to finding out the mystery of what makes a person, any person, come.

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