A while ago, Robert King was studying the female orgasm. He went to women and asked them: “Describe an orgasm.” And their responses surprised him. Often, they would reply, “Well, what kind do you mean?” King’s response: You tell me.
Using the data from those surveys, King and his colleagues at the University of East London tried to sort out the variety of ways in which women describe their orgasms. What they found was that their accounts tended to sort into two distinct categories.
Now, you might have heard that there are two kinds of female orgasm: clitoral and vaginal. That’s not entirely true, King says. He and his colleagues did find two kinds of female orgasm, but instead of defining them as clitoral and vaginal, they sorted them into surface and deep orgasms.
This alternate classification is important for a number of reasons. First, calling something a clitoral orgasm isn’t particularly useful, King says, since the clitoris is involved in all kinds of orgasms. While we commonly think of the clitoris as just the small button-like region we can see, the actual organ is about four inches long and extends on both sides of the vagina. Second, many experts avoid the clitoral/vaginal distinction because it has been used to stigmatize women for having “the wrong kind” of orgasm. Freud, for example, thought the clitoral orgasm was immature and masculine.
So King’s classifications of surface and deep orgasms try to avoid any of that kind of judgment. One isn’t any better than another, he says. “It might be quite arbitrary what turns a surface orgasm into a deep orgasm. It might be a little bit like the difference between a low explosive and a high explosive — sometimes you want a low explosive and sometimes you want a high explosive.”
Okay, so what’s the difference between a surface and a deep orgasm? It has to do with the ways in which women described their physical and emotional states. Deep orgasms are associated with internal feelings like floating and internal pulsing. Surface orgasms are described as more intense, but located in the outer region of the vagina.
So it seems to be true, there are indeed two kinds of female orgasm. But you’ll have to turn to some other magazine for tips on how to make them happen in your girlfriend.