5 Ways Women Can Orgasm That Don’t Involve Sexual Activity

Women don’t need to have sex in order to reach orgasm. In fact, they don’t necessarily even need any genital stimulation at all. Here are five ways women can experience what scientists call “non-genital” orgasms.

1. Some women can literally think themselves to orgasm. These are known as “imagery orgasms” because they occur on the basis of mental images alone—no physical stimulation required [1]. Scientists have found that these thought-induced orgasms are indistinguishable from orgasms resulting from masturbation in terms of their physiological response.

2. Some women have orgasms in their sleep. Nocturnal orgasms aren’t just for men—women can have them, too. In fact, Alfred Kinsey’s research revealed that 37% of the women he surveyed reported having had at least one orgasm in their sleep before [2].

3. Some women have orgasms while they exercise. Kinsey also found that about 5% of the women he surveyed reported having had one or more exercise-induced orgasms [2], but more recent studies have found even larger numbers of women who’ve experienced this. Though these orgasms are often referred to as “coregasms,” it’s not necessarily true that they only happen during core exercises—women have also reported them during yoga, running, weight lifting, jazzercise, and more.

4. “Nipplegasms” are a thing, too. Research has found that some women can reach orgasm from nipple stimulation alone [1]. One plausible explanation comes from brain scanning studies, which have found that nipple stimulation activates the same brain regions as clitoral and vaginal stimulation.

5. Some women have experienced orgasm during childbirth. Birth-induced orgasms have been documented frequently enough to have been given their own name: “birthgasms” [1]. The thought here is basically that childbirth stimulates many of the same nerves that are stimulated during sexual activity—as such, it makes sense that childbirth could potentially trigger an orgasm. There are some reports that orgasms may actually assist in childbirth. For example, they may be used as a way to kickstart contractions, as well as a form of natural pain relief. 

*Note: Men can experience non-genital orgasms, too. However, there seem to be differences in the frequency with which the sexes experience certain types of non-genital orgasms, and some types of non-genital orgasms are unique to one sex.

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[1] Komisaruk, B. R., & Whipple, B. (2011). Non-genital orgasms. Sexual and Relationship Therapy26(4), 356-372.

[2] Kinsey, A., Pomeroy, W.B., Martin, C.E., & Gebhard, P. (1953). Sexual behavior in the human female. Philadelphia: Saunders.

Image Source: 123RF/Pitor Marcinski

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