Orgasm and ejaculation are different

Orgasm and Ejaculation are Different

Tl;dr, orgasm and ejaculation are different. Sometimes they happen at the same time, but that doesn’t mean they are the same thing.

People can ejaculate without orgasms, and people can orgasm without ejaculating. This is true for people with vulvas and clitorises, and also for people with penises.

Wait even men (with penises)?

Even for men (with penises), orgasm and ejaculation are very different things. There’s a ridiculously complicated article about this. It concludes by saying “ejaculation is a complex process involving several anatomical structures and under extensive neurochemical and hormonal regulation. Orgasm, although associated with ejaculation, is a distinct physiological process, different from ejaculation.”

This is confirmed in this paper. It says: “Orgasm and ejaculation may be sensed as synchronous and thus experienced as a single event. However, orgasm and ejaculation are not the same process.” That same paper says that men are able to have more than one orgasm at a time. With often their multiple orgasms happening before ejaculation happens.

It’s about what we’re taught too

I think that people think they are different because this is what they were taught. Were you surprised to learn that even for penises, ejaculation and orgasm are not the same thing? Sex is not just about biology, but a complex blend of biology, psychology and sociology.

How that works is:

  1. People have been taught that orgasm and ejaculation are the same.
  2. So they try to make that happen when they are having sex (solo, or with someone else).
  3. They ejaculate and assume that the sensations they are having is an orgasm.

This doesn’t make it not an orgasm – god this is complicated. But it does mean that people might not always be orgasming when they are ejaculating. And they might actually be orgasming without ejaculating and not realise.

If you’ve ever seen any porn featuring penises (there’s lots) then you might have noticed some grunting and moaning around ejaculation time. But also sometimes there is really not that much noise, or kerfuffle, during ejaculation. This is because male porn actors have to be able to ejaculate, but they don’t have to actually orgasm. Just like female actors.

And women (with vulvas)?

So yes, some people with vulvas do ejaculate a fluid from their urethra during sexy times. Sometimes it’s a semen like fluid and sometimes it’s a bit more like urine. There’s a lot of debate about this in the research, again this is a very under-researched area. We know from research that not all women ejaculate, and that the majority of women can and do experience orgasm.

Reports suggest that sometimes orgasms happen at the same time as ejaculation. Sometimes orgasm happens first and sometimes orgasm happens after. So this shows that ejaculation and orgasm are two different processes for people with vulvas too. Here’s a nice article about this from our friends at Clue.

Cum Come Cumming Coming

Okay this is all very very confusing. So as I’ve explained, orgasm and ejaculation are different things. However, the words that we use to describe these things are either the same words, or very similar sounding words. So this means that we might get situations where people can say “have you cum?” “no but I definitely did come.”

Or “I want to cum” “wait, I thought you already did cum”, “no I was coming, not cumming.” Or “were you cumming cumming, or just coming?”

Maybe we should use two different words: like ejaculation and orgasm.

By the way, if you want a laugh, see the best comment on BISH here.

Ejaculation Doesn’t Prove An Orgasm

Oh my god am I going to say ‘ejaculation and orgasm are different things’ again, yes I am. AAAAARGH. Anyway, can we all now please stop making people ejaculate in order to ‘prove’ that we are orgasming please. We shouldn’t be making anyone do anything anyway because hashtag consent. But also, someone ejaculating does not prove that they are orgasming because, you know, ejaculation and orgasm are different things. AAAAAAAARGH.

Read: why you shouldn’t make people squirt

Stop Being Basic

People are applying their basic sex knowledge about penises and thinking that vulvas should work in exactly the same way. Thus we get people trying to make people ejaculate because they think that’s the same as orgasm. If anything we should do the opposite thing and treat penises like vulvas. So we’d say ‘well sometimes penises ejaculate and that’s fine, but it’s not the same as orgasm.’

Advice Time

When having sex (solo or with another) it might be useful and maybe quite pleasurable to think about these differences. Slow everything down and notice what was happening in your body. You could start having more orgasms than you thought you might. Being very ejaculation focused means you might actually be missing out on orgasms.

If you want to still experience orgasm and ejaculation as the same thing, then you can still do that. You do you. But it might be more fun to explore what is actually happening in your body. Often that’s better than just making our body behave in the way that we have been told it’s meant to.

How to Enjoy Solo Sex More

How to Enjoy Sex With Someone More

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I've written "Can We Talk About Consent - A Book About freedom, choices, and agreement." It's about how to choose your perfect pizza, what to watch on TV, who plays in goal, politics, rights, and yeah also a bit about sex. The illustrations are beautiful and hilarious.

Out in January but please.....