Vaginal vs. Clitoral Orgasm: What's the Difference?

Scientists have known that women have different types of orgasms, but what makes them different? Are some orgasms better than others?

In a world riven by conflict and division, surely there is at least one thing we can all agree on: Orgasms are good. But female orgasms actually come in two varieties. Is one better than the other? Amy Shira-Teitel has the details in today's DNews special report.

Both men and women experience orgasms, of course, but scientifically speaking, female orgasms are divided into two types. First, let's define some terms: Female external genitalia - the part you can see - is technically called the vulva. The vagina is actually the internal canal housed by the vulva. And the clitoris is the small, extremely sensitive organ above the vaginal opening. The clitoris was "discovered" by male scientists back in the 16th century, although it's safe to say women were aware of it earlier.

Here's the critical part: The clitoris is the external tip of an entire system of internal nerves and muscles called the clitorourethrovaginal complex, or CUV, that surrounds the vagina and the urethra. Since there are external and internal portions of the CUV, there are two types of orgasms women can experience: clitoral and vaginal.

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Most women reach orgasm faster via clitoral stimulation, and with good reason: It has more nerve endings than any other human body part, male or female. But internal vaginal stimulation can also trigger orgasm - in the end, it's the same bundle of nerves and muscles.

Whether vaginal or clitoral, male or female, all orgasms have the same general effect on the human body and brain. Rhythmic contractions relax aroused muscles and the brain issues forth a flood of feel-good hormones like oxytocin, dopamine and prolactin. These chemicals have direct and measurable health benefits. With orgasms, everybody wins.

Amy has more details in her report, or feel free to wander over to our related story: The Pleasures of Outdoor Sex.

-- Glenn McDonald

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Read More:

CNN: The ancient evolutionary origin of the elusive female orgasm

NCBI: Physiologic Measures of Sexual Function in Women: A Review

DailyMail: Not all orgasms are the same: Women experience TWO types of climax, sonographs reveal