Vaginal vs. Clitoral Orgasm

Published on
Vaginal vs. Clitoral Orgasm: What's the Difference? | PinkCherry


For many of us, an orgasm is an orgasm. When you’re basking in the afterglow, most (not all!) people won’t turn to their partner, possibly with their clit vibrator and say “well, that was okay, but I’m ready for a clitoral orgasm instead of another vaginal one.” On the other hand, maybe you’ve experienced both varieties of orgasms and are craving one specific type.

This begs the following question: is there actually a difference between a vaginal and a clitoral orgasm? Or, are they one and the same, just brought about in different ways?

If you’ve ever wondered about the ins and outs of a vaginal vs clitoral orgasm or PinkCherry is here to clear the air.


What Is the Difference Between A Vaginal and Clitoral Orgasm?

First off, some people won’t feel much of a difference in their orgasms, regardless of where it originates. To further complicate matters, the notion that there are ‘types’ of orgasm may not even be true. Some research seems to suggest that there is only one type of orgasm response in women or AFAB (assigned female at birth) people. 

On the other hand, some people claim to experience vaginal orgasms and note that they feel different than clitoral orgasms. We’re definitely not going to discount those orgasm-havers, (any orgasm is a good orgasm!), we’re just saying that orgasms can feel different for everyone, and there is no actual, real way to know how sexual climax feels to another person. It’s hard to even describe an orgasm with words! Try it.

Our point is, if you’ve been stressing out because you can’t seem to achieve a vaginal orgasm, don’t worry about it. As long as your orgasms feel good, you’re golden!


Location & Stimulation Techniques Matter

Now, some women do report their orgasms feeling different depending on where and how they’re being stimulated. Orgasms that result from the inside of the vagina being stimulated through g-spot massage or penetration, therefore, could be called vaginal orgasms, and orgasms that happen while the clitoris being stimulated could be called clitoral orgasms. 

Some women seem to feel their orgasms more deeply in their body, while others experience quick, cresting orgasms that fade relatively quickly. Again, as long as it feels good, you’re on the right track. Now, if you’re wondering how to make your orgasms more intense or unique, there are lots of things you can try.

Before we get into clitoral orgasms vs. vaginal orgasms, we’ll go back to our point above. There may not even be a difference! For our purposes today, we’ll be talking about clitoral orgasms in terms of an orgasm that results from external clitoral stimulation, and a vaginal orgasm as one that you’ll enjoy during penetration. There’s even a third option, called a blended orgasm.

We’ll say it one more time - orgasms should feel good. Full stop. Try to forget about what you think an orgasm should feel like or which type of orgasm you want. Orgasms, whether it be a male orgasm or a female orgasm, can help increase sexual satisfaction which may lead to an increase in sexual activity or even a more fulfilling sex life. Just enjoy the pleasure!


A Closer Look at Clitoral Orgasms

So, what is a clitoral orgasm? Like we’ve mentioned, it’s an orgasm that results from stimulating the outer area of your clitoris with your fingers, using a clitoral vibrator, or having a partner play with your clitoris. Fun fact: over 75% of women require - not just prefer - external clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm. So you could say that learning how to please your or your partner’s clitoris is pretty important!

Some clitoris owners report their clitoral orgasms being sharper (in a good way) and more ‘surface feeling' than orgasms that pair penetration with external stimulation.  


Breaking Down the Anatomy

As a quick refresher: the outer, most sensitive portion of your clitoris is located toward the top of your vulva, where your two labia minora meet. It’s usually covered or partially covered by the clitoral hood, which protects the ultra-sensitive skin.   

When you or your clitoris-owning partner is aroused, blood flow to the vulva and vagina increases. This, in turn, engorges or swells the areas of erectile tissue inside of and around the vaginal opening. The clitoris will sometimes (but not always) appear and feel larger and more prominent when aroused. 

Keep in mind that many clit-owning people don’t need, or even want, direct clitoral stimulation. Light massage, caressing with fingers, sex toys or tongues, and gentle pressure around and over the clitoris is often more than enough to take you or your partner over the orgasm edge.   


How to Have A Clitoral Orgasm

Stimulation! Since the clitoris is generally very sensitive, it may not take much massage, touch, licking, or vibration to reach orgasm. That said, orgasm is a journey for many people. Don’t expect an instant O. Some clitoris owners enjoy circular motions, vertical or horizontal movements, or even just gentle pressure. Others adore lots of intensity and crave powerful vibration. There’s no one-size-fits-all equation for vaginal stimulation, sexual arousal, or sexual intercourse

Working toward a clitoral orgasm is a perfect sexy activity for couples, but a really good clitoris orgasm will definitely brighten up a solo session, too. Whether you’re playing together or by yourself, you can always rely on a great sex toy to help things along! Plenty of amazing sex toys are specifically designed to stimulate clitorises, including vibrators large and small, subtle clitoral suction toys and tools, even classic wand vibes, for people who crave lots of power.  You could learn how to use a clit vibrator or take some time to learn where the clit is located in order to explore a clitoral orgasm. This will help stimulate the nerve endings of the external clitoris and either increase sexual pleasure or result in orgasm.

If you’re interested in learning more tips and tricks to help you make the most of your pleasure button, check out our article on how to massage your clitoris.


The Inside Scoop on Vaginal Orgasms

Simply put, a vaginal orgasm is an orgasm that happens as you or your vagina-owning partner is being penetrated, either with fingers, a penis, or a sex toy. Now, there’s an ongoing discussion concerning the existence of the vaginal orgasm. We’re going to take the word of women who have had one and assume yes.

Some of the debate about the existence of the vaginal orgasm stems from the subject of yet another debate - the G-spot. We’ve explored this topic before, but to sum up, there is no actual, scientifically discernible structure or ‘spot’ that could explain the oh-so-pleasurable sensation that, for some women, comes from having the upper (anterior) wall of the vagina stimulated.

There is, however, definitive evidence that, when aroused, the inner portion of the clitoris (much of the clitoris is internal FYI!) swells, bringing sensitive erectile tissue closer to the anterior, or upper wall of the vagina. Guess where the G-spot is reported to be? Yep. Upper vaginal wall. That means that the intense pleasure you or your partner may feel during penetration could very likely be thanks to the internal portion of the clitoris. Mystery solved? Maybe!

Honestly, the exact physiological reasons why you or your partner can reach orgasm through penetration are not really important. If you can, great! 


How to Have A Vaginal Orgasm

We mentioned above that only about thirty percent (give or take) of women and vagina owners report being able to climax by penetration alone. That is definitely not to say that the seventy percent majority don’t enjoy sex or penetration, it just means that many women simply can’t get enough of, or the right kind of stimulation to climax. That said, if you (or your and your partner) are up for it, you can certainly try! 

The best way to try for a vaginal or penetrative orgasm is to use your fingers at first, then toys, such as a g-spot vibrator. Both will be easier to maneuver than a penis (generally speaking), and you or your partner will have more control over positioning, depth, and stimulation intensity.

Using your well-lubed fingers or a g-spot targeting toy, gently stroke the upper forward wall of your vagina. Your finger(s) or toy should be facing your belly button. Try more or less pressure, more or less depth, and different motions to pinpoint any spot that feels particularly good. When you’ve found it, keep going! Don’t worry if you can’t reach orgasm, just focus on your pleasure and any new sensations you’re feeling. You can always add in some external clitoral stimulation if you’d like!


Blended Orgasms

Speaking of adding clitoral stimulation to penetration, that brings us to a third orgasm type - the blended orgasm. If you’re already able to reach orgasm through penetration, adding in some external clitoral stimulation could potentially intensify that orgasm. If, like a majority of women, you’re not able to climax from penetration alone, you can try for a clitoral orgasm during penetration. 


How to Have a Blended Orgasm

While you’re having sex or playing with a dildo or vibrator, use your fingers, a toy, or have your partner use their tongue to simultaneously stimulate your clitoris. If you’ve never tried this before, be patient! Sometimes it can take a few tries (or lots of tries) to get used to new sensations, and that’s completely normal.

For some women/clitoris owners, blended orgasms can feel much more intense and deeply felt than clitoral or vaginal orgasms alone. On the other hand, a blended orgasm might just feel really, really, really good. When it all comes down to it, that’s all that really matters.


So, What Have We Learned About Orgasms?

Whether you’re lucky enough to have experienced a penetration-inspired vaginal orgasm, a really great clitoral orgasm, or a double-the-pleasure blended orgasm, you win! Orgasms feel amazing, and that’s what counts. To browse through a fantastic selection of sex toys specifically designed to help you or a clitoris owning partner reach the big O, check out PinkCherry’s clitoral  vibrators for sale. You’re pretty much guaranteed to find something you’ll love!


Related Products

Back To PinkCherry Blog Blog

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Sunny Rodgers

This content was reviewed for accuracy and relevancy by Dr. Sunny Rodgers.

Dr. Sunny Rodgers is a clinician, author, and speaker who has worked in the wellness industry since 2000. She holds a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality, a Master of Arts in Clinical Sexology, and is an accredited Sexual Health Educator. She is the Founder of The Institute of Intimate Health, an Ambassador for the American Sexual Health Association, regular lecturer for the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Sexual Confidence Coach for the Marigold App, and a professional Sex Toy Concierge™. Rodgers hosted a popular weekly show on Playboy Radio, has been an expert guest on several TV and radio programs, and is a regular contributor to HuffPost, Men's Health, Cosmo, Bustle, and many more publications.