It was never mentioned during that memorable restaurant scene in the film When Harry Met Sally. But women typically experience one of three types of orgasm, a study has suggested.
Researchers found that when their female volunteers climaxed, their pelvic floor muscles predominantly showed one of three patterns: A ‘wave’, a ‘volcano’ or an ‘avalanche’.
Lead researcher James Pfaus, professor of neuroscience at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, said the names refer to the way the ‘pelvic floor movements appeared during the build-up to orgasm and the release of tension at orgasm’.
‘The wave looks like undulations or successive contractions of tension and release at orgasm,’ Professor Pfaus said.
‘The avalanche rides on a higher pelvic floor tension with contractions that lower the tension downward during orgasm.
Women typically experience one of three types of orgasm, a study has suggested
‘The volcano rides on a lower pelvic floor tension but then explodes into tension and release during orgasm.’
For the study, 54 women used a Bluetooth-connected vibrator, called the Lioness, which detect the force of pelvic floor contractions in two sensors on its sides and sends the data to a secure internet server.
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Undulations or successive contractions of tension and release at orgasm
Rides on a higher pelvic floor tension with contractions that lower the tension downward during orgasm
Rides on a lower pelvic floor tension but then explodes into tension and release during orgasm
The women, who performed the tasks at home, were instructed to self-stimulate to one orgasm and then turn the device off two minutes after orgasm was achieved.
This was then repeated over several days.
The women were also asked to perform a control test, in which they inserted the vibrator but did not stimulate themselves.
The data were then analysed. They showed that nearly 50 per cent of the women (26) had ‘wave’ orgasms, while 17 had ‘avalanches’ and 11 had ‘volcanoes’.
Professor Pfaus’s team, whose findings were published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, have now turned their attentions to the way the three orgasm styles are experienced by women.
‘We are doing a long-term study of women using the Lioness to see how these different patterns are experienced subjectively as orgasms, as levels of pleasure, where the stimulation that induces them largely comes from,’ said Professor Pfaus.
It is hoped the Lioness could be used ‘like a Fitbit’ to help women who are receiving treatment for orgasm disorders, or simply for self-exploration.
In the 1989 romcom When Harry Met Sally, Meg Ryan’s character noisily fakes an orgasm in a deli.