How do you know if a girl comes? Here are the signs of orgasm.

Here’s How To Tell When Someone With A Vulva Is Having An Orgasm

#1. Ask them.

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When it comes to sex, many — if not most — people would love to orgasm. Whether or not the big O is part of your sexual experience (it definitely doesn’t have to be), many people do want their partners to have one, as well as to have an orgasm themselves. However, it is well-known that many people with vulvas, especially women in heterosexual relationships, fake orgasms, which has led to the age-old question: Can a man tell when a woman comes? Or, more generally, how can you tell when your partner is having an orgasm?

The reason this question comes up so often is simple: the orgasm gap. As Dr. Sherry Ross, OB/GYN, a women’s health expert and author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period, explains, the orgasm gap refers to the sad reality that people with vulvas (especially heterosexual women) have fewer orgasms than people with penises. “In general, it’s easier, less complicated, and faster for men to orgasm compared to women,” Dr. Ross tells Elite Daily. “Men on average can have an orgasm within five minutes. Women, on the other hand, have a harder time achieving orgasm, taking on average 20 minutes to achieve one. If the average heterosexual sex lasts an average of seven minutes, the lopsided math equitation doesn’t prioritize a woman’s orgasm.”

It’s in the data, too. According to a 2015 study of couples published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, heterosexual men orgasm during partnered sex 95% of the time, on average — the most out of any demographic — whereas heterosexual women orgasm 65% of the time they’re with a partner — the least out of any demographic. Lesbian women report having an orgasm rate of 86% during partnered sex.

Given those rates and the social prioritization of penile-vaginal intercourse, which a majority of people with vulvas don’t get off from, it’s no wonder so many women are faking it. But even if somebody with a vulva orgasms, it’s not always easy to tell. The thing about vaginal orgasms is that there is a massive range of what that experience could look and feel like (some don’t even involve the vagina). So, if you’re looking for one tell-tale sign that someone is having an orgasm, you won’t find one. Some people don’t even know they’re having an orgasm themselves!

"Some people have really big, long, powerful orgasms, some people have tepid orgasms that are more subdued, and others have what are called 'micro orgasms,' which are so small they are sometimes imperceptible," Gigi Engle, certified sex coach and sexologist, previously told Elite Daily. "You may also experience a combination of types of orgasms due to hormones, different times in your cycle, the way you're being touched, etc."

That being said, there are some clues that might give it away. From a physiological standpoint, there’s only one way to know if a woman has truly orgasmed, as Nicole Prause, Ph.D., sexual psychophysiologist and founder of biotechnology company Liberos, explains. “An orgasm is eight to twelve contractions that occur in the pelvic musculature starting .8 seconds apart and increas[ing] in latency (between each other) until termination,” she says. Super simple, right?

Since we don’t all own labs to measure whether or not somebody has had those contractions, you will have to rely on other small signals to tell if someone with a vulva is having an orgasm. Elite Daily asked the experts to weigh in.

1. They Tell You They’re Having An Orgasm

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How do you know if a girl comes? She tells you. This goes for anyone having an orgasm — although it is usually more obvious when people with penises do (but they fake it too sometimes!). The truth is, there’s a ton of variation in orgasms for people with vulvas — both in physical experience and type. "There are prostate orgasms, penile orgasms, breath orgasms, skin orgasms, clitoral orgasms, [and] cervical orgasms, which can be induced manual or via the vagus nerve," sex educator Lola Jean previously told Elite Daily.

The best practice for knowing if a girl has an orgasm is simply to ask. “For some people it can appear to be ‘obvious’ they are having an orgasm,” Dr. Ross says. “It could be loud joyous moans combined with involuntary body movements, but the truth is it can be hard to tell.” For others, the physical signs may be more subdued. And if you have doubts about what your partner says, that’s a different issue to focus on.

2. Their Vagina Contracts

This is the biggest giveaway, if you can spot it. It is pretty near impossible for someone to accurately mimic what occurs on the inside of their body when someone with a vulva orgasms. “Certain body movements happen during an orgasm which are impossible to fake,” Dr. Ross says. “Involuntary mini spasms of the vaginal wall can be felt with fingers or a penis during a true orgasm.”

As Dr. Ross explains, during sexual arousal, there is an increased blood flow to the genitals and the tensing of muscles in the genitals. This “will cause the vaginal walls and muscles of the uterus will contract rhythmically.”

3. Their Body Shudders

When someone with a vulva has an orgasm and their genital muscles tense, other muscles throughout the body will tense up, too. “The muscles everywhere in your body, especially in your pelvic area, can become tense and start to spasm,” Dr. Ross says.

Sometimes people will experience this and their whole body will shake and shudder until there is finally a release in tension, especially if they tend to have pretty intense orgasms. But, again, not everyone will experience a big O like that, and not everyone will experience those effects for the same amount of time. "How long an orgasm lasts will depend on your body, individual preferences for sexual touch, and the particular situation in which you're having the orgasm," Engle said.

4. Their Heart Rate and Breathing Increases

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Another signal of orgasm is the increase in someone’s pulse and breathing. “Before and during an orgasm, your heart rate, pulse, blood pressure, and breathing increases,” says Dr. Ross. According to a 2008 study in Blood Pressure Monitoring, when orgasm is reached during sexual activity, the peak heightened blood pressure occurs at the beginning of orgasmic plateau and drops to baseline level around 10 minutes afterward. The highest heart rate occurs at the beginning of orgasm and drops to baseline levels about 10 to 20 minutes afterward.

One of the most common orgasm tropes depicted in porn involves breathlessness and gasping for air. In truth, that doesn’t always happen — but it sure can. “If your rate of breathing increases dramatically, this can cause some degree of hyperventilating, which can lead to chest pain,” says Dr. Ross. As long as it’s still comfortable, this is fine and totally safe.

Ultimately, there’s no one way to tell if a person with a vulva is having an orgasm, and these signs are all just clues. As with any sexual activity, the end goal doesn’t have to be orgasming — it should just be to enjoy the pleasurable feelings together (or alone!). “There are times where having an orgasm is not possible,” says Dr. Ross, “and it’s good to know it’s not always the endgame with your partner or with yourself.”

As Dr. Christopher Ryan Jones, sex and relationship therapist, previously told Elite Daily, “Orgasm isn’t the benchmark of great sex. The goal is to have an enjoyable and pleasurable encounter with your partner. A lot of times, couples are so focused on the orgasm that the rest of the experience isn’t thought about or considered." It’s perfectly acceptable not to orgasm, or not to want to orgasm. There are plenty of other fun things to do instead, and sex should be a mutual process of telling one another what feels good.

Studies Referenced:

Frederick, D. A., John, H., Garcia, J. R., & Lloyd, E. A. (2018). Differences in Orgasm Frequency Among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Heterosexual Men and Women in a U.S. National Sample. Archives of sexual behavior, 47(1), 273–288.

Xue-Rui, T., Ying, L., Da-Zhong, Y., & Xiao-Jun, C. (2008). Changes of blood pressure and heart rate during sexual activity in healthy adults. Blood pressure monitoring, 13(4), 211–217.


Dr. Sherry Ross, a women’s health expert and author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health

Gigi Engle, certified sex coach and sexologist

Nicole Prause, Ph.D. of Liberos and sexual psychophysiologist

Lola Jean, sex educator

Dr. Christopher Ryan Jones, sex and relationships therapist

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