Recently I wrote about first masturbation experiences – and how little we really know about how and when people start masturbating.  This has naturally led me to thinking about first orgasms, and by extention I’ve been reading about orgasms in general.
But as with first masturbation experiences, I really have more questions about first orgasms than answers.

  • Are first orgasms generally alone or with another person?  I think I know the answer here (alone) but I certainly have never read any research on the topic.
  • When the first feelings of pleasure leading up to orgasm hit, how many people know what’s happening, know the language for what’s going on?  Paul Feig, notably, called it “the rope feeling” after his first orgasmic experience on a climbing rope in grade school.
  • How many people are scared by their first orgasm?  I was flipping through a book last night in the bookstore, and ran across a quote by a woman who said she had her first orgasm in her thirties – and was terrified.
  • Linked to these last two questions: Do first orgasms carry religious significance?

It is, of course, generally accepted knowledge that all men experience orgasm from pre-adolescence or adolescence onward while women have a much wider range of orgasmic experience (with some never orgasming, others joining the club late in the game, and still another group starting quite young).  Or at least I thought that was general knowledge.  But a dear friend was recently stunned – stunned! – when I mentioned it in an off-the-cuff sort of way.  She has since started to postulate wildly about whether or not people she knows – friends, family, acquaintances – have had the first orgasm experience.

Which leads me back to another question: Do people stress if they have never had an orgasm? Do they feel like they “should” have orgasms, feel like lower-quality lovers because they haven’t yet?

And how might the answers to all these questions influence how parents talk with their children and teenagers about sex?  What do you think?

About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.


  1. Fascinating subject!
    I first discovered masturbation when I was about 8 years old.
    I climbed up the washing line pole in the garden and halfway, after climbing and slipping down and climbing back up repeatedly, I started getting what I then called “The funny feeling” in my stomach and groin and it was so intense and mysterious that it made me grip harder and climb faster and faster with my legs until (at the top of the pole) I would hang by the little supports with my hands and just rub my legs up and down the pole for about 10 or 20 seconds until the “funny feeling” exploded into an incredibly satisfying orgasm (though I didn’t know it was called that at the time).

    The incredible sensation would send me into a trance. My eyes would roll up inside their sockets and my teeth would be gritted together while I just kept climbing and climbing at the top with the “funny feeling” (orgasm) rushing through me like a waterfall of heat and lust.

    I got the “funny feeling” later on in school on the gym climbing ropes but I had to frustratingly resist humping for minutes at the top of the rope and having an orgasm in case I was caught.
    I could not hide the stiffy I got from climbing, however, and I would hide my crotch from view when I climbed down by sitting down or bending over with my back to the teacher and class until it went down.

    I would sneak into the gym after school when it was empty and finally get the “funny feeling” I so desperately needed without prying eyes.
    I was caught doing this once in mid-orgasm by the girls gym teacher, Miss Wilson who was shouting at me angrily to get down though I couldn’t oblige with the orgasm raging through my groin.
    At that moment I didn’t care if the whole world was watching. Though sliding down afterwards to face her was embarrasing.

    Happy days.

  2. I was in school and bouncing around in my seat and all of a sudden my “v” got this feelig that I deeply enjoyed. I went into the bathroom and humped the toilet reapeatedly and before i knew it i had a very big and loud orgasem. Thankfully no one found out…other then the boys in the next bathroom that were masturbateing their heads off. That of corse got me horny all over again so i used my pencil. Now i have a vibrator…but that had to be the best!

  3. I was in grade 1 and we had gym class,i had to climb a rope as i pulled myself up and squeezed with my legs i got a hard on,as i kept rubbing against the rope,i got this feeling of warmth and finally this tickling feeling in the head of my penis.
    it felt so good i couldnt wait to try this again
    and after rubbing like before it worked.
    i tried climbing a pipe,,and a tree just the pulling up and down in one spot made me orgasm. it was after this that i discovered if i could use a nylon stocking on one leg and folded over my penis under my pants that the soft smoothness made it feel even better.
    i wear nylons and garterbelts from this exp,also panties at the time of climbing a tree with smooth bark,a pole and have found it satisfies me everytime.
    guys you need to try this
    get some and go and have a orgasm

  4. I am certainly not the type of person that would be on one of these web sites in the first place. I stumbled on it while doing a Google search. But this site is..helpfull. I’m 17. And I had my first orgasm in my jacuzzi maybe a few months ago. It’s really my bathtub/shower but it can also be a jaccuzi. I was relaxing in it one day when i turned to the side. And the powerful jet felt soo good I didn’t move. I experimentally moved my hips against it and before i knew it I was getting water everywhere and this huge feeling that seemed to radiate from my (am i aloud to say “clit” on this site?). but I’m wasn’t a virgin. I’ve had sex plenty of times before. Karen, is it bad that I’ve never had an orgasm having sex but I do by myself?

  5. Hi CTOACN,

    Of course it’s not bad that you have orgasms by yourself! It’s great that you’re learning about your body and what makes it feel good. Learning to have orgasms during partnered sex is kind of a whole other category. I hope that your partner(s) want to learn how to give you pleasure, how to give you an orgasm, or they probably aren’t worth having sex with. So if you can take what you’ve learned on your own, and bring that into your partnered experiences, that would be great!

    On another topic, while plenty of teenagers use my site to learn more about sex, it isn’t what this site is really designed for. While that’s fine, of course, you might find that you get more useful information from Here’s one of their articles on orgasm:

    Hope you find all this helpful!

  6. If you would like a really interesting story, I have one for you. I first experienced orgasms when I was approximately 5, I don’t know the exact age. I would achieve it by walking up to the side of my bedroom door and, while grabbing a doorknob in each hand, curl my body up nice and tight so that I was hanging. All of my weight was on my arms and hands curled around the doorknobs, much like when you curl a dumbbell, and my legs were off the floor. I would hold this position for no more than 30 seconds or so and I would achieve a full orgasm. Strangely, I think I knew what it was, but I’m not really sure. I would get a huge explosion of sensation “down there” followed by a throbbing of the area, shortness of breath, feeling very hot, and a rapid heart rate. Classic signs, right? Keep reading, it gets better. I would then do the same move a few more times, and each time the orgasm came quicker but didn’t last as long. So I could have up to 5 orgasms in a matter of seconds.

    I loved the sensation so much that I continued to do it thru my childhood, teenage years and occasionally as an adult. The kicker to this story is I have never had an orgasm by sex. Ever. And to be quite honest, I hate sex and I am completely appalled by it. And this is the most frustrating part. My fiancé is a very sexual person, but every time we’re in the bedroom, it’s all about him because I experience no pleasure from sex or sexual activities. Even masturbation has no effect other than embarrassing me. And yet I can still do it myself anytime I wish, I just need good sturdy door (I’m not as light as I used to be). But the guilt that I don’t orgasm like normal people just kills me. Any advice?

  7. Ok i just want to know why iv never had a orgasam from sex.. through “Clit” mastervation ya. but like, fingering and sex…anything to do with going in me. i can only have a clit orgasam. why is that? is that common for girls?

  8. This is very common, Mannequin. Many women only orgasm through direct clit stimulation, and intercourse doesn’t really do anything for them. Take a read here for a really great introduction to the topic:

  9. There seems to be a lot of people here who first experienced orgasm climbing something. For me this was what masturbation was from probably the age of 5 or so until about 15-16. I figured that there were others(male) who also experienced this but I didn’t know if women/girls could. Now I know from this and another forum.

    At some point when I was 5 or 6 I was climbing a pole as young boys do and I discovered this wonderful feeling. After this, I would routinely have two or three orgasms during the course of recess most days through elementary school. By junior high(no recess) I got home before my siblings so I would use one of several “poles” around the house- table legs, doors, the support pole in the basement and my favorite- the banister at the bottom of the stairs. The banister was easy because I could grasp the knob at the top and hike up my knees, I didn’t actually have to climb anything. Also since I was home alone, doing it in the nude was suddenly a possibility and I found that I could get better and more frequent orgasms without clothing. For the most part this was done just for the repeated pleasurable feeling and not for any sexual reason, if that makes sense.

    What I find most interesting in retrospect is that even after starting to ejaculate(11 or 12 years old) I took it for granted that I could achieve multiple orgasms(up to 5-6 at a time regularly) using this technique with little effort(if you believe it – 14 in the course of an hour was my record, I kid you not ) and interestingly not always with a full erection. All I needed was a short breather in-between. Masturbating with my hand or regular sex leaves me unable to achieve more than one orgasm every few hours. Why is that, what is the difference? I always assumed that pulling up my legs pushed blood into my genital area and created the right pressure needed to stimulate me.

    As I got older(40 now) and heavier I found the effort to pull myself up, pull up my knees etc much harder so the technique wasn’t as good as when I was younger but I’m glad I discovered it when I did.
    I also think my stamina was far greater as a child than now. I’m not sure that I could achieve the kind of response now that I could at 12 or 13. I think that the fact that it involves sexuality will prevent this sort of thing from ever being studied in children/teens.

  10. I’m 16, and although I masturbate I’ve never had an orgasm. It’s going fiine, then my stomach and thigh muscles start clenching up and I get scared, and for some reason I have to stop.
    Any advice on how to get through this? I’m worried I’m never going to get one!

  11. Just keep working at it, Annoyed! Find a time and a space where you know you will be alone for a long stretch and are completely relaxed and comfortable. When you get scared, slow down take a moment to re-center and then try again. Hopefully you’ll find yourself relaxing into the feeling. I’m sure it will come – and for most women it is far easier to learn how to orgasm by yourself than with a partner, so keep going along this path.

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