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Article • Plural Pleasures

16 May 2017

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☛ Cette chronique est aussi disponible en français [➦].

Translated by Zoe Yarymowich


The overwhelming majority of studies on penis erection and ejaculation focus on cis men. Thus, the term "men" will be favoured within this article. However, the author would like to point out that some people with penises may not identify with this gender.


Want to take a nap at work without getting caught? There is an app for that.

Need an indicator to tell you the right time for a pee break during a movie? There is an app for that.

Want to become multi-orgasmic? Well yes, there is also an app for that.

You aren't that surprised? What if I told you these apps are available to gentlemen?

Multiple orgasms are a phenomenon that is collectively associated with female sexuality and therefore whose existence is relatively well documented. What about in men? Because yes, this phenomenon does exist amongst men. After countless hours of research, I can tell you no: the documentation on the subject is very limited. Although there are few scientific references, I have been able to find a plethora of articles from popular magazines or forums on the subject. I have come across blogs where they explain to men step by step how to achieve multiple orgasms and where internet users share their experiences of their quest towards what they consider to be sexual supremacy: multiple orgasms. Although the public interest is present, the subject remains obscure in terms of scientific research. This is what prompted me to look into the subject (in addition to the fact that the men around me tried to convince me that multiple orgasms in men were a myth).

Repeated Lasciviousness

In the scientific literature, there is an abundance of ways to describe orgasm. More often than not, there is the notion of a sensation of intense pleasure resulting from genital stimulation that can vary depending on several factors (Wibowo & Wassersug, 2016). According to a review article by Wibowo and Wassersug in 2016 that summarizes 15 scientific publications, multiple orgasms consist of having more than one orgasm within a 20-minute period, which is the average length of the refractory period in healthy men (Kruger et al., 2003). As is sometimes the case in science, experts do not agree in terms of circumscribing the phenomenon. Therefore there are two different types of male multiple orgasms: the sporadic orgasm, which is the most reported, and the condensed orgasm (Wibowo & Wassersug, 2016).

In general, sporadic multiple orgasms are defined as a series of orgasms spaced out at varying intervals of time during which the erection is maintained and where more stimulation is required to be able to reach the next orgasm (Robbins & Jensen, 1978; Dunn & Trost, 1989; Whipple et al.,1998). Condensed multiple orgasms are differentiated by the shortened time interval as well as the amount of stimulation required. In short, these take place at very short intervals (approximately two to four orgasms in an interval of a few seconds to two minutes) (Wibowo & Wassersug, 2016) and the genital stimulation does not need to be intensified between orgasms to reach the next ones (Dunn & Trost, 1989).

However, caution should be exercised when referring to scientific publications. Some qualify their subjects as multi-orgasmic when they do not respect the criteria. For example, a study qualified a man as multi-orgasmic when some of his orgasms occurred at 30-minute intervals (Haake et al., 2002). Caution is, therefore, required as to the interpretation of the phenomenon.

When the Two Don’t Necessarily Match

It is often assumed that in men, ejaculation usually accompanies orgasm. However, this is not exactly accurate (Wibowo & Wassersug, 2016). Some can orgasm without ejaculating. This is the case for men who have had a prostatectomy (Koeman et al., 1996), a spinal cord injury (Sipski et al., 2006), diabetes (Lu et al., 2014), or are under the effect of drugs that reduce the stimulation of alpha-1 receptors (Kobayashi et al., 2009; Sato et al., 2012), which decreases arterial and venous vasocongestion and increases the chances of retrograde ejaculation (where the ejaculate ends up in the bladder). Similarly, men can ejaculate without having an orgasm, which can be the case for men who have a lesion in their spinal cord, thanks to penile or prostate vibrostimulation (Arafa et al., 2007).

Sporadic multiple orgasms may or may not be accompanied by ejaculations (Wibowo & Wassersug, 2016). Although the volume of ejaculate varies, some subjects ejaculate with each orgasm during the series and others ejaculate only during one orgasm in this succession or during the final orgasm (Dunn & Trost, 1989). For many, the amount of ejaculate decreases the more the number of orgasms increases (Dunn & Trost, 1989). This leads subjects to have orgasms without ejaculation (injaculation), sometimes referred to as “dry orgasms” (Dunn & Trost, 1989; Whipple et al., 1989). For others, not all orgasms are accompanied by ejaculation, except the final one (Dunn & Trost, 1989).

It is clear that although the concept of multiple orgasms seems simple, there are many clinical variations for this same phenomenon.

When Division Is Strength

According to popular tantric practice websites, everything plays out in this orgasm-ejaculation dyad. According to the traditions of Tantrism, ejaculation should be postponed to have “dry orgasms'' during the series of orgasms and to ejaculate only during the ultimate orgasm (Lousada & Angel, 2011). This practice could hypothetically be explained by the fact that the post-ejaculation refractory period is avoided and the genital stimulation can continue. It is more the ejaculation than the orgasm per se that would lead to the refractory period (Levin, 2009). Once this period has started, the subjects can no longer have more orgasms because the stimulation becomes too difficult, in particular, because of the lowered sensory threshold (Yilmaz & Aksu, 2000) and less activity revealed by electromyography in the erectile tissues (Shafik et al., 2009) for example. By avoiding ejaculation, one then avoids the refractory period which serves, among other things, to allow sperm to regenerate (Levin, 2009), and one can obtain subsequent orgasms (Wibowo & Wassersug, 2016).

Give Me a Hand

When I talk about male multiple orgasms, the men around me almost always ask, half-skeptical, half-curious, how to become multi-orgasmic. Because in fact, some discover that they are multi-orgasmic by accident, often in adolescence (Dunn & Trost, 1989), and others learn and train to become it, the ultimate goal being to control ejaculation (Ladas et al., 1982; Hartman & Fithian, 1984). Often the methods to achieve this include prolonged masturbation by penile stimulation, the blocking of ejaculation by squeezing the glans of the penis (Hartman & Fithian, 1984), and the strengthening of the pelvic muscles (pubococcygeal muscle), for example, with Kegel exercises (Ladas et al., 1982). Essentially, developed knowledge of one’s body and greater muscular control is required as dictated by these methods, although none of them have been scientifically validated as of yet (Wibowo & Wassersug, 2016).

Several other factors can be considered as adjuncts to multiple orgasms. Certain medical interventions such as prostatectomy or castration may make it easier to have multiple orgasms (Wibowo & Wassersug, 2016). The use of psychostimulant drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines (Gay & Sheppard, 1973), or butyl nitrite (Hartman & Fithian, 1984) are also considered to be facilitators. While no physiological measure has been able to confirm this, it is known that these drugs can cause severe cognitive effects and can alter subjects’ memories or simply have a placebo effect (Wibowo & Wassersug, 2016). The testimonies of these subjects, therefore, deserve to be confirmed by biological measures. In addition, thanks to the Coolidge effect, which reduces the length of the refractory period, changing sexual partners also facilitates multiple orgasms by enhancing sexual desire and the motivation to reach orgasm with a new partner (Tlachi-Lopez et al., 2012; Joseph et al., 2015). The use of sex toys may also contribute to having multiple orgasms although this has yet to be confirmed (Wibowo & Wassersug, 2016).

The Proof Is in the Pudding

Multi-orgasmic men do exist, no matter what skeptics say. While there is still a great deal of work to be done to fully understand the phenomenon, there is enough evidence to say that although multi-orgasmic men are rare, they do exist and can be identified. Levels of prolactin, which hypothetically undermines a subject’s arousal and suppresses their motivation to achieve subsequent orgasms; in multi-orgasmic subjects usually remain unchanged after the orgasm(s) (Haake et al., 2002). In contrast, a prolactin surge is observed immediately after orgasms in mono-orgasmic subjects that lasted 30 to 60 minutes (Exton et al., 2001).

Since there are very few studies on the subject, it is difficult to determine with certainty the prevalence of the phenomenon, let alone the precise type of multiple orgasms (sporadic or condensed). According to the data on the subject, about 3.3% to 9.1% of men are multi-orgasmic, a figure which varies enormously depending on the published studies and the various factors which undoubtedly decreased when speaking of men over the age of 30 (Wibowo & Wassersug, 2016).

Overall, it can be argued that multiple orgasmic subjects are a rare species.

When Public Interest Does not Equal Scientific Inquisition

Although the public is curious about male multiple orgasms, it seems that very few researchers have looked into the subject. As mentioned earlier, the Wibowo & Wassersug review article only listed 15 publications, the first from 1973 and the last from 2008. For half of these, only the self-reported experience of multiple orgasms was taken into account. Since orgasms are a phenomenon with easily observable clinical manifestations, it would be beneficial to have more studies, ideally larger ones, to learn more about the phenomenon, and to corroborate the unique testimonies present in case studies. Indeed, why limit oneself to these, although still very useful, when the methods for studying a phenomenon such as an orgasm abound: functional magnetic resonance imaging, electrocardiogram, electromyogram (which is very reliable when used on the anal sphincter; Wibowo & Wassersug, 2016), electroencephalography, anal photoplethysmography, blood pressure, heart rate, etc. For now, while not a bad thing in and of itself, studies of multiple orgasms in men have somewhat neglected the study of underlying biological mechanisms when it is, in my opinion, central to the phenomenon. This is also a warning that Wibowo and Wassersug are advancing.

The majority of studies reviewed on male multiple orgasms are based on subjective testimonies and very few are confirmed by a physiological or neurological assessment.

The subject must be approached with a grain of salt, at least, until more is known.

The Science of Enjoyment ... and Performance?

It tends to be said that it is the female orgasm that is mysterious, but it seems to me that all in all, some aspects of the male orgasm are just as mysterious. Considering the strong interest of the general public towards this subject, multiple orgasms in men is undoubtedly a topic that deserves more attention from the scientific community. While there are several anecdotal articles as well as various case studies, there are few reliable and credible scientific studies to refer to.

Are there other factors that can modulate multiple orgasms in men? What are the neurological mechanisms of this phenomenon? What are the biological advantages? What influence does this phenomenon have on men’s sexual satisfaction? On that of their partners? Many questions remain unanswered. However, caution should be exercised when approaching this subject. Some might see multiple orgasms as a new challenge, a new goal to achieve in terms of sexual satisfaction and performance. This is why the scientific community has the important responsibility to demystify the phenomenon without necessarily systematizing it or making it seem like the standard to be reached. Research on the subject should aim to normalize the different avenues of male sexuality without necessarily standardizing some at the expense of others. It would simply provide an avenue for seeing male sexuality differently from how it is generally perceived.

Moreover, to assume that ejaculation is intrinsic to orgasm or that orgasm can only be unique for men, already excludes a different view of orgasm in men whereas, in my opinion, it is necessary to deconstruct our preconceived ideas to grasp the full extent of a particular phenomenon.

Either way, it is said that ‘one is good, but two is better’; and ‘never two without three’; that we must aim "To infinity and beyond!" (that on the other hand, only Buzz Lightyear fans say), etc. This is all well and good, but one has to keep in mind that even though it is terribly cliché, quality often trumps quantity!


To cite this article :

Gareau, E. (2017, May 16). Plural Pleasures. Les 3 sex*https://les3sex.com/en/news/22/chronique-plaisirs-pluriels 

orgasm, multiple orgasm, men, masculine, ejaculation, refractory period, pleasure, prostate, pénis, pleasure


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