Dear Alice,

Is it true that a woman can have multiple orgasms?

Dear Reader,

Oh... yes... yes... yes... yes! Thank goddess!

"Multiple orgasm" refers to orgasms that occur rapidly, one after the other, perhaps seconds apart. When women have multiple orgasms, they "bounce" back and forth from high arousal to orgasm until they feel they want to stop. This can happen when they are alone or with another, and with or without a vibrator.

Physiologically, women can be aroused and can orgasm again and again. Often women don't have more than one orgasm because once a woman orgasms, stimulation usually stops. Many women, however, feel satisfied with one; others are eager for more. And sometimes women are fine with one; at other times, they are eager for more.

Some men also can orgasm in quick succession. They experience the high peaks of orgasm, while holding back their ejaculation. Similar to women, men can "bounce" between high plateau and orgasm, and again, back to high plateau. This kind of orgasm was taught by older women to younger men in the Oneida Community, an experimental community in upstate New York during the 1800s. Karezza is the Eastern sexual philosophy that this technique is based on and it was used not only for pleasure, but also as a way of teaching men a form of birth control (no ejaculation, no conception).

To learn more about pleasure and orgasm, you can check out Betty Dodson's book, Orgasms for Two: The Joy of Partnersex, and also read up on ancient Eastern sexual philosophies, such as tantra. Neither tantra nor karezza are goal-oriented (i.e., the "goal" of a sexual encounter is not orgasm). They teach that through slow focused lovemaking (treating it almost as a form of meditation), pleasure and orgasms increase and deepen for both partners, ultimately moving individuals toward spiritual enlightenment.

But don't let these sexual possibilities lure you into setting sexual performance goals that add pressure and remove pleasure. The goal is to intensify pleasurable sensations, enjoying each feeling through deep breathing, while learning to expand each person's capacity for pleasure, whether you are by yourself or are with someone else, and that the two of you are in agreement.


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