“It’s pretty rare—but it does happen,” says Dr. Barry Komisaruk of Rutgers University, who published a landmark study in the Journal of Sex Education and Therapy in 1998 describing a man who experienced six full “ejaculatory orgasms” in 30 minutes without going soft.
He conducted the research with Dr. Beverly Whipple, the scientist famed for proving the existence of the G Spot, and freelance writer Brent Myers, who introduced Komisaruk and Whipple to the exceptional man in question.
He was the first ever described in a scientific paper who could climax, ejaculate, remain hard—and keep going. Prior to this, all scientific studies—including those released by famed sex researchers Masters & Johnson—claimed that repeated ejaculatory orgasms without a “refractory period” (read: a limp period for recharging) were next to impossible.
Most descriptions of “male multiple orgasm,” whether written in the cool language of academic scientific papers or the raw expletive ridden slang in online forums, define “multiple orgasms” as an experience involving repeated ecstatic muscular contractions, but without ejaculation.
Countless “how to” guides prescribe the same trick: flex the pubococcygeus (PC) muscle just at the point that you feel you may ejaculate, withholding release. With repeated practice, you might find that you can ride your arousal up and down, with continual bursts of pleasure—or at the very least, keep it up for ages (also known as “edging”).
The trick is found in guidelines old and new, ranging from the kinky to the medical to the ancient and mystic. Tantric devotees for example speak not just of “multiple orgasms,” but also “expanded orgasms” that reach from head to toe.
“If you are having a purely genital experience, arousal at a certain point becomes too great to contain, so the man ejaculates. The bog-standard model of sex therefore is ‘stimulate, stimulate, stimulate, stimulate, EJACULATE,” says Leora Lightwoman (yes, that’s her real name), a London-based sex counselor with Diamond Light Tantra.
“In the tantric tradition it’s not like that—the orgasmic state is a way of being, rather than the end goal itself. And sexuality is not confined to the genitals. So rather than experiencing contained arousal and a burst of ejaculation, that confined space suddenly expands to include the belly, chest, heart, throat, third eye, the brain, the head. You can experience a whole-body sensation. Arousal doesn’t diminish—it flows.”
In this realm, “orgasm” is not as most people tend to think of it: a burst of sensation coupled with ejaculation. In the tantric world, male “orgasm” is divorced from ejaculation, and comes in a variety of forms—by some counts, up to five or even seven types of “orgasm.”
In the quotidian, Western, non-tantric world, orgasmic pleasure for all of us does indeed come in a spectrum. Not all orgasms are created equal: some can be short, gentle and soothing, while others earth-shatteringly loud and all-consuming.
But it’s tempting to think that one can take the porous boundaries for the word “orgasm” a bit too far. Some tantric advocates claim that an “orgasm” can last all day—and that some experienced practitioners of tantra live in an “orgasmic” state permanently. Naturally, no human could speak, walk, or eat were they living in a state of fully convulsive, thunderous climax. So clearly “orgasmic” in this sense is not the standard form of climax most of us daydream about.
Part of the problem, everyone agrees, is linguistic: is an orgasm defined by the physical sensation of climax? Or physical joy unlike that you have in normal waking life? Or is it only an “orgasm” if it is coupled with ejaculation?
Brent Myers, co-author on Dr. Komisurak’s 1998 study, believes “true” orgasm comes with ejaculation—and that mainstream science has woefully neglected to examine how common it could be in the human population. “It was considered impossible in mainstream science, and though it has been 20 years since our paper, it hasn’t generated a bit of scientific interest in the scientific community since,” he says.
In his view, an “orgasm” without ejaculation is second-best: “Think of it as eating a bite of delicious chocolate cake but not being permitted to swallow—it’s an incomplete eating experience.” While most believe the “refractory period” is essential following ejaculation, he believes that it doesn’t have to be—and that more men can have multiple ejaculatory orgasms than we realize.
Regardless of whether Myers, Lightwoman, tantric devotees, or anyone else who proffers advice on male orgasm is correct about what constitutes a “true” orgasm, one thing is certain: there has been very bona fide scientific research on the topic.
A study published this month in the journal Sexual Medicine Reviews scoured all known research, and found that while there were more than 100,000 hits on Google on the subject, only 15 relevant studies could be found. (Ponder for a moment what a staggering dearth of research this constitutes, considering what a bonanza Viagra has been to the pharmaceutical industry.)
Conclusion: “Despite popular interest, the topic of male multiple orgasms has received surprisingly little scientific assessment. The role of ejaculation and physiological change during the refractory period in inhibiting multiple orgasms has barely been investigated.”
For those men who did experience multiple orgasms, which they define as climax with or without ejaculation, they documented four main contributing factors:
1. Practicing to have an orgasm without ejaculation (as already described, the old fashioned trick).
2. Drugs. (I am told anecdotally: cocaine and/or marijuana and/or GHB can work.)
3. A new partner or a new experience.
A simple Google search will instantly link you to online shops with plugs, rings, vibrators and more that promise multiple orgasms for men; “10 Sex Toys That Allow Multiple Orgasms” on Mr. Male Sex Toys—listing vibrating prostate massagers, butt plugs, male masturbators, and guarana-caffeine-ginseng pills—claims, “You won’t regret getting one of these toys, they really will do the job every time.”
Any product that promises a consistent result for all buyers of course—especially when it comes to sex—is a sham: nothing could ever deliver an orgasm of any sort for anybody and everybody at all times.
That doesn’t mean of course that they won’t work for some. “If you stimulate a larger population of neurons, combining different genital regions, the anus, the prostate, the rectum, this can activate a much larger population of neurons on the whole which can produce orgasms,” says Dr. Komisaruk. “If you activate all of them at once, the orgasms can be more intense.”
What about the tricks?
“They are interesting—but they take a lot of practice and dedication. And though the experience might be great for you, your partner might not be so thrilled—she or he might find it quite tedious,” says Dr. Petra Boynton, sex psychologist, educator, and “agony aunt” for British newspaper The Telegraph, who has received thousands of letters from distressed and curious readers over the years.
“The tricky part is that most discussions you see about multiple orgasms online come from men who train themselves to do it. While this doesn’t interest some men, for others it becomes a competitive, hyper-masculine goal of being able to do it again and again,” she says. “For some that is great, but some people find it so prescriptive that it sucks the joy out of the experience. It becomes a matter of ‘achieving’ orgasm—rather than ‘experiencing’ orgasm: a goal, no matter how chafed and sore you are.”
The biological reality of multiple orgasms in men could possibly become a poisoned chalice, if you think about it. In the past we have tended to think of male orgasms as being simple and coming in one form—while women come in a variety of fashions: clitoral climax, vaginal orgasm, multiple orgasm, squirting—the list goes on. And unfortunately this diversity has been used as a means to make women feel insecure and inadequate.
Could the same happen for men? They already feel competitive about how long they last, how big their penis is, and—yes really—how much they ejaculate. Could orgasm frequency be next on the list?
Maybe. Or perhaps it could be another facet of their biological potential they could playfully explore, stress-free.
“The honest truth is that for most people a multiple orgasm tends to happen with a new partner, or a new kind of experience, or you just haven’t had sex for a while,” says Dr. Boynton. “It’s more often than not a happy accident rather than a planned event.”