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If you have a vagina (or not), you probably know that representations of female pleasure are often… questionable. According to new research, a woman’s orgasm can fit into three different categories.

There has always been a considerable lack of research and education around female pleasure (who among us hasn’t had someone whisper ‘have you come yet’ in our ear after touching your clitoris for two minutes?) So it’s good news that James Pfaus, professor of neuroscience at Charles University in Prague, has been researching the female orgasm.

Over a period of time, researchers asked 54 women to use a Bluetooth-connected vibrator (Lioness) to observe pelvic floor contractions during orgasm. The sex toy included two sensors on its sides to analyse and collect the muscle movements. Thus, they identified that there are different levels of pleasure.

According to Pfaus’ research, when the volunteers climaxed, they showed three patterns. So they pigeonholed the orgasm into three categories (although there could be more): a wave, a volcano or an avalanche. The names correspond to the ways in which “pelvic floor movements appear during the preparation for orgasm and the release of tension at orgasm”.

The wave is the most common type of orgasm where women experience “successive ripples or contractions of tension and release”. The volcano, as the name suggests, is more explosive: “it presents a lower tension, but then explodes and releases during orgasm”. An avalanche orgasm “has a higher tension in the pelvic floor that decreases during orgasm”.

After analysing the data, they found that almost 50 per cent of the women (26) had ‘wave’ orgasms, while 17 had ‘avalanches’ and 11 had ‘volcanoes’. Now, Pfaus and her team want to explore this further. “We are doing a long-term study of women using Lioness to see how these different patterns are subjectively experienced as orgasms, as levels of pleasure, where the stimulation that induces them largely comes from.” 

Essential research, as more research and education on female pleasure is desperately needed. A recent survey by YouGov, a company specialising in market research through online methods, concluded that 31% of men could not correctly identify where the clitoris was. The Pfaus study is certainly a good start.

Now… Do you know what age you’re going to have the best sex?