WHEN IT COMES to orgasms, you really can’t have too much of a good thing. While some people with a clitoris are able to have multiple orgasms fairly easily, it tends to be a bit trickier for the penis-owning population, thanks to that pesky refractory period that happens after you ejaculate.
When ejaculation happens, “the parasympathetic nervous system shuts down as the body relaxes,” explains Dr. Lee Phillips, Ed.D, a psychotherapist and certified sex and couples therapist. “The brain also releases serotonin, which also causes relaxation.” This can make getting hard again straight away—and therefore, having multiple orgasms—a less-than-easy feat.
But did you know that orgasm and ejaculation are two different bodily functions? While they usually function in tandem, an orgasm is actually the release of tension at the height of the sexual response, which then (usually) triggers ejaculation, which in turn induces that refractory period where you can’t get hard.
If only there were ways to orgasm without ejaculating, right?
Oh, wait. There are!
Experts have identified various ways for cisgender men to orgasm multiple times in a row, including through non-ejaculatory multiple orgasm (NEMO) and prostate orgasms. It just takes practice. (Lucky for you, that practice involves masturbation, so this’ll probably be the most fun homework you’ve ever had.)
An added bonus: learning to have multiple orgasms can benefit everyone involved in your sex life.
In this multi-orgasmic practice, there may not be a big ‘ol’ visual finish every time, but the pleasure can be extraordinary. Basically, you begin building your capacity for having orgasms without ejaculation.
Are you intrigued? Let’s break down how you can begin on your multi-orgasmic journey. Because pleasure is the measure and we all deserve to maximise it.
Understanding the Refractory Period—and What It Means for Multiple Orgasms
What makes multiple orgasms difficult for cis men? The refractory period. Once ejaculation happens, the brain and body go into a rest period. Your penis needs time to recoup before it’s up and running for more.
Your body and brain essentially become numb to sexual stimuli for a hot minute. “It is often called the resolution stage of the sexual response system because, after orgasm, the penis returns to a flaccid state and the level of interest in sex usually goes from intense to virtually non-existent,” Phillips says.
This may be annoying, but Philips says that after a certain amount of time, it’ll definitely become possible to get aroused again. Each person’s refractory period depends on their specific body, age, and other life factors. Everyone is different. Research has shown the refractory period can last for a few minutes, hours, or even days.
But what if we just did away with the refractory period altogether in order to join our vulva-owning pals and get on the multi-orgasm train?
Enter: non-ejaculatory orgasms.
Non-Ejaculatory Multiple Orgasms (NEMO)
As we’ve mentioned, we tend to equate penile orgasms with ejaculation, but that’s not exactly the case.
“The orgasm is the part of the sexual experience that happens between two and seven seconds before ejaculation,” Ava Cadell, Ph.D., a Los Angeles sexologist explained to GQ. “It combines an increase in full-body sensitivity, quickening of breath, and a flood of sensations through the scrotum and penis.
“Ejaculation is the final step of stimulation and involves the release of semen, as well as the neurotransmitters that will send the body into ‘rest and recovery mode,’ or the refractory period.”
While it’s virtually impossible for men to have multiple ejaculatory orgasms with no refractory period, you can climax several times in a row if you don’t release any semen. The technique is known as non-ejaculatory multiple orgasm, or NEMO, and involves strengthening your pelvic floor.
What do non-ejaculatory orgasms feel like?
If you think non-ejaculatory orgasms will feel different from regular orgasms, you’re right—so remember to lower your expectations just a little.
“You can’t expect for each small orgasm to feel like your usual orgasms,” says Jonathan Stegall, M.D., founder and president of the Center for Advanced Medicine in Atlanta. “They’ll be less in intensity, but for some men, having several small orgasms is actually preferable to having one big one.”
How can I have multiple non-ejaculatory orgasms?
Strengthen those PC muscles.
As we mentioned earlier, having multiple non-ejaculatory orgasms is all about controlling your pelvic floor.
“While some men experience multiple orgasms accidentally, others can learn to invite such a reaction,” says sexologist Yvonne K. Fulbright.
You can do this with Kegel exercises, which strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and your ability to control orgasmic and ejaculatory responses in the heat of the moment, she says. Your pubococcygeus (PC) muscle—which stretches from the pubic bone to the tailbone—controls ejaculation. If you can keep yourself from ejaculating after an orgasm, you’ll be more likely to skip the refractory period and orgasm again—and again, and again.
To perform Kegel exercises, you want to contract the PC muscle as you would when you control the flow of urine as you’re peeing. You can practice Kegels anywhere—like contracting the muscle for 10 seconds while sitting in your car.
Suppress ejaculation while masturbating.
“In studies of men who claim to be multi-orgasmic, researchers have found that some guys just seem to come by it naturally, whereas others have taught themselves to have multiple orgasms,” explains Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a research fellow at the Kinsey Institute and author Tell Me What You Want. The men who taught themselves how to be multi-orgasmic did so “by engaging in a lot of masturbatory practice in which they would get to the brink of orgasm, but then prevent ejaculation from occurring, such as by squeezing the penis.”
The key is to get as close as possible to the “point of no return” without actually reaching it. Relationship guru Dan Savage popularised that term, and it refers to when you reach a point either during sex or masturbation when ejaculation is inevitable. No amount of holding off, pressure, or Kegel squeezes will prevent emission.
When practicing how to become multi-orgasmic, it’s necessary to familiarise yourself with your own point of no return and to not cross it. “With enough practice and exercise, these men said that they were ultimately able to have several orgasms when they have sex, with their last one being an ejaculatory orgasm,” Lehmiller says.
Try a different position.
If you have a hard time delaying gratification, switching positions during sex can help you control ejaculation and erection.
Sex therapist Jane Greer suggests trying a sex position where you’re easily able “to stand up and pull out before you ejaculate.” (May we recommend any of these?) “That way, you can tighten your muscles right before the point of ejaculation so you can experience orgasm without ejaculation.”
Focus on your breath.
In The Multi-Orgasmic Man: Sexual Secrets Every Man Should Know, authors Mantak Chia and Douglas Abrams dedicate a large portion of their book to the importance of breathing.
Deep “belly breathing” or “diaphragm breathing” is a key to mitigating ejaculation, explain the authors. When you get close to ejaculating, your breath rate sharply increases as you take short and shallow breaths. This, in turn, also increases your heart rate. Slowing down both will help you better control ejaculating.
To practice belly breathing, sit on a chair with your back straight. Relax your shoulders and place your hands on your stomach. Inhale deeply through your nose, and feel your stomach expand. Your chest should not move. Each breath should last for at least three seconds. Get in the habit of doing this type of breathing daily. You can do it at work, while crossing the street, and (especially) when you find yourself stressed. The goal is for belly breathing to become your normal style of breathing.
Now, when you’re in the bedroom, you’ll notice both your breath and heart rate increase. This is when you really want to engage in belly breathing to help slow down your breathing and postpone ejaculation.
One of the best ways to experience multiple Os without ejaculation? Getting the prostate involved. (Aka: The p-spot). The goal is to have a prostate orgasm (or anal orgasm), a unique and satisfying sensation that doesn’t necessarily involve penile ejaculation. In fact, some penis-owners can have a prostate orgasm without even being hard.
If you want to climax multiple times in one sex session, you can combine prostate and penile orgasms—or just have multiple prostate orgasms!
How can I stimulate my prostate for a multiple orgasmic experience?
Start by yourself.
Taylor Sparks, an intimacy educator and founder of OrganicLoven.com, tells us that the best way to begin this journey is on your own. “This way you have immediate information about what you like/dislike without the need for instructing someone else or concerns about comfort, making the process simpler and more effective.” We have to get to know how our bodies respond before we bring in partners.
Relax the anus.
In order to do any sort of penetration, you have to be fully relaxed. Breathe into your body and bring awareness to the anal opening. Practice relaxing it. When you’re ready to insert a finger, go really, really slowly. Anal play requires patience.
Always use lube.
Lube is your best friend. Do not even think about penetration without a high-quality lubricant. Phillips suggests using a silicone lubricant, as it has a lot more staying power.
Locate the prostate.
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that you can feel through the front wall of your rectum (toward your belly button), about two inches in. Massage it with your finger and see kinds of pressure and patterns feel good. Head here for more detailed instructions on prostate massage.
Use a prostate stimulator.
Try incorporating prostate stimulation using a small toy designed for the prostate such as the Aneros Tempo. “Explore the toy’s placement within the rectum and employ a rocking motion with your wrist joint to apply pressure to the prostate on the front wall.”
Get the penis involved.
Once you have the prostate stim down pat, you can involve the penis. “If you stroke the penis, it can be even more intense,” Phillips says. He suggests taking advantage of prostate toys in tandem with penis stimulation, to really up the sensation. “Tease the prostate with the dildo in a circular motion and edge the penis.”
Just be sure you’re using those deep belly breaths in order to avoid going over the edge. Well, until you’re ready, anyway.
Practice, practice, practice.
If you want to master prostate stimulation, you have to make it a regular part of your masturbation routine.
One More Multiple Orgasm Tip: Check Your T-Levels
Maybe you don’t want to have multiple non-ejaculatory orgasms, but just want to shorten your refractory period. In that case, make sure you have optimal testosterone levels—it’ll make your orgasms better, too.
“Low T is often thought of as an older man’s problem, but I see it in a significant portion of men in their 20s, 30s, and 40s,” Stegall says.
Even if your sex drive isn’t particularly low, Stegall advises guys over 30 to get their T-levels checked with a blood test by a doctor who specialises in anti-aging medicine and hormone replacement therapy. FYI, normal testosterone levels are between 300 and 1,000 nanograms per decilitre of blood.
Signs of low T include fatigue, decreased libido, fat gain, difficulty gaining muscle, mental fogginess, and depression.
“If a lot of guys in their 20s and 30s are honest with themselves, they’re probably dealing with at least some of these issues,” Stegall says.
Low testosterone can be boosted naturally by eating a diet high in proteins and healthy fats, sleeping eight hours a night, and by lifting weights three to six times per week.
This article originally appeared on Mens Health U.S