Orgasm and climax: is there really a difference? Here's what sexperts want you to know

As it turns out, orgasm and climax are *not* one and the same

colorful explosion meant to signify an orgasm and climax
(Image credit: Getty Images/Vizerskaya)

Orgasm and climax—these two seemingly interchangeable sensations are not the same. Who knew? Consider minds blown and libidos stirred.

Although it's not unheard of to interchange one term with the other, experts are on hand to assist with a sexy vocab lesson. 

"They are important to differentiate because there is potential for you to draw out the feeling and pleasure of orgasm in all the many ways, especially for folks who connect their divinity to their orgasmic experience," says Marla Renee Stewart, MA—a sexologist and sexpert for Lovers (opens in new tab).

Ready to get up to speed with your lingo?



Orgasm and climax: what's the difference?

Orgasms are a hit not just because of the feeling, but because of the benefits like softening cramps, boosting the immune system and even providing our beauty routine with some support (these skincare masturbation benefits are proof!)

Not bad! But as it turns out, we often confuse the Big O for a climax and vice versa. 

"The orgasm happens when your body reaches a relaxed state of intense pleasure," says Ditte Jensen, sexual wellness expert at Sinful (opens in new tab). "Climax is where the body actually experiences those few seconds of pelvic floor muscle contractions. If you think of the orgasm as a mountain, the climax is the absolute peak."

Likewise, Charlotte Johnson, relationship and sex expert at Mega Pleasure (opens in new tab), agrees with the comparison and notes that the Big O is entirely up to you. 

"An orgasm is a state that can last as long as you want," she says.

So, how exactly is that done? It's all about technique. 

"You actually can prolong that period of sexual bliss by building up the orgasm. When using a method called edging, where you stimulate to the point right before orgasm, you create an orgasmic wave leading to an intense climax when finally letting yourself come," Jensen says. 

Hand grabbing onto a white sheet

(Image credit: Getty)

Orgasm tips and tricks

Although this seems very technical, when it comes down to it, you want to feel pleasured and in close connection with your partner. For those looking for a somewhat explosive feeling, there are a few tips for reaching that excitable moment: 

1. The pillow sex tip

The pillow sex tip, according to the TikTok sexperts, is when you place a pillow underneath your pelvis, resulting in deeper penetration.

2. Scream during sex

When done authentically, a little screaming goes a long way in the bedroom. 

"When you scream, you are essentially giving in and letting your body take control," Stewart says."When you do this, your orgasm is able to be released how it wants to release."

All in all, the most important point of all is to enjoy yourself, feel comfortable with your sexual partner and do what works for you both—no expectations are required. (You'll get a pass even if you still confuse the terms every now and then.)

"It is incredibly important to make sure you feel relaxed, as the orgasm is a journey rather than a destination," Jensen says. "You might want to enhance the sexual bliss by engaging as many of your senses as possible. Candles, gentle touch, warm scents and soft music are a great method of doing this, whether masturbating alone or with a partner."

Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment. 


The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos and honed in on astrology coverage within the Life vertical. She's partial to writing pieces about the next big TV obsession—anyone else impatiently waiting for "Conversations with Friends"—and keeping you up to date on new trends like the latest must-have from Zara. 


Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets. 


When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a new book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)