What is an accidental orgasm and how does it happen?

Yes, accidental orgasms are real. Sexperts weigh in on the causes, benefits and concerns

woman surprised shocked
(Image credit: Dina Issam / EyeEm)

Accidental orgasms seem like the perfect kind of "whoopsies!" 

We all appreciate surprises, especially those involving activated pleasure points. But there's no need for the best app-controlled vibrators or guided masturbation with this type of O—zero effort is required.  

"An accidental orgasm is exactly as described. You weren’t in a sexual situation per se, but suddenly the universe gifts you with an unanticipated pathway to pleasure," says Angie Rowntree, founder and director of Sssh.com (opens in new tab)

Who would've thunk it?

Likewise, sexpert Isabelle Uren of Bedbible (opens in new tab) adds: "They can occur in situations that are completely non-sexual, there are lots of different causes and they are often out of your control."

Even Orgasms 101 can throw us for a few loops, but fortunately we're here to give the masterclass an update. Read on for more about the impromptu O's. 

Meg Ryan, "When Harry Met Sally" (1989)

(Image credit: PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy Stock Photo)

Accidental orgasm causes 

As you're aware, there are plenty of different types of O's, and plenty of different ways to stimulate erogenous zones...even if they have nothing to do with sexy time. Don't be surprised if mapping out the perfect workout schedule leads to orgasm. 

"Sometimes during exercise, the pelvic floor muscles are engaged in a way that initiates what's called a coregasm," Uren says about the common TikTok fitness fad.

Rowntree agrees, noting that kegel exercises and massages are likely culprits as well. However, there's a bit of sexiness involved in other scenarios...even if pressure points aren't stimulated. 

"Some people experience [accidental] orgasm purely from arousing thoughts, without experiencing any physical stimulation," Uren says. "Sleep orgasms are another type of psychologically induced orgasm."

Charlotte Johnson, sex and relationship expert at Mega Pleasure (opens in new tab), even credits oral sex as a potential cause. 

woman doing abdominal crunches

(Image credit: (Image credit: Getty Images))

Are accidental orgasms good or bad?

"When you have an orgasm you release oxytocin which is known as the feel-good hormone, so having an accidental orgasm will be sure to put a smile on your face," Johnson notes. 

Plus, it can open up your eyes to other ways in which you enjoy experiencing pleasure. 

"The obvious benefit is the pleasure itself, and/or discovering a new turn-on, if you’ve never had an orgasm in that way before," Rowntree adds. 

Though a little excitement via pelvic exercises might not be the worst thing, there are some downfalls according to Annabelle Knight, sex and relationship expert at Lovehoney (opens in new tab)

"It is worth noting that not all accidental orgasms are wanted. Some accidental orgasms are related to a condition called Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD)," Knight says. “Sufferers of PGAD can experience extreme, constant and unprovoked orgasmic sensations. PGAD can be sparked by anxiety, depression and hormonal treatments in post-menopausal women."

Should something feel off, always seek professional help from a medical professional. (Psst: here's what gynecologists want you to know about your reproductive health.) 

While yes, something unexpected can be delightful, there are also causes for concern. If something seems off in the sex department, don't ignore it. 

If you prefer to take solo sex into your own hands and can do without accidents, be sure to check out the different types of vibrators on shelves. You'll have more control and perhaps you'll even experience the mother of all orgasms: the blended orgasm.

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!)