Sexual Pleasure & Orgasms - Sexual Health Quarters
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Sexual Pleasure & Orgasms

What even is pleasure?

Pleasure is a feeling of enjoyment or satisfaction, often associated with a positive and enjoyable experience. Sexual pleasure has been described as a physical and/or psychological satisfaction and enjoyment that comes from erotic experiences. Things like consent, safety, privacy and the ability to communicate are all factors that enable pleasure to contribute to sexual health. Pleasure, including sexual pleasure, is different for everyone and can be impacted by so many things, like emotions, location, weather and mental states – just to name a few! What is pleasurable for one person, might not be pleasurable for someone else, and what a person finds pleasurable one day, they might not the next.

Bodies and pleasure

When people think of sexual pleasure, usually their mind instantly thinks of genitals, breasts, nipples and bums as typical erogenous zones (body parts sensitive to sexual stimulation). But loads of other parts of our body can make us feel pleasure too. Think about a kiss on the neck, a stroke of a thigh or a scratch down your back. Different touches might be more pleasurable for you and it can be fun to find out where on your body you experience pleasure. Maybe you like the feeling of pressure – like a massage, maybe your prefer using objects – like the brush of a feather, maybe you like the feeling of warm water against your skin in a bath, or maybe you like being tickled. Our experiences of pleasure are so diverse, so remember to be creative when exploring your pleasure zones! Think outside the box, and find out what works for you.

Talking about pleasure

When you’re having sex with partner/s, communication is key. Communication helps us to feel safe and comfortable during sex and establish our boundaries with our partner/s. As we’ve realised, everyone experiences pleasure differently and has different preferences. It’s unfair to assume our partner/s will know what we like without us letting them know. Becoming familiar with what you like first can help you to show your partner/s what you like and how you feel pleasure. It goes both ways too, checking-in with your partner/s lets you see what they like and what works for them.


Most of us have put immense pressure and expectations on ourselves to give and experience orgasms during sex. But what if this is detrimental to our sexual experiences? What if we have never experienced an orgasm? What if we can’t orgasm? Does this mean we are destined to not enjoy sex? No way! Re-thinking what sex is and what sex means to us, and rather focusing on what is pleasurable for us, can make sex more enjoyable. When we stop thinking about orgasm as the “final goal” of sex, it can help us to stop pressuring ourselves to reach orgasm. This can help us to have more pleasurable sex, as putting pressure on ourselves to orgasm can interfere with being turned on, staying in the moment, and having fun and pleasurable sex.


Jessie V. Ford, Esther Corona Vargas, Itor Finotelli Jr., J. Dennis Fortenberry, Eszter Kismödi, Anne Philpott, Eusebio Rubio-Aurioles & Eli Coleman (2019) Why Pleasure Matters: Its Global Relevance for Sexual Health, Sexual Rights and Wellbeing, International Journal of Sexual Health, 31(3), 217-230, DOI: 10.1080/19317611.2019.1654587