The first thing you need to know? We tend to equate 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, according to Mel Magazine, and involves strengthening your pelvic floor.
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," Jonathan Stegall, M.D., founder and president of the Centre for Advanced Medicine in Atlanta, tells MensHealth.com. "They’ll be less in intensity, but for some men, having several small orgasms is actually preferable to having one big one."
Want to try your hand at having multiple orgasms? These tips might help you pull it off.
1. 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," sexologist Yvonne K. Fulbright, Ph.D, tells MensHealth.com.
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.
2. 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 the 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, of 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.
3. Try a different position
If you have a hard time delaying gratification, switching positions during sex can help you control ejaculation and erection.
"Try having sex in a chair, where she's in the chair and you're on top of her, but still able to stand up and pull out before you ejaculate," suggests sex therapist Jane Greer. "That way, you can tighten your muscles right before the point of ejaculation so you can experience orgasm without ejaculation."
4. 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.
5. 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-ageing medicine and hormone replacement therapy. FYI, normal testosterone levels are between 300 and 1,000 nanograms per deciliter 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 Men's Health