Porn, erotic literature, even mainstream films have turned women's orgasms into hyperbolic experiences: They're often depicted or described as "an eruption," "earth-shattering" or "explosive." They make women's legs flail and shake. They leave lucky ladies passed out or in a puddle of bliss. (Is there any doubt that many auteurs of these artistic interpretations are men?)
In actuality? Your big "O" might feel a little more subdued—and it might feel different depending on what's being stimulated.
Return with me, if you will, to Sex 101: A woman's orgasm is an impulsive reflex involving six to eight contractions that occur throughout the pelvic musculature, with increasingly longer lengths of time between contractions until they stop, explained Nicole Prause, Ph.D., a neuroscientist who studies orgasms and sexual arousal. Other actions that frequently accompany orgasm include muscle contractions throughout other parts of the body and changes in breathing patterns (think: gasping, holding breath, deeper exhales and so on), said Carol Queen, Ph.D., a staff sexologist at San Francisco sex toy retailer Good Vibrations.