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Was your last orgasm a wave, an avalanche or a volcano?

According to new research, a woman’s orgasm can fit into one of three categories

If you have a vagina, it’s likely you know that representations of female pleasure are often… questionable. From porn stars moaning in ecstasy (or… agony?) at men fucking them like jackhammers, to Kanye West peppering his songs with lines like “I wanna fuck you hard on the sink”, to 50 Shades protagonist Christian telling his girlfriend Anastasia “I don’t make love, I fuck hard”, mainstream media would have us believe that rough sex is always better sex – even though, as any woman knows, female pleasure is a lot more complex than that.

There’s always been a considerable lack of research and education surrounding female pleasure (whomst among us has not had a guy breathily whisper ‘are you gonna cum baby?’ in their ear after rubbing their labia for five minutes?). Which is why it’s welcome news that James Pfaus at Charles University in Prague has been conducting research into the female orgasm.

According to Pfaus’ research, published today, a woman’s orgasm can fit into one of three categories: a wave, a volcano, or an avalanche. The names correspond with the different ways “pelvic floor movements appeared during the build-up to orgasm and the release of tension at orgasm”.

So: a wave orgasm is the most common type of orgasm, where women experience “undulations or successive contractions of tension and release”. A volcano orgasm, as the name suggests, is more ‘explosive’, with a lower pelvic floor tension which then tenses and releases at the point of orgasm. An avalanche orgasm has a higher pelvic floor tension which lowers during orgasm.

For the study, 54 women used a Bluetooth-connected vibrator (named the Lioness), which can detect the force of pelvic floor contractions via two sensors on its sides. The women used the vibrator to masturbate over the course of several days, while data on their muscle movements at the point of orgasm was collected through the device.

As it stands, this is a relatively small study. But now Pfaus and his team want to explore these three orgasm styles in more depth. “We are doing a long-term study of women using the Lioness to see how these different patterns are experienced subjectively as orgasms, as levels of pleasure, where the stimulation that induces them largely comes from,” Pfaus said.

More research and education about female pleasure is desperately needed – a recent YouGov poll found that 31 per cent of men couldn’t correctly identify the clitoris, lol – but this new study is doubtless a good start.