For a large percentage of the female population, orgasms are frustratingly elusive. In fact, just 65% of women say they usually orgasm when they have sex.
But for one group of women, their experience of reaching climax could not be more different.
A new Channel 4 show seeks to explore the phenomenon of the ‘super orgasm’, where women claim to have multiple orgasms, multiple times in a row.
Throughout the programme, we meet five women who say this is an everyday part of their lives, with many of them experiencing orgasms 60-100 times in a row.
In the show, we’re introduced to Janet, a 28-year-old web entrepreneur based in South London, who says she will never forget the shock of her first super orgasm.
“The first time I experienced the super orgasm I was with my boyfriend. I didn’t even know what the word orgasm was,” she says.
“I didn’t know a woman was supposed to feel like that. So when I had it, it just kept coming and I didn’t know what the fuck it was. I felt like I was getting the life sucked out of me.”
After discovering her body was capable of the super orgasm, Janet began to enjoy exploring herself and bought her first vibrator at the age of 18.
“When I have a super orgasm it feels like it’s forever,” she says. “It feels like it’s never ending.”
Aside from listening to the testimonies of women like Janet, scientists have very little evidence that the super orgasm exists. However, Janet is far from alone in her claims.
Bournemouth-based engineering student Natalie, 24, says she first experienced a super orgasm while experimenting with a friend.
“For me I have quite a few different types of super orgasm,” she says.
“I can have a back-to-back type thing, almost like chapters in a book - one finishes and one starts. Then other times it’s more rolling.”
Natalie believes the most orgasms she’s had in a single session is over 60, but she usually decides to stop around 30.
“You feel like you never want to move again afterwards,” she jokes.
To shed some light on the matter, throughout the programme a team of researchers seek to understand how super orgasmic women experience sex differently compared to others.
In their first experiment, they monitor a group of women as they watch porn, analysing the impact the stimulus has on their bodies.
Some of the women in the group are self-proclaimed super orgasmics, while others say they tend to have one orgasm at a time when engaging in sexual activities.
In the experiment, women who are super orgasmic are found to be twice as likely aroused to anything sexual compared to single orgasmic women.
The super orgasmic women are found to have far greater blood flow to their genitals compared to the single orgasmic women, suggesting that they “respond differently on a physiological level”.
In other words, you may not be able to teach yourself to have a super orgasm.
In a second experiment, the researchers look at brain scans of women while they masturbate.
Again, they find what appears to be a biological difference among the women who experience super orgasms.
In the lead up to orgasm, women who experience single orgasm tend to have low levels of alpha waves, which then rise just as they climax.
In contrast, super orgasmic women’s alpha waves are high throughout masturbation including just before orgasm, meaning they’re relaxed throughout.
The researchers say an important part of being able to reach super orgasm may be “turning off the brain, becoming less engaged and letting go”.
While the scientists in the show believe super orgasms may have a largely biological cause, the programme also follows women who believe their lifestyle changes have helped them super orgasm.
Beverley, 52, believes she’s able to super orgasm thanks to her role running tantric classes as a “priestess of love”, meanwhile Wise, a neuroscientist, thinks hers are down to “lots of yoga”.
So if you like the sound of orgasming for hours on end, hit the yoga studio, try to relax and keep your fingers crossed that biology handles the rest.
The Super Orgasm airs on Channel 4 at 10pm on Thursday April 13.