Q&A with J: “When I Orgasm, I Shake All Over”

Today’s topic is about strange reactions wives experience during/after an orgasm. Here’s the reader’s question:

Strange question, but i’m not really sure where to get more info. Sometimes when I orgasm I shake, all over, uncontrollably but not in a seizure manner. It doesn’t happen all the time and I can’t figure out rhyme or reason for it. It kind of freaks me out, but my husband loves it! He stands there all proud and takes it in. Do you know if this happens to other women? Why/how it happens? I can’t say I enjoy it because I can’t make it stop.

Blog post title + illustration of woman with hands on cheeks and mouth open (like "wow")

Yes, it happens to other women.

In fact, there are several reactions wives have during/after orgasm that, while seemingly strange, are perfectly normal:

  • shaking
  • crying
  • laughing
  • muscle exhaustion
  • numbness

Why do these things happen? From my research and talking to others, I point the finger at three causes:

1. Physical exertion.

While it promotes emotional intimacy, sex is a physical activity. It requires the effort of your body — bones, muscles, nerves, etc. When you tap those resources, your body can react with fatigue demonstrated by such reactions as numbness and shaking.

Maybe this has happened to you when you ran for a long time or played sports or danced the night away: When you finally take a break, you find your muscles are twitching, or you can’t fully feel your feet, or you simply feel like a puddle of goo.

The build-up to orgasm can make your muscles tense up to such an extreme that when the orgasm is over, your body reacts as if you ran a few miles. And it doesn’t have to do with your physical shape beforehand; rather, it’s a sensitivity some women have and others don’t.

2. Emotional expression.

Has it ever struck you as weird that women cry when they win the Miss America pageant? Or when their children win an important award? Or on the presumably “happiest day of their life”—aka, the wedding? I’ve had to explain to my husband that I don’t just cry when I’m sad, but sometimes I cry when I’m supremely happy, because it’s the overwhelming emotion makes tears form in my eyes.

That can happen in the marriage bed too. Maybe your overwhelming emotion comes out with crying, but it could also be uncontrollable shaking or laughter. While it may feel like odd timing, it’s good news that you feel so emotionally connected during lovemaking that your body responds with this reaction. However, yet again, some wives who greatly enjoy sexual intimacy never experience this reaction. It’s fine to have and fine not to have.

3. Brain chemicals.

Related to the second reason, but worth it’s own point, is that certain brain chemicals are released during orgasm, such as endorphins, dopamine, and oxytocin. These chemicals cause feelings of pleasure and bonding. But they can be overwhelming to our bodies as well, causing us to react afterward with extreme fatigue, crying or shaking, or spontaneous laughter.

This is simply the biological side of emotion, a wonderful formula our Creator worked up to keep our bodies in tune with our hearts. In the marriage bed, these brain chemicals help to feel more positive and connected with our mate. They just also happen to have unusual physiological effects in some wives as well.

Two other points the reader made that I want to quickly cover:

It doesn’t happen all the time and I can’t figure out rhyme or reason for it.” Yeah, our bodies are like that. You can’t always find why things happen when they do. Almost like good / bad hair days: Why is your hair so cooperative on Monday, only to behave like a tangle of straw the next? I don’t know.

You can track these moments and see if there’s a pattern, like maybe what you did that day that might have led to greater physical exhaustion or interactions between you and your husband that increased emotion, but there might not be a pattern at all — at least not one you can discern.

I can’t say I enjoy it because I can’t make it stop.” I don’t know if twitching like that is a particularly enjoyable experience no matter what, but the reason you gave for not enjoying it is “I can’t make it stop.” But here’s the thing: Orgasm involves a loss of control. Your genital muscles contract uncontrollably, you may make unusual noises uncontrollably, your face may scrunch up or your mouth widen like a scream uncontrollably, you may ejaculate a small amount of fluid uncontrollably. Are you detecting a theme here?

In Song of Songs 5:1, God encourages the husband and wife saying, ” Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love!” (ESV). The word there really does mean “drunk” or “intoxicated.” And anyone who’s ever been drunk (glad my mother and kids don’t read my blog) knows you lose control when you’re three sheets to the wind. I’m not saying you should be as stupid during lovemaking as a wasted teenager over Spring Break, but it ‘s obviously okay with God to let yourself be awash with emotion and pleasure in the marriage bed. Meaning, if you shake, just let yourself shake, and let your husband enjoy the moment too.

Throughout my answer, you can see two threads that run through everything:

  • These reactions — shaking, crying, laughter, etc. — are normal during/after orgasm; and
  • Their existence depends on the woman’s sensitivity to them.

If you are particular sensitive to one of these reactions, how much you experience the shaking, crying, etc. could relate to the intensity of the orgasm itself or it could seem random. Rather than shy away from those moments, simply embrace them as part of your particular experience of sexual intimacy.

And if you don’t have these reactions, that’s fine too. You may be enjoying orgasm just as much as the next gal, but your body just doesn’t react the same way.

Indeed, God made sex both a simple and complex design. It’s not hard to understand putting Tab A into Slot B; that’s simple. But take two unique individuals, pair them in a covenant marriage, and allow them to explore and enjoy their own repertoire of sexual intimacy, and it’s quite a complex and beautiful thing. Lean into your own experience.

10 thoughts on “Q&A with J: “When I Orgasm, I Shake All Over”

  1. Cara

    I’m curious as to how you can be sure your mother and kids won’t read your blog!! I’ve often wondered that. I’m scared to even comment sometimes for fear my mom or daughter will see 🙊

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Lol. My sons, while supportive of what their mom does, have no interest in reading my blog or books; that’s too much information about your own parents. And my mom has flat-out told me that she does not read my blog. I believe her, and if I want her to actually read something, I have to send her that specific link. As for worrying about your mom or daughter seeing, this is why I allow people commenting with just about any name they choose. 🙂

      Reply
  2. K J

    I have had all of those reactions at different times after orgasm. I think it’s amazing!

    I like how you compared it to physical activity. I wear a fitness tracker watch, and one time almost immediately after “playtime,” my watch hummed its “You hit your ‘intensity minutes’ goal!” My husband and I had a good laugh together after that 🙂

    Reply
  3. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    It’s not only sex that does this, and it’s not only for women.

    Years ago my spotter and I were trapped in a culvert in a country I’d rather not name, under fire by the locals who I suppose did have a legitimate beef.

    Their fire was chipping off cement at the top of the concrete structure, and barring their bringing up a grenade launcher or mortar, we were pretty safe for the moment.

    Luis (not his real name) caught my eye and smiled. I smiled back, and then he stated laughing. It turned into a feedback loop, and we were both sitting there, waist-deep in developing country wastewater, laughing ourselves silly.

    It was a hysterical reaction, of course, and one that we were trained to expect at times of extreme duress. It’s just how the body responds…and it made dealing with the situation that much easier. You can’t despair when you can’t stop laughing.

    We eventually got out, with boldness and audacity and a little help from Puff The Magic Dragon (a DC-3 carrying a triad of miniguns).

    But every so often, for as long as we worked together, a certain look would start the giggles once again. And as I write this, I am laughing.

    Reply
  4. Mama Rachael

    I find that each orgasm is a bit different. I think my time of month effects it, and the time it took to get there, methods used, etc. Hubby reported that all orgasms were much the same, until he received a ‘frenulum’ orgasm. hehehehe… I said, welcome to my world! I’ve even given different orgasms names… laughing orgasm, face orgasm (the pleasure reaches my face), crying orgasm, etc. Hubby tends to get the spastic shaking style orgasms, and honestly, we both end up laughing. You have said it and it’s true, sex is funny! 😀

    Reply
  5. Teresa Richardson

    My husband enjoys making me orgasm multiple times, which have caused me to squirt and to roll up into a fetal position and cry. I’ve accepted them as part of an intense lovemaking session and, since it pleases my husband, I accept these reactions.

    Reply
  6. Allie

    I’ve experienced all the things you mentiond in that list of five except the numbness. I admit to having sex prior to marriage, and men before my husband were often confused by my wildly emotional reaction of laughter or tears, or the shaking. My husband is ok with all of it. More than ok. Kind of like the readers husband, he gets all proud of himself. Mostly what he does after such an intense experience is cuddles me and pets/plays with my hair, which helps me relax and stop shaking. I used to feel abnormal for these things, but my husband has helped me feel much better about them. I was still kind of confused as to the reasons they happen, so thanks for this, J. It educates me, too.

    Reply

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