I had asked on Facebook if anyone had any questions about sex and/or marriage since I hadn’t gotten an anonymous question in a couple of weeks.
Then one of my regular readers and participator sent me this question (among others):
Why the shakes and spasms after orgasm?
That sounded like it might have a fun and interesting physiological cause, so I thought I’d try to answer it today. Why do some people shake post-orgasm, whether it be legs, arms, or their whole body and is it something to worry about?
Many women find that they shake, or have spasms post-orgasm. For some, it’s slight, for others it’s almost a flailing of limbs, and their husband better watch out. I’m afraid I can’t find any stats to say how many have experienced this, but judging by the number of people asking, I don’t think it’s that rare. There seem to be a lot of women whose legs shake after sex.
Now, I haven’t seen any studies on this, but as far as I can tell, there seem to be four prevailing theories on why this happens.
Trembling is a sign of a highly increases heart rate
The first theory is that people often tremble when their heart rate increases radically. This is most well known when someone is scared. When we’re scared our hearts start pumping more blood to help us get more energy to our limbs, to run away or to fight, to our senses, so we can see better, hear better. Basically, it’s a response designed to help us avoid danger.
Now, during sex, we aren’t in danger (hopefully), but we do tend to have an elevated heart rate. A fear response is very similar to arousal in a lot of ways. Some people’s heart rates increase more than others, and it seems that for some women, it raises so high, it gives the same shaking, thanks to all the natural chemicals being pumped into our bloodstream along with the increased heart rate.
So, one way to test this theory would be to check your heart rate (when you regain control of your limbs), before it returns to normal. If it’s really high, that might be related.
Legs shaking after sex might be caused by spasming muscles due to prolonged tension
Many women find that they need to clench muscles in order to have an orgasm. This is what leads to grasping bed sheets, raking fingernails, pulling hair, grabbing their own breasts, etc… One common muscle to contract is the thigh muscles. For one it’s near the genitals, and so for some women, they just tense up the entire area. Yes, the thigh muscles happen to be the most noticeable, but in the process, they may also be contracting their pelvic floor muscles, and butt muscles, which can lead to increased blood flow, which leads to increased sensation.
And it’s not necessarily voluntary. In fact, they can be so tense that they should cause pain, except that you are being fed so many natural pain relief hormones that you don’t notice it.
Then, when you do orgasm, your finally free to let go of the muscle tension, and your legs have been under such high tension for so long, that they start to shake simply from the workout.
Want to check this theory? Check to see if your thigh muscles are contracted during sex. If they’re hard as a rock, that’s probably what’s going on and explains why your legs shake after sex.
If you have shaky legs after sex – that is, when you try to walk, you’re a bit wobbly, this might also point to your muscles being overworked during orgasm and so after sex, when the muscles stop contracting, then they feel like you just did leg-day at the gym.
Your orgasm might be extending into other parts of your body
Orgasms included the rapid contraction and release of muscles in and around your genitals. The larger the orgasm, often the stronger these contractions. Now, for some, it might be that these involuntary rapid contract and release cycles are extending beyond just the muscles surrounding your genitals. For some women, their legs are involved, for others their abs.
An interesting correlation of this is that some women can also have orgasms by working out their ab muscles (leg-lifts and such). These are known sometimes as “core-gasms”.
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If your legs shake after sex, your brain might be overloaded and misfiring
Lastly, it could simply be that your nervous system is just overwhelmed with all the pleasure signals and it doesn’t know what to do with itself. Pleasure and pain use the same mechanisms to tell the brain that something is going on. It’s the same sensors picking up the feeling, and the same system transmitting those feelings.
When we feel in pain, our bodies tend to quickly try to get away from whatever is hurting us, like if you touch a hot pan, your arm jerks your hand away before you can even really process that’s happening. Actually, what happens is that the high level of input from the pain hits your spinal cord and actually short-circuits and jumps to the return path, sending a muscle-contract response before the signal even hits your brain. You literally move before you know why. In a sense, it’s pre-cognition.
So, it’s possible that your body is receiving such strong pleasure signals, that it’s short-circuiting your nervous system. Your body just starts flailing body parts in an effort to resolve the situation without even involving your brain.
So, there you go. Four reasons why you might shake after you have an orgasm. If you’ve heard of others, let us know in the comments below.
If you have an anonymous question you’d like to have answered, please check out our anonymous Have A Question page to ask it.
14 thoughts on “Why do some women shake when they orgasm?”
“Husband’s better watch out” lol mine knows just to take a beating afterwards lol.? or he just usually holds me down and kisses me softly untill I gain control. Thanks Jay
I don’t get too crazy, but my legs do shake after an orgasm, or sometimes even without one, just from muscles that have been really tight and then go shaky afterwards. At first my husband was wondering what was wrong that I was trembling, but I told him it’s just muscle fatigue. It goes away in a few minutes.
I find that when women have a G spot orgasm ( female ejaculation) they tend to tremble and shake
uncontrollably. I believe that it is because that it is a much more intense full body orgasm, at least that is what women have told me.
It’s like that for me, I can’t even control my body during an orgasm.
When my hubby used to give me oral, he would go for it rather intensely and it would make my legs shake uncontrollably BEFORE climax. I attributed it to the intensity of the nerves being stimulated.
After a really good round of woman on top, I have been known to be unable to walk!! Sometimes my muscles will be weak for quite some time after.
A few times I have almost passed out during or after sex. My blood pressure always checks out normal and I am declared by both my physician and gynecologist to be in good health.
The female orgasm can be a VERY powerful thing.
Sexy Corte does this and it drives me INSANE. Strong responsiveness during sex is generally a huge turn-on for your spouse, even if it feels “over the top” or even cheesy at first.
I shake DURING orgasm – whole body shiver to actually convulsive. I also ejaculate, and I’m wondering if this has any link (however I shake whether I ‘squirt’ or not). The after-spasms may be from tense muscles, but a woman’s vagina spasms to a. make the male cum so b. the cervix can dip down & up again in a pool of ejaculate (this is what the cervix is doing during spasm). As far as my whole body shakes – I’m really curious why…
I do too! I don’t know why.
Most Disagree votes I’ve ever seen on a Uncovering Intimacy article. Wish some of the disagree-ers would chime in, in the comments.
Oh, there’s more on the “Why Do Married Men Masturbate” post (https://www.uncoveringintimacy.com/why-do-married-men-masturbate/)
It’s a natural physiological release for stress held in the body. A lot of work is now being done on trauma release via physiological pathways (nerves/muscles, particularly the psoas and vagus nerve) in the body. The trembly-shakes can be reproduced easily, without the orgasm, by stimulating the same muscles to fatigue point. It’s extremely healing and a great way to reduce stress daily 🙂
My ex was like this. It was a huge turn on! When she was starting to orgasm her legs would stiffen up. If I didn’t wrap my arms around her thighs she’d push me out. Her legs would start shaking intensely and her teeth would chatter. At that point she seemed to enter a whole other place where nothing else existed. She liked deep hard sex so if I put everything into it during her orgasm I could increase the intensity and length of it. Female orgasms turn me on more than anything so I made sure it was always good. Our sessions would last up to 1.5 hours and she’d orgasm multiple times. Best physical workout ever! Bummer she was an alcoholic and it ruined the relationship. We were perfect sex partners.