Skip navigation! Story from Sex. Our bodies are capable of all kinds of powerful, satisfying, and fun orgasms. If you ask us, it's kind of a drag that, in the English language, we reduce these scintillating sensations to a single word. We much prefer a popular phrase coined by the French: la petite mort , or the little death. Originally, this term was used to refer to a nervous spasm or a fainting episode.
There are some similarities between the ephemeral burst of an orgasm and the finality of death. But the French are just too complicated—and well, European—to reduce the poetry of an orgasm to a fuzzy feeling of lightheadedness. The so-called greatest lovers in the world, the French, have delivered an orgasm for existentialists. Just like our precious little lives, an orgasm is indescribable and over in an overwhelming flash. We perk up just to come back down after the grand finale.
American vernacular explodes ecstatically, euphorically such that it becomes positively contagious—seeping into our speech patterns, our lives. Come again? Yet in the Spanish culture, there seems to be a romantic hurry, or perhaps an athletic finish. Or at least that seems to be the thrust of it.