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Why am I struggling to orgasm?

Why am I struggling to orgasm? | Jo Divine

The female orgasm has been written about since time began, with many theories being explored. However, many people with a vagina and vulva still struggle to reach an orgasm during sexual intercourse, in spite of the wealth of articles in magazines and online.

Even if you really enjoy sex, there are a variety of reasons why you may be struggling to have an orgasm, many of which can be resolved to help you enjoy amazing orgasms. Changes in hormone levels ,after childbirth, during the menopause and as we age can affect our sexual pleasure.

Medical conditions, treatments and medications can also impact upon sexual function too.

Also expectations within society and the media that vagina and vulva owners don’t enjoy sex, childhood, upbringing, cultural beliefs and religion all play a part. In cultures where female pleasure is highly regarded, women are able to enjoy orgasms more frequently.

Do you know how to have an orgasm?

Have you ever explored your body to find out what feels pleasurable? It may sound silly but many people do not know how to achieve an orgasm.

Some shy away from exploring their bodies through shame, feeling that it is somehow wrong or uncomfortable. Sex education in school is often lacking in offering practical information so many young people leave school with no idea how to have an orgasm.

A survey by The Eve Appeal (2016) found that half of young women (aged 16-25) couldn’t locate the vagina on a medical diagram. Sadly, 65% of the women found it difficult to use the word vagina, demonstrating a lack of knowledge amongst UK women.

We’re constantly being told we should all achieve an orgasm during penetrative sex but this is only true for around 30% of the female population, with the majority of vulva owners only orgasming through clitoral stimulation during sexual intercourse. If you aren’t enjoying sufficient clitoral stimulation during sex, the chances are you won’t orgasm.

Explore your body

Find some alone time and sit in front of a mirror or use a hand mirror to explore your clitoris and vagina with your fingers to find out what brings you sexual pleasure. You could initially do this alone and then with your partner, showing them where and how to touch you to make it feel pleasurable.

Your clitoris is an amazing structure which extends far beneath the surface of the skin. No two are the same and we all experience different sexual pleasure through touching it. The clitoris is the most sensitive part of the female sexual system because it has between 6,000 to 8,000 nerve endings, more than any other part of the human body.

The external part of the clitoris has a gland, foreskin and a tiny shaft, just like a penis. The shaft can be stimulated as a warm up to more direct touching of the clitoral head. The sensitivity of the clitoris differs dramatically from wperson to person and you and your partner need to learn the best way that works for you.

Some people find that direct clitoral stimulation can become uncomfortable as their clitoris becomes too sensitive, so try caressing your clitoris through the fabric of your knickers or using a small satin sheet or piece of silky ribbon. This can be incredibly arousing for many women as it introduces new sensations to foreplay and sex play.

If this doesn’t work for you, try using a little lubricant, such as YES organic lubricant to make direct touch an even more pleasurable experience.

Talk to your partner

A study by psychologists at Chapman University, published in the Journal of Sex Research (February 2016) looked at sexual satisfaction and dissatisfaction for heterosexual couples in long term relationships to find out exactly what keeps the flame of desire burning for some couples.

They found that many of the satisfied couples talked about sexual issues and were honest with their partner.

The sexually satisfied men and women engaged in frequent intimate behaviours, such as cuddling, gentle and deep kissing and laughing during sexual activity, they tried new positions, or acted out fantasies, experimented with sex toys, set the mood by lighting candles or playing music, and sent teasing texts to their partner throughout the day.

Even if you’ve been with your partner for a long time, there may be things sexually that they aren’t doing to get you off but have been too afraid to mention in case you hurt their feelings.

For many people, direct talk during sex play is quite a turn as they listen to your instructions through groans of pleasure. Faking orgasms will not make sex any better and in the long term could be more damaging to your partner’s feelings than being honest.

I’ll have what they’re having please!

We can learn so much from our friends who are in same sex relationships.

Research by Kinsey (2014) found that gay women orgasmed more often than their straight friends. The survey found that straight women had orgasms with their male partner 61.9% of the time whilst gay women said they orgasmed 74.7%.

Research by Nichols (2013) found that heterosexual women don’t expect to have an orgasm, while women in gay relationships expect to orgasm every time. So if the expectation is that both partners will orgasm, time and effort is spent during foreplay and oral sex to make sure it happens.

So what are they doing to enjoy all this extra sexual pleasure?

It’s not all about penetration although many couples enjoy using sex toys together. Gay couples enjoy oral sex much more than straight couples and are much better at it. A women will spend time with her female partner, stimulating her in many ways, from massage, oral sex, mutual masturbation and using sex toys.

Some women enjoy multiple orgasms through straight sex but often they only have one. Gay couples take turns, pleasuring each other in different ways. There is no beginning, middle or end, you can have as many orgasms as you can stand, rather than a man ejaculating being the finale!

Same sex couples spend more time on playing, they enjoy better post coital talk and they will talk about sex, what feels good, how they enjoy being touched, they know their way around the female body!

Use a sex toy

Consider using a clitoral vibrator, massaging it gently over your clitoris and around your labia. Many clitoral vibrators offer varying speeds and pulse patterns, so have a play with the control to find a speed of vibration and pulsation pattern to suit your needs.

Once you are familiar with how your vibrator feels, let your partner take control, guiding them as to how to massage the vibrator over your clitoris.Tell them all the sensations you are feeling: being open about your needs can enhance your sex play as you become more sexually confident within yourself. If you can orgasm through solo play and foreplay with a clitoral vibrator, try using it during sex.

A bullet style vibrator, is small enough to slip between you and your partner during sexual intercourse. Often the power of the vibrations will travel through you and into your partner’s penis, making sex feel extremely pleasurable for the both of you!

If this doesn’t work for you, you may need more stimulation as some women do. Consider a more powerful vibrator, such as Fun Factory Big Boss G5, which is very flexible and ideal for stronger clitoral stimulation. It is excellent when used internally for G-spot stimulation too.

There is also such a thing as an A-Spot orgasm, which is similar to a cervical orgasm and can be achieved through deeper penetration. Stimulation of the anterior fornix, found near the cervix, is highly pleasurable for many, and is especially so when combined with clitoral touch too! Sex toys designed for A-spot stimulations such as Rocks-Off Regale and Fun Factory Lady BI have a longer shaft to reach the A-spot.

Vibrating penis rings are good for couples’ play as they not only make the penis feel bigger but also stimulate the clitoris. Try using Je Joue Mio – the best position when using a cock ring is to be on top as it allows you to take control of the speed and depth of penetration too. This position is excellent for G-spot stimulation as it feels quite deep.

Combining clitoral stimulation with deep penetration can often lead to blended orgasms whereby you have both G-Spot and clitoral orgasm simultaneously. Using a rabbit vibrator stimulates both the clitoris and internally too.

Using a powerful body massager as a clitoral stimulator, such as the Doxy can help too.

Many people enjoy nipple stimulation and can even orgasm so try using a sex toy on your nipples or nipple suckers or clamps.

You may discover you can orgasm when using an anal sex toy or enjoying anal play so explore what works for you.

Be in the moment

One of the stumbling blocks to achieving an orgasm is that we are so worried about it. If you are constantly thinking, “Am I there yet? Will it happen? When will it happen”, you’re not completely in the moment and therefore will struggle to achieve an orgasm. Take the focus away from achieving orgasm as this could ultimately be preventing you from climaxing. Taking your mind off orgasming could lead to you having one.

Foreplay is fun

If you find that you can’t orgasm during penetrative intercourse, have longer foreplay sessions that include oral sex as well as intimate touching. Achieving an orgasm prior to having intercourse means that you can concentrate on all those wonderful sexual sensations running through your body without worrying about when or if you will have an orgasm during sex.

Lose control

Being intimate with your partner means losing control over your inhibitions, which some women find hard to do. Consider writing down your sexual fantasies to find out what turns you on, and ask your partner too. Their fantasies might match yours, which you can both share during sex. Often thinking about these fantasies whilst masturbating alone or during sex can enable you to orgasm.

Physical/psychological conditions

Some women have a condition called anorgasmia whereby they are unable to orgasm as a result of trauma, from surgical intervention to the hormones released during a caesarian section, to personal or religious beliefs.

Medication can affect your ability to orgasm so discuss with your GP if you think this may be the case. Also medical and surgical intervention and conditions can lower libido or create decreased sexual sensation, making it difficult to reach orgasm too.

The menopause can also impact upon your sexual function and you may not be able to orgasm in the same way as you did before. Exploring different to stimulate your clitoris and vagina can help.

People with a penis can struggle to orgasm too

We often think that erectile dysfunction is just about people with a penis not being able to get or maintain an erection or ejaculating too quicky however, some people find they struggle to orgasm or it takes much longer. They may find they can orgasm when visually stimulated watching porn, erotic films or their partner masturbating and when enjoying oral sex but struggle when they have penetrative sex. Just as sex toys can promote and help to maintain an erection and slow down ejaculation, some are ideal for helping with delayed ejaculation including Fleshlight These can help people become accustomed to the sensation of being inside a vagina or anus and are often recommended by many of the psychosexual therapists we work with.

Using a vibrator designed for a penis such as Pulse Solo Essential or the Fun Factory Manta can help or even a small powerful bullet vibrator used on the head of the penis. You may find you can enjoy an orgasm when using an anal toy or prostate massager. These are great to play with alone or with a partner.

By focusing on how pleasurable your sex play is, mixing things up with different positions, role play and sex toys, you’ll soon be enjoying great orgasms and having fun in the process. Also remember that many people can still enjoy sexual intimacy and pleasure even if they are unable to orgasm. It is all about the journey, not the arrival, so get exploring and have fun!