How would you describe your sexual response? Perhaps you would say, “seeing fireworks,” “a budding flame,” or how about “not much at all”?
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Despite our societal conditioning of the “typical” female orgasmic response, not all women experience fireworks at climax. You can’t always believe what you see in movies, that is why some women with a less-than-typical response are left wondering if there is something wrong with them.
If you are one who experiences fireworks, that’s great! But not all women do.
In fact, less than a third of women even consistently experience orgasm with sex. Like other sensory responses in our body, the frequency and quality of our individual sexual response vary amongst women (and often vary amongst experiences). Just like the “savor” of chocolate cake, the “scent” of spicy perfume, the picturesque “vision” of a floral garden bring different sensations to different women, so does our experience of sex.
Women vary in type, intensity and duration of orgasm, as well as in our level of satisfaction with the experience.
There is no right answer for your response to sexual stimulation. A less-than-typical response is only a problem if you see it as one and desire more from your experience. For women, our sexual response is a complex phenomenon, based on many different psychological, social, and relationship factors, some of which include:
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Problems or dissatisfaction with our sexual experience may be due to one or more of these factors, and should be evaluated from the perspective of the individual, the relationship and the related psychological and social factors.
In the office, when patients express to me difficulties with libido or sexual response, I often start by asking, “How is your relationship?” or “Tell me about your stressors.” Women with concerns or doubts about their relationship often report more problems with orgasm. We tend to have more sexually satisfying experiences in trusting relationships, where we feel emotionally safe.