Your lack of orgasm is different than her lack of orgasm. More and more women are talking to each other about their sex lives. If not in open, "Sex and the City" style confessionals over brunch, then in hushed tones over a glass of wine or huddled on the sidelines at a soccer match. Increased comfort talking about sex and desire is a good thing. But it can create advice overload advice that just may not apply to us. Difficulty orgasming is one of those concerns for which one size solutions do not fit all. So if you have been comparing yourself to your friends and confidants and wondering why what works for them hasn't worked for you, don't worry. There is a solution for you—it just may be different than hers.
There are a lot of reasons why you may be having trouble with orgasm. Figuring out what is going on for you uniquely is key to getting your orgasms back, or finding them if you have not yet experienced them. A sex therapist or sex coach may be the best support in helping you assess and what is impacting you. But here are a few common causes to consider. Which do you think might apply to you?
Ineffective Sex: Lack of sexual variety, skills and experience, combined with rushed sex, are a common reason for difficulty with orgasms. Maybe you need more time for your body to get warmed up or sex that is frankly more fun for you. Since the sexual revolution of the 70s and the new focus on women's sexual arousal, this is often the assumed problem. But I also see many couples who are having playful, arousing, exciting, sexual interaction and orgasm is still missing. Go and explore new ways to be sexual but also trust yourself. Maybe there is another reason.
Your Mind Is Busy Working: It may be difficult for you to turn your mind down, or switch focus from the daily to-do lists to feel physical pleasure. If you are feeling stressed or anxious, it will be hard to orgasm. You could be thinking about the laundry that needs to get done for tomorrow, or the deadline at work, or the cellulite on your thighs. In any case, you are not thinking about how good it feels to be touched. It is important to find ways to reduce your stress, transition from the daily grind to make time for pleasure and to learn how to train your mind to let go of things temporarily and be in the moment. Most of us can use some help with this!
Hormones Are Not There For You: We hear a fair amount about how hormones impact sexual desire and libido, but hormones also play key roles in our ability to orgasm. Low estrogen in particular, reduces blood flow to genitals, which may make orgasm more difficult. If you used to have no trouble reaching orgasm and that has changed dramatically, or if you feel like you have desire for sex and that the sex you are having is arousing but you never quite reach the peak of orgasm, maybe hormones are to blame. The frustration for a lot of women with this issue is that they have talked to their doctor and been dismissed. Keep in mind that most gynecologists are trained to care for your reproductive health, which is different than your sexual health or satisfaction. Seek out a doctor who specializes in sexual health or a naturopath who works with hormones.
Low Tone Or Awareness In Pelvic Floor Muscles: If you feel like you have low sensation with penetration or that you are just not feeling much, maybe you have weakness in your pelvic floor muscles which help with intensity of pleasure and orgasm. Childbirth, lack of use and menopause can all affect the health of these muscles, but you can always train them to be stronger. You can even get to the point that you have control over contracting them which is a great way to increase sexual pleasure. You can learn about pelvic exercises called Kegels on your own and practice them. You can also find a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor health and get an assessment and support from them.
You Believe Orgasms Are Bad, Dirty, Or Dangerous: There are lots of deeply held beliefs, sometimes so deep that we are only mildly aware of them, that impact our sexual pleasure. You may be able to identify the beliefs that are getting in the way. You may even want to stop having those beliefs. But changing our minds can be harder than we imagine. You can get support by reading books or seeing movies that support they way you want to see sex, talking to friends and of course talking with a sex therapist or coach.
Sexual Pain: Sex doesn't have to be painful and if you have been living with this, I strongly encourage you to seek help from a doctor specializing in sexual pain. Even if the pain comes and goes, the eventual anxiety about having pain will get in the way of experiencing pleasure. You are not alone in having sexual pain and you are not doomed to live with it. But you may have to do some searching to find an experienced doctor or clinician who can help.
Your trouble reaching orgasm may be related to one of these causes or several of them. You may have another reason all together. If orgasm feels important to you seek out your own solutions and support. Don't get overwhelmed by advice overload. Let your friends do what works for them. Listen to your body and you will find what works for you.
Melissa Fritchle is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist & Sex Therapist with a holistic private practice in Capitola, California. She is also an award-winning international sex educator offering workshops and trainings around the world. Follow her blog, Conscious Sexual Self.
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