Have You Ever Really Had An Orgasm?

PPR_Never_Had_OrgasmIllustrated by Ly Ngo.
I just turned 32, and I'm pretty sure I've never had an orgasm. I enjoy sex, but it never has that "wow" thing for me that it seems to for everyone else. I've tried using vibrators and my GYN said there's nothing physically wrong me, which makes me think it's "all in my head." What can I do? I really want to experience that amazing thing that everyone always talks about!

Cheri Travis, Licensed Professional Counselor
This is a frustrating issue for sure, but fixable! There’s a reason it’s said that the brain is the most important sex organ: It is truly the center of all the action, for both men and women. I commend you for seeking a solution and wanting to take your sex life to the next level. The benefits of a satisfying sex life are well documented: endorphin release, increased levels of intimacy, and satisfaction in relationships — woohoo! So, where to start?

The first thing I’d recommend is getting a second opinion from another OB/GYN or even a naturopathic practitioner. Whenever a woman is dealing with this difficult concern, it’s always a good idea to get another expert’s thoughts on whether or not there is something physical going on. You want to rule out that there’s nothing going on that needs to be treated medically, and getting a second opinion is the best way to do that.
Secondly, it may be that you need to reframe the way you're thinking about and approaching sex in order to be able to enjoy it more. I personally feel that this quest for the Big O is a bit overrated. Because of our patriarchal, hetero-normative society, we tend to think of a climax as one big moment accompanied by physical evidence — but that’s often just the male experience. Just as sexuality is fluid, so is the act itself, so I encourage you to focus on experiencing sexual pleasure in a variety of ways, rather than solely on this elusive “ wow moment.” From the female perspective, the truth is that less than half of women achieve orgasm from vaginal penetration alone; clitoral stimulation and touch in other sensitive areas play a major part in arousal, so it’s up to you (lucky you!) to take the time and learn what you respond to before you go for broke with your partner.
Leave the vibrator out of play while you take some time to meditate and fantasize about engaging with someone you’re very attracted to. Close your eyes, and pay attention to which areas warm up, and really focus on how you’d like to sustain and intensify that feeling. Focusing and being present is of the utmost importance when achieving sexual satisfaction, so do your best to relax and release any distracting or discouraging thoughts. Also, many women can be more concerned with the way things look instead of how it feels and, as a result, have never experienced climax. Be in your body, learn what you like, and don’t be afraid to ask for it.
As far as it being “all in your head,” it’s a possibility: A fear-based mindset on sex holds us back in innumerable ways, especially letting go for long enough to reach orgasm, so reject these ideas about the way that sex "should" be. I specialize in healing old wounds, and often these problems can be traced to early messages we received from parents and caregivers. These can include things like: “Good girls don’t do [totally normal thing that many women enjoy]” and “He just wants you for one thing.” What these messages do is confuse your subconscious, which is where our pleasure-based instincts are initiated. So, my advice is to search for the messages you received about relationships, picture yourself in a sexual situation, and "listen" for these blockers. Often, identifying them can be a huge step toward clearing the way. Then, you can create new healthier messages to embrace, such as:

Old message: [MAJOR Orgasm Blocker]: “I do not deserve to enjoy this.”
New message: “I will not fight something that feels good and natural.”

Old message: “I can’t let go. It’s not safe.”
New message: “I chose to share my body with this person because s/he makes me feel appreciated and sexy.”

This work is the way to open up your sexual channels, and it’s possible to do it alone, but it’s much more effective when done with the help of a patient partner who can help uncover new sensations or a trained therapist who can help get to the root of the possible disconnect. Above all, practice makes perfect, so stick with it, and enjoy the ride!

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