The nature of your ability to experience desire, arousal, climaxing and orgasm can change depending on many factors. Arousal leading to climaxing can be complicated for many women; sometimes, we make it far more complicated than it needs to be. Often we intuitively know why they are not happening but don’t feel overly invested to address the problem.
There are many common factors making achieving orgasm a challenge, such as medication, illness, ageing, health conditions, grief, trauma and, of course, personal and relational happiness. Even things like shame, self-esteem and body confidence can interfere with your ability to be fully in touch and in tune with your sexual self.
‘Orgasms have been glorified to women for so long that it almost feels embarrassing for women to talk about the fact that they do not experience them...’
As a psychotherapist working in the psychosexual field for many years, I can tell you that every single client coming to therapy to talk about sexual concerns has a different sexual script. Sexuality and sexual behaviour are deep in our core as humans and shaped by the world and our experiences from a young age. It is far greater than simple desire, lusting and romance.
Not having orgasms? ‘Maybe I’m just broken‘, ‘That’s just the way it is’, ‘It’s really not a big deal’ and ‘It just doesn’t happen for me’ – say far too many disempowered and miseducated women who come to me for sex therapy. Just because you have never experienced an orgasm, do not currently experience orgasms or don’t have them often enough – it does not mean you are broken or unfixable! It does mean that there is lots of space for you to invest in yourself in a way that makes orgasms possible as an already wonderful sexual human being. You just need some help unlocking your sexual potential through deep and meaningful conversations and by asking lots of questions and finding answers.
In far too many ways, women have bought into a stereotype of good sex or the perception of being given an orgasm like its a gift from someone, something out of their control, rather than truly understanding themselves as a sexual being and what that actually means to them.
This includes getting your head around the big ‘O’ so that you can enjoy orgasms and be fully present and connected in your sexual body. That’s right, orgasms. Of course, we all know about orgasms, what they are and how mind-blowing the movies make them look, but women have many questions about orgasms or, rather – why they are not having them all the time or even every now and then.
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Orgasms have been glorified for so long that it almost feels embarrassing for women to talk about the fact that they do not experience them or what they perceive to be fulfilling sex, sexual pleasure or orgasmic experiences full-stop. But we must talk about every aspect of sex to have good sexual experiences, and that includes the less discussed lead-up to orgasm phases called excitation and plateau because, quite honestly, that’s where it all really happens.
You might like to listen to me talking to Hazel Larkin about sex and female self-intimacy on... [The Woman Up Podcast]
In order to get to orgasm, let’s first talk more about desire, arousal, getting turned on, wet, climaxing, peaking, coming or whatever terminology you like to use. All these lead to orgasm, or the orgasmic phase that happens in your body, clitoris, vulva, vagina, pelvis and in the brain…. after excitation and plateau. There are plenty of less obvious reasons than the ones already mentioned why you may be struggling to climax and enjoy good sex – solo or with a partner.
These can be related to sexual compatibility, attachment styles, mindset, mistrust, safety, environment, shame, disconnection from your body, fear, sensory aversions, abuse, disgust, pain and lack of good quality sexual education. If any of these resonate with you, then I want you to believe you can do something about it. All of these factors could prevent you from being able to get in the mood and experience the first and second phases of the sexual response cycle so that you can reach the third phase – orgasm.
Don’t wait for something magical and mysterious to happen because it possibly won’t change without some personal investment and self-awareness. Challenges and psychological blocks can all be overcome, and you can learn to get in touch with your sexual self, as a sexual person, in a way that feels 100% comfortable for you and at your pace.
‘Women have an exceptional ability to orgasm and have multiple orgasms, contrary to what you may have heard or learned. But unfortunately, the sexual script that women are typically provided is that you have penetrative sex, the man orgasms, and the woman may or may not orgasm… often not.‘ – Dr Suzanne Belton
You may like to read... [Medical Anthropologist Dr Suzanne Belton on Clitoris and Orgasm Research and Your Perfect Body]
Feeling empowered can start with a simple conversation about yourself and choosing not to accept the limitations you have set for yourself somewhere along the line. Arm yourself with good sex education about female sexual health, desire and sex-positive messages and information.
Invest in some psychosexual therapy and begin to have deep and meaning full conversations about yourself in a way that brings growth and opportunity to change and learn more about yourself. You have the power to unlock your sexual potential when you change your mindset and work through blocks to start to have positive experiences.
As Dr Suzanne Belton says in our vaginismus series blog together sharing her expertise on the clitoris, women have this incredible capacity to orgasm when they learn facts about the clitoris and vulva and change how to experience and think about sex and orgasm. Talk more about why you’re not having orgasms and what you need to make them happen as that very first step.