Thanks to the unrealistic depictions of sex in the media – hello, porn, spontaneously climaxing women on TV shows and the fantastical nature of orgasms in movies (could that volume get any louder on her moans, right now?) – the women of today not only feel like everyone is having sex, but everyone is having mind-blowing, earth-shattering, multiple-orgasm-inducing best sex ever.
But the truth is, 30 per cent of women struggle to reach orgasm and many have never had an orgasm at all.
As a fellow woman and fully qualified sexologist and sex therapist, I hear the statement “I don’t think I’ve ever had an orgasm” all the time, which is why my work is to redefine what sex has become for so many women and help empower and educate women on their quest for pleasure.
Orgasms are defined by involuntary rhythmic contractions of the pelvic floor muscles including the anus- a lot of words for something that’s supposed to be about feeling, not thinking, right?
What it feels like is fast pulsing, and is often accompanied by a warm or tingling feeling. But if you don’t really know what you’re looking for, it can be hard to tell if you’ve had an orgasm or if you’re just really, really aroused.
It’s also sometimes hard to tell if you’ve had an orgasm, because some orgasms are different to others.
Some are big and go through your whole body like amazing, rolling waves and others are smaller, like a little burst of pleasure that lasts for just a few seconds.
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Having an orgasm is all about surrendering to sensation and pleasure, which is almost impossible to do in a state of anxiety and tension.
As we lie with our partners, our minds often get tied up in thoughts like “why is this taking so long”, “why aren’t I coming” or “why can’t I do this” and as a result, 80 per cent of women fake their orgasm to speed things up and get out from underneath the uncomfortable weight of expectation to climax.
Once you’re in your head during sex, it’s very difficult to have an orgasm. The key to having an orgasm is to be fully present in your body.
A woman enjoys many aspects of sex – from a kiss on the neck, on the ear, to the anticipation of her lover taking their clothes off, or the feeling of another body pressed hard against hers.
But the expectation of orgasm, rather than savouring the small things that feel really, really good, can take away from the experience and leave many women crippling their experience of pleasure – simply by overthinking it.
Orgasm is complicated for women. We need just the right amount of tension and relaxation, and there’s a lot more than just our minds that can get in the way.
If we’re tired, hormonal, stressed, not feeling connected to our partners, have a history of sexual abuse, have negative beliefs around sex, find it difficult to let go, don’t feel fully connected to our partners and much more - the chances of us orgasming are pretty low.
If you are experiencing challenges having an orgasm, I know that it can be frustrating for both you and your partner. But stick with it - learning to orgasm is worthwhile.
Explore spending more time ‘warming up’, enjoying the small things in foreplay, and practice getting in your body more often - maybe through masturbation, or even meditation.
Help is also available - you might benefit from books on how to orgasm, or from the guided support of an experienced sexologist or sex therapist.
Remember that you are worthy of orgasm, you deserve to experience greater sexual satisfaction and enjoy a more fulfilling relationship with yourself, and your partner, because of it.
Isiah McKimmie is a Couples Therapist, Sex Therapist, Sexologist and Coach who has been helping women and couples discover intimacy and lasting desire for over a decade.