Why Can't I Orgasm? 5 Ways Women Can Achieve Orgasm, According to Experts

Why Can't I Orgasm? 5 Ways Women Can Achieve Orgasm, According to Experts

Sex typically ends with the guy's orgasm. For women, it's not always a guarantee. A study published in The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy surveyed more than 2,000 women ages 18 to 94 and found that only about 18 percent of women achieved orgasm through sex alone. Adding stimulation to the clit during sex brought that up to 37 percent—but still, that means 63 percent of women are having a difficult time getting to their O.

How does that compare to men? A large-scale study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine surveyed 52,588 adults and found that 65 percent of heterosexual women said they're always able to have orgasm, compared to 95 percent of straight men who said they can come with no problem. "Difficulty climaxing appears to be less common in men," says Sarah Murray PhD, relationship therapist and author of Not Always in the Mood.

So, what's with the monumental orgasm gap? "In today's world, women are under an extraordinary amount of pressure to perform, and this pressure is most intense in their sex lives," says Paul L. Hokemeyer, PhD, psychotherapist and author of Fragile Power. He says social media can fuel feelings of inadequacy in women, and those feelings become amplified in the bedroom when women are vulnerable. "The net result is that women have a difficult time enjoying sex and achieving orgasm."

The good news is that women can learn to have an orgasm if they take the time to discover what's holding them back.

Why can't I have an orgasm?

The exact reason why someone can't reach an orgasm will vary tremendously from woman to woman, but there are a few common culprits, according to experts.

"The most common reasons for orgasmic difficulties in women are a result of low sexual interest," Dr. Murray says. "Orgasms typically follow a high level of arousal, which often is experienced when we are excited about the sex we are having. If we have a lower interest in having sex, it is difficult to experience high arousal and an orgasm." And if women are not orgasming, they in turn may be less interested in having sex, she says.

Women may loose interest in sex for a number of reasons. "If we are feeling emotionally disconnected, misunderstood, or frustrated with our partner, then we won't be as likely to want to get physically close to them or relax and enjoy sex in a way that would allow for an orgasm," Dr. Murray says.

Young couple in bed, looking away from each other

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Other women are preoccupied with worry that they "aren't doing it right," Dr. Murray says. They could be going about their business under the impression that they should be orgasming from penetration verses oral sex, when research shows so few women actually climax from vaginal penetration alone. "[This] leads women to experience problems having an orgasm or being dissatisfied or disappointed with the orgasms they are having," Dr. Murray adds.

Then, there are the biological reasons. Some medical conditions like Parkinson's disease, menopause, and having had a hysterectomy can impact your libido. In menopause for instance, lack of estrogen affects pelvic blood flow to the genitals and can lead to vaginal dryness, but that doesn't mean you can't still have great sex.

How to have an orgasm

There are plenty of ways to learn what works for your body, so you can get that mind-blowing O you've been hoping for. If you think you have a medical condition that could be impacting your ability to climax, notify your doctor. Otherwise, here are expert-approved tips to cross the finish line.

1. Masturbate, masturbate, masturbate.

Rule numero uno to discovering what works for you sexually is to masturbate and become familiar with your body. "Masturbating is a great way to explore your body and figure out where and how you like to be touched," Dr. Murray says. "The more we know about our bodies and how we respond to sexual and sensual touch, the better able we are to communicate those needs and preferences to a partner." You can experiment with your own hands, a vibrator, a dildo, or anything that helps you get closer to reaching an orgasm.

Female holding Dildo vibrator

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2. Tell your partner what you like.

Sometimes, the simplest solution is to voice to your partner any emotional or sexual issues you're experiencing. "Talking through relational concerns with our partner may be a good starting point to address how they are playing into our sexual concerns," Dr. Murray says. That way, you may feel more willing to want to get it on with your partner.

You should also talk to your partner about what he or she can try differently to help you reach orgasm, especially using the pointers you learned from masturbating. "Once you have a basic understanding about what might make you sexually fulfilled, ask your partner to implement it into your sexual relationship," Dr. Hokemeyer says. "If you tend to be shy and passive, push yourself through your resistance. It's a risk, but it's a risk that holds the potential to pay extraordinary returns."

3. Try different methods of stimulation.

While one woman might have an O with no problem during sex, another woman may strictly climax from clitoral stimulation. "The physical reasons for orgasmic difficulties that I see are often due to inadequate stimulation," Dr. Murray says. "Some women describe having a partner who does not provide them with the sexual stimulation they need to feel enough arousal that would make orgasm possible.

"This might mean rushing through or skipping oral sex, or not paying enough attention to the clitoris," she continues. Instead, try everything. Who knows, you may just find that sweet spot.

Sweet Affection

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4. Be in the moment.

Overthinking during sex can definitely be distracting. I mean, if you're spending the entire time worrying about whether you're moving correctly or saying the right things, then of course you will forget to even feel what's going on down there. "Focus on pleasing yourself and embrace the beauty of your body in its authentic expression," Dr. Hokemeyer suggests.

Dr. Murray adds that you shouldn't focus too much on trying to have an orgasm. "I see a lot of women get increasingly frustrated about not having an orgasm that their mind shifts to thinking about what isn't happening instead of enjoying the sensations and pleasure they could be experiencing by staying in the moment," she says. "So, as much as possible, try to reduce the stress and strain from thinking about what is (or isn't) going to happen next and just try to enjoy the journey."

5. If all else fails, seek therapy.

Sometimes your intimate issues may fall deeper than spending a little extra time with your vibrator. "If you feel you have a healthy, respectful, loving relationship with a partner who is making efforts to provide you with sexual pleasure, and you have taken the time to know your body and sexual preferences, but still can't orgasm (particularly if it's been life long or at least over the span of a few months), then it may be a good idea to talk to a doctor or therapist to see if something more serious is going on," Dr. Murray recommends. You will discover a solution—stay as positive as you can in the meantime!

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Assistant Editor Currently an assistant editor at Prevention.com, Nicol is a Manhattan-based journalist who specializes in health, wellness, beauty, fashion, business, and lifestyle.

Why Can't I Orgasm? 5 Ways Women Can Achieve Orgasm, According to Experts, Source:https://www.prevention.com/sex/a28690478/why-cant-i-orgasm/