Overcoming difficulty with orgasm for women

Overcoming difficulty with orgasm for women

I was recently asked to help provide some information on overcoming difficulty reaching orgasm for women. The advice was to be given to women from various church groups who could then pass on the information to other women as this was a topic they felt could be useful.   Lets start with some basics…

Anorgasmia is a term used to describe the circumstances where a person has significant difficulty in reaching a sexual climax. It is important to note that this situation does not cause any concern for some women, but can certainly cause distress for others. If you find yourself in the later group, then please be reassured that this is a very common issue and there is plenty that can be done to improve your situation!

The first step to addressing this problem is proper assessment and diagnosis. The two main types of anorgasmia are Primary (a woman who has never reached orgasm) and Secondary (a woman who has previously reached orgasm but now finds herself unable to). There’s a large range of factors that might be contributing to your difficulty in reaching climax and often several are reported in each person. Some of the main issues could be:

Physical: several chronic health conditions; some medications; previous gynaecological surgeries; hormone changes through menopause; painful intercourse etc
Psychological: anxiety or depression; low sexual self-esteem or poor body issues; stress and feeling exhausted; and guilt and inhibitions related to sexual pleasure etc
Social: Tension in the relationship or poor communication habits; insufficient sexual health education; previous history of trauma or abuse; and inadequate emotional intimacy and connection with your partner.

So, what can be done about it? Here are 12 tips to help you improve your situation…

1. Education. It is important to learn about how your body works – the anatomy and physiology! Also to understand how the female sexual response cycle relates to different stages of desire and arousal and how this may be very different to the sexual response patterns of our partners.

2. Would you know an orgasm if you had one? Orgasms can vary greatly in their strength and sensation. Sometimes they can be gentle and relaxing, whist other times quite intense and dramatic. Orgasms are accompanied by a release of built up sexual tension, post genital sensitivity, and several involuntary contractions of the vagina and uterus. Occasionally they may feel like little more than a ‘blip on the radar’. Be patient and compassionate with yourself and see this as a fun way to learn more about your body.

3. Focus on being present. Women often spend the majority of our day mentally multitasking and will then naturally find it difficult to keep our mind focused when we get to the bedroom. It’s hard to concentrate when we keep getting distracted by things like tasks at work, social events coming up, housework and children, and the never ending list of things to do. It’s a bit like running a computer with 30 browser windows open at once! Try some relaxation exercises or have a soak in a warm bath before hand.

4. Anchor your thoughts to pleasure. The only browser window that should remain open is thinking about touch being pleasurable and concentrating on how attractive your partner is to you! Start noticing the wonderful aspects of his body and appreciate how different it is to your own.

5. Take the time to explore your body. Give yourself permission and encouragement to find out what types of touch you enjoy most and where. Whilst this is best done alone, it is still possible to do this together with your partner too. Just try not to get distracted by focusing on only his pleasure while you are trying to learn about your own. Find a time when you are feeling relaxed and wont be interrupted. Most women reach climax eventually through direct or indirect stimulation of their clitoris and it is rare to reach climax through penetration alone. Experiment with different techniques, pressure and rhythm. Build arousal slowly and gently to avoid desensitizing your genitals.

6. Communicate what you enjoy most to your partner. It’s quite possible that your partner isn’t feeling very confident about knowing what you like either. Most men would be very enthusiastic and appreciative to learn more about how to please you too! Feedback is very important but if you struggle with talking about this, try using non-verbal cues to indicate what you enjoy. Perhaps try showing him what you like, guiding his touch, or at least using your facial expressions, body language or sounds to communicate your arousal.

7. Become more sexually assertive. Learn to be more comfortable in asking for what you want and also learning to be more comfortable in saying no to things that you aren’t interested in. It can be very difficult for some women to take responsibility for their own pleasure in a society that often encourages women to assume the role of sexual submission. Try to see yourself as deserving of sexual pleasure and satisfaction!

8. Don’t skip the foreplay! Make foreplay a time to experiment and discover what you enjoy most. Many women need a minimum of 20 minutes to get their minds focused and their bodies aroused enough to reach climax.

9. Try some additional lubrication. The amount of natural lubrication produced by women varies greatly and it may be that you might need a little more. Sexual touch can be uncomfortable, even painful, without lubrication particularly as we get older and our bodies change through menopause. Water based lubricants are essential for use with condoms but can dry out and need reapplying. If you don’t use condoms, try a silicone or oil based lube. You can even happily use some olive oil from the kitchen cupboard!

10. Seek relationship help if you need it. If there are communication problems; lack of emotional intimacy in the relationship; trust has been broken; resentment or any type of serious unresolved conflict, it would be wise to work this with a professional. These difficulties are likely to affect your ability to enjoy yourself in the bedroom too.

11.  Embrace sexuality in your everyday life. Many women keep their sexuality packed up in a box on the shelf and get this down occasionally before putting it neatly away again. Try to integrate your sexuality more into who you actually are! Try flirting with your partner; engaging in playful or teasing touch outside the bedroom; and initiating more sensual affection like massage and cuddles.

12. Don’t loose sight of the big picture. Sometimes we get so focused on reaching orgasm that the pressure, expectation and frustration is actually what is preventing it from happening in the first place. Sex should never be a pass-fail test based on whether both people had an orgasm, it should be a fun way of connecting with your partner and building intimacy together. Use this time to experiment and enjoy the journey!