The main blocks
to orgasm are physical, emotional and psychological; in other words,
everything that a woman is can prevent her from enjoying sex fully.
What causes the difficulties many women face specifically
in regard to orgasm?
such as incest, rape, or other sexual abuse, will almost certainly
prevent a woman relaxing easily into the sex act. A woman
with this background, whether in the distant or recent past, may
not even be able to climax from masturbation, may not be able to
be penetrated at all and may even become asexual, that is, have
no sexual feelings.
Fear is also
an immobilising factor in sexual behaviour. If anxiety, from
whatever cause, is severe enough, the body literally seizes up and
prevents normal sexual activity.
If a woman
does not feel comfortable in the relationship she has with her partner,
particularly if there is mistrust or negative criticism, it would
be very difficult for her to reach orgasm. If she is a highly-sexed
person, she may be able to switch off the emotional pressures and
enjoy the physical pleasures of sex, including orgasm, but this
would place severe limitations on the relationship in the long term.
Previous hurts and emotional scars play a large part in this also.
of vulnerability and intimacy can operate on a number of levels
to prevent orgasm. A woman may be afraid to be possessed,
to be 'owned' by her partner, especially if he is dominating or
prone to power games. Sex may be the last stronghold against
being taken over completely.
If a woman
has more than usual difficulty in climaxing, her partner may develop
feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. This can lead to infidelity
if his ego becomes sufficiently dented. No matter how much
a woman reassures her partner that he's a good lover and that her
inability or slowness to climax is not his fault, he's going to
feel somehow that it is, unless he's exceptionally secure. In
this way, sexuality becomes tangled up with ego and self-esteem.
The important factor
here is for both partners to remember that orgasm, while a gift
to share, is enjoyed by each individual separately, and for that
reason, should be 'selfish'. Many women who have difficulty
with orgasms claim that their partners make them feel like failures.
The desire not to disappoint becomes just another pressure.
The 'was it good for you?' or 'did you come?' approach is
not helpful to improving relaxation and allowing orgasm to happen
Another pressure is time
restriction. 'Quickies' are fun and have their place in a
sexual relationship but real love-making takes time and patience,
particularly in new relationships which have yet to develop trust
and personal factors
We are not
machines and cannot be expected to perform on demand. Therefore,
even the most sexually free of us will have days when we just can't
'get there'. Just as men can experience impotence for reasons
of health, stress, fatigue, medical or psychological factors, so
too can both men and women fail to reach orgasm at different times.
The important thing is not to develop anxiety over this.
Again, factors of upbringing,
family attitudes, education (or the lack of) and beliefs/values
will affect orgasm. Many women are socialised to believe that
they should not enjoy sex and therefore have inbuilt controls which
prevent them reaching orgasm. If they do, they often feel
unreasonable guilt afterwards. One of my listeners only had
orgasms in her sleep, through her dreams, when her defences were
down and she could allow herself the pleasure of release.
How sad it is that we often hurt ourselves far more than others
hurt us, and deny ourselves the many free gifts that are available
to us, including orgasm.
girls first learn to masturbate, they often reach orgasm by the
same method each time. This can develop an 'orgasm fixation'
which is very hard to break in adult life. Most women masturbate
using the hand or fingers on the clitoris, rubbing with a circular
or up-and-down motion, pressing harder and faster as the climax
draws closer. But what of women whose partners want them to
reach orgasm only during vaginal intercourse in the missionary position?
It might be years before they can achieve this or make it
clear to their partners that they're unable to do it. Many
men are threatened by their partners getting satisfaction in ways
other than intercourse because they feel redundant.
Some women use more specific
ways to reach orgasm, such as rubbing themselves on a pillow, or
a balled-up towel or blanket. Some place their clitoris under
a running tap or a water jet. Some require vibrators or other
sex aids before they can climax. Others rub themselves on
their partner's leg or pubic bone.
There's nothing wrong
with any of these ways as it is both the journey and the destination
which are enjoyable but it's never healthy to become attached
to only one way of doing things. Variety is both necessary
and desirable in sexual activities. Also, in relationships,
black and white attitudes are very limiting and prevent open lines
of communication and exploration.
Only being able to climax
in one way also means that the removal of this method for any reason
prevents orgasm occurring altogether. This may not be true
in actuality but if it's true in the person's mind, then it's the
same thing. The power of the mind can never be overestimated
in sexual behaviour. If there are mental blocks to orgasm,
or other activities with unpleasant associations or restrictions,
the person's body will follow accordingly. So, a woman who
believes she cannot climax will simply not do so. If she tells
herself she does not like oral sex, she will be unlikely ever to
enjoy it, no matter how skilled the partner. If she believes
she is incapable of multiple orgasms, she will be, and so on.
Before I move
on, I need to emphasise the importance of foreplay, as without it,
any type and intensity of orgasm would be difficult to achieve for
the average woman.
Foreplay can take many
forms. Here are a few pleasurable suggestions kissing,
touching, massaging, stroking, caressing and sucking the breasts,
sex talk, use of sex toys, rubbing the clitoris or penis, fingering
the vagina or anus, oral sex, mutual masturbation.
This part of love-making
is important not only as a prelude to satisfying sex but also as
the most intimate and enjoyable part of the whole process. Through
eye contact, touch and talk, a couple can share a true closeness,
which sometimes lessens as the power of sexual passion takes over.
For new or casual couples,
foreplay can be a tool for getting to know each other, having fun,
finding out what each likes in bed. Even in a one-night stand,
foreplay is necessary to ensure mutual satisfaction. Only
the most selfish of sexual partners satisfies him or herself to
the exclusion of the other person. This sometimes happens
out of inexperience and ignorance rather than insensitivity and