be reached by oneself and with oneself, or in conjunction with a
partner who either helps or inhibits the process. I don't
propose to go into the physiological causes and effects of the actual
experience of orgasm because any sexology text will do that. My
purpose in writing this is to discover how sex affects us as human
beings, our feelings, perceptions and behaviours.
Put clinically, orgasm
is the pleasurable outcome of a series of physical changes in the
body brought about by direct or indirect stimulation of specific
areas. It is a reflex and so is perfectly natural and achievable.
Being unable to attain orgasm, therefore, is the exceptional behaviour
but it should never be seen as a failure. More likely
it is because of the existence of a mental or emotional block in
It is a baby's natural
tendency to touch itself, including the genital areas. We
are born sexual, but a baby's impulse is not sexual in the usual
sense of the word. It is purely a tactile response and based
on curiosity about its own physical reality. As the baby grows,
however, sensations will become 'sexual' and certainly pleasurable.
By the time a child is seven or eight, it may very well feel the
desire to masturbate and reach orgasm. A boy can feel the
sensations of an orgasm but will not ejaculate until puberty.
Girls may be unaware
that touching themselves is masturbation as such. It just
feels nice and may or may not end in a climax.
When teenage boys and
girls start dating, mutual masturbation is often the first activity
they engage in. Orgasm is relatively easy to achieve in this
way if both parties know what to do. It's in sexual intercourse
that problems can manifest for the first time.
Male sexuality is more
overt and available, thus orgasm is simpler and usually automatic.
Many teenage boys ejaculate within seconds of stimulation
and this can be the start of a lifelong problem with premature ejaculation.
Unless a boy specifically
knows the location and use of a clitoris, he may not be able to
bring a girl to orgasm, and may not even realise he should try.
In intercourse, this problem becomes more pronounced as there is
usually very little foreplay involved in teenage sex and the average
girl simply gets left behind.
Social attitudes come
into play here as well. From a young age, boys and girls are
taught that there are different standards for each gender.
Boys must 'perform' and 'do things' to the girl. The girl
should preferably lie there and enjoy it, but not too much.
With this attitude, girls can grow into women who either endure
their husband's caresses or never fully enjoy sex. If you
think I'm behind the times in saying this, talk to the many nonorgasmic
women walking around you may be surprised to find that they're
your sisters and neighbours and friends. Even in this enlightened
age, many, many women do not know how, or are afraid, to let go
sexually, to explore their potential in an area which is virtually
I often have clients
who tell me that they enjoy sex with their husbands but feel 'no
need to climax'. I not only find this puzzling, I find it
very sad that women should deny themselves the pleasure of sexual
fulfilment in this way. They are participants in their partners'
sexual pleasure yet never tap into their own deep well of sexuality
and sensuality. We women need to stop thinking of orgasm as
an 'optional extra' but as a natural conclusion to arousal.
If a man expects to have an orgasm every time he has sex, then so
should a woman.
I am not talking about
women's rights. This is not a matter of principle; it's a
matter of love self-love, and knowing that you're allowed
the same experiences and privileges as your partner, whichever sex
you are. A lot of men feel that, since the improvement of
women's status in society, they are now pressured by demands and
expectations they didn't have to deal with before, such as making
sure their female partners are satisfied. Well, my answer
is that any caring partner always makes sure his or her lover is
enjoying the experience and is not left frustrated or unfulfilled.
Perhaps this once again stems back to the argument about sex education
how do people know these things unless they're told?
It may not be a lack of caring but rather ignorance that causes
neglect and insensitivity in sexual matters.
It isn't the male's responsibility
to give his female partner an orgasm anyway. Nor is a woman
obliged to satisfy her man every time he wants sex. Sexuality
is a personal experience which can be shared but never bestowed
upon another. One of the challenges in any sexual relationship
is the differing needs and the development stages of each individual.
It's important to mention
that some women reach orgasm far easier than others and some would
even say that they climax 'at the drop of a hat', but they are in
the minority. Most of us have to be in the right frame of
mind, be sufficiently aroused, feel comfortable with ourselves and
our partners, stay focused and not be pressured. That can
be a tall order at the end of a long day, or during pregnancy, or
after a quarrel.