Let's Talk About Sex #5: Why Can't I Reach Orgasm?


Today's question is about female orgasm, or the lack thereof. I wish I could ask this student for more information - when she feels the orgasm building, why does she tell her partner to stop? What is she worried about? Losing control? Being vulnerable? Looking funny? (let's face it, orgasm faces can be pretty funny!) It actually sounds like it's an anxiety issue that is interfering with her orgasm. If she could find a way to talk to her partner and relax, she would probably be able to get there.

But she is not alone! Studies have found that between 10-20% of women have never had an orgasm (either with a partner or by themselves). Why might this be? Well, there are many possible reasons. First, many women are never taught about their sexual anatomy and might not know what the clitoris is and/or what it does. Not only do many not understand anatomy, but they also don't know how to talk about it. Another study found that 65% of women were embarrassed to use the word "vagina," while 45% admitted they had never have talked to anyone about their vagina. Imagine how difficult it would be to reach orgasm if you don't understand your own anatomy and don't have the language to ask for what you might need!

There are multiple other things that can also interfere with a woman's orgasm, including embarrassment, shame, stress, negative attitudes about sex, or a lack of privacy. In addition, there may be issues related to a woman's religion, culture, or race/ethnicity that may contribute to her inability to orgasm. Studies have found that people with high levels of religiosity also have high levels of sex guilt, which can interfere with the ability to relax during sex. Anxiety, depression, medication side-effects, and a history of sexual, physical or emotional abuse can also contribute to orgasm problems.

Communication is key. I can't stress this enough. It's important for couples to talk and share their thoughts, fears, anxieties, and stresses related to sexuality.

One more thing - in my research on lack of orgasm in women, I came across a very interesting website on female sexual pleasure called OMGYES (https://www.omgyes.com). This research-based site contains videos and tools aimed at increasing female sexual pleasure. The research was done in partnership with Indiana University (a sex research powerhouse!). I haven't fully checked it out yet, but let me know what you think if you do!

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