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Dr Gabrielle Morrissey: Sexologist

Dr Gabrielle Morrissey has been a sexologist — sexuality educator, sex therapist and sex researcher — since 1990. She is also the author a number of successful books.

Why can't I orgasm with a guy?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Mind-blowing love making takes investment, attention and action.

Question:
I have been seeing a guy for about a month and we're quite sexually active — it's still quite new and exciting. I am much less sexually experienced compared with him, which is somewhat intimidating. However, he is concerned that he can't make me orgasm. I have only ever slept with three guys and have never had an orgasm with any of them. I have tried to reassure him that it will happen and not to get upset over it. However, I'm beginning to wonder why it hasn't happened yet. Is this common and if so, is there any way I can fix it? Reaching an orgasm has never been important to me, but it is for him and I don't want to hurt his ego.

Answer:
The inability to reach orgasm is quite common for women, especially when with a partner. Less than 30 percent of women reliably orgasm during sexual intercourse and many also find it difficult to orgasm through oral sex and other forms of sex play. As a result, nearly 45 percent of women have admitted to faking orgasm while making love with their partner.

One thing I would advise you at the start is not to fake. This only starts a vicious cycle of lack of pleasure for you and even less chance of attaining orgasms, because by faking you are sending the message to your partner that what they are doing (which isn't working for you) is what they need to do to give you climactic pleasure. This then sets up a difficult situation to get out of. And since your partner values bringing you to orgasm, he's likely to be very hurt if you deceive him about what you're feeling when you're with him. So since trying to achieve orgasm is important to him, let's rule out the option of faking.

You say you've never had an orgasm with any of your partners, and there could be several causes for this. One might be that none of your partners have stimulated you in the way you need to be to reach climax. Do you know what kind of stimulation it takes to achieve climax? Can you bring yourself to orgasm? Another might be that the stimulation is there, but you are unable to relax and allow yourself to lose control into those ecstatic pleasure pulses.

Often fear is a factor in preventing a woman from letting go into orgasm. She might be self conscious about her body, she might hold negative sexual messages about pleasure and/or she might be afraid to be vulnerable and trusting with her partner. She might be afraid of intimacy and letting someone else bring her to full pleasure. If any of these might apply to you, it's important to identify it, and discuss it using open and honest communication with your partner. The more he can understand what is preventing you from climaxing, the better you are both able to explore your pleasure potential together. If, however, you feel the issue has more to do with lack of the right kind of physical stimulation, again, open communication about what feels good to you is really important.

Some women can feel uncomfortable talking directly about touch, sensation and stimulation with their partner. This is a natural reaction. Start talking as comfortably as you can at first, knowing that if you feel awkward, you can always take a break and continue talking another time. Don't create more discomfort and pressure for yourselves because this doesn't help at all. Know and have faith that it will get easier the more you talk. Open communication about sexual issues does take practice.

It's also very important that you don't set orgasm as a goal each time you are sexually intimate. This only adds pressure to your intimacy and can actually backfire. If you have a script running through the back of your mind, willing yourself to relax and climax, your brain is actually creating a circuit around pleasure, rather than allowing yourself to simply indulge in it. The brain is your most important sexual organ, and you've got to 'turn off' up there, in order to 'turn on' down there!

You've only been together a month and so you are still discovering each other. In this discovery process, make sure you take time to stimulate each other's minds and total bodies. Indulge in sensuality and explore each other's erogenous zones from tip to toe. Your largest sexual organ is your skin, and it's often important, for a woman especially, to feel completely aroused, mentally and physically, beyond the genitals, in order to achieve the release of climax.

Mind-blowing love making takes investment, attention and action. It's not a passive process. You actively connect with your partner in mind and body, to experience sexual tension and release. Many believe the myth that sex (and therefore pleasure) is simply instinctual, that it happens naturally all by itself without any work from us. This is in fact, not true. Pleasure, emotional and physical, is your right as a sexual being, but it also takes your active involvement.

If you and your partner both want to experience orgasms when you are sexually intimate together, rather than make it a goal, make it a discovery process you both invest in over the next few weeks and months and also a reflection of your growing intimacy. With application and connection, and with both of you being aware of your desires, needs and various stimulations, it will come.

If you need further help, contact a sex therapist, or I would recommend the book, The Elusive Orgasm, by Dr Vivienne Cass.

For more information and to find about Gabrielle's latest book, Spicy Sex please see Dr Gabrielle's website.


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