Do you feel pressured to orgasm? Does it feel like if you don’t come, your partner will be disappointed? Does this then make it even harder to orgasm, perhaps so much so that it feels like you’ll never get back to a peak again?
Orgasm anxiety is a loaded issue, one fraught with social conditions and a multi-layered rationale. “Lack of orgasm due to anxiety can be incredibly complicated and layered depending on the individual's sexual, relational and family history. It can also depend on cultural messages, psychological health (i.e. self-esteem, mood, sexual scripts),” Dr. Kristie Overstreet, PhD., a psychotherapist and clinical sexologist tells Brides.
If you’re struggling to find your big O, here are some tips for getting it back.
Talk to your partner about realistic expectations
One of our great societal myths in heterosexual relationships is that if a woman doesn’t orgasm, a man has failed as a sexual partner. Meanwhile, women rarely get the clitoral stimulation they need to have an orgasm.
Therefore, men are expecting orgasms from women who are essentially incapable of achieving them per their current sexual circumstances.
“Most women experience orgasm anxiety because they have placed a lot of pressure on themselves to perform. Take the pressure off of yourself and your partner,” Xanet Pailet, a sex and intimacy coach, tells Brides. “Agree to get rid of expectations, which almost always impacts our enjoyment of sex and just be in the moment.”
Obviously, get your clitoris in on the sexual action, but also have a conversation about what is going on with you. Your partner needs to be clued in. You need to feel less like a vessel for his or her orgasm and more like a sexual being who deserves to feel sexually fulfilled.
“Something to consider: is having an orgasm really that important to my sexual experience? Not all women require orgasm to feel like they're having a fulfilling and pleasurable sexual experience. If this is you, then where is the pressure to orgasm coming from?” says Overstreet. “If you can effectively communicate and feel that you are satisfied without having an orgasm, then your anxiety may very well decrease.”
Slow everything down!
Sex isn’t this fast, crazy, mind-blowing experience wherein you tear each other’s clothes off and get it on in the span of 13 seconds. This may happen occasionally, but it rarely occurs outside of movies.
If you want to have an orgasm, take serious time to focus on foreplay. It’s likely that you are not aroused enough to make it to orgasm. It takes women an average of 20 minutes to be aroused enough for penetrative sex.
Take time to feel everything and focus on what feels good. “Truly connecting to your body in a way that promotes pleasure is what I teach my clients to do everyday," Overstreet says. "This means slowing down and reflecting on what is arousing for YOU. How you want your body touched, what frame of mind is most erotic for you, [and] what sexual situations are most pleasurable.”
Dr. Overstreet tells us that masturbating is a great way for women to get more comfortable in their bodies. Much of the time, the disappearing orgasm has a lot to do with how we feel in our own skin.
Body dysphoria can pull your focus away from pleasure and into your head, smothering you with negative self-talk. Am I hot enough? Why does my stomach look so pouchy in this position? My thighs are enormous.
When you spend time with yourself, enjoying your body, you will begin to appreciate it for the beautiful, powerful temple that it is. Plus, you figure out exactly what feels good to you, making it easier to relay those messages to your partner.
Get into therapy
There is nothing shameful about seeing a therapist. Everyone you know is in therapy, they just don’t talk about it.
Dr. Overstreet tells us that while the tips we’ve provided are helpful, they may not work for everyone. “These are not cure-all strategies for overcoming pre-orgasmia. Other factors such as sexual trauma, chronic illness/medical issues, overall lack of sexual education, relationship pressure and dissatisfaction can also be contributors to orgasm difficulty.”
Mental health is as important as physical health. The thing is, orgasm anxiety usually stems from more than pressure from a partner or a lack of self-esteem. As we’ve discussed in this article, it is a complex issue. There could be things in your upbringing and later life that have affected how you view sex and female pleasure.
Don’t stress out about it. We’ve all gotten similar messed up messages about sex. Therapy can help you work through them in a safe, comfortable way.
Aren’t ready to sit on the couch? That’s OK. Check out TalkSpace. This online therapy app connects you with real therapists who you can chat with essentially all day.