Orgasms aren’t always easy to come by (pun intended). In fact, a lot of the time, when you’re just about there, it vanishes into thin air. Here’s our best advice on what to do when your O goes MIA...
Let us go full millennial for a second and compare orgasms to avocados. You’re waiting and waiting and building and building for a nice, juicy, ripe one. You’re excited, it’ll be delicious when it’s finally ready. And then, just when you’re about to enjoy it... you realise you missed your window.
You’re not the only, em, avocado lover who has to deal with this elusive fruit. So many women can’t quite get there and, honestly, the reasons aren’t rocket science. The pressure we’re under to have one, the stress of daily life getting in our heads, the fact that contraception wreaks internal havoc on our bodies and the fact that our partners can quite often be clueless are just some of the causes of a missing climax.
So with that in mind, here’s a list of the anxious questions you ask (in your head) when having orgasm problems, and some real life sexperts to help answer them. All questions should be read in a more-than-a-little-bit-panicked tone of voice. Mmkay?
Cos none of us should be faking it. Despite what The Graham Norton Show says...
Hang on, wait. Is this normal? Surely I’m the only one?
You’re never the only one, we assure you but to confirm that, here’s Caroline West, a Doctoral Scholar in Sexuality Studies at DCU. “Recognising that [losing your orgasm] is normal is a good approach, as getting stressed will pretty much ensure it won’t happen at all.” Wise words, Caroline, and Shawna Scott, founder of the multi-award winning Irish sex shop, sexsiopa.ie, reckons much the same.
“When it comes to getting close and losing the orgasm, the worst thing you can do is worry about it. That’s a surefire way of not getting the train back on track. Do other stuff, roll around and make out with your partner; focus on their pleasure for a while.”
Why is this happening to me? Why do the sex gods hate me?
It’s all in your head, and we mean that in a good way. The likely cause of you losing your orgasm is simply breaking the focus on pleasure, thinking about something else or, probably the worst thing, concentrating so hard on having one that you scare it away.
“There can be a lot of pressure on woman to orgasm quickly,” says Caroline, “when in reality it can take a while. Often, a partner’s technique is the issue, and, as every woman is built differently, we need to get past the one size fits all approach and work to find out what works for each person.”
Yeah but is there something physically wrong with me?
Not necessarily, and in fact, there are so many factors that influence it, it’s likely not to be a physical problem. “Orgasms can be affected by lots of different issues, from medication to tiredness levels, childbirth, trauma, stress or issues within the relationship. What goes on in our heads affects our bodies. If you can still orgasm through masturbation, the issue may not be physical. It could be worthwhile to visit your GP or a sex therapist to discuss the issue. But remember, sex drives can naturally fluctuate over time and putting pressure on achieving an orgasm can make it even more elusive,” says Caroline.
Shawna Scott says it’s all about feeling, “safe, sexy, and desired”, and those are three words we like, but don’t often occur at once. “You may be in the middle of having some amazing sex and the other person says something you find triggering or upsetting. On the flip side, you might have had a very stressful day at work but then your partner has put on your favourite music, poured you a glass of wine, and put your favourite sheets on the bed. If you’re completely relaxed and feeling desired, you’re much more likely to reach orgasm.”
I feel like I’m letting my partner down by not coming. Am I?
Shawna, we’re relieved to hear, says absolutely not. In fact, the concept of both partners achieving orgasm (never mind together) shouldn’t be the benchmark for what constitutes “good” sex.
“We need to move away from this narrative that orgasms run linear and parallel and need to happen at the same time,” she says. “It’s perfectly normal to take breaks just to kiss and cuddle and be intimate. The same goes for those with penises – we really need to stop the idea that, from the second an erection happens, it needs to stay rock hard until ejaculation.”
We know from that famous Friends line that Rachel screams at Ross (“It’s not that common, it doesn’t happen to every guy, and it IS A BIG DEAL!”) that guys lose their orgasms too, and it affects them as much as us.
What can I do? I need it back, I love orgasms
If you’re losing it during sex, Caroline says you need to try to refocus, and never, ever fake it (although we all know that happens.) “Take a break; move to another body part; try a different technique; use a toy; and most importantly communicate with your partner to discuss what’s working and what’s not. Faking doesn’t do anyone any favours and needs to be consigned to the past, along with the idea women don’t enjoy sex as much as men do,” she explains.
Eh, this is a more long-term thing. Should I go to my GP now?
That wouldn’t be our first port of call but never be nervous to chat to your doctor about these things. Sexual health is an important subject, as Shawna Scott confirms.
“If someone who has orgasms regularly has a dry spell for a few weeks or months or longer, it’s nothing to panic about, but it may warrant sitting down and having a think about what’s going on both in and out of the bedroom that may be hindering sexual pleasure,” advises Shawna.
Should I really care? Sure it’s only an orgasm?
Eh, YEAH. We deserve pleasurable sex, make no mistake. Time to embrace that, says Caroline. “We have long experienced poor sexual technique in partners who only care about their own orgasms. The time for selfish lovers is over, and women’s ability to be multi-orgasmic sexual beings should be celebrated, loudly and proudly! Find yourself a sexual partner who agrees and enjoy what your body can do.”
We’re definitely about that life, but is society ready to prioritise female pleasure? We’re not quite there. “I believe that the culture is definitely catching up to taking women’s orgasms seriously, but we’ve still got a long way to go!” Shawna says.
So, you heard it here first. It seems the best way to hang on to that climax is to pretend you don’t even want it. Give it the silent treatment. Just chill out, get in the right mindset, and before you know it there’ll be a slew of poorly written articles online saying the reason we can’t get mortgages is because we’re spending too much time orgasming. Can’t wait for the comments section there!
Can we ask how are your kegels? Do they need some work?