The 3 Sexual Ideals Responsible For Difficulties Orgasming With A Partner
Society's lies about the big O
Society places a lot of emphasis on orgasms. We’re meant to orgasm easily, every time we have sex, and, preferably, at the same time as our sex partner. As a sex therapist, I’ve seen first-hand how sexual ideals like these not only make sex more complicated – they also create sexual issues, like female difficulty achieving orgasm.
Not being able to orgasm during sex with a partner can be stressful and anxiety-inducing.
But you’re not broken because you can’t orgasm.
The ideas you’ve been fed about orgasms are likely contributing to your difficulties.
The Three Main Sexual Ideals
Ideas we have about how sex should work and how we’re meant to enjoy sex, are largely created by our culture.
Because sex is such a private matter – ideals about sex are rarely discussed. This means they can silently chip away at your sexual self-confidence and impair sexual pleasure.
In my online sex therapy practice, I see a lot of women and people with vulvas/vaginas, who experience shame and guilt connected to sex, ridding sex of pleasure all round. And when it comes to orgasmic difficulties, the three sexual ideals listed below seem to be part of the problem.
1. You Need To Orgasm Every Time You Have Sex
Good sex can be lots of things – pleasure, relaxation, intimacy – and sometimes, that explosive climax that we’ve come to view as the finale of sex.
But even if orgasms can be what constitutes good sex, they don’t have to be. Believing they’re the goal creates stress and anxiety.
Often times, they’re not only experienced as physical symptoms – difficulties breathing or a high pulse – they also manifest as mental blocks.
Negative thoughts creep into our heads, telling us we need to have an orgasm, that we’re weird for not coming, or that our partner will wonder what’s going on if we don’t climax soon.
These thoughts make it difficult for us to be present in the moment. And when we’re not really “there” – it can be impossible to enjoy sex, let alone climax.
Sex isn’t just a physical act, it also involves our brains. And even if this sounds unsexy(!), it’s actually, quite the opposite.
Our brains need to be focused on what’s turning us on in order for us to enjoy sex and be able to have an orgasm.
If our minds are preoccupied with thoughts about us being weird, broken or having to have an orgasm, there’s little sexual energy pushing us towards an explosive climax.
This effectively leads to low libido too, cementing female difficulty achieving orgasm.
2. Penetration Is The Way To Orgasm
Another sexual ideal that greatly impacts women’s abilities to have an orgasm, is our culture’s focus on vaginal penetrative sex.
Movies, tv-series and pornography all showcase penetration as the best, and perhaps only way, of climaxing.
And even if these mediums shouldn’t be viewed as sex education, the lack of education in schools about pleasure, means we fall prey to the way orgasms are portrayed in pop culture.
This has lead to an orgasm gap, where women in heterosexual relationships are the least likely to have an orgasm during sex with a partner (only 65% of the time), compared to lesbian women (86%) gay men (89%) and men in heterosexual relationships (95% of their sexual encounters include orgasms).
These statistics can be explained by several factors. Some of the most important ones, have to do with the kinds of sex that produce orgasms.
Research shows that women orgasm more easily when they engage in deep kissing, receive manual stimulation of the clitoris, and oral sex – effectively putting the old idea of vaginal penetration as orgasm-friendly, to bed.
3. Great Orgasms Just… Happen
Communication in relationships is part of what makes up real solid partnerships – and also – orgasms.
Just as media portrays orgasms as a result of vaginal penetrative sex – they also showcase orgasms as something that happens without any communication whatsoever.
Sex is seen as this effortless joy that occurs if the relationship is “right” or if we’re sufficiently attracted to our sex partner(s).
Even if good sex and orgasms can happen without communication of sexual preferences – a lot of times – they don’t.
In fact, as a sex therapist, I’ve found that difficulties communicating about sex is one of the major factors responsible for most sexual difficulties, including those involving orgasm.
Because of the lack of communication, people of all gender identities resort to what they “know” about sexual pleasure.
And this knowledge often comes from pop culture, meaning what we’ve been taught to believe about how women experience orgasms (i.e through vaginal penetrative sex), is what our sex partner will need.
In order to get past female difficulty achieving orgasm, it’s important to communicate wants and needs. I know it can be awkward and difficult, but if you really want to climax, this is one of the best ways to get there.
It’s Possible To Learn How To Orgasm
There are lots of reasons for difficulties orgasming. One of them is the sexual ideals and misconceptions about orgasms and how they occur.
If you find the whole idea of climaxing to be stressful and anxiety-producing, take a step back and examine where these feelings are coming from.
You’ll likely find that at least some of them are unrealistic and unattainable ideas about how you should orgasm.
By learning to communicate about sex, engage in sex that produces orgasms, and let go of the pressure to orgasm – you truly can get past female difficulty achieving orgasm.
Leigh Norén is a sex therapist with a Master of Science in Sexology. She helps people reduce stress, shame, & anxiety surrounding sex-so they can get their sex drive back and enjoy their partner again. If you want to increase your desire, download her free resource The Desire Test.
Originally published at Therapy by Leigh.