Why Women Don't Have Orgasms

Amy enjoys being intimate with her spouse but achieving an orgasm during sex is difficult for her.

She tends to become lost in her thoughts, making it difficult for her to focus on the sensations she is experiencing. When this happens, she becomes obsessed with having an orgasm and begins to worry about how long it will take, why she isn't climaxing sooner, or whether she will have one at all.

Amy's issues with orgasming strain on her sexual self-esteem, and using a vibrator for clitoral stimulation can sometimes help her achieve an orgasm. But it's far from a guarantee, and Amy's challenges with orgasming weigh on her sexual self-esteem.

"I feel like I'm letting my husband down or making him feel like he's not doing enough to satisfy me when I don't orgasm," Amy explained. "My partner had orgasms almost every time we have sex, and he wants me to feel the same way. But that doesn't always happen for me."

Amy isn't the only one who feels this way. Orgasms might be challenging to come by for women, according to research, especially in heterosexual partnerships.

Lesbians Get More Constant Orgasms

"Lesbian women have orgasms with their partners approximately 75% of the time," said Dr. Emily Jamea, a sex therapist. "Bisexual women have orgasms about 58 percent of the time, and heterosexual women have orgasms about 62 percent of the time."

There's no definitive reason why lesbians have the most orgasms with one another, but Jamea speculates that it could be because women have a greater understanding of their bodies and less pressure to climax during intercourse.

"The majority of orgasms are caused by clitoral stimulation," Jamea explained. "Most ladies understand that."

Multiple Ways of Orgasm

Female orgasms have traditionally been classified as vaginal and clitoral.

"The judgment is still out on the difference between those two," Jamea added. "While some research implies that the clitoris and vagina have different sets of nerve endings, it's also important to remember that the clitoral body is around 3 inches long and has two wing structures. As a result, it's possible that all orgasms are clitoral."

When you consider that there are so many individual differences, things grow much murkier. Some women swear that a portion of their vagina has greater sensation than the rest of the vaginal canal, forming the fabled "G-spot," while others claim to have no such sensation.

Furthermore, there is growing evidence that orgasm can occur in ways other than clitoral or vaginal stimulation.

"Orgasm may occur in certain women during nipple stimulation and anal activity," Jamea explained.

"After a sexy dream, some women have nocturnal orgasms, and others can even think themselves into an orgasm."

10% of women have never had an orgasm

However, some women have never experienced an orgasm of any kind. Dr. Laurie Mintz, a sex therapist, remarked, "One consistent result is that roughly 10% of women report never orgasming in their lifetime."

Why do the majority of women orgasm while others do not?

Aside from physiological issues like chronic pain disorders or the use of SSRIs (both of which can impair a woman's capacity to orgasm), lack of orgasm can be caused by various factors, including culture and the misplaced importance we place on male-female intercourse.

The orgasm chasm is fueled by culture and psychology.

"Culture plays a big role in why women don't orgasm," Mintz added. "We know that there is a significant orgasm gap between men and women, with women having fewer orgasms than males in a variety of situations. Much of this is related to the way we talk about heterosexual sex and how we portray intercourse as the most important thing in society."

In fact, according to Jamea, only 21% to 30% of women orgasm during intercourse without concurrent clitoral stimulation.

Psychological pressures and even environmental variables may be another important reason why women never orgasm.

"On a hot day, you won't be able to run as fast as you can on a cool, clear day," Jamea explained.

"Orgasms are the same way. When you're worried or in an uncomfortable situation, you might not be able to orgasm as easily. Because there is such a strong mind-body link, anything that influences our setting can help or hinder climax – and women are more sensitive to these elements."

A sense of being rushed to climax along with — or as rapidly as — your male partner, which is a physiological problem, also falls under the category of psychological obstacles.

"Within the first five to ten minutes of rapid stimulation, men usually climax," Jamea stated. "It could take up to 30 minutes for women to get there." As a result, many women who have never experienced orgasm may simply not have given themselves enough time."

Past trauma is another more intricate hurdle in the way of obtaining orgasm.

"Trauma generates a dissociative response," Jamea explained, "which means the mind and body become separated." "Fear can take control in situations where vulnerability and trust are required, resulting in a similar dissociative response." In other words, it has the potential to cause someone to freeze."

A lack of orgasm can lead to feelings of guilt and low self-esteem.

Some women, like Amy, experience guilt and other unpleasant emotions due to their inability to orgasm regularly, which is completely normal, if distressing.

"Many women who don't orgasm have a definite problem with negative feelings," Mintz added. "A lot of it boils down to them believing they're not normal, imperfect, or broken." This can result in low self-esteem, humiliation, and aversion to sex."

Masturbation is the most effective way to address a lack of orgasm.

Both Mintz and Jamea promote masturbation as the ultimate cure for women who have never experienced an orgasm or who have problems orgasming. 

"Experiment with your own touch and what feels good to you, as well as different toys," Jamea said. "Vibrators can work miracles."

Mindfulness practices can also help you tune in to your body and quiet the chatter in your head, which can become especially loud when you're obsessed with reaching an orgasm or afraid that you're taking too long. When you're with a spouse, anxious thoughts can be very intense.

"Do I have a good appearance, smell, and taste?" According to Mintz, some of the many questions that may rush our minds during sex. "When you're thinking so hard, you can't orgasm."

It's crucial to remember that you're not having an orgasm for anyone else but yourself. Don't be ashamed of it, and don't pass judgment on it. Allow it to happen naturally rather than trying to control it. "This is your orgasm, not theirs," Jamea explained. It is in your control."

*Amy is a fictitious name.

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