Daily Archives: November 28, 2011

Orgasm: If Only I Could O

Orgasm. Have you had one? I recently got a question from a commenter. Here’s what she (Anonymous) said:

“My issue is that I have never had an orgasm. I’m beginning to believe that I can’t. I love sex… I initiate it more often than he does! But I know that it bothers him somewhat (a lot less than in the past!) and it bugs me! I believe it might have something to do with letting go and relaxing.. any tips for me?”

So if I were a sex therapist (which I’m not), I would likely ask questions about sexual history, events that shaped sexual perspective, marital health, techniques, and so on. But maybe it’s just as well to give a general “How to” lesson – which will be broad, but may include helpful tips. So without further ado, here’s my rendition of How to Orgasm.

Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally

from When Harry Met Sally

Don’t try to orgasm. Yes, it’s a worthy goal, and I’m in favor of reaching that awe-inducing climax and yelling “Yippee!” at its apex. However, trying to attain an orgasm is like looking for the perfect shoes. You almost never find them when you’re out hunting down what to wear with that outfit you paid too much for. But go out browsing with a girlfriend to enjoy the fun of shopping, and voilá! there they are – the perfect shoes practically winking at you through the display window.

Likewise, orgasms are not what you should aim for. Aim instead for pleasure, pleasure, and more pleasure. When the pleasure becomes particularly intense, orgasm occurs. So your target should be enjoying the sexual act as much as you possibly can.

Learn about your body. There are various ways to do this. Read up on the female body generally. Learn the parts that constitute arousal areas and how they work. The most thorough treatment I’ve read was from Intended for Pleasure by Ed and Gaye Wheat, but there are other sources. One important fact is that the clitoris is where orgasm occurs for women, and this body part appears to have no other purpose than inducing sexual arousal. (Thank you, God.) The Wheats state that “sufficient physical stimulation of the clitoris alone will produce orgasm in nearly all women.” Of course, what constitutes that “sufficient physical stimulation” is what wives, and husbands, need to know.Some experts suggest that you experiment with your own body, discovering where you like to be touched and with what intensity. It will feel different with your own hand versus your husband’s, but this information can be valuable. You can even make this part of a lovemaking session. Most husbands are very aroused by their wives touching themselves, and this can become part of the foreplay for sex. It can help him to see what you like.

You can also have your husband explore your body. I suggest that the wife remove her clothing, but that the husband remain dressed for this session (it can be awfully hard for him to not rush in to penetration if he’s already naked). Dedicate at least fifteen minutes, but even better a half-hour, to him touching you with his hands and lips. It may feel selfish to indulge only one of you, but learning what causes arousal for the wife will benefit the husband in the long run as well.

Slow way down. Men typically do not require as much foreplay as women. In fact, husbands have been compared to microwaves and wives to slow cookers for how long it takes them to heat up. (Thanks to Sheila Gregoire for reminding me of this comparison.) It takes some time for most women to become aroused, fully lubricated, and for the inner vagina lips (labia minora) to swell.

Moreover, women are mental multi-taskers. This can be a problem when it comes to sex. It takes time to wind down and push the to-do list to the back of our minds; to swat away those pesky distractions rushing through our brains; to relax into the arms of our beloved; to feel valued, treasured, and loved in that moment; and to let go and surrender to the sensations our body is experiencing.

And that’s okay. It can be a good thing when a wife slows down the lovemaking experience and ensures that a couple basks in the delights of one another. Give the wife time for pleasure and intensity to build.

Focus on the sensations. The female orgasm is mostly mental. As I said, God created females to be multi-taskers, so it’s easy for us to think about sex and — sex and our shopping list; sex and the lyrics to the song on the radio; sex i the way our breasts sag to the side instead of perking up like we wish they would. But you have to focus on what’s happening to your body to give in to it, to enjoy it, to climax.

Make your pleasure almost like meditation. Train yourself to focus on where your husband is touching, kissing, or fondling you. Think intently about your private areas as your husband is pleasuring them. If stray thoughts come in (and they do), return your mental gaze to your body and the stimulation of your five senses. Most women must practice this level of concentration – getting rid of distracting thoughts and returning focus to the arousal your body is experiencing. It may take time to do it with ease.

Communicate. Tell him what you like. When something feels particularly good, let your spouse know to keep doing it, or have him increase the intensity. When adjustments need to be made, verbally suggest what you want or direct his hands or lips to the area you want aroused.

Can this be awkward? Um, yeah. I have never seen a Hollywood love scene where one actor said to the other, “Oh, not there. Over a little bit. Yeah, right there.” (Actually, I see very few such scenes these days by avoiding R-rated films, but that’s another story.)

I still feel a little weird about speaking up during sex, but my honey doesn’t mind. Two things to remember: (1) he wants to pleasure you, so if something else would do more to rev up your engine, he wants to know; (2) he’ll respond much better to positive feedback than critical reviews of his performance. For example, rather than saying, “That doesn’t feel good,” move his hand and say, “I love it when you touch me there.” Smiles, oohs, aahs, and groans also let a hubby know when he’s hit the jackpot. You could throw in a “You rock my world, baby!” if you feel so moved. That usually goes over well.

Surrender to the moment. Orgasm is a paradox of tension and letting go. When a woman feels extreme sexual arousal, her body tenses. But she must surrender to the pleasurable sensations in order for her body to climax. This is something you might practice too. When you start feeling intense pleasure, concentrate on the body part being aroused and relax it. Do this a few times, and see if your pleasure increases.Give in to the moment when it arrives. Makes noises. Grimace. Scream. Flail about. Whatever floats your boat. I wonder about couples who videotape their lovemaking sessions because I’m pretty sure that orgasms are not pretty. If you watched a woman undergoing an intense orgasm, she might look like a rabid animal. But this is not the time to worry about how you look or what the neighbors might think if they heard you. (Hey, they’re probably thinking “Good for her!”) At that apex of pleasure, let go and revel in your one-fleshness.

My analogy would be riding a roller coaster (which I LOVE to do!). Tension grows as you slowly inch up to that tallest peak. When you reach the top, you must decide: Am I going to grip this safety bar and close my eyes? Or am I going to raise my hands and scream with delight? As you might guess, I always go for #2. It’s so much funner that way. Surrender to the moment.

Well, that’s it. Today’s tips for how to orgasm.

You know what was so great about this reader’s question in particular? She admits to enjoying sex . . . even without an orgasm. “I love sex,” she wrote.

By learning about my body and my interactions with my husband, I have no problem these days achieving orgasm. However, I don’t require climax to enjoy the closeness, arousal, and experience of sex with my husband. Sometimes, I simply don’t hit that Big O, and that’s okay. When I told my husband this, he was a little surprised. Most men figure that climax is a goal of sex; after all, they usually have one. The Generous Husband recently had a great post on this very topic: Okay – but only if I can skip the “O”.Still, orgasms remind me of ordering a peppermint hot chocolate (my go-to drink) at Starbucks. They always ask if I want whipped cream. I want to say, “Duh. The cocoa is great, but if I can get whipped cream, I’m totally there.”

Sex = chocolaty goodness. Orgasm = whipped cream. Definitely a great combo.

Starbucks cocoa

Now readers, what are you tips for achieving an orgasm? Have you struggled in this way? Learned anything along the way? Share your story or your suggestions.

Quick Note: Stu and Lisa Gray have revealed nominees for their 2011 Top Marriage Blogs List. Check out the links and vote at the Stupendous Marriage website.