Female Orgasms: Myths and Facts by The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) with extra commentary from Ryan and Venice Bloggs of sexblogging.com
Definition: Anorgasmia (no female orgasm) is an inability to reach orgasm and is thought to occur in about 10% of women. Anorgasmia may be either primary (the woman has never been able to reach an orgasm by any means) or secondary (an orgasm was experienced at some point in the past). It may also be global (orgasm is not experienced by any means) or situational (orgasm may be experienced in certain sexual situations but not others; for example, with manual stimulation but not with intercourse).
Some Myths Regarding Female Orgasms
There are several myths regarding female orgasms. These myths can sometimes cause problems for women and their partners.
Myth: An orgasm is always an earth-moving experience and there is something wrong with a woman if she is unable to reach orgasm.
Fact: Some women have orgasms and don’t know it. Some women do not experience orgasm in the sense of feeling their pelvic floor muscles contract. They do however reach a peak of arousal after which they feel very relaxed and contented, the same feelings other women experience after orgasm. Some women may feel their bodies spasm and their muscles contract, but not have the earth-moving intensity of other orgasms. By contrast, some women that do get very aroused and do not experience an orgasm will sometimes feel “nervous” or “edgy” or even an aching discomfort in their pelvis.
Venice Bloggs: I believe there is so much more to an orgasm than the physical sensation felt between a woman’s legs. When we first got married Ryan would fuck me hard when I was laying on my stomach. For some reason, I would get a twitching feeling in my cervix area every time he was done, and ONLY when he was done. I had no idea what this was, but I came to believe it was like the after-sensation you get when you someone hits your arm really hard and your muscles would contract for a moment. I thought the same thing happened in your vagina. I never gave it a second thought. Sometimes I would lay there after sex, numb and unable to move. I’d feel this sensation deep in my vagina, and just rub my sore pussy until I felt the energy to snap out of it. Only in the past year or so did I realize that this was a non-clitoral orgasm. Ryan would ask if I wanted to cum after sex, to which I would respond, “No, thanks. When you cum I feel like it’s my cum, too” as in I felt as if I had already orgasmed. What I soon realized was I was achieving an orgasm in a way I wasn’t used. I didn’t understand my body completely yet. I didn’t realize my body had different levels of orgasms and sensations. I have even squirted before from this hard deep sex, but because my physical reaction wasn’t as intense as a pure clitoris orgasm, I figured it “just felt good.” I was used to getting an orgasm through oral sex or by using a hand or toy during sex. These orgasms are extremely intense. The orgasms I get through pure intercourse were less intense, but still give me a sense of fulfillment; enough so that I don’t feel the need to grab my toy or have Ryan’s mouth between my thighs afterwards.
Ryan Bloggs: I’m a man, so obviously my thoughts on these myths/facts are just my own experiences and opinions. I understand this concept above because I myself have different types of orgasms. When getting oral sex, I almost have to force and overly fantacize to reach an orgasm. When I do get to the point of orgasm, I do not feel drained or tired. The orgasm was physical but because I do not want Venice to work too hard orally, the orgasm is more for her than me. Yes, I ejaculate, but it is very much different from an orgasm I try to hold and keep from happening. When masturbating, I also do not end up exhausted and slumped over in my chair. Although I do not have to force the orgasm, it doesn’t completely drain me or give me an “O” face. However, with a sex orgasm, the one I do not want to happen, as I release, I lose every muscle in my body. I almost feel in pain. My body almost always drops uncontrollable on Venice and my body is completely satisfied. However, I have had orgasms with intercourse that vary. Sometimes I can keep going after I orgasm because I am not drained at all, I become multi-orgasmic. Sometimes I can’t even move afterwards and become a slug.
Myth: “Normal” women reach orgasm through intercourse.
Fact: Only about a third of women experience orgasm regularly during intercourse. A third can reach orgasm with intercourse but need extra stimulation. A third never achieve orgasm during intercourse but can by manual and oral stimulation. Having orgasms by means other than intercourse is a normal variation of female sexuality. In the past, people thought that “mature” women had their orgasms with intercourse; you will sometimes run across an older book that has this view. However, laboratory studies in the 1960’s showed that an orgasm is an orgasm no matter which way you obtain it. How a woman reaches an orgasm has nothing to do with her mental health or emotional maturity.
Venice Bloggs: Normal women can’t deepthroat, normal women don’t love anal sex, normal women do not want to have sex with their husband’s two times a day. In other words, who cares what normal women do. Now that I’ve ranted, I will say that I was the unfortunate 1/3rd as a young woman and I had this same belief. I thought that something was wrong with me because I could masturbate or orgasm through oral sex, but not penetration. I didn’t feel “normal.” I had no idea there was a difference between orgasms brought on by clitoral stimulation and those brought on by penetration. It’s unfair to say how a “normal” woman can achieve an orgasm. There are women out there who orgasm by purely thinking about it. Does that mean they are abnormal? Of course not. Each woman has their own becoming in tuned with her body. After I met Ryan, we quickly learned to have intercourse and orgasm together, simply by using our hands to rub my clit while he fucked me. Now, as a more mature woman who is definitely more in touch with what I feel, I am all of the above (see also: All Kinds of Orgasms Last Night). Sexual maturity means I’m more experienced as a lover, I am more educated as a giver and a receiver, and I am more receptive to the different methods females can enjoy sex, with or without the possibility of achieving an orgasm.
Ryan Bloggs: I have always been somewhat cerebral and Venice was not always orgasmic through pure intercourse. Therefore, I have researched this topic thoroughly and learned a long time ago that the majority or women are not orgasmic through pure intercourse. By this I mean, orgasmic simply because a dick rubs back and forth inside their vaginas. Most of the ones that think they are, really orgasm because the male pubic bone (or testicles, depending on position) rubbing and friction created during sex massages their clitoris. Also, although I was never a huge porn watcher, I would notice that the only scenes that were believable to me, where the ones where the women screams and immediately slaps and rubs her own clit as she orgasms. For me, this was always common sense. I know when I orgasm, the last thing I do is just sit there and let my penis twitch in the wind. As soon as I feel the build up, I grab my penis and squeeze, almost hurting my own penis head by forcing the blood upwards to make it huge, then stroke. This is not only to release the semen, but also to put pressure on my penis head (which is like the female clitoris) to intensify the orgasm. I understand everyone is different, but the idea of orgasming through pure intercourse has always been foreign to me. I always used my hands, toys, or purposely grinded my body against Venice’s clit to help her achieve her orgasm as well. Although Venice was originally just the 1/3rd above and could only orgasm through oral sex, she gradually learned to orgasm through sex with help from our fingers or a toy, to now being able to cum from intercourse alone. This was not easy for us, as I had to put my own ego aside from the beginning and know, not all women will just orgasm because I stick my dick inside them. It isn’t that easy. In the end, I believe Venice had to learn to listen to her own body and enjoy what she feels, before she could enjoy mine.
Myth: Inability to reach orgasm, or anorgasmia means a woman is “frigid” or that there is something seriously wrong with her or her relationship.
Fact: Women who were able to have orgasms in the past but can no longer do so may be suffering from a medical problem or a side effect from medication. Women who have never had an orgasm may never have learned what type and duration of stimulation they need.
Venice Bloggs: Understanding how an orgasm works isn’t something we are born knowing. The inability to reach orgasm may be caused from the lack of knowledge or reasoning as to what is going on with her body. For many years, even into my marriage, I believed there was something seriously wrong with my body, my mind, or my inability to appreciate sex enough so that I could orgasm from Ryan’s thrusting. But through talking and being open with what I was physically feeling and through experimenting with new positions, I was able to understand the mechanics of how my body achieved the different ways to orgasm.
Ryan Bloggs: Unfortunately, as a teenager I felt like this. Rather than understanding everyone is different, I either blamed myself or blamed her. The idea of not being able to enjoy sex made no sense to me, because I was young and enjoyed it myself. It’s hard to understand something you yourself will never deal with. It takes time and experience to realize the world doesn’t revolve around your experiences, feelings or ideas. Eventually you open up and learn to accept being non orgasmic has nothing to do with your penis or your partner’s lack of wanting you or sex.
Myth: If a woman cannot reach orgasm, then her partner is not a skillful lover.
Fact: While there are many ways a loving partner can help a woman reach orgasm, in the end, a woman is responsible for her own sexual pleasure. That does not mean her partner should not be involved. Communication between partners is very important. It is up to the woman to inform her partner her likes and dislikes in their love making.
Venice Bloggs: A man isn’t a mind reader, or in this case, a “body reader.” How can I expect Ryan to help me achieve an orgasm if I, myself, did not know? I had to learn what MY body liked and what MY body positively reacted to, because what may work for me may have the opposite effect on another woman. Additionally, so many factors come into play: sexual position, strength, speed, open-mindedness, just to name a few. Even if both partners were experienced lovers (and by that I mean by the number of people they’ve had sex with) that doesn’t make him/her “skillful.” Each new lover requires a different approach and set of skills to become that person’s “perfect lover.” In time, Ryan has become my perfect lover by reading my reactions and adjusting to my needs in bed.
Ryan Bloggs: Venice taught me everything I know about sex, so we/I learned everything together. We met young and inexperienced. If I was an unskillful lover, the blame is on each of us because she molded me into the man she wanted me to be. I had the tool and the willingness, but I was never naive to the fact I was clueless when it came to a woman’s body. I had never seen or made a woman orgasm, so the sex part I could do, but seeing her orgasm was a first for me. Men aren’t born with the ability to please women, even if they think they are (those men that think they are, I’d say are probably worst lovers). I was open to learn, listen, and communicate. I have always been a strong believer of the following fact: It is the woman’s responsibility to learn her own body and find out what makes her tick. As she learns (or already knows), she needs to communicate this to her lover. Poor communication makes for horrible sex. Although it wasn’t something that happened over night, throughout the years we have found out exactly what makes us tick. Does that mean I am a skillful lover? I don’t think so, because every woman is different. I could be an absolute klutz in bed, but with Venice, because of communication and understanding her needs, I feel I am the most skillful a man could ever be with her body.
Myth: A woman has to have an orgasm in order to enjoy sex. This myth seems to be more common among men than among women.
Fact: Many women enjoy the closeness and physical intimacy of sex and are satisfied even if they do not, or do not always, have an orgasm.
Venice Bloggs: I suggested to Ryan that I’d been foregoing orgasms after sex because I felt like I had already came, implying that his orgasm gave me sexual gratification. In hindsight, a lot of times I would feel my body and inner muscles contract but was still unaware of what had happened because I didn’t lose total control. Also, if I have ever had a headache prior to sex, afterwards, at least for the following 30 minutes, my headache is completely gone (this kind of takes away my whole, “I have a headache excuse” huh?). While these orgasms may be my reasons behind feeling so satisfied and relaxed, I also believe that my giving nature has in turn allowed me to become a giving lover; I was satisfied sexually knowing that I worked hard to make Ryan cum. I was mentally fulfilled. Sometimes I want to be fucked hard, sometimes I want to be massaged and have him lick my back. I play my sexual needs by ear, and if they do or don’t lead to penetration, which may or may not lead to an orgasm, I know I will be satisfied because I was in control of my needs.
Ryan Bloggs: This is something I still haven’t grasped completely. If Venice doesn’t feel like having a physical orgasm, she still tells me she loves sex with me. She also says that her making me orgasm totally satisfies her, as if it was her own. I have a hard time getting this. Maybe I am selfish and she is giving, but I am still learning. It’s not something I will complain about, but sometimes she does get irritated and ask, “Why do you want me to cum so much?” As her lover, I want to physically give her orgasms. However, this isn’t how she always enjoys sex or being intimate. For me, this is hard to understand.
What can you do?
It is possible to try too hard. Focus on enjoying the process, not on whether or not you will have an orgasm.
Communicate with your partner your preferences when it comes to sex. Your partner cannot read your mind.
If you or your partner are doing something pleasurable, encourage your mate to continue.
Learn to enjoy and feel comfortable with your sexuality. Your current inability to have an orgasm is not a reflection of your femininity, your psychological or emotional health. Putting yourself down just makes it that much more difficult.
Some women have trouble concentrating during sex. If that is the case, you may wish to fantasize, i.e., thinking about something sexual may excite you and may reduce negative emotions. If you feel that you are very close to achieving an orgasm, alternate tightening and relaxing your pelvic floor muscles. This may sometimes trigger a real orgasm.
For some couples, love making ends once the man ejaculates. Often, at this point the woman is very aroused. If this is the case, you might ask your partner to continue stimulating you with his hands or his mouth once he is finished. Some women feel uncomfortable doing this, thinking that this would be selfish or that their partner would be bored. In fact, your partner may enjoy giving you pleasure. Rather than being selfish, you are giving your partner the chance to please you.
What about Vibrators?
Vibrators, either plug-in or cordless, supply more intense stimulation than can be obtained with either intercourse or manual stimulation. They can be especially helpful if you have an illness that makes it hard to reach orgasm, such as multiple sclerosis. They can be used by you or together with your partner as part of your love making.
There are several good books available with “exercises” to help you reach orgasm. These usually focus on learning to have an orgasm by yourself and then, once you know the desired manner and amount of stimulation you need, you can teach your partner how to please you. It can also be helpful for your partner to read one of these books. Women of some religious faiths may sometimes feel that self-stimulation, or masturbation, is wrong. Others of the same faith feel that since the long-term goal is to improve the relationship then self-stimulation is okay in the short term.
For Yourself: The Fulfillment of Female Sexuality: by Lonnie Barbach. Written over 20 years ago by a woman who ran groups for pre-orgasmic women, this book has a lot of personal stories. Women like it because they see they are not alone and they can usually identify with one or other of the stories.
Becoming Orgasmic: by Julie Hieman and J. LoPiccolo. A bit more clinical than the previous book, it also has exercises to help a woman think about where she learned her ideas about sex and whether these might not be realistic.
The Gift of Sex: by Cliff and Joyce Penner. Written by a Christian couple, this is a very frank and helpful book, especially for women who find some of the suggestions or assumptions in “secular” books objectionable.
If none of the books or suggestions are helpful, you might consider asking for referral to a sex therapist or psychologist specializing in treating sexual difficulties.