Women’s relationship to their orgasms has historically been a little bit thorny. Unfortunately, a lot of women have never experienced orgasm due to several factors: sexual pain, partner’s lack of sexual education, or even hesitation to touch themselves. And when women aren’t getting very much out of sex, their interest in sex decreases. However, scientists learn more and more about women’s experience of orgasm every day—including how to reach orgasm, why you should orgasm, and how to improve your orgasm.
The Benefits of Orgasms
Orgasms are good for people of any gender—not just women. It goes far beyond the physical sensation of orgasms. If you’re not reaping the psychological and physiological benefits of orgasm, you’re missing out. Orgasms can help you bond with your partner, reduce your stress, lower your blood pressure, and improve the quality of your sleep. Keep in mind that these benefits aren’t just hypothetical—they are well-documented.
What Happens When You Orgasm
Orgasms can be challenging to describe, but women’s orgasms are a real, tangible thing. When a woman is about to reach orgasm, the vagina lengthens and begins to pulse. And then the contractions occur alongside a feeling of pleasurable release. For many people (and especially men), the prefrontal cortex of the brain slows down during orgasm, meaning you stop thinking deep thoughts and focus on the physical sensations of sex. But this isn’t the case for many women. If you’re having trouble reaching orgasm, it could be that your prefrontal cortex stays in overdrive, even as you try to focus on sex. A mindfulness practice can help counteract this by keeping you relaxed and in the moment during sex.
How to Have an Orgasm
If you’ve never had an orgasm, don’t worry: you’re not alone. Many people have difficulty reaching orgasm, and it’s never too late to start trying. Experimenting by yourself is a low-pressure way to get started, and masturbating can help you articulate to a partner what you like and what you don’t like. It can be difficult to have your first orgasm with a partner, especially if you’ve been trying without success for a while. It’s easy to feel pressure to perform rather than relaxed enough to enjoy the physical experience. If that rings true for you, spend some time alone, learning about your arousal and what feels good to you.
Try using your hands to get started. If that doesn’t work, upgrade to a vibrator or another sex toy that looks like fun. The important thing is not to give up.
You may also want to check with your doctor. Conditions like diabetes or multiple sclerosis can make achieving orgasm more difficult. Endometriosis can mess with your pelvic floor, too, and sometimes physical therapy can help your vagina become more comfortable, making it easier to reach orgasm. Certain medications, like birth control or antidepressants, also have an impact on your libido.
Orgasms and Menopause
Orgasms can benefit you well into menopause. When you go through menopause, your estrogen production slows. Some women develop a condition called vaginal atrophy, which can be irritating and make sex painful. Having an orgasm can help stave off the sexual signs of aging because it keeps blood flowing to your vagina.
What makes menopause more difficult to deal with is that many women don’t talk about their experiences. Menopausal issues are still somewhat stigmatized, unfortunately, but it can be empowering to talk about what’s going on for you as you age. And if you start to have vaginal discomfort, it’s always important to bring it up with your doctor.
If you’d like more science-backed ideas about how to upgrade your sex life, contact me for a free consultation today.
Bio: Dr. Nazanin Moali is a clinical psychologist and sex therapist in the Los Angeles area. She works with various individuals to understand and improve their sexuality. Dr. Moali conducts personal consultation sessions in her Torrance and Hermosa Beach offices, or via a secure, online video-counseling platform.