Why Can’t I Orgasm? A Neuroscientist Explains

Curated via Twitter from Glamour’s twitter account….

In my practice as a certified sex therapist and in my work as a neuroscientist studying pleasure, there’s one question I hear a lot: Why can’t I orgasm?

Getting reliable data about how many women suffer from orgasmic dysfunction, which is how difficulty having an orgasm is generally described, isn’t easy.

Say yes to the experience you are having. Nan Wise, Ph. D. , is AASECT-certified sex therapist, neuroscientist, certified relationship expert, and author of Why Good Sex Matters: Understanding the Neuroscience of Pleasure for a Smarter, Happier, and More Purpose-Filled Life.

In my clinical work, I’ve found that for women who’ve never ever had an orgasm, the most common cause is simply insufficient practice masturbating.

You may be able to orgasm during certain circumstances—for example, when masturbating alone but not when your partner is present, or not during sexual intercourse.

There’s big variability in how dysfunction is defined, how questions are phrased, who is sampled, and other technical issues too boring to discuss, but recent data indicate that 16% to 25% percent of women in places like the U. S. , Australia, Canada, and Sweden, report these challenges.

After some work, that client was able to permit herself to release into orgasm after recognizing how her bathtub shaming experience kept her from exploring pleasure.

Let’s dig into the common reasons women can’t orgasm and how to address them.

There’s no quick fix for deeper relationship problems, but take the orgasm shutdown as good information which can facilitate difficult but freeing conversations.

These drugs can impact the serotonin system in ways that squash sexual desire and impair the ability to orgasm.

Nan, a sex therapist turned neuroscientist answers all of your burning sex questions. © 2020 Condé Nast. All rights reserved.

In other countries where cultural attitudes about sex are more negative, rates are significantly higher. (A whopping 74% of women in Ghana report orgasmic dysfunction, for example. “Anorgasmia,” as it’s scientifically referred to, can be situational.

Beyond cultural programming, traumatic experiences related to our sexuality can shut down our ability to relax into sensations and feel comfortable with and entitled to having sexual pleasure.

This week we will address one of the most urgent and common of concerns for which clients seek my services—usually expressed with a little embarrassment: “Why can’t I orgasm?

So it isn’t surprising that discovering our orgasm capacity may not be automatic for women.

After a few sessions of unpacking this old learning, she was able to discover her orgasm after making good friends with a vibrator.

As we age, the production of our sex hormones tends to slow down, making arousal and orgasm potentially more challenging> Another factor can be a loss of tone in the pelvic floor muscles.

Orgasm isn’t just the result of a glass of nice wine, a little Marvin Gaye, and some fairy dust; it’s a learned skill.

This is a common issue and usually stems from either being too uncomfortable about letting go all the way in the presence of a partner, or from having issues asking for the precise kind of stimulation you need.

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