Q&A: I Have Never Experienced Orgasm. Is Something Wrong With Me?

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QUESTION: I'm a 24 year old woman and I still haven't had an orgasm. I'm not even sure what happens or what it feels like to know if I am actually doing it. Is there a reason that I am not having orgasms or is there something wrong with me?

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Rather than focusing on the presence or absence of orgasm, many sexual health professionals suggest that women focus on what brings them the most pleasure during sex.

Exploration and Experimentation

Although most women are able to experience orgasm, it takes many women a long time to learn how to have an orgasm. Many boys begin masturbating around the time they reach puberty and so they may have more practice at learning how their bodies work in terms of sexual response. Fewer girls begin masturbating as children or young teenagers, and probably for various reasons such as lower levels of testosterone and/or social messages that suggest girls shouldn’t masturbate.

In any case, many young women feel unfamiliar with their bodies. You may find that spending some time, learning about your body, looking at your genitals and learning to touch your genitals with pleasure and curiosity, helps you to learn to orgasm. Some women prefer to begin masturbating with their hands or by rubbing their genitals against their bed or their pillow.

Learning to orgasm can take time. Some women find that they may masturbate for 30 minutes or an hour or longer, quite a few times, before they experience a release of sexual tension in what feels like an orgasm to them. Other women prefer to use a vibrator to help learn to orgasm, as vibrators can often make it easier to learn to orgasm.

Every Woman Is Different

It’s also important to know that women vary in how they experience orgasm. Some women feel that orgasm is a distinct event. They may experience orgasm as a powerful burst of excitement or euphoria and may feel several powerful contractions in their lower abdomen or around their vagina. Other women experience orgasms that are more mild, with less noticeable contractions.

Rather than focusing on the presence or absence of orgasm, many sexual health professionals suggest that women focus on what brings them the most pleasure during sex.

More Information

To learn more about orgasms and how to have one during masturbation or sex with a partner, check out Becoming Orgasmic, Because It Feels Good or I Love Female Orgasm.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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