Q&A: Trouble Reaching Female Orgasm Through Masturbation

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QUESTION: I never achieve orgasm while masturbating. I remember masturbating for two and half hours and not achieving an orgasm once. Is there something wrong with me compared to other women?

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Most women are capable of experiencing orgasm from some type of stimulation or another, so it is unlikely that you’re completely unable to do so. In fact, it is quite common for women to find that learning to orgasm is a process, and one that takes time, patience, and practice.

Boys commonly begin masturbating around the time that they reach puberty, give or take a year. Girls, on the other hand, may begin masturbating at a wider range of ages. Many young women begin masturbating as teenagers or young adults and so it’s no wonder that it takes a while to learn to orgasm if one is less familiar, or rather newly familiar, with their body’s sexual response.

Pressure Gets In The Way

Pressure gets in the way of some women learning to orgasm, too. Often, women will pressure themselves, or feel pressured by a partner, to orgasm – which, not surprisingly, often leads to women pretending to have an orgasm when they’re with a partner.

Even in masturbation, with no partner present, some women feel pressured to climax. And yet pressure and being overly focused on orgasm can make it difficult for a woman to relax and enjoy the way that her body responds to stimulation. And that relaxation is key – at least as a starting place – to learn to orgasm.

Usually orgasm is helped along if a woman is feeling relaxed, sexually aroused or interested, and able to pay attention – and be open to enjoying – the physical sensations that her body is experiencing.

Women’s Bodies and Sexual Response

You may find it helpful to learn more about women’s bodies and sexual response. I’m not sure how it is that you are self-pleasuring but you might spend some time exploring your body, without any intention or pressure to orgasm, and see what feels good.

Some women enjoy direct stimulation of their glans clitoris, the part of the clitoris that is above the vaginal entrance at the 12 o’clock position. Others prefer vaginal stimulation and at different parts within the vagina. And while hand stimulation is enjoyed by some women, others find that using a vibrator or other sex toy delivers the type of stimulation that makes sexual play more pleasurable or orgasmic.

There are many paths to orgasm, and also many issues that make it difficult for women to experience orgasm right away.

Recommended Reading

You might find the book Becoming Orgasmic to be of help as you explore your body in pleasurable – and potentially orgasmic – ways.

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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