Question: I can get all the way up to the brink of an orgasm but I can’t seem to reach one. Any suggestions for why that might be or what I can do about it?
Many women have difficulty reaching orgasm. At the same time, every woman alive has the capacity to experience orgasms. But it’s rare for people to say someone showed them how to have orgasm when they were growing up as teenagers or young adults. Many people figure it out on their own (or with the help of a partner; occasionally women or men remember a friend or older sibling teaching them how to masturbate) and some people don’t figure it out or have someone teach them. All you need to do is learn.
One way to learn is with an excellent book called Becoming Orgasmic written by Drs. Julia Heiman and Joseph LoPiccolo.
It’s sort of a how-to book for women who don’t have orgasms (as well as their partner, if they have one) and it’s a highly effective way to learn how to have orgasms. In fact, the book has even been tested in comparison with sex therapy and has found to be just as effective for women learning to experience their first orgasm.
The book offers a series of exercises that helps you learn to give your body pleasure, without demanding that your body respond in any particular way.
Having an orgasm can be like trying to hold a bar of wet soap – the more you try to hold onto it, the more it slips away. Backing off and letting it happen without feeling like you SHOULD or you HAVE to is the best way to let go of that.
Sex therapy is another resource some women use as they learn to experience orgasm. Others attend sex-positive workshops focused on female sexual pleasure or orgasm; these are more often found in larger cities that have female-friendly sex boutiques. Another option is to try incorporating a vibrator into your masturbation or sex play, as vibrators often make it easier (and quicker) to experience orgasm; check out books like Moregasm, Because It Feels Good, or The Sex & Pleasure Book for tips on shopping for sex toys, keeping them clean, and using them alone or with a partner.
Reviewed and updated, with additional resources and information, on April 30, 2017.