Q: 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?
A: Although nearly all women have the capacity to experience orgasm, it takes many women time to learn. Indeed, 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 taught them how to masturbate. 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 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 experience orgasm. 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. Sex therapy is another resource some women use as they learn more about their sexual response and what may be keeping them from reaching 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 pleasure or 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.