The female orgasm can be elusive. It can be derailed by a stray worry, a voice in a distant room, a childhood memory coming out of nowhere, and, most commonly, from feeling pressure to have an orgasm. There are times when it can feel as elusive as a unicorn. And striving for an orgasm leads to disappointment, not orgasms. Orgasms are learned. In other words, women who have never had an orgasm are not shortchanged by nature, or unemotional, or unfeminine.
They are pre-orgasmic. They have not yet learned how to have an orgasm. (Before I go any further, let me recommend an excellent book for pre-orgasmic women: For Yourself, by Lonnie Barbach.) Apart from never having had an orgasm, a whole range of orgasm difficulties can occur. Some women no longer have them, although they once did. Others can have them with one partner but not another, or can have them masturbating but not with a partner.
Some women have an aversion to the whole idea of sex. Some just don’t seem to become aroused. Some reach very high levels of arousal but never quite reach anorgasm. For all of these difficulties and several more besides, there is a correspondingly complex range of causes. Some women never learned how to have an orgasm because they never learned how to masturbate.
Some women don’t get the right kind of stimulation from their partners. Some women have anxiety that blocks orgasms. There has always been a surfeit of feminine anxiety about sex (sex is dirty, penis fears, fear of pregnancy, and so on). Since the pill, and the women’s movement there’s a new performance anxiety I’ve just mentioned; a “modern woman’s duty” to have multiple and simultaneous orgasms and to give her partner pleasure at the same time. Depression, anxiety, guilt about pleasure, pain, fatigue, boredom, anger, dislike of your partner, and fear of being vulnerable all inhibit female orgasms.
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