There’s no denying it. The world is a crazy place right now and we all have a lot on our mind. It’s no wonder our heightened anxieties about money, health, family and isolation may be impacting us in the bedroom as well as out.
Whether it be COVID-related or not, here are five reasons you may be unable to reach orgasm through sex with a partner, or solo.
1. The technique is not quite right
Inability to orgasm can sometimes be a result of the incorrect technique — for you. Every body is different, and so what works for your partner, or in your favourite pornography, may not work for you.
The easiest way to discover what does work is by indulging in some self-pleasure. Carve out some time, ensure your mind is as clear as it can be (don’t try this the day before a big work presentation!) and get in between the sheets.
Starting with some light tough all over the body, think about how you feel — when your fingers graze your nipples, are you ticklish or excited? When you touch your thighs, how does it feel inside? Being attuned to what brings you pleasure will help you identify where to focus when you’re ready to climax.
Remember, it’s not a race. Take your time and really ease yourself into it. Read some erotica, watch a sexy movie, or look at yourself in the mirror to assist, too. And remember, stimulation can come from anywhere. You may be unable to climax genitally but can get off through nipple play.
2. You’re carrying a mental load
With so many of us experiencing increased anxiety due to COVID-19, it’s no wonder some of us may be having more trouble reaching climax than usual. When you’re anxious — be it about coronavirus, the list of things you need to do, whether your child is getting good grades or even because you’re shy — it’s hard to focus on any one thing.
During sex or masturbation, this means that you can be in the mood for pleasure, though your mind has more tendency to wonder and think about your mental to-do list, otherwise known as the mental load.
If you’re experiencing heightened anxiety (and right now, aren’t we all?) book an appointment with a telehealth counsellor, write down your to-do list or ask for help from a partner or friend.
3. You’re over-thinking it
There are many ways we can overthink our orgasms, some a little more serious than others. Expecting it to happen as it does in the movies (immediately, without foreplay) is unrealistic and it’s unlikely you could ever reach pleasure this way.
Viewing an orgasm as an end-goal also pushes the chances of achieving one well away, as you can become frustrated that it’s not coming as quickly as you would like it to, which can then lead to desensitisation, which continues the vicious cycle.
Then, there are cultural or religious beliefs that can make you feel you’re not worthy of sexual pleasure, particularly in instances that don’t jive with your beliefs, such as during sex before marriage for some people. Read more about that here, in our article about the Madonna-Whore complex.
4. You’re under the influence
Drugs impact our bodies in many ways, and while you may feel an increase in your libido after a few champagnes, your ability to climax can be dampened by a splash of booze.
Alcohol, SSRIs such as antidepressants or antianxiety medication, and recreational drugs such as marijuana can all inhibit the pleasure receptors and desensitise your capabilities to reach orgasm.
5. There’s a physiological reason
Of course, there are physiological reasons you may not be able to orgasm and often these are identified last after the above are ruled out.
The shape of your body can impact capabilities for penetrative orgasms, while medical conditions such as endometriosis can make sex painful for many. Other conditions such as diabetes or heart disease can also cause desensitisation in the extremities, again making it hard to come — even where it was once easy.
Finally, as we get older, it’s often harder to climax through penetration due to dryness, so focusing more on clitoral stimulation could help.
No matter what your beliefs, age or experience, sex should be fun and pleasurable. If you’re worried about your capability to orgasm, book an appointment with your GP to have a frank conversation about your concerns. They can help you get back on the path to pleasure directly, or through referral to a specialist, such as a sexologist.
BARE Sexology provides the hottest tips for great sex and positive relationships. Get your pleasure at @baresexology.
May is International Masturbation Month, and to celebrate, TheLatch— is giving away 10 Womanizer Libertys to help you find new pleasure. Click here to enter the competition.
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