It is eight o’clock in the evening and an almost total darkness reigns in the Westmount duplex where Concordia student Allie Davidson* lives. The only light source in her room comes from the burning candles she’s lit to create a pleasant ambiance. She’s also prepared a plate of sushi and added extra ginger because Cosmo said it would improve stimulation and sexual arousal. As for dessert, she’s made chocolate fondue with fresh strawberries because, again, Cosmo said it would increase sexual desire. So everything is ready, everything is tip-top and all Davidson has to do now is wait for her man and finally get that orgasm she has been wanting for so long.
But Davidson has never had an orgasm before and neither will she this time.
“I think about it everyday. It really makes me upset. I’ve been with my boyfriend for over three years now and I don’t know where the problem is, but I’m just not able to achieve orgasm,” she said. “Is there something wrong with me?”
Dr. Laurie Betito, a psychologist with a specialty in sex therapy and the host of Passion on CJAD, said that 70 per cent of women do not orgasm with intercourse alone and that it is perfectly normal.
“The majority of women need some clitoral stimulation in order to reach orgasm,” said Betito. “It really doesn’t matter how long their partners are pumping away at them. Some women will never have an orgasm that way.”
But why is it that such a high percentage of women are unable to experience an orgasm, while most men have no problem reaching their peak?
According to Betito, a woman’s orgasm is much more in her head. So if a woman feels stressed, angry or bothered by something, this will interfere with her ability to be completely relaxed, making it near impossible for her to reach orgasm.
“It’s really not about techniques,” said Betito. “The guy can be the best lover in the world, but if the woman is not relaxed and doesn’t feel comfortable in that situation, she won’t get it. It’s easier for men to put things aside, therefore easier to experience orgasm.”
Being unable to achieve orgasm is certainly something that young women are distressed about. Some have even dropped into moods of despair, which has led them to fake their sexual climax. One of the orgasm fakers is Katie Jones*, a Concordia psychology student who fears that her partner will leave her if he finds out that she is unable to orgasm during intercourse.
“I started faking it when I overheard a phone conversation my boyfriend was having with one of his buddies. He was saying how our sex life is just not there and how it made him feel self-conscious that he couldn’t make me orgasm,’’ she said. “And now that I fake it once in a while I can tell that it makes him happy. But if he were to find out, he would probably dump me.”
Jones, however, is not the only one pretending to experience orgasm. Betito said women do it because they do not want to upset their partner as they know they are judging their performance based on whether the woman reaches her peak or not. But just because many women fake it, does not necessarily mean that they should.
“I don’t find that healthy at all,” says Betito. “It stops you from actually talking about the problem and about what you really need and what you really want as a woman.”
Reaching that climax solely as a result of a penis penetrating your vagina might be difficult, but do not lose hope just yet. Betito has suggested that there are many other ways to help women attain that feeling of pleasure and excitement.
“First of all, pressure must be applied on the clitoris somehow,” said Betito. “So either women are massaging their clitoris at the same time or their partner is doing it with their hands. Another way to do this is using a vibrator at the same time as they are having intercourse.”
Jennifer Brown*, an art history student, agreed with Betito that stimulating the clitoris while having sex will allow you to finally climax. But she also said that having your partner’s hands doing magic to your vagina is incomparably better than if you were to use your own hands.
“Me and my boyfriend we have discovered the best sex position that works for both us. It’s called the spoon,” she said. “So basically you lie on your side and your back is pressed against your partner’s chest. Then, your partner not only penetrates you from behind but he massages your clitoris simultaneously. If you follow my advice, there is no way you won’t have an orgasm.”
So relax, buy a Kama Sutra book and take a trip to the sex shop, because your next night might just be the best night of your life.
*Names were changed due to the personal nature of the article and to respect confidentiality.
Female Orgasmic Disorder (FOD)
Reasons cited by DiscoveryHealth.com for being unable to climax:
- Emotional trauma or abuse: Women with a history of abuse are more likely to have emotional and physical issues, which can hurt their sex lives.
- Use of some medication: Drugs that reduce blood pressure, antidepressants such as Prozac and Zoloft, and anti-anxiety drugs can result in problems achieving an orgasm.
- Sex technique and stimulation: Sexual technique is key. Making love is something that we learn through practice. Cultural, religious and personal limitations can make women uncomfortable in discussing and exploring sexual techniques and therefore limit their chances of reaching their sexual peak.
- Pelvic floor prolapse: This condition is caused when the muscles supporting the internal pelvic organs loosen. It can result from childbirth, aging, surgery and spinal cord injury. Women suffering from prolapse often feel an urge to urinate and feel pressure in the vagina or rectum.