In an era of wall-to-wall sex positivity, what happens when you aren't living up to your supposed between the sheets potential? Jeanne Sutton asks an expert
You buy a magazine, there’s an immaculately dressed woman on the cover with a defined waist and poreless skin. You stream television and everyone’s fake hair looks loaded with minerals. You walk down the high street and Spring/Summer campaigns stare at you from windows, artfully sweaty models climbing a mountain or running about a desert. Your self-esteem might take a knocking. Why don’t I look like that?
This same pretend perfection permeates how sex is portrayed on screen. Women come screaming within seconds of grinding against a guttural man. Watching sex scenes in company can be awkward, but watching a woman orgasm when that feeling is a stranger to your body can be isolating too.
When you’re never coming, should all your hopes of a mind-blowing muscle melting orgasm get going? New York sex therapist Ian Kerner Ph.D. an author of the bestselling book She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman says no. “Although it can seem hopeless and unresolvable,” he says. “I’ve always seen progress from someone going from not having orgasm to having orgasms or coming much closer to having orgasms and feeling like it’s no longer an unrealistic goal.”
Passive acceptance among certain women around not orgasming stems from how male sexuality outpaces women’s. “When you look at how women discover their orgasmic capacity versus men, you find that most men do so in their very early teenage years, over 90 per cent of men experience ejaculations,” explains Kerner. “But when you look at women, it’s really spread across the timeline.” For some, an orgasm arrives with exploratory masturbation as a teen. Others might wait until their twenties, thirties, or forties for The Moment.
However, Kerner says, “to not foreclose.” Instead of giving up, work on your orgasmic potential, alone at first. “Get more in touch with both the exciters that push towards orgasm as well as the inhibitors and blocks that are preventing you from having orgasms,” Kerner advises. Vivienne Cass Ph.D.’s book, The Elusive Orgasm: A Woman’s Guide to Why She Can’t and How She Can Orgasm, has some great exercises you can follow over this journey. Or make like Emma Watson and sign up to subscription-based website OMGYES (omgyes.com) for a one-time payment of €29. The UN ambassador endorsed the site, which offers tutorials and tips on female pleasure, in a public interview with Gloria Steinem last year. ““It’s a pretty cool website and I wish it had been around longer,” the 26-year-old Beauty and the Beast actress said.
Meanwhile, Kerner says if you’re in a relationship, talk to your partner about what you’re going through. “It’s important to be honest,” he stresses. “About the sensations you’re experiencing or not experiencing in your body. It’s important to be able to communicate in a positive constructive way to your partner about all the aspects of sex that you do enjoy because sex is much more than just orgasms.”
Look beyond the usual. “I think so many women do not achieve orgasm during partnered sex because the focus is on intercourse and many intercourse positions don’t provide that persistent clitoral stimulation,” he points out. In fact, usual modes of penetrative sex – anal, missionary, doggie – can be defeated by simple female physiology in regards to coming. If the distance between your clitoris and vagina is more than 2.5 cm — say from the tip of your thumb to first knuckle – you probably need the aid of fingers or a vibrator to achieve orgasm. “Moving from an intercourse model to an outercourse model often makes the difference between not having orgasms and having them,” Kerner explains, encouraging way more foreplay and variety in bed.
So, there you got it, some self-care and maths and you’ll be on your way in no time.
This article first appeared in STELLAR’s May 2017 issue. Our July issue is on shelves now!
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