The big 'O' no: Six reasons you might be struggling to orgasm

Kristine Tarbert
Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

If you’re struggling to reach that big ‘O’ moment while getting busy between the sheets, you’re not the only one.

In fact, as many as one in three women have trouble reaching orgasm when having sex, and it turns out there may be a reason why that you hadn’t even thought of.

Some women, regardless of their age, can find it difficult to orgasm for a variety of reasons, according to Womanizer sex and relationship therapist Pamela Supple.

One in three women have difficulty reaching orgasm during sex. Photo: Getty

“I see women of varying ages from their 20s to their 50s and 60s that find it difficult to orgasm,” Pamela tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

“Having said that some women can reach orgasm quite quickly. Everyone is so very different when it comes to their orgasms.”

If you are someone who struggles to get to the big ‘O’ during sex, and are missing out on all of the benefits that comes with having an orgasm, Pamela has revealed six reasons why this might be happening.

1. Lack of sex education and anatomical knowledge

When we know how a particular organ in our body functions and the reasons why, we gain insights as to how things are supposed to work, Pamela explains.

“Learning assists with the understanding that everyone is different, when it comes to their individual orgasms and how they would like this to be for them,” she tells us.

“It helps with recognising the sensations associated with orgasm arousal and how this may feel – again not everyone is the same here, but knowledge and education about this helps.”

Learning about the way the body works can make having an orgasm easier. Photo: Getty

2. Shyness

Discussions around sex and having orgasms is still often considered a taboo subject, and if that was the feeling you got when having the birds and bees talk with your parents, or learning about sex in school then chances are it has rubbed off on you.

“If parental guidance and education was limited, they didn’t know what to do themselves,” Pamela explains. “Some women have never looked at their own vulvas and clitoris. Or ever spoken up and asked about foreplay.”

Pamela also claims sex education at school was very limited or not even spoken about regarding this topic. Sexual pleasure and how to experience this is a topic that isn’t included in the curriculum.

3. Health reasons

Pamela says a more serious reason some women may have difficulties with orgasms and pleasure during sex is if they develop Lichen Sclerosis. This appears as white patches of skin that can become scarred.

“Some girls who haven’t started menstruating and some menopausal women may develop this,” Pamela says. “Causes can be genetics, immune disorders, trauma or infection and can lead to scarring in the vagina and labia and become very sore to touch.”

Your health and wellbeing can affect whether you can have an orgasm. Photo: Getty

Pamela says treatment is usually corticosteroid creams.  If you are still able to have intercourse and orgasms the use of natural-based lubes is highly recommended, no chemical-based lubes.

“Talking with a sex therapist about this will definitely help you manage your sex life,” Pamela adds.

Here are a few popular natural-based lube products we’ve picked out from adult e-store Lovehoney (N.B. these products have not been endorsed by Pamela Supple herself).

Sliquid Organics Natural Gel Lubricant 125ml, $19.95 from Lovehoney

System JO Organic NaturaLove Water-based Lubricant 120ml, $23.95 from Lovehoney

4. Certain medications

Some medications that might help in some areas can actually impede orgasms – like some antidepressants, heart or diabetes medications, some mental health medications, and some hair loss treatments.

“Alcohol and other drugs, lack of exercise, smoking, anxiety, stress, can also impact your ability to orgasm,” Pamela says. “Having said this it is never a good idea to stop taking doctor-prescribed medications for one’s health.”

There are other ways of learning to assist with orgasms if medication is a concern. Pamela suggests incorporating mindfulness techniques to assist with stress and anxiety, and allowing yourself to slow down and take extra time for foreplay and arousal is important.

Having sex in the wrong situation or for the wrong reasons can impact orgasms. Photo: Getty Images

5. Cultural reasons

“In some cultures, sex is not spoken about at all and can be seen as a man’s responsibility to know how and what a woman likes with little or no education themselves,” Pamela says.

“Sex, let alone pleasure, for many cultures is not permitted, or is primarily used for reproduction.”

6. Wrong situation

Some sexual encounters people experience may not be conducive for reaching orgasms, Pamela says.

“For example, hookups where the other person is only interested in their own orgasm and not the person they are with,” she explains.

“If you would like an orgasm when hooking up then speak up, keep expectations to a minimum and don’t be too drunk or out of it.

“If you ever at all experience any coercion, bullying, belittling, or abuse of any kind look for the nearest exit door. Make sure consent is mutual and you feel safe. If you are not sure, walk away.”

For sexual assault and family and domestic violence support, you can call 1800respect on 1800 737 732.

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