Let’s be honest- climaxing can be difficult at times. If you are having trouble reaching your peak pleasure you are not alone. In fact, studies show that only 25 percent of women actually orgasm through sex alone. The majority of women require additional stimulation, like toys, fingers, or tongue, and some have never had an orgasm at all. 

While the female orgasm is still considered to be somewhat of a mystery, researchers have discovered a few reasons why some women aren’t climaxing. If you are having a hard time reaching orgasm either alone or with a partner, here are seven possible reasons why:

Reason #1: Rushing through the warm-up

This situation is pretty common, your partner is ready for the main event and you’re still getting warmed up. You don’t want to ruin the moment by being perceived as high-maintenance or selfish. Plus, many women feel self-conscious about lying there and receiving pleasure. But foreplay is a very important step that shouldn’t be skipped.

Sexologist Yvonne K. Fullbright explains, “Most women need about 20 minutes of arousal time to reach ‘orgasmic platform,’ when the clitoris is most sensitive and the body is primed for stimulation.”

Solution: Sex isn’t something that should be rushed, take your time and allow your mind to focus on the sensations. Let your partner know if you need longer. Sex is for the pleasure of both partners, 20 minutes may seem like a long time, but a good partner won’t mind and it will be worth every minute.

Reason #2: Tuning out

As many probably know, it’s easy to get distracted during sex. Everything from thinking about how your meeting at work went to if your stomach is jiggling, can take you right out of the moment. Losing focus is common, but once it happens reaching orgasm can seem almost impossible.

Georgia sexologist Gloria G Brame, Ph.D. states, “Your brain is a vital part of the sexual experience, registering sensations and releasing feel-good chemicals to the body.” Adding, “any mental distractions can spark conflicting, nonsexual impulses in the brain and lessen your pleasure.”

Solution: One way to ‘distract yourself from your distractions’ so to speak, is by rating the level of pleasure you’re feeling on a scale of 1-10. Guiding your focus back to your body and how the stimulation feels. Also, Fullbright suggests a concept called circular breathing, this is where you sync up your inhalations with your partner’s, putting the focus back on your body and each other.

Reason #3: Not enough water

For our tissue to works its magic it needs a consistent source of fluid to maintain lubrication and help things glide smoothly. Our bodies are made up of mostly fluid and if we are dehydrated it can make sex uncomfortable and reaching orgasm almost impossible.

Solution: Hydrate! Especially after drinking since alcohol dries out our bodies. Also, using lube during intercourse can help aid any discomfort.

Reason #4: Afraid to lose control

Having a healthy amount of control in our lives helps us feel safe and avoid some risky situations. But relying too heavily on control as a self-protecting defense mechanism can generalize into other areas of your life, like sex, and inhibit your ability to freely, sexually express yourself. It can be displayed in an overall fear of losing control or in more specific fears, like making noise or being afraid you’ll urinate if you let go.

Solution: Express yourself in ways that allow you to open up and use your creativity, such as dancing or writing. Self-arousal can also help to open you to those sensations. This can also be a sign of a deeper psychological concern, talking to a counselor or therapist may also be beneficial.

Reason #5: Your oxytocin levels are too low

Oxytocin is your “love” or “feel-good” hormone and is vital in producing orgasm and achieving climax. If you’re anxious or feel down and don’t want to participate in your normal activities, your oxytocin levels are likely to be low.

Solution: Engaging in intimacy, such as holding, kissing, and looking into your partners eyes have been proven to increase oxytocin. Also, if you have a furry friend, cuddling up to them has also been shown to boost your levels. Talking with your doctor about available supplements is also a good option.

Reason #6: You haven’t masturbated enough

Being able to achieve climax requires you to know your body and how to work it. Sexologist Betty Dodson, Ph.D. explains, “the most important aspect for any woman wanting to become more orgasmic is to explore her own body and discover what she likes, what feels good, and how to have orgasms alone before engaging in sex with a partner.”

Solution: Give yourself some needed alone time. Masturbation is nothing to be ashamed of; it’s the only way for you to be able to learn your body. Be patient and experiment to find what works for you. This is a great way to become more comfortable with the sensations and finally reach orgasm.

Reason #7: Your medication could be interfering

There are many medications that can cause sex to become uncomfortable or undesirable. Dr. Van Kirk suggests, “Typically, blood pressure medications, birth control pills, and antidepressants are the main culprits.” He adds, “If a side effect of your drugs is a spike in your prolactin levels- a protein that reduces libido, this could be part of the problem”. Antihistamines can also reduce your ability to self lubricate and make sex uncomfortable.

Solution: Talk with your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms. Also, using lube before and during intercourse can help prevent pain and discomfort.

Reaching climax is something that can’t be rushed, pressured, or forced. If you’re having a hard time, change up your routine and practice these solutions.

Your orgasm awaits…

About the author:

Danielle James is a recent psychology graduate from the University of Central Florida. She has a passion for helping individuals identify and work through emotional and mental health concerns to provide a higher quality of life. Her goals include achieving her Psy.D in Clinical Psychology that allows for a deeper understanding of future clients and a more interactive perspective.