Help for Couples Who Can't Climax
Whether the issue is psychological or physical, here's how to get to the root of the problem so you can orgasm more often.
By Diana Rodriguez
Medically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH
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Sex is fun, feels good, and is a great way to be physically and emotionally close to your partner. But without an orgasm, it can be a less satisfying experience for both of you. While some women may have difficulty achieving an orgasm and may never have truly experienced one, men can have orgasm difficulties as well, especially if there are physical or emotional issues at play in the relationship.
The good news is that the right diagnosis and treatment can teach you how to orgasm and have a satisfying sexual relationship. Read on to learn how.
Why You May Not Be Able to Climax
Fear can keep both sexes from experiencing orgasm, says Isadora Alman, a psychotherapist and board certified sexologist in San Francisco. "Being afraid of letting go, afraid of going crazy — or just fear in general," can all hinder your enjoyment, says Alman.
Physiologically, there could be other reasons. "It may just be that you're not getting the right stimulation," says Alman. If either a man or a woman is used to achieving an orgasm with his or her own hand, someone else's touch and body part might seem strange, she explains.
Some other potential reasons that men and women may not be able to climax include:
- A problem in the relationship
- Boredom in the bedroom
- An emotional or physical trauma, like rape or abuse
- Health conditions that affect nerves or hormone levels
- Being shy or embarrassed about sex
- Lack of education about orgasms, sex, and what stimulation works best for you
- Side effects of certain medications, including some antidepressants
How to Diagnose the Problem
It's crucial to see a healthcare provider who can help you get to the root of the problem. But many doctors, and even certain therapists, don't have training in sexuality and sexual problems, says Alman. So if you're experiencing difficulty achieving an orgasm, it may be best for you to see a sex therapist.
To help identify the problem, a sex therapist will ask about your sexual history, says Alman. Be prepared for topics to include a frank discussion of your current partners, your masturbation practices, and the nature of your symptoms. A sex therapist will also ask about your expectations of sex and what you want to achieve in the bedroom. If your sex therapist determines that you're having a physical problem, they will recommend that you see a physician.
Solutions That Can Help
In addition to seeing a doctor if there is a medical problem to blame, or a sex therapist if the issue is psychological, Alman recommends that a woman learn how to orgasm by herself so she can understand exactly what kind of stimulation she needs.
"Once she knows physically that she needs X amount of stimulation, she should look at what's going on in her relationship. Is she comfortable asking for what she wants? First it's physiological, and then it's relational," says Alman. For men, the process is similar. Alman says she'll ask about a male patient’s masturbation processes, and what feels different when he's masturbating from when he's having intercourse with a partner.
Part of the solution is the same for men and women: When it comes to sex, it's key to communicate with your partner, says Alman. Whether you want to achieve multiple orgasms or just feel uninhibited in the bedroom, you've got to be open about your wants and needs. "There's just no way to get from here to there without talking about it," explains Alman. Talking about sex and intimacy will only bring you closer and help ignite the fireworks you’re looking for in the bedroom.
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