By nature we (and by 'we' I mean women) are a complicated species. And this is a wonderful thing, it really is. It means that our thoughts and feelings are beautiful, and that we put our heart and soul into everything we got, otherwise it plays on us constantly. But our minds can also play tricks on us.
We think about everything. Or, more accurately, we overthink everything. I can't be alone in this one. And this is especially true when it comes to love and relationships. We agonise for hours over what a text message from a man might mean, whereas the poor bloke on the other end of the phone probably means exactly what he said.
We're in our heads way too much. And this can cause problems. It results in overthinking and dwelling, and it can impact far more than our mental health.
Ok, science glasses on everyone. Studies have shown that there are a whole number of different factors that can affect a woman's ability to orgasm: medication such as SSRI antidepressants is one of the main ones - and one that I have had personal experience with. But this study in particular discovered a whole host of different things ranging from depression and anxiety to feelings of rejection, our cognitive thoughts and when emotional intelligence is affected.
*Science glasses off*
Phew. Women get even more complex. Wow. If blood and cramps of a similar intensity to a heart attack weren't enough, our own brains can actually hinder our ability to reach a pleasurable orgasm.
If you've ever been through this, then I feel your pain, girl. Because I know exactly what you're going through. I've been in situations where I am constantly telling myself "come on! Come already! Why aren't you doing it!" And I can be on the edge for ages - to the point where it becomes almost unbearable with sensitivity - and I still can't topple over the edge. Frustrating as hell, and a little bit upsetting too.
And I'm not here to tell you to simply stop thinking during sex (penetrative or oral) or when masturbating. It isn't as easy as that. And if it were, there would be orgasms all round for everyone. But I'm here to tell you that can help yourself. And it's all about getting out of your head.
Let's give it a try, shall we? Here are a few things that have helped me personally, and that I have found may help by doing a little research online. Good old Google; perfect for any dilemma.
It may sound like a kooky new trend that just won't go away - like kale, cross fit, or coconut water - but I'm really grateful that mindfulness has taken off. I've been going through a lot of personal stuff this past year, and a consequence of that is severe dwelling on the past and the future. Mindfulness helps to bring you back to the here and now by focusing how your body feels and any sensations that are going on.
Next time you're in that situation - whether you're with a partner or going at it alone - stop thinking about what you have planned for the rest of the day, or worrying about something in the past (that has been and gone) or that is in the future (hasn't happened yet). Instead, focus on the sensations that your body is experiencing. Really feel the pleasure that is going through your body. Enjoy it. Not only will it help you reach orgasm, but it will also feel a hell of a lot better along the way.
Take the pressure off
For some spectacular reason that I don't think I'll ever be able to understand, we often feel guilty for not reaching orgasm. This is the same for both men and women. What is up with that?!
Newsflash for you - we don't owe our partner an orgasm. I'll say it again for the people in the back. You don't owe your partner an orgasm.
Sex doesn't always have to end in an orgasm; over the years we have been conditioned to think that sex is all about penis in, penis out, girl comes, boy comes, done. And that is SO not all it is about.
If you feel guilty for not reaching orgasm once, then chances are that you are going to beat yourself up about it over and over again. So every time you're in that situation, you will be thinking "oh my god, what if I don't come this time? I HAVE to come." And guess what, honey? You're probably not going to come.
So just take the pressure off yourself! That's an order. Lay back and enjoy the ride. If you come, fantastic, and if you don't, then it doesn't matter. Just enjoy the sensations along the way.
Talk to your partner
If you've read my other sex-focused blog posts, then you'll know that I am a HUGE fan of communication. It's how you take sex from an every day task to something mind-blowing and life-affirming.
If you're struggling to reach orgasm, then just open up about it to your significant other. Tell them that you're having trouble, and if they care about you, then they won't hold it against you and will stand by your side to help you get through it.
I don't claim to be an expert; all of the above comes from research and personal experience. For one, if you think there are bigger issues with your cognitive processes, then it might be time to speak to a therapist or counsellor - and there is absolutely no shame in doing so - or it might be that you are taking medications that need changing.
The point of this post is to tell you that you don't have to accept a life without orgasms. And the first thing to try is to get out of your head and just enjoy what you're feeling. Learning how to stop thinking is a tricky thing to grasp; thinking is in our very nature and our brains love to run around from thought to thought. But it can be done. Again, I'm no expert, but if you want to talk about any of this, my email is on the Contact page, so drop me a line.
By Megan Crehan