Q: I have never been able to orgasm with my partner. My partner says he will do anything to help me, but it seems to make me even more tense. I know he is bummed out every time we make love because he feels like he failed me. I have even faked it a few times and then felt bad about that, like I was lying. What is wrong with me? What can I do?
A: Almost 75 percent of the sexuality questions that are sent to me on my blog are about orgasm. Everyone wants to have an orgasm and you are not in the minority of those who cannot experience this most magical and mysterious aspects of what it is to be human and sexual. Orgasm is a sister or brother to the experience of arousal which happens first in our brains. Self consciousness and anxiety about our ability to perform and/or achieve orgasm only serve to impede.
Not being able to connect in sexuality can be challenging for relationships, but not nearly as much as being disconnected and dishonest about our feelings and our own sexual issues. Just as in other areas of the relationship, partners are responsible to each other, but cannot be responsible for each others experience. Being honest and open with each other about the kinds of touch that feels good is a deeply vulnerable act which will has the capacity to inspire more of the same.
Begin working with your partner and give up the drive for orgasm. Instead focus on opening your lives and sexual activity to the pursuit and curiosity of arousal. Use the power of scent to wake up the limbic center of your brain which controls memory, emotion and sexuality. Experiment with different scents and different physical activities. Rediscover the art of flirting and pay attention to your physical reactions to this kind of playfulness. Orgasm is an opening in life, perhaps the most vulnerable, unpredictable and uncontrollable openings we experience in life. It is the place where thought is replaced with our own body knowing. Showing respect and admiration for this mystery is how to invite it to surprise you.
Wendy Strgar is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love and family. She helps couples tackle the questions and concerns of intimacy and relationships, providing honest answers and innovative advice. Wendy lives in Eugene, Oregon with her husband, a psychiatrist, and their four children ages 11-20.