The Elusive Orgasm

Orgasm is elusive for millions of women. Many studies, including a 2001 global study of 27,000 participants from 30 countries on sexual behavior revealed that orgasmic dysfunction is the norm rather than the exception.  One third of all women have never experienced an orgasm and the second third rarely experience orgasm. Orgasmic dysfunction is not just a woman’s story; equal numbers of men suffer from a range of issues that hinder their ability to experience orgasm.

Orgasm is a natural biological response that is built into our bodies, yet often gets buried with time and cultural conditioning. The American rate of anorgasmic women (women who have difficulty achieving orgasm)  is three times higher than anorgasmic women in Europe; a finding that is both mysterious and revealing when you consider the very different cultural view and education that sex is given in different countries. For many women the lack of education about sexual functioning and the rampant misinformation and negative cultural connotations of sexuality blocked normal sexual curiosity and exploration.

Orgasms are as unique as each individual who experiences them. The wide variety of intensity, location and stimulus that contribute to and creates orgasm plays a big part in the mystery that many women experience in identifying what their own orgasm feels like. Interestingly, studies have found that the confusion about experiencing orgasm goes both ways–some women claim having an orgasm and show no bodily response, while other women who do have classic response like vaginal contractions and heart racing believe that nothing has happened. The modern mythology and (dare I say it; pornography) of orgasm looms so large that many women are not even sure how to identify their own.

Of all the coveted human experiences, what makes orgasm so elusive is that it cannot be forced.  Even many methods of cajoling seem to backfire.   Orgasm is not under our conscious control, which actually is the quality that may make it difficult for so many people to find.  Betty Dodson, the famous sex therapist that used to hold masturbation sessions for women once said that “orgasm is where the body takes over.” This makes sense because the experience of orgasm often feels like a burst of pleasure, bliss, and emotional and physical release. In fact, the moment of orgasm creates such a complete release that the brain center that controls anxiety and fear is switched off.
Giving yourself over to orgasm is a leap. Some people describe it as the same feeling you get when you slide down the top of a large roller coaster hill. Taking the dive requires the ability to be completely in the present moment and to feel entirely safe. It isn’t that surprising then, that statistically, your chances of having an orgasm are much better on your own than with a partner.

Letting go of your judgments about sexuality, and digging deep into the fears and insecurities that most of us carry about our sexual history, preferences and behaviors is a challenge that many relationships face.  Many people spend their lives married to people with whom they can’t even say the word “masturbate,” let alone imagine sharing the act. Not being able to disclose or trust our sexuality holds our orgasm hostage.
Finding a language to explore this exciting experience of letting go and having the courage to change your thinking and habits to discover this elusive place is the subject of Vivienne Cass’s “The Elusive Orgasm.” In a therapeutic workbook style, which guides the student to rethink her relationship to her own sexuality and make the changes to experience it, this book is a great introduction to uncovering the sexual pleasure that is our birthright.

The good news is that the more orgasms you have, the more orgasms you’re likely to have in the future.  Learning about your own sexual response and developing your orgasmic potential will bring both immediate gratification and long-term satisfaction. As with any skill based human motor function, all bodies come equipped with the tools for orgasm, yet without the proper education and opportunity to practice, many people never successfully achieve the synergy of mind, body and spirit to release this very unique and revelatory experience.  It is a quest worthy or our time and attention.

For more, read:
Fear of Orgasm?

Growing an Organic Orgasm
Help, I Can’t Get the Big O!

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Karen Martinez
Karen Martinez3 years ago

Interesting article. Thanks

Maxine Sheehan
Maxine Sheehan3 years ago

i have stopped having orgasms, as i have diabetes i'm asuming that is the problem. Although i have had diabetes for 25 yrs, & it is only in the last two years i haven't been able to. I managed once with a vibrator, - since then nothing - i can feel it building buit then it goes away. Am starting to get desperate. I have a very high sex drive but no orgasms - wish there was a magic pill. I've evn used various lotions etc for clitoral sensitivity - still not happening

Wizard D.
Wizard D.4 years ago

The reason that so many women in America have problems with orgasms is that American sex and sexuality is as dysfunctional as George Bush trying to find his lost puppy on what George calls "The Google".

Everything that has to do wth SEX in America is either taboo or it is labeled a criminal (SEX) offense or some form of sexual harassment.

It is completely and utterly opressive. When American can embrace healthy sexual attitudes and pass these along to their children then perhaps the orgasmic experiences will increase.

Hypocricy everywhere. Most Americans don't admit watching pornography (when their image is at stake) and yet the Porn Industry is larger the rest on this planet. This means that a handful of people are spending more than 15 BILLION dollars a year.

Police lock up lonely men with prostitute sting operatinos. PRUDES! These are consenting ADULTS that are engaging in this activity. The only place more restrictive than the USA is ... No where. We're it.

Taboo's / Illegality leads to frustrations and so the USA experiences more SEX crimes than anyone else; because almost everything is illegal.

The problem with the USA is that pin headed, power hungry, morons get elected and create opressive laws. They feel that it is their duty to legislate morality.

When America stops being prudish and makes legal many of the things that are now illegal, America's sexualtiy might improve and women may have more orgasms.
People don't know how to act sexually i

Shirley N.
Shirley N.4 years ago

Foreplay before intercourse brings on an orgasm if you have trouble having one. And it is more fun!

Jane R.
Jane R.4 years ago

I've never had a problem attaining an orgasm. It's as intense today as it was when I was younger. I don't have one every time I have sex though. Sometimes you're just too tired or too caught up in what went on during the day to just let go.
How to describe the feeling? To me it's like a sneeze. It grows to the release point. Wonderful!!

Sara R.
Sara R.4 years ago

Ah, men please read this: Some women have a hard time achieving orgasm, and it is NOTHING to do with your skill level at all! The men that I have been with always seem to think it's "their fault", and that they are doing something wrong. This is NOT the case. For many women, it is just difficult!

Desire Yourlips
Desire Yourlips4 years ago

I started to masturbate and now I have AMAZING ORGASMS every time I have sex. Ladies, get to know your body, it will take your imagination and make it come alive.

Carole N.
Carole Nixon4 years ago

i enjoy sex with my partner whether i orgasm or not. the pleasure comes from the touch and feel of skin against skin, and the need just to be close to each other

Ernie Miller
william Miller4 years ago

Thanks Interesting.

Lika S.
Lika S.4 years ago

I think we need to start celebrating women's sexuality. Way too often, it's thought of as our "no-no spot" and that mentality can always ward off the deepest pleasure sex can give us. I also encourage women to explore themselves, and don't be shy to teach the men what really matters. Why should women fake it all their lives when they can get great fulfillment and satisfaction instead? The men may, er, probably appreciate the fact that the women really are enjoying themselves as much as they are... Trust me, it's worth pursuing the orgasm, once you have one, you'll want more for sure.