Exactly how “National Orgasm Day” came to be remains a mystery, but I am happy for the occasion to unpack the dialogue about one of the most coveted human experiences on the planet. Like many sexual discussions which rarely or never happen in the midst of our most intimate relationships, yet proliferate the airwaves and video content of adult entertainment, most people have an extremely limited language to work with when it comes to orgasm. This collective silence about the mystery of orgasm and how it affects our well being and our relationships impacts a stunning percentage of the population. Many studies, including a 2001 global study (30 countries) of sexual behavior with over 27,000 participants reveals that orgasmic dysfunction is more the norm than the exception. One third of all women have never experienced orgasm and the second third experience orgasm only rarely. 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.
The word orgasm is derived from the Greek word orga which means explosion. This makes sense because the experience of orgasm often feels like a burst of pleasure, bliss, emotional and physical release. In fact, the moment of orgasm creates such a complete letting go, that the brain center that controls anxiety and fear is switched off. Orgasms are as unique as each individual who experiences them. The wide variety of intensity, location and stimulus that contribute to and create orgasm plays a big part of the mystery that many women experience in identifying what an 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 of us are not even sure how to identify our own.
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.
The first step on this journey is taking the conversation about sensation, pleasure and orgasm out of the adult entertainment industry and into the privacy of our bedrooms. This may seem like stating the obvious, but actually intimate sexual conversations are harder than you would think to come by. Your sense of safety in yourself and in your relationship is key to expressing your desires and living in the vulnerable place that opens to sexuality. This is a tall order given the combined impact of the lack of sexual knowledge we’re raised with, our shared cultural anxiety, and how little scientific knowledge is available about sexual response.
Orgasm is the human expression of life force and whether you are among the lucky few who know it as the height of intimate relationships or are among the many who are looking for the gate to knowing it better, it is a currency that affects us all. This week we will explore the variety of experiences and techniques available for accessing your own pleasure responses. We ask you to share the strategies you have used to open a conversation with yourself and your partner that leads you to pleasure. We will be sure to share any great answers with everyone.
Tomorrow, The Mysterious O: Desire
Wendy Strgar, the owner and founder of Good Clean Love, manufacturer of all natural love and intimacy products. She is a sex educator focusing on “Making Love Sustainable,” a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love and family. She has learned that physical intimacy is an important component of sustaining healthy loving relationships through her own marriage of over 25 years.