If your climaxes seem like a lot of work for not much payoff, the reasons could be physical or psychological, could be technique, or could be you just need a little help from some “friends.” Don’t give up — help is on the way. “The ability to achieve a healthy, strong, satisfying orgasm is a gift. When we have low libido, inability to orgasm, or our quality of orgasm is not as strong as it used to be, can anything be done? Plenty!” says Evelyn Hecht, director of EMH Physical Therapy in New York City.
Get Your Head in the Game. Focus, Focus, Focus!
You need to be fully present, says Ellen Barnard, sex educator, sex counselor, and spokesperson for the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. Turn off your cell and put it where you can’t see it. Shut down the email. Send the kids to Grandma’s or at least lock the door. When you are distracted with life, you are essentially on the bleachers during sex when you should be focused on the playing field. “Focus on how your body feels, the awareness of pleasure, following the sensation with your attention. When you find your mind wandering to to-do lists, just bring it right back,” says Barnard.
A study published in the September 2017 issue of the Journal of Sexual Research found that orgasm ability increased 30 percent with either a four-session or an eight-session mindfulness program for women. (1)
Undiscovered Sexual Pleasure Zones: Explore Beyond the Usual Hot Spots
Remember that you are more than just genitals; the body is filled with many nerve endings. Tapping into your undiscovered sexual pleasure zones (everyone is different) can intensify the experience and orgasmic potential. One great way to do that is by body mapping, says Michael Krychman, MD, executive director of the Southern California Center for Sexual Health in Newport Beach, California. Each partner draws an outline of the front and back of their body, then they draw on areas where they want to be touched, are up for something new, and want to avoid. You could use color codes: Green means full speed ahead, red means stay away, and yellow means proceed with caution, instructions to follow. Then each explains to the other what they mean. “This enhances sexual communication and ups the odds that you’ll get the kind of stimulation you want. If you update the map from time to time, you’ll avoid getting stuck in a rut and make room for body, appetite, and life changes,” explains Dr. Krychman, who is also the coauthor of The Sexual Spark.
Vaginal Versus Clitoral Orgasms: Not Either-Or
And for the record, let’s put to rest the myth that all women can come from vaginal stimulation alone. A study published in the February 17, 2018, issue of the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy reports that “while 18.4 percent of women reported that intercourse alone was sufficient for orgasm, 36.6 percent reported clitoral stimulation was necessary for orgasm during intercourse, and an additional 36 percent indicated that, while clitoral stimulation was not needed, their orgasms feel better if their clitoris is stimulated during intercourse.”
Get a Medical Checkup with Your Physician
Certain diseases (diabetes) and medications (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, anticonvulsants) can affect the ability to reach orgasm. Barnard says that the issues for which you would want to get medical advice are trouble getting aroused, difficulty getting an erection or maintaining one, and a general lack of sensation during arousal or orgasm.
How Healthy Is Your Pelvic Floor?
Did you know that there are pelvic therapy specialists out there? You can get assessed by these specialists if you suspect that physical therapy might be necessary. “To have a really good orgasm, your pelvic floor muscles need to be relaxed during the day, not in a high tense state, always on guard. Most people don’t realize they are holding tension in their pelvic floor, like a tight fist, which can lead to painful sexual intercourse with women, difficulty in achieving and maintaining erection in men, and for both, the ability to orgasm,” says Hecht.
Pelvic Muscles and What’s Required for Good Orgasmic Contractions
In addition to more obvious workouts, like Pilates or yoga, which help strengthen the pelvic floor while exercising your whole body, some physical therapy studios, such as the Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute, specialize in pelvic floor health. A good orgasmic contraction has to go from a fully relaxed long state to a fully tense short state so if your pelvic muscles are constantly contracted, you won’t get the full Monty. Practice exercises that relax those muscles.
Hecht recommends these moves to ease tight pelvic muscles:
- Happy Baby Pose Lie on your back and bring both knees to your chest. Bending at the knee, raise the lower part of your legs straight up in the air. Keep your feet flexed and hold on at the soles. Pull your feet so that you are pulling your knees toward the floor. You are stretching and opening your pelvic floor.
- Inner Thigh Groin Stretch Sit on the floor with your legs spread straight to each side as far as you can go. Breathe rhythmically as you lean forward and then over each leg so you feel a stretch in the inner thighs.
- Proper Kegels Squeeze your anal and vaginal region tight for five seconds to start. Breathe through it. Don’t squeeze your butt or abdominal muscles. Work up to 10 seconds. Release slowly and relax fully. Wait for 10 seconds before trying again. If you work up to 10 seconds, rest for 20. Do 10 repetitions. Then do a faster squeeze: Squeeze the anal-vaginal area for a second and relax for two seconds. Exhale in rhythm during the squeeze, inhaling during the relaxation. Do two sets of 10 reps once a day. Kegels strengthen and stabilize the core.
Fill Your Sexual Toy Chest: Toys Aren’t Just for Kids!
There are a variety of gadgets out there intended to intensify stimulation or increase your ability to feel sensation in different parts of your body. You could have nipple stimulation at the same time that you have other stimulation. Everyone is different; explore what works for you. (Go ahead, you don’t necessarily need a partner for this!)
All Hail Mother’s Little Helper, the Great and Powerful Vibrator
All it wants to do is please you.
“It doesn’t poop out the way a hand or tongue can. A vibrator is steady and consistent,” says Barnard, who is also co-owner of A Woman’s Touch Sexuality Resource Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Vibrators come in all sizes, speeds, materials, and price points, and can hit many erogenous spots or just stay with one. If you are not sure what you like (hard vibrations or gentles pulses?) or how you will use it, choose one that provides adjustable levels of vibration and can be used internally and externally. “Don’t go too complicated or you’ll spend more time figuring out how to use the thing than enjoying the sensations,” says Barnard.
Men aren’t left out of the fun. Barnard recommends:
- Use an erection ring with a vibrator or a vibrator externally on the penis; playing with a vibrator under the head at the frenulum is a good technique to increase the intensity of stimulation of the nerves that trigger orgasm.
- A pump or erection ring can intensify erections. This makes access to the nerves easier.
- Add prostate stimulation with a finger, a prostate stimulator like one of the Aneros devices, or a vibrator intended for prostate stimulation. This stimulates more sensory nerves and can increase the odds of achieving orgasm.
If you are too shy to go to a brick-and-mortar store, turn on the private browser feature on your computer. Plenty of online stores are discreet.