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Can’t Climax? 10 Questions You Should Ask Yourself

Sex

Sometimes, you just know when someone is lying. It doesn't have anything to do with their character, level of integrity, past patterns, body language or anything like that. When it comes to certain topics, based on what comes out of a person's mouth, you automatically know they're not telling the truth.


I don't need a dime to be happy. Lies.

I don't care what anyone thinks (anyone on the planet?!). Lies.

Having an orgasm isn't a big deal to me. Lies you tell.

That last lie? There's a wife who is constantly trying to pull that one over on me. According to her, although she had a very active sex life as a single woman and she's been married for close to two decades now, there's only been one man to give her an orgasm—and that man isn't her husband.

"It's fine, Shellie," she has said to me trying to sound like it's no big deal (the hell you say!). "If you ever get married, you'll realize that you shouldn't always put such an emphasis on sex." (I'm sorry…was that a dig on my relational status?)

Yeeeah. She's not gonna sell me on that. Yes, sex can be good, with or without an orgasm, but I'm not gonna ever act like it's cool nor will I be complacent with being in a sexual relationship where mutual climaxing ain't happenin'. Neither should the wife I just referenced. And you know what? Neither should you (check out "What GROWN Women Consider Great Sex to Be" when you get a chance).

If you're sexually active and you've never had an orgasm before, don't feel bad; there are 10-15 percent of other women who haven't as well. In response to that, I've got a few points that you should consider. But if you're like the wife who has been to the mountaintop, just not that often, the following questions should (hopefully) get you to the root of the challenge (if it's about you) or problem (if it's due to where "he" is lackin').

Have You Ever Had an Orgasm Before?

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If you've never had an orgasm before, there are a few things to take note of. First, according to a lot of therapists, trouble climaxing is tied to these main issues—age (menopausal women sometimes struggle due to shifts in their hormones); political and religious beliefs (if you come from a very conservative upbringing and/or all you heard about sex was that you'll go to hell if you do it before marriage); whether you are in a fulfilling relationship or not (the safer you feel emotionally, the more likely you are to have an orgasm) and/or whether you are a survivor of sexual trauma or not all play a direct role.

On the physical tip, as far as vaginal orgasms go, the space in between your clitoris and your vaginal opening also plays a part. When the distance between the two are the space between your thumb and your thumb's knuckle, you are far more likely to experience orgasms via intercourse (although only about 30 percent of women can do that). You also need a partner who is going to provide vaginal, oral and genital stimulation. Not one. All three. (That might seem obvious but it's kind of shocking how many women don't receive this triple combo on a regular basis.)

So, if you have never experienced an orgasm before, these are all things that you should ponder before taking anything else into consideration.

Are You Talking About a Vaginal Orgasm Only?

70 percent of women profess to never having a vaginal orgasm from penile stimulation alone. Noted. But as far as climaxing is concerned, there is a whole world of other orgasms to explore. How many? Women can have 11 (at least)—clitoral, G-spot, blended, cervical, nipple and multiple are just a few of 'em.

So, when you say that you can't have an orgasm, I need you to be a little more specific. Do you mean that intercourse doesn't lead to one? Or, is it that, no matter what part of your body is stimulated, nothing seems to be going down? If it's more Column A than anything else, let yourself off the hook some. At least you're actually having some, right?

But if, to you, that is sooooo not the point, positions that could increase your chances of a vaginal orgasm include spooning, the Lotus position (which is basically having sex while sitting up and facing your partner) and reverse cowgirl should be able to help you out. Oh, investing in a sex pillow couldn't hurt either.

How Adventurous Has the Sex Been?

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If you can't remember the last time that you had an orgasm, have you ever considered that you might just be…bored? The reason why I say that is because good sex requires a certain amount of spontaneity and creativity. I also say that due to a feature that was published in The Atlantic last February—"Women Get Bored with Sex in Long-Term Relationships". The gist of the article is it isn't so much that certain women aren't able to come so much as they aren't getting the kind of sex that they want. Since (most) men are able to orgasm in five minutes or less, they don't need as much outside-of-the-box thinking as women do. That said, what kind of sex turns you on? Does your partner know that? Has he been going above and beyond to make it happen?

There's another thing that needs to go on record concerning being bored. You could be bored because sex feels like a series of dull repetitious behaviors or you could feel bored because you think your partner is annoying and petty. Both are definitions of boredom. Just something (else) to think about.

Have You Been Getting Wet Enough?

When it comes to a woman having an orgasm, definitely wetter is better. Your diet, it being three days before or three days after your period, stress, breastfeeding (it can sometimes cause your estrogen levels to take a dive), not drinking enough water, certain medications, your body needing at least 20 minutes of foreplay in order to "warm up"—all of these things could be the reason why you're not lubed up enough.

What are the remedies for these things? You could always make your own lubricant (there's a cool recipe here). As far as your diet goes, eating foods with omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon, flaxseeds and seaweed); taking a B-complex and evening primrose oil supplement; cooking with extra-virgin olive oil more often; eating phytoestrogen-rich foods like big cherries, oats and wheat berries will also help. Oh, so does more foreplay including more oral sex since, well, saliva (and sexual stimulation) is involved.

What’s Your Diet Currently Like?

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On the heels of mentioning the foods that will help to make you wetter, there are also foods that can increase your chances of having an orgasm altogether. Last January, I penned a list of aphrodisiacs. Two herbal teas that will increase your sex drive include maca and red clover (especially in post-menopausal women).

And then there's what you need to consume a lot less of. I'll give you one guess. Sugar. For starters, it makes you tired, increases stress and lowers testosterone levels in both men and women. And yes, even women need a certain amount of testosterone in their system in order to have a really good time.

How Have You Been Treating Yourself Lately?

Another reason why you may not be having orgasms (or as many as you would like) has nothing to do with sex, your partner or your diet. It has everything to do with you. Women who have off-the-charts sex are women who are open to doing it with the lights on and engaging in dirty talk (both giving and receiving). She will get out of the bed to try it in other locations and, she initiates from time to time too. Sometimes she's in fancy lingerie, sometimes boy shorts and a tank—sometimes, she greets her man butt naked. What all of these things point to is a woman who has a good amount of self-esteem.

There's scientific research to support that there is a direct link between a woman's level of self-esteem and a woman's level of sexual satisfaction. So, if you're looking for a man or sex to make you feel good amount yourself, that's gonna be counterproductive, both in and out of the bedroom. Start with feeling good about yourself…first.

Are Things Good with You and Your Partner?

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Once you're in a good space with yourself, you can effectively move on to what's happening (or not happening) between you and your partner. Take simultaneous orgasms, for example. It's so much easier for a couple to pull this off if their mind, body and spirits are totally in sync.

I remember once hearing a pastor say during one of his sermons (good for him for bringing it up too!) that he and his wife have great sex, in part, because he gives her great foreplay before they hit the bedroom. He calls to tell her that he loves her. He brings roses home for "no reason". He cooks dinner and cleans up the kitchen afterwards. After all that, she's more than ready!

All of this reminds me ofThe Cosby Show episode when, while on a romantic getaway, Claire explained to Cliff what she needed in order to feel desirable. Cliff finally caught the memo when he first kissed Claire's hand, her arm, her ear and then he said, "You know something? I love you. Very, very much. It's a privilege to wake up in the morning and see your face. You are my life, and I mean that." Boy, it was on and poppin' in that hotel room after that!

The biggest sex organ is our brain. If your man isn't connecting with you mentally and emotionally, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if that's what's holding things up physically. Hmph. Make sure he gets that memo.

Could You Be Overthinking It?

Speaking of the brain, another thing that could be keeping you from climaxing is performance anxiety. No joke. There are a lot of men who aren't able to maintain erections and women who aren't able to truly and fully let go so that they can climax and it's all because their minds are racing 10 miles per minute. It could be due to thoughts like, "Will my partner think I'm good in bed?" or "What can I do to not make them think about someone else?"

Some of us are notorious for creating full dramas (or horror flicks) in our head, all because we choose to create problems that actually aren't there. If you can't seem to internally handle the issues that are hindering you from enjoying sex, share them with your partner or friend. If that doesn't relieve your stress, you might need to discuss what's troubling you with a reputable therapist. You might look up and realize that the stress and tension that's connected to your job, other relationships, lack of sleep, etc. could be the root cause of what's going on—not your feelings concerning your bedroom performance.

What Has Your Doctor Said?

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Speaking of speaking with professionals, as much as I tried to touch on what you can do on your own, if your inability to orgasm has to do with medications or a drastic shift in your hormone levels, there's a pretty good chance that you're not gonna be able to change that without some additional assistance.

To a certain extent, that's good news, because if it is health-related, once you get a full medical work-up, your doctor should be able to diagnose the issue and get you and your body right to where it needs to be. So, if it's been more than a year since you've seen your physician, this is definitely something that you should put on your to-do list.

Are You Rushing the Process?

Good things take time. Orgasms are a really good thing! Between learning about yourself, your partner and figuring out what are turn ons and total turn offs, don't expect things to come together overnight. Also, don't expect sex to be exactly the same every single time.

You can go to Google and see that Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was our ability to have an orgasm (especially a vaginal one). But if you apply these tips, have an unselfish partner and you're patient with the process, you'll find that you're closer to having your mind blown that you think.

Author JD Salinger once said, "A woman's body is like a violin. All that it takes a terrific musician to play it right." I couldn't agree more. Tell your man that I said, from the very bottom of my heart, "Play on, playa…play on!"

Featured image by Getty Images

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

How To Achieve A Simultaneous Orgasm

10 Things You Didn't Know About The Male And Female Orgasm

4 Hit It From The Back Moves That Are Bound To Get You To Orgasm

10 Unexpected Ways To Intensify Your Orgasm

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

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And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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