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5 MINUTE THERAPIST ‘I can’t reach orgasm’

Hi, Christine. My name’s Fran. I’m 28 and living with my boyfriend, Charlie.

We’re both physiotherapists and met at work, two years ago. We’re mad about each other, and plan to marry next year.

But I’ve got a sex problem which I need to sort. I was a virgin when I met Charlie and I’ve never had an orgasm with him. In fact, I’ve only ever had two orgasms.   

I enjoy sex, but I just can’t get to that ecstatic point that everyone else seems to manage.

Charlie is great about it, but it’s disappointing for him, as well as me. He feels he’s less of a man because he can’t give me this ultimate pleasure. Can you help?

Christine: I must tell you right away that loads of women find it difficult to climax. So it’s not true to say that everyone else can manage it.

Fran: It’s a relief to hear that. I’m so ignorant about sex. I was brought up really strictly. My mum’s Italian. She’s a very modest person. I wonder sometimes how she and my dad had me! I’m an only child. She probably didn’t mean to, but she always gave me the impression that sex wasn’t nice.

Christine: Did she think it was dirty?

Fran:  Yes, and slightly shameful.

Christine: Well, I’m sorry for your mum, but it seems like her attitude may have been unhelpful in preparing you for romantic love in its fullest sense.

Fran: That’s definitely true.

Christine:  You say you’ve climaxed twice. Tell me about those occasions?

Fran: OK. First time, about two months ago, I was studying for some exams, I was very tense and anxious about them, and this really weird thing happened. I got a big urge to touch myself … down below … so I did. Almost immediately I got this fantastic rush of intense pleasure. I’m sure this must have been an orgasm.

Christine: Certainly sounds like it. Sometimes we do get powerful sex urges when we’re really stressed. I bet you felt better afterwards!

Fran: I did. It was terrific.

Christine: What about the other time?

Fran: Well, I feel slightly ashamed telling you. Two nights ago, Charlie and I had a really lovely time in bed, though obviously I didn’t have an orgasm. Next morning, he left for work before I was up. After he’d gone, I started to stroke myself – just like I did when I was taking my exams. And again I had this marvellous feeling. It went on and on and took my breath away.

Christine: Well, that was good!

Fran: But that is masturbating, isn’t it? Isn’t that wrong? Or perhaps immature?

Christine: With all due respect to how you were brought up, I don’t think so. In fact, most experts believe that the best way for a woman to learn how to climax is by touching herself in this way. You see, whereas orgasm is pretty automatic for most guys, the majority of women have to learn how to do it. And some women take longer than others. In fact, my husband and I have treated women who finally had orgasms when they were over fifty. It’s never too late to learn! You’ve got there much sooner than that. But what has held you back, I think, is that – as you said yourself – you were brought up to feel somehow that sex was shameful.

Fran: To be honest, now I’m with Charlie, I don’t think it is. In fact, I think it’s something that brings people closer.

Christine: I agree. Now the good news is that you’re obviously capable of having a great orgasm. So I think all we need to do is to help you to have one on a more regular basis – and when you’re in bed with Charlie.

Fran: That would be so good.

Christine: Do you know where your clitoris is?

Fran: Yes, it’s that round bit – the bit I’ve rubbed when I’ve had orgasms.

Christine: Good. That’s the part of you that would have grown into a penis had you turned into a boy baby in the womb rather than a girl baby. So, it’s important – and it is the source of your pleasure, and it needs attention.

Fran: I never knew that.

Christine: Lots of people don’t. Now, some women are lucky and their clitoris gets pressed and stimulated when they make love. But lots of us don’t get enough stimulation that way, so we need to have our partners rub our clitorises to bring us to orgasm. That isn’t always practical during intercourse – though it’s much easier in some positions than others. Also, other activities, like oral sex, tend to help women to climax relatively easily. Do you ever try that?

Fran: Charlie keeps offering but I feel nervous about it. Maybe I’ll try it now though …

Christine: Well, see how you feel. What I would suggest is that you get more used to masturbating. Try setting aside a couple of hours at a time – twice a week – when you can be alone. Have a relaxing soak in the bath, and then lie down somewhere warm and comfortable and stroke yourself and see what happens. Once you feel confident you can bring yourself to orgasm, you can start showing Charlie what you like. It sounds like he is keen to make sex more exciting for you.

 Fran: He is!

Christine:  We’re running out of time, but there are some good websites you can visit. Try the sex/relationships section of – particularly the article called Are you Having Trouble Reaching Orgasm?

And look too at the Lover’s Guide

You’ve had two orgasms recently, so I’m quite sure that – with some practice – you can start having them more regularly: first of all on your own, and then with Charlie.

Fran: I’m sure you’re right. Maybe I just needed someone like you to say that what I am feeling – and doing to my body – is OK.

Christine: Well, it definitely is OK. Enjoy it!

OVER TO YOU – Would you like to help with research into orgasms?

christine_webber-33Our resident therapist Christine Webber, and her husband – psychosexual specialist and author – Dr David Delvin, are writing a book on women and orgasm. They would be very grateful if you’d complete their quick survey – all anonymous.  Click here to go to the Orgasm Survey


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