why cant i orgasm 5 reasons you are not reaching climax: woman looking shocked

Ever wondered why it seems so easy for the actors on screen to simultaneously have an orgasm? Or why everyone in porn just seems to be enjoying themselves more than usual and orgasms flow freely? Everyone in all of these scenarios is acting. And they are acting because for many people, having an orgasm during sexual intercourse is not all that easy.

And realistically, having an orgasm requires us to be in the moment, getting the exact right kind of stimulation, to not be distracted by body image, to not worry that the kids will walk in, or about that alarm sounding in the distance, or that big meeting you have tomorrow, or be worried about the fact that you are not having an orgasm. Phew!

While actors and porn stars make orgasm looks easy, they are acting out a learnt physiological response, especially those of us with a vagina! So what exactly are some reasons then are you having a tough time reaching orgasm?

1. You’re too much in your head

This is listed first for a reason. Most people struggle to orgasm because they are either overthinking it, trying too hard or they’re distracted. As soon as we get into our heads, our brain chooses to focus on those thoughts rather than on the sensations we’re feeling in our body and the pleasure that usually ticks our boxes. Being in our heads and being distracted by any thoughts (how we look/smell/taste, a work or family crisis, or feeling anger towards your partner) is like an instant “off” for sexual response. When clients consult me because they struggle to orgasm, one of the first things I do is help them get back in their body. Shifting your focus from thoughts to sensations (like pressure, temperature, texture) can be a small first step that makes a very big difference.

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2. You’re not getting the right kind of stimulation (and not for long enough)

While the brain is our most important sex organ, there are certain places on our bodies that do need touch and stimulation if we want to orgasm. Not everyone wants just their genitals touched, and lots of people find having their ears or bum or even feet caressed to be extremely pleasurable. The reason people with a vagina are only climaxing 19% of the time during intercourse is because their clitoris isn’t getting the sort of consistent stimulation it needs. Get that little body part the attention it deserves but don’t forget to explore and find other areas on your bodies that are fantastic to feel.

why cant i orgasm 5 reasons you are not reaching climax: man and woman in bed together woman looks disappointed

3. Your meds are a buzz kill

We often don’t give a second thought to sex when a doctor prescribes us medication; taking what’s been suggested to alleviate whatever ailment we’re struggling with. But this really does need to be a question you ask your doc: “will these meds impact my sex life?” The most common drug prescribed globally – antidepressants (which are very effective for treating depression and anxiety) – are unfortunately a major culprit. So chances are if you’re taking them, your ability to orgasm is going to be impacted. We actually prescribe antidepressants to men who orgasm too quickly! A couple other common meds that aren’t so great for your sex life – blood pressure medication and antiepileptics.

4. You’re not asking for what you really want

It’s a major issue that has a major impact. Because our experience of pleasure is learnt, if you don’t actually know what you need for pleasure, chances are you’re not asking for what you want and just going along with it… not fun for you and unfair on your partner. You need to be assertive and say how, where and when you want to be touched. This will not come across as bossy or demanding – this will only benefit everyone involved! Learn, explore and request…

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5. You’re valuing your partner’s pleasure over your own

When you primarily focus your attention on your partner having a good time, studies have actually shown how detrimental it is to your own pleasure. Stop worrying if they are enjoying themselves and start concerning yourself with your own pleasure, what you need and what is going to make sure you have a good time!

Catriona is an accredited clinical sexologist, psychotherapist, sexuality researcher & speaker. She is an expert in the field of sexual behaviour, intimacy, relationships and mental well-being, with a particular interest in helping people create or reestablish sexual intimacy and empowering women to embrace their sexuality. She has delivered her expertise across media, business and private platforms and is a globally recognised voice in the field of sex, pleasure and relationships. She runs a global practice online, consulting with clients from around the world, but has a practice in Johannesburg, South Africa and London, United Kingdom.