"Orgasms are like blowing your nose."
Yup, that is the kind of thing my coach, Lauren Handel Zander, says. I chuckle and ask what she means. Sometimes she speaks in koans.
"If you need to blow your nose, you just do, you don't think you can't, you don't think you shouldn't, you don't think it's hard. What's the difference with orgasms? People just make it so difficult with their thinking."
I used to have that issue.
For a long time, I thought my husband was fully responsible for my orgasm. That it was his job to make me feel good. And, even though my husband is a good guy, was up for anything, and wanted to please me, my way of thinking (see: entitled) was getting in the way of us having a fully satisfying sex life.
I mean, isn't sex, a team sport?
If you're still mortified by my coach's nose-blowing analogy, think of it this way: do any of us walk around thinking that it's difficult for a man to masturbate and have an orgasm?
Then why do we believe that a woman's orgasm is more complicated?
Once I understood that Lauren was dead on with her coaching of me, and that my thinking or what we'd call, my emotional integrity, was in fact my orgasm's issue, once I knew it was my issue, I could change it.
Plain and simply, I started to care about stepping up OUR sex life again, about being responsible for my own orgasm ("my" being the operative word) and about designing a healthy and hot sex life with my husband.
CARING IS CRITICAL
I have found over the years that many of us would rather get over sex than face why we stopped caring in the first place. Some of us even substitute sex with eating cookies, drinking wine or some other vice. And, even if we used to be remarkably hot sexually, like the hottest, sexiest girl in high school, it doesn't mean we are that same girl today.
Making sure you have a happy, healthy, satisfying sex life is an ongoing process. Just like staying in shape, it's either current and you're doing it, or you're not.
Let's see where you are on the "caring scale" when it comes to still giving a hoot about having hot sex.
Rating 1 -- Sex? Nah, you've never cared about it in the first place. Celibacy is your friend. You don't even consider that your anger issues have anything to do with your caring-less-ness. What anger?!!
Rating 2 -- You used to care, but that was a long time ago. Your sex life barely has a pulse and you're ok with that. One or two times a year is fine with you. Heck, that's what New Year's resolutions are for...
Rating 3 -- You care about sex, but it's not a priority. You and your partner have sex a few times a month, usually after a few drinks.
Rating 4 -- You care about sex and being connected to your partner. You have an active sex life. Only, you both have busy lives and sometimes it's difficult to keep it going. You're better than most people.
Rating 5 -- You are totally free about sex. Nothing phases you. It's a top priority in your life and you make sure it happens and is hot, several times a week with your partner.
Personally, I had to up my own rating when it came to caring about sex way before I could actually up my game when it came to my sex life. However, sometimes the heat and health of your sex life isn't all an emotional issue.
It could very well be a physical issue.
In order to find out what other issues could be impacting a woman's orgasm, I went straight to world-renowned doctor, author of Sex Rx, Hormones, Health and Your Best Sex Ever, and the Medical Director of The Northwestern Medicine Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause, Dr. Lauren Streicher.
Well, she taught me some fascinating facts about the female orgasm.
First, there's the basic fact that, at best, 30% of women have orgasms during intercourse. Anatomically, only about 1/3 of women, based on the space between their urethral opening and their clitoris, are able to have an orgasm without direct stimulation to the clitoris. This means, in order to orgasm, you either have to create a position in which friction with the clitoris is happening with either another body part or with a vibrator.
Streicher literally gives her patients' lessons on how to use vibrators and self-stimulation, as it's the most effective way to insure orgasms.
Now, for those of you who have issues orgasming even with stimulation or used to have orgasms and stopped, or they decreased in frequency or satisfaction, Streicher explained that the following physical or mental factors may be at play:
1. Issues with blood flow
Loss of blood flow can be caused by diabetes, heart disease, radiation, menopause and a variety of other things. The primary problem with a lack of vaginal blood flow is dryness which not only causes pain with intercourse, but a decreased ability to become aroused. Reduction in clitoral blood flow may also be an issue as there may be decreased clitoral engorgement and sensation. Streicher calls this the female equivalent of erectile dysfunction and we should all be incensed it doesn't get the same amount of attention! There are, however, a number of options to increase vaginal blood flow and treatment of dryness. There are also solutions that directly impact on clitoral blood flow.
2. Nerve sensitivity
Lack of nerve sensitivity may be caused by health issues or medication but is frequently a result of a compromised blood flow. In many cases this can be treated by increasing blood flow with the use of a local vaginal estrogen. However, simply increasing intensity, by using a vibrator is a much simpler solution. Fiera is a new device that increases blood flow and nerve sensitivity.
3. The muscle tone of your pelvic floor
An important part of a healthy orgasm is a strong pelvic floor contraction. Pelvic floor weakness is often a result of pregnancy and birth. You shouldn't have to give up your great sex life just to have kids. If you find this is the problem, it can be treated through pelvic floor physical therapy, exercises and new home devices such as Apex, Elvie or Pericoach.
4. Your emotional health and the health of your relationship
If there's a history of abuse, body image issues, the conditioning of a religion, or culture that treated sexuality as taboo, or relationship/communication problems are the problem, you'll need a different kind of help. Dr. Streicher recommends working with a certified sex therapist.
If you think your issues might be better addressed with coaching to help you heal and rethink how you relate to yourself, your sexuality and your partner, set up a consultation.
OPEN YOUR MOUTH
Whether it's an emotional issue or a physical issue, you need to get caring either way. And, even more, you need to get opening your mouth -- from your doctor to your partner.
However awkward it may be for you, you need to care enough to speak about it all.
If your doctor doesn't help you after discussing it, find a new doctor! There are great, knowledgeable doctors all across the country, like Dr. Streicher, who can help you. You just need to find the right one for you.
So many people give up on sex being great and just make it okay to tolerate it or ignore the area completely.
Don't do that.
People who have great and frequent orgasms are more connected to their partner and happier in their relationships, smile more, feel better in general, sleep better and have less wrinkles.
You could be "blowing your nose" often, freely and happily too!
By Laurie Gerber
w/ Dr. Lauren Streicher
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