THE ORGASM SERIES: You Are Not Broken if You Can’t Reach Orgasm

by | Oct 5, 2020 | Uncategorized | 54 comments

You are not broken if you can't reach orgasm
Merchandise is Here!

Over half of Christian women report that orgasm is, at best, a hit and miss thing. Many can’t reach orgasm at all. 

This month, I want to dedicate my series to orgasm–understanding what it is; understanding why we have roadblocks; and culminating in the release of our Orgasm Course at the end of the month (with an add-on for husbands, too!)

In the survey we conducted of 20,000 Christian women last winter, we found that 48% of women usually or always reach orgasm. That leaves the rest going into a sexual encounter not knowing if this will be the time or not. And for 24%, orgasm never happens at all–or almost never happens. 

That’s a lot of women. And I think they’re over-represented on this blog (since people who have an easier time with sex don’t read me as much!)

I was trying to figure out how to launch this orgasm series, and one phrase kept coming back to me:

You are not broken.

I think so many women need to hear that.

You are not broken.

Orgasm isn’t automatic for women, and just because you may find it difficult does not mean that your body is broken. It doesn’t mean that you can’t get there. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t sexual.

It just means that you have challenges. And I hope I can give you some hope this month.

Let’s start with the way that God made orgasm.

As I’ve talked about before, orgasm is the ultimate in letting go. God created orgasm so that at the height of passion, we would be feeling and experiencing more than just thinking. We don’t have to stay in control. We don’t have to have it all together. In fact, if we do try to stay in control or have it all together, orgasm will be elusive. Instead, we’re to surrender to the moment and let feeling carry us along. It’s really the ultimate in trust and vulnerability, because we can’t let ourselves be carried along unless we can let down all pretences, all guards, all fences. 


To learn more about orgasm like this:


Orgasm is about celebrating a safe, vulnerable relationship–an act that leads to us feeling truly “known”. 

And being “known” is actually the Hebrew word that God uses to describe sex. It’s an intimate longing to be truly connected to one another (as I spoke about at length in The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex).

God made sex to be AWESOME!

It’s supposed to be great physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Feel like something’s missing?

If our sexual response were automatic, then sex would no longer be about relationship or intimacy.

Think about that for a moment, because it does matter. If both men and women could reach orgasm automatically, with ease, with little effort, then orgasm would no longer be a deep “knowing”. It wouldn’t be about having to be vulnerable, about having to feel safe, about having to communicate what feels good (and what doesn’t). It would simply be about two bodies joining.

And then intimacy would be taken out of the equation.

God made sex to be a deep knowing, which means that women’s sexual response in particular is tied up in having to feel safe and having to be vulnerable (including how to communicate what feels good, which means letting down all pretence). I know it can be frustrating, because men’s sexual response does seem to be easier (and we’ll talk about the frustration many women feel about that next week), but I do believe that God’s design was that intimacy would be the fuel that propels women’s sexual response, rather than just the physicality of sex. He wants sex to be more than just physical. And so he asked us to keep sex within an intimate, committed relationship so that men could experience true intimacy as well (and, indeed, men often find merely physical sex leaves them missing something important, too).

Because sex is so vulnerable, and so intimate, then sexual response can be fragile

That which is closest to our identity and our emotions and our sense of self and who we are is the most vulnerable to issues, like:

  • Sexual shame: If you feel awkward talking about sex, like it’s somehow dirty, then it’s going to be harder to figure out what feels good
  • Body image issues: If you feel awkward or embarrassed about your body, it’s difficult to let go and allow yourself to enjoy your body
  • Relationship issues: If you’re feeling distant from your husband, it’s hard to let go and feel safe with him in bed
  • Identity issues: If you feel as if sex is something you owe your husband, rather than an important part of you, too, then embracing sex can be a challenge
  • Trauma issues: If sex has been distorted because of past trauma, it’s hard to relax and allow your body to see it as a positive thing now

And so, so many more.

It’s easy to look at that list and say, “See, Sheila! I have some of those issues, so I obviously AM broken!”

But what I want to tell you is this:

Not Reaching Orgasm: Understanding Why

​Having those issues doesn’t mean that you’re broken. Having those issues means that your brain and your body have been guarding yourself for very good reasons.

They’ve been acting exactly right based on what they’ve been taught to believe, or what they’ve been taught is safe.

The route forward is not only to figure out the sexual technique piece of orgasm (although that is important). But it’s more important to figure out what messages your brain and body have been acting out, and address those things.

 

And I want to reiterate this, because it’s so important: If your body hasn’t been able to reach orgasm, and the main reason is because you were taught the wrong things about sex, and you feel so shy that you don’t even know where to start, this doesn’t mean that you’re broken. This means that your body and brain are working exactly the way they’re supposed to based on what they were taught.

The same thing is true no matter what message or issue we’re dealing with.

Your body and brain, which determine your sexual response cycle, are acting in accordance to what they have been taught and what they have experienced. 

It is not that your body and brain don’t work; they do!

It’s just that often the messages that we’ve been taught about sex, and often the dynamics of our relationship, make it so that sexual response is elusive.

The solution, then, is to change what we believe, and to change relationship dynamics.

You’re not broken. Your body and brain work just fine! We just need to change the messages, the dynamics, and sometimes even the stimulus.

And then your body and brain will start working TOWARDS orgasm, instead of protecting yourself FROM vulnerability, embracing your sexuality, and letting go of control (along with other things).

As you think about orgasm, keep these two things in mind:

  1. If orgasm and sexual response were automatic, then sex would only be physical, and not about intimacy
  2. The fact that orgasm is so dependent on how we feel and think about ourselves, our bodies, and our relationship means that, when orgasm is elusive, you’re not broken. You’ve simply got messages or dynamics that need to be dealt with so that intimacy and sexual confidence are easier to embrace.

If you have a hard time reaching orgasm, I know that can still be frustrating.

I really do get it. Believe me; I’ve been there.

But I want to assure you: Your clitoris is not broken. Your vagina is not broken. Your brain is not broken.

YOU are not broken.

And this month, I hope we can dismantle some of the beliefs that have made it difficult to be vulnerable or embrace sex, and put us on the road for better relationship dynamics.

I want this to be a hopeful month; a practical month. And so, as we start, please have hope! You can get there. You aren’t broken. Many have been where you are, and many have experienced breakthroughs.

Now let’s see if we can put you on that road, too!

The Orgasm Course is Here to Help You Experience Real Passion!

Figure out what’s holding you back. Open the floodgates to orgasm.

Have you ever felt broken because you can’t reach orgasm–or rarely do? How has that affected you? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

Is Someone Stepping on Your Air Hose?

So many women--and many men as well--honestly feel like the church is hurting them. I do not believe that it is Jesus that is hurting them, but the things that the church teaches, especially around sex and marriage, do cause harm. Our surveys have shown that...

Can Sex Be Hot and Holy at the Same Time?

Can sex be hot and holy at the same time? One of my big picture passions that I want people to understand is that sex is more than just physical--it's supposed to be deeply intimate too. And maybe to understand that, we need to take a step back to see what God thinks...

Comments

We welcome your comments and want this to be a place for healthy discussion. Comments that are rude, profane, or abusive will not be allowed. Comments that are unrelated to the current post may be deleted. Comments above 300 words in length are let through at the moderator’s discretion and may be shortened to the first 300 words or deleted. By commenting you are agreeing to the terms outlined in our comment and privacy policy, which you can read in full here!

54 Comments

  1. Martha

    For me, the fact that the man’s orgasm is more certain and automatic seems to be an advantage. He can focus on you and unless there are some health issues he can be sure of his release. Then the woman does not have to worry about his finish. She can enjoy the time and lose control. As Sheila said, feeling safe, intimate and positive about sexuality are crucial. In time female pleasure becomes more intense, deeper and overwhelming. It’s a life long process and that’s good.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, Martha, this is exactly what I think it’s supposed to be. Which means that he has been given the responsibility to make sure his wife feels good.

      Reply
  2. Jane Eyre

    I would believe this, except that it’s so laughably easy for men and so impossible for us. The more logical conclusion is that men’s sexuality is unaffected by the Fall and women are being punished.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Jane, I’m sorry you’re going through this. I really am.
      All I will say is that it honestly isn’t impossible for so many women. Maybe that’s cold comfort, but when masturbating, for instance, men and women can reach orgasm in very similar times. And almost half of women in our survey do reach orgasm most or all of the time.
      That’s not to say that it isn’t hard for you; only that it isn’t impossible just because you’re a woman. There is more going on there. And the good news is that the vast majority of women can get there. They really can. You don’t need to be stuck forever.

      Reply
    • Martha

      Jane Eyre,
      I don’t know your story, but from your previous posts I understand that you haven’t been married for long. Firstly, can you really let go of yourself without any shame or embarrassment? Secondly, is your husband able and willing to put as much time and effort as you need to relax and warm up? Thirdly, I was disturbed with your opinion about male and female sexuality and the Fall. I think it’s much harder to enjoy sexual intimacy without being grateful to God for this gift and to the husband for being a leading and caring lover.

      Reply
      • Jane Eyre

        Martha, I find it really disturbing that you think that I should be grateful for the “gift” of pain.
        Sex does not exist in heaven. Every gift God gives people exists in heaven, but sin and punishment do not. Ponder that before telling me how disturbed you are.

        Reply
        • Jess

          Jane,
          I see your comments a lot and I am heartbroken for your situation. One of the hardest things to deal with in life is unmet expectations and the feeling of betrayal by God. I can relate in my own way. I am truly sorry for your pain and for what you are walking through.
          But, that being said, I would urge you and everyone else to be cautious of casting the net of your personal experience over all circumstances/people. A person cannot say “I am married to an abuser, therefore all men are abusers” or “I am married to a woman who irresponsibly spends all of our money, therefore all women are overspenders.”
          We also cannot use our circumstances as evidence to alter the character of God. I cannot say “because I have depression, God is not good or He doesn’t love me.” God is the same God no matter what I think about Him and no matter what I go through. This is an extremely difficult truth to learn and I work at it every day. Our struggles do not negate God’s love or the significance of his gifts to us.
          There are lots of good gifts God gives that do not exist in heaven. Marriage is a big one that comes to mind. My kids would say that their toys and stuffed animals are gifts from God. From the big to the little, we can appreciate earthly gifts from our loving heavenly father that do not necessarily exist in heaven.
          We cannot say “because sex hurts for me personally, it is not a gift.” We can say “I am not enjoying the gift of sex because it has been distorted from what God intended it to be.”
          I just want to urge people to feel free to be vulnerable and share their personal experiences without applying their own truth across the board.
          I pray that one day, you will be able to find physical, emotional, and spiritual healing and look back and say, “I remember when I had such a horrible negative view of sex. I can’t believe how far I’ve come in enjoying God’s gift for me!”

          Reply
          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Jess, this is such good advice, and this is what actually set me free in my own journey with sex in marriage (which included vaginismus and sex not feeling good at all). I had to realize, “just because sex isn’t working for me does not mean that sex is not good. It’s just something we haven’t figured out yet.” And I had to realize, “I believe God loves me. I believe God created things to be good for me. Therefore, I have to believe that sex is good, because God said it was, and other people say it is. That is not my reality right now. But I have to believe that it can be my reality, and that’s what I’ll work towards.” It was more believing in God’s character–that He is good and He created good things–than believing that sex itself was good. I couldn’t see how sex could possibly be good, but I did believe God was good. And so I changed my mindset, and we did a lot of learning, and we got to the other side. But it was quite the journey!

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Jane, I’m so sorry that sex hurts. Have you seen a pelvic floor physiotherapist? Are you getting help for that?
          I don’t think Martha was saying you should be grateful for the gift of pain. What she was saying was that, if could understand that sex is indeed a gift where husbands have to concentrate on giving their wives pleasure, and we get to receive that pleasure, then it can be a gift. But we have to see it that way first.

          Reply
        • Martha

          Jane,
          Let me address you once again. I didn’t mean to offend you, I got the impression that you simply don’t enjoy sex or can’t orgasm. You didn’t say anything in this thread about physical pain. Since that’s the case, I can only repeat after Sheia if you are getting medical help. If so, is it working? If there is a history of past abuse, that’s yet another thing. I am speaking from my experience, which is obviously different than yours. That’s why, although I realise that sex can be painful, difficult etc, because of many factors, I believe that in its design it is meant to be pleasurable and bonding.

          Reply
    • Molly

      I would say that men’s sexuality has absolutely been affected by the fall. A lot of men have issues with erections, especially as they age. They want to share this super fun (for them) activity with their wives, but it’s often not as fun for the wife. Sex reveals a man’s selfish nature, and forces him to show down and pay attention. Sex is supposed to be a mutually enjoyable activity that binds a couple, makes them closer, produces children, comforts, and is fun.
      I think if anything, knowing how great sex is for my husband shows me that it can possibly be great for me too.

      Reply
    • Louise

      I’m nervous about this series, but anxiously waiting for each post! I’m 35 and have been with my husband for 7 years and I have never orgasmed. He asks me what feels good, but I don’t even know. Pleasure in sex is usually a brief 5-10 seconds and then it disappears, I don’t think I’ve even been close to orgasm. I enjoy being close and intimate with my husband, but sex rarely feels good in itself for me. Most of the time it just feels neutral, not particularly pleasurable, but not painful either. Even when I was single, I attempted to masturbate, but it never felt good either. I had resigned to the fact that maybe I am broken or unlucky.
      Looking forward to learning more.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Louise, I hear you! Many women say very similar things as you. We’ll be dealing with this a lot this month, but then in detail in our course that’s coming up, too!

        Reply
        • Anonymous

          Thank you for starting this series! I’ve been married 12 years and I’m just starting to truly understand how badly my sexual response to my husband has been affected by messages I learned in childhood. Growing up in church, I learned very “clearly” that sex is something women do to keep their husbands’ lust at bay, and it’s something that every wife owes her husband to keep him from being miserable. My husband DOES care about me enjoying sex, but it’s hard for him to wrap his mind around the thinking I grew up with.. and honestly, it does feel like I’m broken and missing out on what everyone else is enjoying. It’s like.. I followed purity culture and did everything “right” and all I got out of it were these stupid issues.

          Reply
          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            I’m so sorry, Anonymous! You’re absolutely not alone. That’s so common. And I hope that we can help you deconstruct that. It sounds like you have a husband who really wants to help you get to the other side, too, so that’s wonderful. A supportive husband is such a blessing!

      • Natalie

        I think this is the story for a lot of women here, myself included. You get to this mental space where you’re just convinced your body doesn’t work and that’s just the way it is. It is SO hard to break that thought process!! My husband and I tried different techniques, tried more foreplay, tried manual, oral, vaginal, everything. What broke the cycle for me was a vibrator. Now, I’m not saying you should be satisfied with only ever orgasming from a vibrator for your whole life. But using a vibrator for several months and then re-trying all the stuff we’d tried before really helped me. It’s hard to even try for an orgasm when you don’t even know what it feels like. The vibrator changed that for me. Once I knew what it felt like and what the build-up to an orgasm felt like, I could better tell what was and was not working when my husband and I were trying new things together.

        Reply
  3. MarriedDuringCovid

    I’ve been married for just shy of six months and the learning curve with sex has been way higher than I expected (and I expected it to be high). Most of the advice we’ve come across on things that supposedly most women prefer have the opposite effect on me. Light touches feel like tickling and make me want to punch whoever is tickling me. Prolonged stimulation doesn’t keep me aroused, it will get me there briefly but if it continues for too long my body turns off and it becomes sore and sometimes even painful. Most of the time I wish sex could be something quick and think that would actually be fun—but it always takes us at least 45 minutes to an hour and a half and usually by the end I am so ready to be done. My husband is fantastic. He is gentle and patient and wants me to feel good, but nothing seems to work very well and it has been killing my libido. The first couple of months of marriage I had a decent libido level, but the longer we’ve been married the less my body responds before it shuts off and it makes it hard to want to try sexual stuff.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so sorry! That’s so frustrating. I hope our course will help unpack some of this for you. We’re thinking of women specifically like you as we write it! Have you ever reached orgasm at all? Or does it just take you a really long time?

      Reply
      • MarriedDuringCovid

        I have never reached orgasm. My body shuts down before we ever get time there. I have no idea how to actually get there as everything we have tried has flopped or only been temporarily arousing.

        Reply
    • Anon

      Another married-during-Covid bride here. I don’t know if this will help you, but we’ve found that we have much more success when we just ‘see what happens’ than when we actually have a fixed plan. Going to bed determined to try and achieve ‘a’ or ‘b’ usually ends up getting nowhere, but if we just start off cuddling and take it from there, things work so much better – I think taking away any expectations removes the pressure, so we feel more free to explore.
      I’ve also found I do better when I just really concentrate on what my body is doing/how it is responding, instead of assuming that what the books say must be right. Some things that are ‘supposed’ to be amazing just don’t work for us – so we’re doing our own ‘research’ instead, to find out what is amazing for us! I hope things start working better for you very soon x

      Reply
    • Natalie

      Sheila, I really hope you walk in this series about sexual sensations vs tickling. When my husband and I first started our sexual relationship, every little touch either on my skin or breasts or genitals felts like a tickle and I COULDNT STAND IT!!! It’s hard to have effective foreplay with someone who’s always laughing and wiggling away from you. 😝 And at the time (2010/2011), I found absolutely nothing on the topic online.
      What I’ve learned since is that sexual touch can very much be interpreted by the brain as tickling for many people (even men), especially if they were tickled a lot a children or if they’re just sensitive to touch in general. It’s not a bad thing, and it doesn’t mean you’re broken. It just means your brain is interpreting that touch as a negative/unpleasant thing, and you need to retrain your brain to interpret it as a positive thing and something that sexually arouses you. Sensate focus can be very helpful with this. I think this topic is really essential for so many, especially those who were virgins when they entered their relationship with their spouse. Once you start associating tickling with a specific person’s sexual touch, it does take some work to get over that mentally.

      Reply
      • Violet

        That is so interesting! I hated to be tickled as a child and am still pretty ticklish. My husband pretty much knows my ticklish areas but most “sexual” touches are not pleasurable for me either. I would rather not be touched at all.

        Reply
  4. Em

    I wouldn’t say I felt “broken,” per se, just underwhelmed and confused. For me, I didn’t have to unlearn so much as LEARN what I didn’t know about my body, sex and orgasm in general. It was a long journey and I had to open myself up to becoming familiar and comfortable with things that I wasn’t familiar and comfortable with, by myself on my own time, with guidance from a sex therapist.
    Thankfully the guidance I found was your blogs about mindset and a good licensed therapist. I’ve always been averse to typical “Christian” type resources, so I didn’t even bother to look, just started googling and prayed that I would find something to help me.
    Looking forward to this series!

    Reply
  5. ANW

    Will you be addressing the role hormones play in one’s ability to orgasm? I’ve been married 14 years and have 3 children. In the last 2 years or so it’s become nearly impossible for me to orgasm unless I’m within 2-3 days of ovulating.

    Reply
  6. Meredith

    Sheila, I hope that part of your series is going to dig deep into the way that past traumas (from experiences and religious beliefs) cause women to dissociate from their bodies. It doesn’t matter how much women believe in their heads that sex is a gift if they have never learned how to inhabit their bodies, to take ownership over their bodies and treat them with love, compassion, and honor. Unlearning the lessons that trauma teaches our bodies is a long process, and often something that needs to be undertaken with the help of an experienced, licensed therapist.
    Also I think it’s important to note that “trauma” doesn’t necessarily have to mean something like rape or incest or sexual abuse. I was not a victim of any of those things, or anything that most people would think was sexually traumatic. But I grew up in the thick of purity culture, which gave me toxic messages about my body– my body didn’t belong to me, my virginity was a measure of my worth as a female and the most important thing I could give my future husband, it was my job to make sure I protected guys from lusting after my body, before I was married my sexuality was something to ignore and stifle as much as possible. It’s only now after more than 8 years of marriage that I’ve been learning, through therapy, just how dissociated I was from my body, how that was affecting my marriage and my sex life and my self-conception. And it’s only now that I’ve taken ownership and agency of my body. I’m learning how to inhabit my body, with yoga and paying attention to my body’s signals and honoring her needs and practicing self-love and self-care. (And yes, I bought a vibrator and learned how to give myself an orgasm so that I could learn what my body is capable of and re-awaken my sex drive.) And I’m started on the path of healing, which is starting to help heal my sex life with my husband. But none of this would have happened without a therapist who was able to help me confront my past and work through the traumas of growing up in fundamentalist Evangelicalism and how that affected my body.

    Reply
      • Matthew L Priest

        Sheila, I don’t know if you have addressed this or not but if not maybe you could. What is an orgasm like for a woman? My wife has gone from sex does not even feel good to saying that was pretty good but she always believes my orgasms are better. Is she really fully reaching orgasm or is this normal for a woman?

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          It’s hard to say, Matthew. Usually orgasms are accompanied by physical signs like a wave of pleasure, vaginal muscles contracting involuntarily, pelvis tilting up involuntarily. And then afterwards you tend to feel very sleepy and relaxed. There’s also a point beforehand when you feel quite desperate for release.
          Orgasms are all different–sometimes they feel better than others. But, no, in general, men don’t as a whole feel better from orgasms than women do.

          Reply
    • Anna

      I’m glad somebody has acknowledged the elephant in the room. The easiest, fastest way to “figure out what feels good” during sex is to learn how to masturbate. It is also a way to take control of your life and exercise some agency. Putting everything on a husband or partner to understand how to get you to orgasm is being far too passive, in my opinion, and a little bit weird in putting the cart before the horse. I don’t think that should be the emphasis until you know what to tell him.

      Reply
      • K

        I don’t think you have to masturbate in order to find out what feels good so you can share with your partner but I do think communication is the key. You do need to communicate what does feel good somehow.
        Exploring and giving feedback together I think is a good plan.

        Reply
    • Violet

      How did you go about finding a good sex therapist?? I wouldn’t know where to start, and I wouldn’t want to trust just anyone.

      Reply
  7. Lisa

    Such an important topic. Thank you for approaching it and writing the course.

    Reply
  8. AspenP

    So looking forward to this series and upcoming course! Married almost 12 years and never before orgasmed. Didn’t even know that you could make sex feel good until I started reading your blog about a year ago.
    I’ve had a lot to overcome after being date raped at 15 (THANK YOU SO MUCH for mentioning that rape victims can feel pleasure. I have literally wrestled with that for decades!! The last and only time I remember sex feeling good was feeling like my body was betraying me for craving more while my mind and my mouth were screaming stop. I have wrestled for years why that was and why it is so hard to feel anything now. My mind and my body craves sex, but then we get into intercourse and…nothing, I’m always left hanging).
    Given, my innocent purity-culture raised husband didn’t know that sex wasn’t automatically good for women or that women can even have orgasms…and we’re quite the pair.
    Talking about sex and especially my desire to have if feel good for me too has stirred up so much pain and failure on his end that we rarely have sex. Feels like a hard place. I haven’t tried to make him feel bad, but I think he felt ashamed that he’s been enjoying it for more than a decade and I went from overcoming date rape, to vaginismus, to postpartum pain, to…nothing. I definitely don’t want him to give up, but I also want to feel something too.

    Reply
  9. Leah

    I’m excited for this series. I have been married for 11 years and I’m not totally sure how many time I have had an orgasm. It’s not a lot. And usually I don’t care. Sex has still felt good and been fun. It’s been such a learning curve! Ya know how they say women need to use foreplay to warm up for sex? Yeah my body does not cooperate with foreplay unless I’m already super in the mood. Otherwise it just hurt. Something with having kiddos changed that for me. But we’ve been able to figure it out and get around it.
    I’m going to learn a lot with this series!

    Reply
  10. Dandelion

    It is crazy to me that with all the talking about sex in society, there has been so little talk of women’s pleasure and potential difficulties. I’m glad that’s finally changing. I spent over 25 years just assuming that I was broken. I read every christian sex book I could find and they all said many things about how to ensure his pleasure and satisfaction and keep him from straying, with a wee little afterthought of ‘some women need clitoral stimulation, and some can’t orgasm at all’ tacked on like an unimportant afterthought. I hid my inability to orgasm from my husband because he’s a loving, caring guy, and I didn’t want to ruin sex for him. Once I finally read, ‘most women can’t orgasm from vaginal penetration alone’ and ways to help, it was such an enormous change.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s awesome, Dandelion! And I really am trying to change the conversation!

      Reply
    • Eddie Halstrom

      I’ve been reading through the comments and just feel so much for the women who feel broken. That is such a challenging and difficult feeling to have especially if your partner has expectations. We went through years of not communicating about sex in our marriage and just letting things exist with unspoken expectations (often based on myth and misunderstanding). While having a rich communication life about sex doesn’t guarantee a physical result, we have found that it is very helpful for the emotional and psychological side of sex. My body still may not experience what I desire, but my brain and heart have begun to have a better experience about it.
      I am a man with early ejaculation issues. Like seriously early within seconds. I felt so broken, even when we found a path and script that where my wife experienced everything she wanted, I still felt broken.sure.i had an orgasm but it wasn’t the experience I craved and desired. My wife said a real man would last longer. She wondered aloud why I didn’t love her or find her sexy enough to Last longer. Did I just want it over quickly. We talked through all these with a therapist. I had to help her learn this is just my body. I am not choosing this. It just happens. It still happens. I still feel like my body is broken. But by talking with her and sharing with her the pain around my orgasm, we’ve begun to improve the mental and emotional surroundings of the physical experience. Confronting it head on has been very helpful to my mind and heart. The therapist suggests that this may eventually help the physical side of things too. But even if it doesn’t, it has been helpful to release some of the broken feelings and help my wife understand I am a real man even if I can’t pefrom like the rock star she wants in the bedroom.

      Reply
  11. Sadie

    I am looking forward to reading this series! I got married three months ago. I read a lot on your blog & The Good Girls Guide before the wedding, which was helpful. We have figured out some things that feel good, though I haven’t orgasmed yet. Or at least I don’t think I have – I feel confused how I’m even supposed to know whether or not I’ve experienced orgasm since anything I read just says something like “trust me, you’ll know”, which isn’t really helpful because it only makes orgasm seem more mysterious and elusive.
    I’ve read before about how important it is to be able to stay fully engaged mentally in order to really orgasm. This feels impossible to me because my brain is always going. I don’t mean that I’m always worrying, but rather that I think in a sort of ongoing internal monologue that never really shuts off. I do try to just pay attention to what feels good, etc., but I worry that I won’t reach orgasm unless I can turn the thinking off, and I’ve never been able to do that.
    I am also worried that my chronic pain issues may be preventing me from fully enjoying sex. I have a rare headache disorder called New Daily Persistent Headache, and I have had a constant, nonstop headache in every waking moment since November 7, 2014. NDPH is poorly understood & has no cure or effective treatments available at this time. (I was told at Mayo Clinic that I “should expect to have a headache for the next several decades of [my] life until research catches up with [me]”.) I also have a connective tissue disorder called Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder, which causes generalized chronic pain, joint pain, etc. I constantly have to make positional adjustments during sex or even cuddling just to stay comfortable. It’s hard to be engaged mentally when I’m always in pain. It’s also hard to gauge how much this actually affects me sexually since I have never had sex (or even a kiss, actually) pre-headache. I feel like my health is preventing me from being able to fully enjoy sex, and I don’t know what I am supposed to do about that since I most likely won’t be entirely pain-free for at least a few decades (if ever). I would appreciate your advice. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Sadie, I’m so, so sorry! That’s awful. We’ll be talking about mindfulness and yoga to help connect with your body, and I know they both can help with chronic pain, but that is really, really difficult to live with. I’m so sorry.

      Reply
  12. A

    I know I’m a little late with this comment, and I’ll admit I haven’t read your whole series so far (though I have been reading your blog for a few years now). Sheila, I respect you so much, but I do have to wonder… I understand you are trying to encourage women, but 16 years into marriage with no orgasm I have to wonder if maybe there is something wrong, or as you say broken. Why do we assume this is one area that a disability couldn’t exist in? I mean we wouldn’t tell someone who was born blind, that they can actually see if they try hard enough. We don’t expect those who are autistic or have down-syndrome to be able to get therapy to get through it. So in a way accepting and respecting all kinds of people, and seeing how they can live full lives just makes me wonder. Plus in regards to sexual and reproductive health we know some just can’t have children, so is it really that far fetched that maybe some just can’t orgasm. We’ve spent years disappointed. I’ve talked to doctors, therapists, read books and blogs (secular and Christian) and am just accepting this is who I am. I’m not saying God might not still do a miracle some day, maybe something will click one day, but in the meantime I’ve stopped obsessing over it. Maybe I am broken, and that’s OK, because my husband still loves me, and Christ died for me.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi A, I’m so sorry it’s been that long! That must be really frustrating. But I don’t think you’re broken. There are no medical reasons that women can’t reach orgasm, unless hormone levels are very, very low. The only medical reasons would affect such a small percentage, and likely other things would be going on, and you should see a doctor.
      HOWEVER, there are many, many mental reasons and relationship reasons why women don’t reach orgasm, and those really are fixable. I just think living without orgasm when it doesn’t have to be that way is sad. And what we found in our survey is that, while women can do it for a while, eventually, after a few decades, they tend to give up on sex altogether. That’s not healthy for a relationship, either. So I’d rather help people find the real passion that God intended for them. I hope that makes sense!

      Reply
      • Shannon

        How does anyone know that god intended orgasms for pleasure or for anything for that matter? Think of the appendix. Maybe it had a purpose one day but now it doesn’t. We don’t know god. We don’t know what he intended. Maybe it was mankind that decided that orgasms were intended for sexual pleasure.

        Reply
      • Shannon

        Your blog is very interesting and informative so I keep reading them. However, I wish I had never done any research years ago. Ignorance is bliss. I would never known how defective I was if I had never read anything. It makes me sad and angry when it’s said that every woman can and should have orgasms. I wish someone had told me that most women can’t and that’s normal. I’ve been married almost 20 years and I’ve just recently begun to accept how perfect god made me according to his design. I would highly recommend your books and website to younger women.

        Reply
  13. Violet

    Honestly I can’t believe I’m here reading this post. The last time I concerned myself with the idea of an orgasm was 11 years ago, when I first got married. That quickly turned into just trying to get through sex without it being painful, which didn’t consistently happen until after my first child. After that, thinking about orgasm just made me really unhappy and depressed, because it seemed that part of me did not work. I still feel annoyed when I hear another woman allude to looking forward to sex, because I enjoy it so little. So I decided it didn’t matter. I would have sex as infrequently as possible only to appease my husband, and as long as it didn’t hurt too bad I could deal with that. Now 7 months postpartum from my third child, we have had sex once since giving birth and I’m ok with that but my husband is starting to ask me about it again. I feel like we’ve been arguing about it for year and years. He’s at the point where he only wants me to do it if I want to; but that’s probably never going to happen! The thought of it kind of disgusts me really. I know, I’m so weird. So I’m here, trying to decipher all my issues and find out if I can make sex something I will want too.

    Reply
    • L

      Hi Violet, I wish I could give you a hug. I don’t think you’re weird at all. I really relate to this sentence: “After that, thinking about orgasm just made me really unhappy and depressed, because it seemed that part of me did not work.”
      I also had a lot of pain with intercourse and it actually got so much worse after my first child. I finally stumbled upon pelvic floor therapy, which helped a lot. I still wonder, though, if those of us with a tendency to tight pelvic floors still can have a lot of problems climaxing. It makes sense…the vaginal muscle has to be able to contract AND release…Sheila, have you ever come across research on this?

      Reply
      • L

        I also forgot to add, can you think of your relationship like a newborn? Maybe you need a lot of skin-to-skin to regulate your nervous system with your husband’s. Recently, I started to ask my husband for no-expectations-shirtless cuddling. It has made a boost in my relationship.

        Reply
      • Violet

        L, thank you so much for your kind reply! I have tears in my eyes; it’s honestly so nice just to know someone cares. Pelvic floor therapy is not something I’ve really explored, but maybe the next time I’m at the doctor I will ask. Having a male dr makes me less prone to bring sexual problems up. I’m really sorry you have or still have pain with intercourse, I totally understand. It makes sense that we wouldn’t be able to orgasm though, if we’re preparing for possible pain. I honestly don’t remember the last time it didn’t hurt AT ALL. Sometimes it will be ok during sex and then afterward I will be sore all day. I truly hope it gets better for you.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Oh, yes, Violet, please see a pelvic floor physiotherapist! I don’t even know if you need a referral where you are; you may just be able to phone. But see someone who specializes in the pelvic floor. Honestly–this can get better!

          Reply
    • Shannon

      What broke me from worrying about having an orgasm or if I’m giving sex to my spouse as frequently as I think I should, was when he was in the ICU for eight days. I was afraid he wasn’t coming home. It was during that time that I realized that sex isn’t important. Orgasms aren’t important. The most important thing was having him home. Now, if he hints, I happily do it. If I think it’s been too long for him, I happily do it. I’m just grateful to have him home and healthy.

      Reply
  14. Sarah V

    What if My Husband Feels Self-Conscious about Talking about Sex? (October 14)
    I was looking forward to this one (and what I thought was the one before it, What if I’m self conscious about talking about sex), but I can’t find it. Did plans change? Or was there just a title change?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I did change things around! That one’s likely coming out on Friday! I always have these great plans, but then often conversations in the comments change things up for me.

      Reply
  15. Rachel

    Wondering if you have advice… I feel like I get close and then my muscles just shut down and give up. Sometimes the stimulation is too strong, sometimes it’s great, but I almost involuntarily squeeze and kill it. Maybe it’s a habit from shame around masturbation when I was younger? I also have a connective tissue disorder, so my muscles can cramp randomly- I’ve sometimes have had cramps go all the way down my inner thighs to my toes when I’m getting close to climax, and it hurts so I can’t reach it. I have been through pelvic floor pt and learned to relax… my pelvic floor was in a state of constant contraction. The therapist thought maybe the muscles are trying to avoid pain by not letting me get to orgasm. Any thoughts? My husband really tries. And I have a lot less sexual shame than before. But my body is not cooperating.

    Reply
  16. Lisa M

    The restaurant date night analogy was great Shelia! I hope that helps many husbands (and authors, pastors, etc) finally understand how hurtful and wrong the typical message is, that only his sexual needs matter. Great podcast!

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.