She struggles to orgasm. Anorgasmia in Women.

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Are you a woman struggling to orgasm with your partner?

Suzy* had never orgasmed with her husband. She came to see me after her doctor recommended she see a sex therapist. Her doctor couldn’t find any medical problems so together we worked to find the source of her “inorgasmia”. She was able to orgasm through masturbation (solo sex) but not partnered sex.

During our sessions we explored her attitudes to sex, her sexuality, her body, genitals and her relationship.

Suzy had been brought up in a strict religious family where she was taught that women should suppress their sexual appetite.

Cultural ideas that demonise and repress sex have a profound influence on women’s ability to orgasm and can block women’s sexual potential.

Suzy felt guilty for masturbating and thought her vulva was ugly and sinful because of her upbringing.

Light and Shadow Keinyo White

I set Suzy various homework exercises to do at home. Suzy’s homework exercises were to look at her naked body in the mirror, regularly masturbate, sleep naked and and have a good look at her genitals under a proper light with a mirror. She had never done these before and over time with support, they increased her sexual awareness and acceptance of her body.

Art therapy and positive sex education helped view her sex organs as cherished and beautiful.

We explored Suzy’s childhood to discover unconscious blocks. Her father abandoned the family when she was four and was sporadically available for a few more years before disappearing from her life altogether. The pain from this abandonment kept her imprisoned in a knee jerk response of emotional control whenever she felt vulnerable. She was scared of letting go and surrendering to her partner. Hypnosis and meditation helped Suzy to start to ‘let go.’

We looked at how her intimate relationship functioned. Research consistently shows that a woman’s happiness in her relationship and whether she feels ‘safe’ are directly connected to her ability to orgasm. Emotions are more important when it comes to orgasm with a partner than with masturbation.

There were power and control issues in her relationship surrounding the expectation that the man in a relationship is rightfully the sexual ‘boss’. Suzy didn’t want to offend her husband by asking for what she wanted. She wanted to ask for more foreplay and clitoris stimulation but was scared he might take it personally and feel like a failure. Her husband rushed foreplay and had only received sex education through pornographic films. They didn’t use lubricant so the condoms caused Suzy pain. Lots of lubricant is essential for safe sex always.

Together we worked on healthy communication styles where Suzy could vocalise her sexual preferences and share sex education resources with her partner. I set sensual “homework” exercises for the couple that started with non-genital caresses. They had to practice touching each other in ways that focussed on pleasurable sensations instead of orgasm.

By the end of our sessions Suzy had achieved her first “coital orgasm” and had showed her husband how she liked to be touched in a non-confronting way. They’d opened up their sexual repertoire to pleasure and intimacy as the goal rather than orgasm. Together they had  improved their communication. Suzy had challenged her own internalised beliefs, accepted she was entitled to sexual pleasure and reclaimed her sexual power.

*Not her real name.

Cat O Dowd: Sex Therapist, Relationship Counsellor, Art Therapist.
www.creativesexpression.com

This first appeared in my column for Ciao magazine. You can read it in the magazine here.

Art- Light and Shadow: Keinyo White

Art- Page  from Sketchbook # 20 [man and woman sleeping in bed] Diebenkorn.

 

When he fakes orgasm.


Men fake orgasm and their partners are often none the wiser. 

Clients have told me that when they use a condom they disguise whether they’ve orgasmed and their partner has no idea that they faked it.

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A penis that is always hard sounds brilliant in theory but in reality it can cause all sorts of problems.

Take John for instance..  John can reach orgasm when he masturbates. He gets turned on with his partner but it takes him much longer and longer to reach orgasm every time they’re together.

Sometimes it’s impossible for him to ejaculate during sex that he fakes orgasm to “get it over with.”

Now John is at the point that he can’t orgasm at all during sex but he lies to his partner about it. His partner says John is more detached and distant during sex and it’s impacting their relationship in negative ways.

Delayed Ejaculation (DE) is rapidly becoming more common amongst men.



While orgasm and ejaculation isn’t necessary to have great sex, I would diagnose DE when it becomes persistent and troublesome and is causing relationship stress.

Yes there are many pathways to pleasure and orgasm but the important point here is that DE can detrimentally affect a man’s emotional wellbeing, self esteem and relationships.

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What causes Delayed Ejaculation?



  • DE can be caused by the side effects of SSRI anti depressants or physical problems such as diabetes, prostrate or spinal injuries.
  • Psychological stresses such as relationship problems, financial worries, anxiety and over thinking or intimacy problems can cause DE.
  • Some men might be so worried about their performance, problems at work or so emotionally disconnected from their partner they can’t connect or relax enough to climax.
  • Cultural or religious reasons. Men brought up in a culture that shames sexual pleasure can internalise that guilt and shame. This can hold them back from letting go and completely surrendering to the emotional pleasure of partnered sex or lead to developing a very unusual masturbation style.
  • Sometimes a couples mismatched desire for pregnancy can bring about DE. If there’s conflict surrounding her desire for a baby and his refusal then his mind can hold him back from ejaculating.
  • Controlling and repressing emotions. Men who can’t mentally let go and be consumed by sensual pleasure can struggle with climaxing.
  • Frequent masturbation and/or an ‘Idiosyncratic masturbatory style.’ This is when men have ‘trained’ their body to only get off on a specific pressure and rhythm that only their hand can deliver that can’t be replicated during partnered sex. Some boys can develop this throughout puberty by rushing their masturbation before they get “caught” or masturbate in a specific overly firm way to porn movies.

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Treatment for Delayed Ejaculation



Once medical reasons have been factored out sex therapy and relationship counselling can treat DE.

I often see both partners in my therapy rooms or via skype and prescribe them “homework” exercises to be done in the comfort of their bedroom together in their own time.

Different approaches during sex can “shake things up” by changing the mental routine. 
 I might recommend a brief masturbation break and to stay away from porn for a while. I’m not saying never look at porn again but try abstaining from watching porn for a month and see what happens to your relationship and your sexual functioning.

We also work on improving the emotional intimacy in the relationship through exploring; how the DE partner is emotionally holding back, sexual shame, guilt or fears of intimacy.
Therapy can strengthen and further bond your relationship and lead to more more intimate connections and better sex life. It takes guts to come see me but it’s worth it.

Get in touch here today if you would like to transform your intimate relationship and your sexual functioning. All sessions are confidential and I am accepting and non judgmental.

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This was published as a column in Ciao Magazine. Art by Keith Haring, Peter Hujar,  Sarah Lucas, Manuel Esthaem, Caravaggio, Luke Hillestad..