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5 Reasons Why You Aren’t Having an Orgasm

Is There Such a Thing as a Normal Orgasm? first appeared on

I saw the question, Are your orgasms normal? online this week and decided to share my thoughts on orgasms. First of all, let’s start with a working definition.

Here’s how defines the female orgasm:

“A female orgasm can be achieved in a number of ways, but for up to 80 percent of women, getting there requires direct clitoral stimulation. Orgasms can also be achieved via vaginal or G-spot stimulation. When a woman has an orgasm, she usually has body and pelvic contractions as well as vocalizations accompanied by intense pleasure. The female orgasm usually lasts longer than the male orgasm; women are also capable of having several orgasms in a row.”


Every orgasm is unique.

 Just as each of us sneeze in a distinctive way, our orgasms are different too.  Some of us have vaginal orgasms with no external stimulation, some of us require clitoral stimulation and some of us have never had an orgasm.

It can be a quick fluttering sensation or a head-to-toe body quaking experience that seems to last for minutes. We may feel hot and out of breath, we may scream, laugh, cry or remain silent. An orgasm usually involves contractions of the vagina and pelvic area which can be felt by you and a partner. There are women who can orgasm through touch on other body parts—nonsexual touch that does not involve in sexual activity—for example, when getting a massage.

When we base our notion of orgasm on movie sex we are likely to feel inadequate. What we see is not representative of how most women achieve orgasms. And, yet we somehow think it is our fault. If it’s anyone’s ‘fault’ lets blame it on a society that over-sensationalizes sex, fails to provide adequate sex education, and shames women for having sexual desire.

Having an orgasm is difficult for many women, for any number of reasons.

  • We don’t know our bodies or what gives us sexual pleasure.
  • We don’t feel comfortable talking about it to our partner.
  • Our partners don’t have enough experience with women’s bodies, or a good understanding of how to help us achieve orgasm.
  • We take a passive role and assume ‘he’ will make us come, rather than being in charge of our own orgasms.
  • And, when we get to the bedroom we are often so anxious about having the big O that we get too focused, too uptight, and we fail to relax.

Sex is a wonderful thing and having an orgasm is a delightful bonus, but it shouldn’t be the only good thing we experience during sex.  The orgasm shouldn’t be viewed as a measure of our success. There is great pleasure in all the other aspects of a sexual encounter that we should be focusing on.  This will sound rather simplistic, but it may be that by letting go of expectations, enjoying your partner’s touch, and being in tune with your body you’ll be more likely to have an orgasm.

One of the first articles I wrote on the female orgasm continues to draw readers from across the internet: Just What Does a Female Orgasm Feel Like. It barely touches the surface but it’s a good start. You might enjoy this one: Want Pleasure? Learn How to Become More Orgasmic. And, just in case you’re saying “I’m too old, it’s too late for me”, read this fabulous letter to Betty Dodson from a 62-year-old woman who just started self-pleasuring and is now having regular orgasms.

It is never too late to have a satisfying sexual life. 

Thoughts? Does having a better understanding of the range of possibilities help you put your experience into perspective?

Walker Thornton

We are delighted to have Walker Thornton as our Women’s Sexual Health columnist. After working for over 10 years in the field of sexual violence against women, Walker is now enjoying a new career as a freelance writer, public speaker, and sex educator with an emphasis on midlife women. Her blog, was ranked #5 by in their top 100 Sex Blogging Superheroes of 2014. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter For questions about sexual health, write her at

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Anne Parris

Monday 25th of August 2014

Great article, Walker! I hope it helps a lot of women.

Walker Thornton

Saturday 27th of September 2014

Thanks Anne. It's amazing how many people want to know more about orgasms but are uncomfortable asking!

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