The pursuit of sexual pleasure is a natural and normal part of human sexuality, as well as a key motivating factor in sexual activity. Thus, there is nothing wrong with wanting to experience orgasms, as it is a natural part of pursuing pleasure. Besides being an effective indicator of sexual pleasure, orgasms are also a key indicator of happy relationships and are associated with sexual satisfaction.
The ‘Orgasm’ Origins
The word orgasm comes from the Greek word orgasmos, which means “swelling,” “bursting forth,” or “flowing.” In the medical literature, orgasm is generally defined as a subjective experience of intense sexual pleasure that is accompanied by muscle contractions in the pelvic region, as well as other changes in the body, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure. Although orgasm is often associated with sexual intercourse, it is important to note that it can also be experienced during other sexual activities, such as masturbation and oral sex.
Cultural Beliefs and Fake Orgasms
Many people enjoy the physical and mental sensations that orgasms provide. Again, there is nothing wrong with seeking out sexual pleasure or orgasms if it is done in a safe and consensual way. However, some people may feel guilty or ashamed about pursuing them. This can be due to several factors, including religious or cultural beliefs, past experiences, feelings of self-consciousness or insecurities. These feelings, among other reasons, might lead some people to fake orgasms (i.e., an individual saying or behaving as if they had an orgasm when they have not).
They might feel pressure to perform, they might want to please their partner by showing clear signs of pleasure, or they want to end the sex encounter, but research has found that faking orgasms is associated with lower levels of sexual satisfaction. Hence, one should understand why they are hesitant to talk with their partner about whether they have an orgasm through their sexual encounter in the first place since it might impact the conversation ahead.
After understanding the reason, you might want to keep a couple of things in mind before having such a conversation:
1.Avoid placing blame
It can be tempting to want to blame your partner for not “making you orgasm”, but this will likely only make the conversation more difficult and may damage your relationship. Instead, try to focus on finding a solution together.
2. Be open and honest
Your partner cannot read your mind, so it is important to be clear about what you are thinking and feeling. Be honest about your needs and desires and explain what you are hoping to achieve with this conversation.
3. Offer suggestions
If you have any ideas about how your partner could help you reach orgasm, be sure to share them! This can show that you are invested in finding a solution together. If not, show that you are willing to explore different ways of sexual pleasure with them.
4. Be patient
Changing sexual habits can take time, so it is crucial to be patient with both yourself and your partner. Be prepared to have this conversation more than once and remember that it may take some trial and error to find what works for you.
Remember that it takes more than one person to create an enjoyable and fulfilling sexual relationship, so open communication is key!
If you are not having an orgasm even though you wish, it is vital to communicate this to your partner. Many people feel shy or embarrassed about this topic, but it is important to remember that your partner cannot read your mind. By being open and honest about your needs, you can help your partner understand how to better please you. If you are still having difficulty achieving orgasms, you may want to consult with a sex therapist who can help you identify any potential obstacles in your sexual life or relationship.
If you think you can benefit from professional support on this issue, you can book an appointment here.
Seray Soyman is working as a Trainee Psychosexologist within the Willingness team, providing psychosexual education and sexual support sessions, as well as delivering training and workshops. She has a master’s degree in Clinical Psychosexology from the Sapienza University of Rome. Seray’s research interests are sexual communication, sex-positive behaviour, LGBTQIA+ studies, and sexual health.
Fahs, B. (2014). Coming to power: Women’s fake orgasms and best orgasm experiences illuminate the failures of (hetero) sex and the pleasures of connection. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 16(8), 974-988.
Muehlenhard, C. L., & Shippee, S. K. (2010). Men’s and women’s reports of pretending orgasm. Journal of sex research, 47(6), 552-567.
World Association for Sexual Health. (2014). Declaration of sexual rights. https://worldsexualhealth.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Declaration-of-Sexual-Rights-2014-plain-text.pdf