“I’m about to lose the dearest man in the world because I’m just not sexy enough,” says 22-year-old Lori, a kindergarten teacher. “Ron and I have been married for 10 months - I was a virgin when we married - and, despite countless hours of lovemaking, I have yet to have an orgasm,” she says.
Lori knows she’s sexually naive compared to most women. “My parents were traditional, religious and strict,” she says. When her older sister Janice became pregnant out of wedlock, her father kicked her out of the house. He then became overly protective or Lori.
“During the two years we dated, Ron was always respectful and understanding. He knew I didn’t want to have sex until after we married, and he told me he’d be proud to be my sexual teacher,” Lori recalls. But from their honeymoon on, their relationship was in trouble.
“Ron lost his patience with me on our wedding night,” Lori continues. “The tenderness vanished.” In its place is an angry man who can’t understand why his wife doesn’t climax. Lori believes Ron is comparing her to Patty, his ex-wife - who, he tells her, was sensational in bed.
Ron, 32, a high school science teacher, admits he and Patty had a terrific sex life, “but the rest of the marriage was a disaster. I love Lori very much. She’s the only person who has ever cared about me - my own parents certainly never did. She has given me direction and ambition,” he says. Ron assumed Lori’s sexual reluctance would change after marriage. “I want her to enjoy making love.” he says, adding her inability to orgasm indicates she’s not enjoying it.
“Lori is far from alone in her inability to reach orgasm,” points out Jane Greer, Ph.D., a New York marriage and sex therapist. Current research indicates up to 70 percent of women have difficulty climaxing during intercourse. Many fake it so as not to appear inadequate or frigid or to avoid disappointing their partner.
Some women have trouble reaching orgasm because they believe, unconsciously, that enjoying sex is somehow wrong. “While Lori doesn’t realize it, she is probably still slavishly dedicated to living up to her father’s standards,” Greer surmises.
However, Ron’s insistence on pleasing his wife, though well-intentioned, is aggravating the situation. Ron, Greer points out, is also sexually ignorant. Like many men with low self-esteem, he equates sex with love. Lori’s inability to reach orgasm means his lovemaking is lackluster or his wife doesn’t find him attractive.
While no one technique will work for every woman, according to Greer, the key to sexual satisfaction lies in discovering what pleases you without falling victim to performance anxiety.
The following suggestions can help:
1. Stop thinking of orgasm as the be-all and end-all of sex. Concentrate instead on the pleasure you feel at each stage of lovemaking as the sensations wash over you.
2. Make a list of all your worries and grievances about sex. Writing fears down helps you organize your thoughts and puts you in a position to tackle each problem. Determine how realistic each problem really is and what you can do to ease the fear or resolve the problem.
3. Remember that an orgasm involves muscles that can enhance erotic pleasure. Called the pelvic muscles, they can be strengthened by Kegel exercises. Squeeze and release those muscles, first slowly, then in rapid sequence. With greater muscle control, you can sustain tension during sex.
4. Hold back a little during sex. Many women, anxious that they’re taking too long, push themselves before they’re really ready. The result: no orgasm or an unsatisfying one. Heighten pleasure, experts say, by hovering at the brink of orgasm as long as possible.
5. Use fantasies to help you focus your thoughts on your body and what feels good at the moment. Instead of disconnecting from sex with fearful thoughts, experts agree that conjuring up specific images - such as picturing yourself making love on the beach as the waves wash over you - can turn up the heat.
In counseling, Ron learned that sex isn’t the only proof of Lori’s love or his masculinity. He began to demonstrate love in other ways, and she, in turn, found that she was more interested in sex. When they tried a final suggestion from the counselor - to engage in foreplay for a week without the assumption that it would lead to intercourse - Lori had her first orgasm.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.