It is no secret that it can take women much longer to orgasm than men, but according to the Sexual Advice Association, not being able to have an orgasm at all now affects as many as 50% of women in the UK.
Alix Fox, sex and relationships expert for Durex told HuffPost UK: “I speak to a lot of women who either think they can’t cum at all, or that they can’t get there using fingers alone (only a vibrator).”
So if you’re struggling to climax, here are eight things that might be stopping you short of the finish line.
1. You are trying to rush (or feeling rushed).
We all have busy lives and sometimes it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, so things get pushed down the list of priorities. And while you can always have a quickie, we can’t guarantee that rushing through sex will get you where you want to go.
Alix Fox said: “Few people – females included – realise quite how long the process can take. It is very common for ladies to need at least 20 minutes of constant, repetitive stimulation in order to hit the ‘Big O’, and it’s far from rare for it to take as much as 40 minutes or more.”
2. You are thinking about other things.
In the same way as rushing sex, not focusing on the task at hand is going to make it much harder to reach orgasm (trust us).
Eve Fifer, Head of Sex Toys at Ann Summers, says: “Women have a tendency to juggle multiple thoughts at once, usually planning a future activity or making a mental to-do list, which stops them from being able to fully let go in the heat of the moment.”
3. You are stressed.
The irony of not being able to orgasm causing you to stress is that by being stressed you are further decreasing your chances. It’s a horrible self-fulfilling cycle of bad sex.
Fifer says: “This increased stress that’s a result of our ever-demanding lifestyle can cause stress, anxiety and depression, so when it comes to orgasms you really do have to get out of your head to be better in bed.
4. You have given yourself a mental block.
Any woman who has struggled with not being able to orgasm will know that after the first time it happens, it is likely to knock your confidence, which can in turn make it harder to get there in the future.
“Chances are that one time you struggled to reach orgasm is constantly playing on your mind, and by worrying about whether or not you’re going to go over the edge, you’re actually stopping it. You are O-blocking yourself,” says Fifer.
5. You are worrying about your performance.
Of course orgasms aren’t just physical, and Mike Lousada, an expert in psychosexual therapy told HuffPost UK that a female orgasm is much more about women “feel about themselves” so you might want to consider if that is playing a part in your mental distraction.
6. You are having problems with your partner.
The NHS says that the problem might not just be about you, but the person you are sleeping with too.
Perhaps you are struggling to communicate with your partner about what you want or need, or maybe you just don’t fancy them anymore and are bored by your sex life, in which case that is a different conversation entirely.
7. You are having painful sex.
It can occur if the woman associates sex with pain or being ‘wrong’, if she’s had vaginal trauma, such as childbirth or an episiotomy, or if you are going through relationship problems.
8. You are going through the menopause.
If you are suffering from secondary orgasm problems (you were able to in the past, but can’t have one now) this could be triggered by physical changes in your body, such as the menopause.
It can also cause a loss of desire, and lack of sex drive, according to the NHS.