Help a mental case when it comes to sex
August 17, 2012 11:22 PM   Subscribe

Help me understand the psychology of Orgasm.

I'm in a good, relatively new relationship and as a female I have challenges orgasming. I know at times its tied directly to how I am feeling about my partner at the time, whether I'm stressed out about him or about something else in my life and no matter how hard I concentrate I am unable to orgasm. Other times, however I have no problem focusing and then slipping over the edge into an orgasm. My question is this - how do I consistently get myself to block out any stress or distraction and push myself over the edge. Are there any mental practices I can do? My other question is this: Why is it that when watching porn by myself, I have no problem becoming aroused to the point where I can easily come. But when I'm actually doing that activitie (i.e. what I was watching) with my parter with whom I am very smitten and attracted to, I often have difficulty becoming aroused to the point of orgasm. I had found in previous relationships when I was with a man I was purely attracted to and was essentially in it for the sex, I had no problem orgasming whereas with this person, I am emotionally attached to and sincerely hoping for a future with him - but this kills my ability to fully enjoy sex. Halp!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

and no matter how hard I concentrate I am unable to orgasm.

You're pressuring yourself too much. Did you read what you just wrote?! :)
posted by alex_skazat at 11:26 PM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]

Agreed that being able to relax and accept that whatever happens, happens (even if that means not orgasming at that exact moment) is okay. Since you have a regular partner, talk to that person about this because people can easily feel like they are failing if their partner isn't coming, but being able to say to someone that you're good and s/he can just go for it, can release the pressure. Honestly, sometimes it doesn't matter how much you are attracted to or care about the person or how skilled s/he is, it just isn't going to happen and that's okay. It can still be fun. I'm also wondering how much self esteem is factoring into this. When you're watching porn you don't need to worry about another person's feelings or reactions, you can just lose yourself, and any insecurities tend not to come into play. It's a bit harder when you're worried about hurting someone's feelings, are feeling shy, or just don't feel your sexiest for whatever reason. Lastly, it is very easy to orgasm with someone you aren't emotionally attached to because you don't care (as much) about their needs and you aren't as concerned about how they perceive you. Not to make the leap towards counseling, but maybe it's worth talking to someone about, even if this is a really common situation. It sounds like the emotional connection is acting as an inhibition as opposed to an aphrodisiac and, ideally, you could turn that around, but probably not without some hard work on yourself. Good luck!
posted by katemcd at 11:39 PM on August 17, 2012

no matter how hard I concentrate I am unable to orgasm.

I want to tell you to feel free to ignore anyone who tells you to "just relax!" That is a really unfortunate piece of advice handed out like one size fits all candy. Some of us have to concentrate to orgasm. That's completely fine.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:48 AM on August 18, 2012 [6 favorites]

You have no problem reaching orgasm with porn and with someone you are with only for sex, because getting lost in your sexuality is a much less complicated activity when you don't need to care about another person involved. It's sort of like being less nervous for a job interview when you don't really want the job, anyway.

So, you need to help yourself to emotionally get past feeling like it's the "job interview," and start feeling more like you're enjoying your awesome tenure-track job. Time helps with that, as long as you spend that time actively engaging with thinking positively about feeling comfortable. Talking to your partner should also help; if you lay out how sincerely smitten you are and say that because you care so much, you have trouble really freeing yourself to orgasm, it would give your partner an opportunity to soothe those worries -- and might be a relief for him to find out he's not doing anything wrong as a lover!

As for helping concentration in order to reduce outside stress thoughts, that seems tougher. Sometimes when you're stressed, especially about your partner, the only way to get it out of the way and enjoy sex is to deal with it -- it's hard to ignore! Maybe doing a generally de-stressing activity beforehand would help, such as some mindfulness deep-breathing or yoga?
posted by Pwoink at 6:14 AM on August 18, 2012

Sounds kinda silly but try a breathing exercise, hold breath for 4 seconds, breathe out, breathe in deeply, repeat (obviously don't make yourself pass out etc though). Focusing on something as basic as breathing might make it happen more easily.
posted by meepmeow at 9:23 AM on August 18, 2012

I agree with both Pwoink and Rodrigo: it may be either (or a combination) of a partner who has different purely physical technique and your own stress level. The former you can address (somewhat) with conversation and practice, if your partner is interested in learning how to play you right. The latter you can address through intentional relaxation cycles before you have sex (breathing exercises, meditation, sauna or bath, physical exercise, getting enough sleep, gradual warm-up with cuddling, massage, etc.)

You can get yourself off because, in any event, porn is a throwaway no-stress activity and you know exactly how to push your own buttons. You might consider taking a break from it for a while too, to see if that changes things; it can sometimes interfere with your enjoyment of sex-with-others.
posted by ead at 9:59 AM on August 18, 2012

If the genders were reversed, people might say that this is like the classic Madonna/Whore problem. If you use those words to search around, you might be more likely to find advice about how to get over this issue.
posted by CathyG at 10:00 AM on August 18, 2012

I suspect it's a vulnerability thing. I you know it's just sex and not real intimacy, it's easier to relax because there's less pressure. Deal with your relationship issues first and I think you'll find that this will work itself out.
posted by Raichle at 11:37 AM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

*If you know
posted by Raichle at 11:37 AM on August 18, 2012

how do I consistently get myself to block out any stress or distraction and push myself over the edge.

Orgasm is about "letting go", so engaging in any mental blocking or pushing is going to hinder your attempts.

So it is obviously more complicated than "just relax". As with above, you can't force yourself to relax. But what you do need to do is explore your feelings and go on an emotional journey, and figure out what is stressing you about this person. You have to get into your mindspace of being intimate with this partner, and think about the feelings you feel at that time. If you feel nervous, probe deeper and find out why you feel nervous. Keep exploring these connections until you arrive at the answer.

You like him SO much that you don't want to screw it up? You WANT him to be "the one" more than you believe he actually is? You like the idea of this person more than you actually like them? If you let go all the way you might make an embarrassing noise? Or fall off the bed?
posted by gjc at 9:43 AM on August 19, 2012

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