Karen Fratti
June 22, 2017 2:30 pm

When Harry Met Sally is a great rom-com, but it might have had one terrible effect on an entire generation of sex-positive women: A lot of us grew up assuming that an orgasm was just like Meg Ryan’s performance at that diner table over lunch. It seemed like all orgasms were supposed to be loud, expressive, and so enviable that even a complete stranger would recognize it as something she wanted. But not everyone has an orgasm like that, and frankly, some women have a hard (or impossible) time reaching orgasm at all. Luckily, there are tons of reasons women don’t have an orgasm during sex, and it’s almost always not because there’s something wrong with them.

Reaching an orgasm during sex can be really hard for some women.

For so many people, achieving a Samantha Jones-level orgasm is the ultimate goal of all sexual activity. But that’s a lot of pressure, for everyone involved. Compound the desire to achieve the “Big O” with the fact that society didn’t even think women could actually enjoy sex until relatively recently, and it’s no wonder that there are so many women walking around this world not knowing how to get themselves off, or psyching themselves out right before they *get there* during sex.

If you’re not reaching an orgasm anymore during sex, or never have to begin with, do not stress.

Check out these reasons you might not have an orgasm during sex and see if you can troubleshoot.

Because orgasms are awesome and you deserve one. Hell, you deserve a lot.

1You’re doing it wrong.

Don’t misunderstand us — there is no right way to orgasm. But there’s a right way for YOU. If you’re not reaching an orgasm during penetrative sex, it could be that you’re ignoring you are ignoring your clitoris. According to Dr. Alyssa Dweck, a New York based gynecologist and author of The Complete A to Z for Your V: A Women’s Guide to Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Your Vagina, most women and their partners are ignoring the clitoris. 

So switch it up. “Many women will not reach orgasm with traditional missionary position intercourse and have to rely on alternate positions … or other forms of manual stimulation,” she tells HelloGiggles. Try out different positions and ask your partner if they (or you) can work on yourself a little bit during sex.

2You’re stressed out.

Most women need to be in the right headspace to orgasm.

If you’re worried about why you’re not getting off, or what your partner is thinking, or what exactly your boss meant with that smirking emoji in her last email of the day (uh, does that means you’re getting fired or not), calm down. Yes, that’s easier said than done, for sure. But do everything you can to make sure you’re ready to zone out and focus on enjoying sex when you’re having it.

Likewise, if you’re usually able to orgasm and find that you’re just not getting there recently, it could be something else going on in your life that’s messing with you.

3It’s your hormones.

Women who are going through menopause often find it takes longer to orgasm, according to Dweck. She tells HelloGiggles, “During and after the menopausal transition, many women find it more difficult to climax in that it may take longer or may be weaker. Hormonal therapy, lubricants, altered sexual repertoire, and patience will help.” So there’s that to look forward to. For younger women, different times of their menstrual cycle may also affect how easily they orgasm. So take note and see if you find any patterns.

4Your medication might be throwing you off.

There are many medications out there that affect your sex drive and ability to climax. Dr. Jennifer Wider tells HelloGiggles that, “antidepressants, heart meds, seizure drugs have all been implicated,” in a woman’s ability to climax. It’s totally unfair that something you need to stay mentally and physically healthy is getting in the way of sexual pleasure. (Seriously, you can sulk for a minute or two. We get it.)

But there are some things you can do! Dweck suggests talking to your primary physician or prescribing therapist. Because you might be able to “change medications, alter doses or timing of administration,” she says. “With [a doctor’s] permission, of course,” Dweck adds.

5You’re not communicating with your partner.

Ascher-Walsh tells HelloGiggles that communication is key. If your stress levels are normal, you’re ready, and you already know how to get yourself off, it might be your partner.

That can be tricky territory, but there are ways to talk to your partner about the little tweaks (maybe even literally) they can make to help you out.

6You’re just not in the mood.

Sometimes, according to Wider, it could simply be a lack of foreplay that’s holding you back. Try to slow things down, and make sure you’re actually turned on before you start to work towards an orgasm — but don’t force it. There’s no need to have maintenance sex (unless that’s something you and your partner have agreed to), but if you’re having sex just because you feel like you have to and you’re not into it, it’s no mystery why your body isn’t responding.

You might want to talk to someone — a therapist, a sex counselor, your OB-GYN — if you find you have no sex drive ever, and it’s bothering you. Dweck tells HelloGiggles that it could be some underlying issue that could isn’t being treated. Or maybe you just don’t like to have sex, or are going through a sex-free phase, and that’s OK, too.

There are so many reasons that you may not be having an orgasm during sex. The first step to fixing that? Not viewing it as a problem that needs to be “fixed.” If your lack or orgasm is affecting your relationship, your happiness, or your mental health, you should definitely talk to your gynecologist or therapist about it. Otherwise, take a deep breath, get yourself in the mood, and get busy. Orgasms should be fun, not something you have to worry about.

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