Dear Dr. Jenni,
I am a young, sexually active female who has never been able to orgasm. Through research, I understand that in order to achieve orgasm, women must be comfortable with themselves and their partners. As far as my partner goes, he dedicates every second of our “play time” to me and always focuses on what he can do to please me. I have also been masturbating for years, and I know what feels good to me and have tried different techniques. But no matter what I (or my partner) do, I cannot seem to orgasm. I feel like every time I get close, it’s as if I fall off a cliff. I go from a rather high point to absolutely nothing in a span of half a second. I feel like there might be something wrong with me.
—Making An Effort to Orgasm
Nothing is wrong with you at all.
Your struggle is very common among women, including your cliff metaphor. Many women feel like they get to the edge, yet going over is the scariest thing in the world. Or they feel like they fall over into an empty abyss.
I’m curious what the tape recording in your head sounds like just as you get to that cliff? My guess is that because both you and your boyfriend are enormously focused on achieving this orgasmic goal, the tape recording keeps repeating, “Will it happen this time?” Consider three main tips. One, let go of the goal of having an orgasm. Orgasm is about surrender — allowing yourself to release any anxiety and melt into the mattress.
Two, “relax and distract.” Try relaxing breathing before starting. Then distract yourself, or have your boyfriend distract you, during “play time.” Maybe play music, watch an erotic video, or have him tell you a fantasy. The idea is not to focus on your goal of achieving an orgasm, but rather enjoy the pleasurable journey you are experiencing and allow the orgasm to emerge naturally.
Three, if you still feel like anxiety is your enemy, try working with it as a
team. Role-play an orgasm in your best exaggerated, Hollywood fashion — moan loud, throw your head back, tense your muscles, rock your pelvis. This will help teach and encourage your body to feel what it’s like to have one. Lastly, feel free to call a sex therapist to help you through this. That’s what we are here for!
Dear Dr. Jenni,
My husband really likes when I wear high heels when we make love. It seems like we rarely have sex without my shoes on. When we do go shoeless, he seems to be less aroused and erect. I don’t mind wearing shoes, but I fear this isn’t normal.
—Shoe Fetish Freak-Out
“Normal” is in the mind of the beholder. There is an excellent quote by Jiddu Krishnamurt that says, “It is no measure of health to be welladjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
Now, this doesn’t mean our society is profoundly sick, but comparing standards of normalcy against a stringent status quo will only leave you disappointed.
As for the proclivity towards high heels, your husband is certainly not alone. The question is whether his keen interest is truly a “fetish.” A fetish means that he must rely solely on an object or specific body part for sexual stimulation. If this is the case, and if you feel distressed with the situation, then negotiating a compromise for sexual activity may be needed. However, since you seem to feel comfortable with heels, then I would say embrace it as best you can. Since it’s near Valentine’s Day, perhaps take yourself shopping and have a fun time filling your closet with different heels. But never forget, you are more than just your shoes!
Send questions for Jenni Skyler, Ph.D., to drjenni@theintimacyinstitute. org. Skyler is a sex therapist and boardcertified sexologist who runs The Intimacy Institute in Boulder, www.theintimacyinstitute.org.