Welcome to Hump Day, where award-winning psychotherapist and TV host Dr. Jenn Mann answers your sexiest questions—unjudged and unfiltered. Have a quandary? Email us anonymously at HumpDay@instyle.com.
DEAR DR. JENN,
I hear about women who've never had an orgasm and women who have multiple mind-blowing O's on the reg. For me, climaxing feels enjoyable but rarely awe-inspiring. It takes me longer to get there than I think it should, and when I do arrive, I definitely don't experience any convulsing, as advertised. How do I know I'm reaching my peak potential? —Big Little O
BIG LITTLE O,
For some women, great orgasms come more easily than a bad match on a dating app, and for others they're harder to get than a Kylie Lip Kit the day of its release. Knowing your body parts, turn ons, and turn offs is key to taking your orgasms from mere hiccups to explosions.
First thing you want to do is rule out anything physical that can be blocking your pleasure. Meet with your doctor to discuss anything that could be impacting those O’s like hormones, child birth, menopause, endometriosis, and other health issues that can impact orgasm. Review your medications too. Meds like antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and even birth control can affect orgasm. Fortunately there are frequently other options that can reduce sexual side effects.
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The next step is to get down and dirty with yourself. As I told Kelsey Nykole on Season 4 of Couples Therapy with Dr. Jenn, after I found out she has never had an orgasm, “If you can’t identify your p***y in a line up, you don’t know your body well enough.” Women need to befriend and love their lady parts in order to get the maximum pleasure from those parts. If you feel shame, reservation, or, worse yet, disgust you are unlikely to be able to let go and have mind-blowing climaxes. And if you don’t know what you like, your partner is even less likely to be able to get you there.
On this topic, I need to address the mechanical pleasures of the vibrator. A good vibe and a bottle of lube can take your orgasms into the next stratosphere. On the flip side, if you're already familiar with the bliss of a vibrating wand and your struggle is real when you don’t use it, you are not alone. While vibrator dependency is not an actual diagnosis, many women report that overuse can create lowered sensitivity. I am not going to make you burn your delightful device, but for women in this category, a few tips: (1) Try to vary your solo techniques so that you do not get too acclimated to one touch. (2) Turn down the speed! Always use the minimum speed it takes to get the job done. (3) Use your hands 50 percent of the time. This helps you get to know your body better and prevents you from getting used to a vibration that is impossible to create without a manufactured device. (4) Use lubrication. This reduces friction and prevents you from going numb.
Another area you need to know yourself to achieve maximum orgasm velocity is, of course, your psyche. What turns us on is not always politically correct. Allow yourself the room to explore erotica, pornography, and sexual fantasy. Orgasms begin in the mind, and until you know and accept your turn ons, you are operating at a disadvantage.
Now for some concrete tips:
1) Get flexing. One of the best things you can do is strengthen your pubococcygeal (PC) muscle by doing Kegel exercises. Kegels, which involve contracting and releasing of that muscle, strengthens your pelvic floor, which supports the bladder, vagina, and uterus. Strengthening these muscles will lead to more intense orgasms. A simple Google search will pull up instructions. I also recommend checking out Kegel apps, which talk you through the exercise, track your progress, and remind you to do your Kegels.
2) Build it and you will cum. Even when you are flying solo, do some foreplay. When you feel like you are getting close, stop, rest, and let your body recover. Allowing yourself that arousal build up by backing off momentarily can result in a more explosive orgasm. You can do this with a partner too. Instead of following a linear path to orgasm, mix it up. Maybe you begin intercourse and then loop back around to foreplay for a bit.
3) Practice makes perfect. Do it more often! The more you have sex, of any sort, the more you will stimulate blood flow to your genitals and improve lubrication, which bodes well for orgasm. In addition, a new study in the journal Evolutionary Psychology found that orgasm frequency is highly correlated with orgasm intensity. In other words, the more orgasms you have, the better they are!
4) Use teamwork. If you find that your orgasms are not as good with your partner, make sure you teach him or her all of the new things that you have learned about your body. Having open communication about your preferences, desires, fantasies, and needs in bed is crucial to improving your experience.
5) Get sexually fit. Orgasms are a blood flow game. In order to have the best ones, you need to get blood flowing to your lady parts. Being healthy and fit all-around can help make that happen. Let this motivate you to eat well, exercise, quit smoking, and cut back on partying. While alcohol and drugs can lower inhibitions and make you think you’re about to have great sex, it actually gets in the way of the sexual response cycle. Believe it or not, high blood alcohol levels are associated with delayed orgasms and decreased sensitivity for both men and women.