Why Can’t I Orgasm? with Emma Tamsin Hill

I had my first orgasm when I was 18 years old. When I was growing up, masturbation had always been something very taboo and something you would deny vigorously to your 14-year-old male classmates as they shouted “ewwww you finger yourself” across the room at school. I’ve always been aware of sex and pleasure and I experimented with myself from time to time throughout my teenage years but never really felt like I was doing it right. I always felt a little bit of shame around the idea of masturbation until I turned 18 and funnily enough found myself in an Ann Summers shop on the high street (this really did happen, I’m not saying this because 6 years later I’m writing this blog post for them!) and when buying some underwear I decided to buy a bullet vibrator at the till. Before I had my first orgasm friends (and the internet) would tell me:

“Oh you’ll know when you’ve had an orgasm, you don’t question it”

Considering I had lost my virginity in my mid-teens, I realised I had never experienced this sensation before. When I eventually experimented with the toy, I had my first orgasm and thought, “OK, I get it now, this is what they meant!” Since then, I’ve had hundreds of orgasms and I’m always finding new ways to pleasure myself and make sex and masturbation not just about an end goal, but an opportunity to experience new sensations and feelings. I struggled for a long time with reaching orgasm and even up until recent years struggled to orgasm during sex as I was too in my own head about things and couldn’t relax.

But I’m going to help give you some tips on how to reach orgasm both alone and with a partner, so let’s gooooo!

Reaching Orgasm Alone Through Masturbation

The clitoris has 8,000 sensitive nerve endings and, for most people with a vagina, it’s a guaranteed gateway to orgasm. For some people it may take two minutes, for others (like me) it may take 20 minutes or longer. My first tip is not to be ashamed of how long it might take you to reach climax. We are all individuals and experience things differently, it’s super important to be patient with your body. As I said before, it isn't about the finish line it’s about what we experience throughout the time spent pleasing ourselves.

Make sure you’re in a space that feels relaxing and comfortable. I like to really set the mood, after all, masturbation is an act of self-care for me to forget all the stresses or worries of my day. Light some candles, turn off the lights and maybe even set some music playing in the background. The more relaxed and at ease you feel, the easier it’ll be to reach climax - I often find my orgasms more intense with this too. Alongside this I know it can be super easy to get stuck in the moment and almost be mechanical with your movements, not really fully feeling what you’re doing (especially if you’re watching porn and getting focused on it) so take time to check in with yourself and how things feel when you are exploring down there. When you become present in the moment you can often feel things a lot more intensely, some deep breathing also helps with this. Build it up in that moment and take things slowly, again I always find this patience gives me a more intense full body orgasm.

Speaking of checking in with yourself, I for one have a VERY busy and active mind that can be hard to switch off. I can easily get distracted and overthink things which instantly takes away from the sensations I should be feeling. It can be hard but staying in the moment is super important, this is why I say setting the mood to make you more relaxed can really help. But I have found app’s such as Enjoy (you can find it on the app store!) really help as they have guided sessions, almost like meditation, to help you explore your body and get you in the mood.

Lastly for this masturbation segment, something I find that always helps me is layering different sensations together. Clitoral stimulation is great but when I incorporate touching my nipples or using an internal vibrator or dildo it helps to get me there and create a more intense orgasm, sometimes known as a blended orgasm. In particular I love G-spot vibrators, although they look a little scary they feel incredible. Some of you may not know the G-spot is actually part of your clitoral network so when you are stimulating your G-spot you’re stimulating part of your clitoris as it is actually much bigger than the tip that we see on our vulvas.

Reaching Orgasm During Sex

Reaching an orgasm during sex was something I always struggled with as I struggle to climax from penetration alone (I’m jealous of you girls that can) but don’t worry as it’s completely normal! In fact 50-75% of women need clitoral stimulation to reach an orgasm, which is why it’s so important to take your pleasure into your own hands when having sex with a partner.

Firstly, I find a good amount of time doing foreplay really helps relax the body and get you aroused. This time can be spent doing anything that feels good for you, sometimes it’s not as black and white as stimulating the clitoris or putting fingers into your vagina. Things like your partner giving you a massage, having their fingers or kisses travel across your body or them stimulating your nipples can help get you in the mood. Again, during this time it’s important to feel comfortable and at ease with your partner as I think my feelings of self-loathing towards my body hindered me for many years. I found it really difficult to relax because I was self-conscious of how my body looked to them, changing these thought patterns isn't something that comes overnight but working on them in your everyday life will definitely help your sex life. We all deserve to feel beautiful, sexy, and worthy of experiencing pleasure.

The major game changer for me was when I started introducing sex toys into the bedroom. Using a clitoral vibrator when having penetrative sex changed my LIFE let me tell you! Often when I was younger I would feel embarrassed to bring up using a toy during sex as I felt ashamed that I couldn’t reach orgasm through penetration alone and was scared what my boyfriend or partner at the time would say (these toxic male egos need to leave the room, it’s not all about you hun!) but when I learnt to prioritise my pleasure and started using them that’s when I really started to reach climax during sex and I felt so proud of myself! Again, layering the sensations really helps, so during penetration try having them suck your nipples too to intensify the feelings.

I hope I’ve helped anyone reading feel more at ease and confident to go out there and get your orgasm! Pleasure and climax is such a radical act of self-care and shows you putting yourself first and giving yourself some love. Although a lot of these tips can’t be magically fixed overnight the journey of learning to love yourself and your body by experimenting with what feels good to you is so beautiful and insightful. Wishing you lots of orgasms in the future and remember to enjoy every minute of it!