Let's be honest, most of us aren't orgasming machines every time we have sex. Whether you’re having trouble reaching your full potential or the usual foreplay just isn’t doing it for you, sometimes you just feel...off.
And that’s completely normal, says certified sex therapist Kat Van Kirk, Ph.D. “Orgasms can be affected by many variables, from hormonal fluctuations, to how we feel about our relationship, to work stress,” she says.
Check out 14 mind-blowing facts about orgasms in our animated video:
But how do you know whether your O is just going through a rough patch or it’s something more serious? Van Kirk and board-certified clinical sexologist Debra Laino say these are big indicators that it’s time to try a home remedy or get some help from a profesh:
You’re Stressed About It
Worrying about not being able to orgasm can have a direct impact on your ability to orgasm. Annoying, right? “Spending too much time focusing on having an orgasm leads to performance anxiety and stress,” says Laino. Not only that, zeroing in on the end result (i.e. whether or not you finish) makes you less likely to enjoy sex, period.
Instead of keeping your eye on the prize, she recommends concentrating on the pleasure you feel in your body. If an orgasm happens—great. If not, at least you enjoyed the ride.
You Fake It on the Regular
While you’re probably putting on a show with the best of intentions (i.e. you don’t want to hurt his feelings), it’s not doing you or your partner any favors. “If you have a pattern of faking orgasms, you may want to look at how and why you aren’t getting the stimulation you need,” says Van Kirk.
If sex just isn’t doing it for you, Laino recommends a little self-love to explore what gets you off. Then, you can guide your guy to help him hit the right spots. You can also bring a vibrator into the mix to help show him what feels good, she says.
There’s no shame in not being able to orgasm—and Van Kirk says you should talk to your partner about it if you’re having trouble.
“Feeling uncomfortable about discussing why you're not reaching the O with your partner may indicate that you need to work on communication with each other," says Van Kirk. Talking about your lack of grand finale can help you figure out the kind of stimulation you need to reach the finish line, she says.
To get the ball rolling, just be honest and say, “I haven’t been orgasming as much lately,” and suggest that you experiment together in bed to find a solution. Odds are, he'll be psyched to try some new things.
You’re Having Sex Regularly, But It’s Been Months Since Your Last O
Sure, a bunch of factors can mess up your ability to orgasm, but Laino says you’re entering red flag territory if you’re having sex at least once a week and haven’t had an orgasm in two months (that's if you've been able to reach O-town on the reg before). The same is true if you have sex several times a week and haven’t orgasmed in weeks.
It may be as simple as pinpointing your stressors and making an effort to relax. But if you’re still struggling, it may be time to bring out the big guns—a.k.a. a sex counselor.
“If you've tried to troubleshoot some of these issues on your own but find that your orgasm is elusive months later, it's probably time to talk to a sex therapist,” says Van Kirk. She recommends visiting the website of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, to find a professional near you.