She Wants Stronger Orgasms

By: Good Vibrations

Dear Good Vibrations--

My girlfriend isn't always able to come, or have a very satisfying orgasm. She says it's a mental thing and wonders if hypnosis would help her. I would like to help her have this experience! What can I do?

--She Wants Stronger Orgasms

Many women don’t orgasm much (or sometimes ever) during intercourse — some surveys have suggested as many as 70% of women do not. So if you and your girlfriend are experiencing that, specifically, as opposed to a lack of orgasms when you go down on her, use toys, or she masturbates, please be aware that her response (or lack of it) is very common. Generally women in this situation do best learning the skill of orgasm in other ways first — yes, in a way it IS a skill, since just as when she learns to knit or throw a softball, her body needs to grow nerves to help support the activity or, in this case, response.

Here are the first things I’d suggest. If your girlfriend doesn’t masturbate, with or without toys, I’d suggest she do so. Being able to have orgasms through any means will probably get her closer to orgasm from other kinds of stimulation, including with partner sex. Solo play (with or without you present) allows her to concentrate on sensations that can bring her closer to orgasm, and these can be subtle at first, harder to recognize when a partner is also in the mix.

There's a book on this topic, I Love Female Orgasm, that can be a terrific resource for you both. There's also the awesome, groundbreaking work of Dr. Betty Dodson, whose books and videos have helped many women and whose website is packed with information. And you might also like the tone of Ian Kerner’s book She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman.

Many women, even those who are very interested in sex, have two challenges when it comes to orgasm. First, they may try to hurry their own response and not take the time they need to get fully aroused (without optimal arousal, even a very willing and interested partner may not be able to come). Second, some regularly psych themselves out by worrying about whether they’ll be able to come this time. This preoccupation is something like what the Buddhists call “monkey mind,” and it serves as such a distraction that the sensations don’t get through. If this is what she means by “mental,” it’s conceivable that hypnotherapy would help, but I’d rather she learn to focus her attention on the erotic elements of each sexual encounter without that sort of outside assistance. (And if she isn’t actually turned on enough, it won’t help at all.) If there are issues with shame or fear, working through them with a therapist would be my recommendation.

Finally, a weak orgasm can be a sign of not-very-well-developed Kegel (a.k.a. pubococcygeal) muscles. Here are some instructions on exercising them — she may do better with a resistive device such as a barbell, but this is not entirely necessary. Good luck!