Mindful Sex: Orgasm Anxiety Be Gone!

when-harry-met-sally-meg-ryan-faking-orgasm-1989-movie-still-03I faked every orgasm I ever had with my first boyfriend. I was 14 and eager to please. I wasn’t quite as convincing as Meg Ryan’s famous scene in When Harry Met Sally, but looking back I’m pretty sure that he didn’t care either way. I don’t think he actually liked vaginas. When that relationship ended I was adamant that I would never again fake an orgasm. I’m happy to report that since then I never have.

What did remain for some time, however, was orgasm anxiety. I felt a huge amount of pressure to come and come fast. My mind would race and the more it raced the less connected I would be with the pleasure in my body. I would worry that my partner didn’t really want to be doing what they were doing. I imagined him thinking, “Oh god. When is this going to end?” Mental talk about how she wished I would just get on with it swarmed my mind. Though I doubt these fantasies were reality, I felt rushed and judged—not a great combination for getting off or connecting with your partner. Orgasms had become, in effect, a problem.

At some point in my late teens I came up with a technique for getting out of my head and into my body. I would visualize that my brain was in my vagina and rather than thoughts, it manifested sensations. I would focus on those sensations, which would intensify the pleasure and give me some freedom from my mind. I wasn’t a pro at this technique, but when I was able to employ it, my sex life was much improved. At the time I didn’t realize that I was really on to something. I was on to mindful sex.

In the years since then I have come across many people who have some version of the orgasm anxiety that I experienced. I’ve known women who gave up altogether on having orgasms with their partners because of it. However in my experience I’ve seen that for most people mindful sex can help.

An important step towards anxiety free orgasms is to let go of the story that you can’t climax, or that it’s really difficult for you to climax, or that you can only climax within a very specific set of guidelines. This is just a story that you have been telling yourself which is not necessarily true. Letting go of a belief you have carried for a long time is a process, it may not happen overnight. Begin by noticing whenever that story pops into your head. Just that awareness will often start to shift the emotional attachment you have to that particular idea. Then you can redirect and reframe your thoughts around orgasms. Instead of “I’m never going to come and his tongue is probably getting really sore,” try “This feels amazing and I know he loves making me feel so good!” Any ideas you have about yourself are just composed of thoughts and emotions, which are impermanent and do not make up the whole of who you are.

Learning to focus on sensations in the body, ala mindfulness practice, is also paramount in having an anxiety-free experience with sex. If you are new to meditation, start simple: focus on your breath for just a few minutes right now. Feel the air move through your nostrils and into your lungs. Notice what it feels like as your lungs expand and fill with air. Follow the breath as it moves out of your body. Feel all the subtle expansions and contractions as you breathe. Treat each breath as a new adventure. Now find a part or parts of your body that feel(s) good. If you are especially tense or sad today that can be difficult, but it can be even a very small spot. Put your attention there and each time you are pulled into thoughts or uncomfortable sensations, simply come back to the part of the body that feels good.

Next try this while eating your favorite food or while getting a massage. Focus on the pleasant sensations in your mouth as you let that dark chocolate melt on your tongue. Deeply encounter the waves of pleasure and relaxation as your massage therapist works on your muscles. Notice to the pleasure in your body and face when you smile or laugh.

If you are ready to translate this body awareness to sex, try it solo first. Don’t rush into getting off, start slowly and focus on any sensations of pleasure, no matter how small or faint. Really soak into the good feelings in your body, the obvious and the subtle. Stay with the sensations, relax, and breathe. Try it without engaging in your normal techniques or fantasies; that may help you get more present with what it actually feels like to experience sexual pleasure. Let go of the expectation of climax and allow yourself to experience every tingle, throb, and rush of heat. It’s the journey not the destination. Each time the mind starts to pull you away, gently come back to the body and stay focused there. It can be intense to really feel all the pleasure that is available. You may find that you have sensation overload! Take your time and enjoy.

I continue to be surprised at my capacity to feel good. The amazing thing is how simple it can be. All one needs to do is pay attention. You deserve and are capable of having great pleasure in your life, without anxiety, attachment, or resistance. Take matters into your own hands and try it today.

In the next installment of Mindful Sex I will discus bringing your awareness of pleasure into sex with another person.

Read the full Mindful Sex Series

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2 Responses to “Mindful Sex: Orgasm Anxiety Be Gone!”

  1. MelissaFenton
    September 23, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    Great article. Thanks Jessica!

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