Why Your Girlfriend Struggles To Climax

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When we think about women who have a hard time reaching orgasm, we might scoff at the idea that it could happen to us. “Ha! I’m great in bed. I’ve never had a problem getting my girl off.” (© me, circa 2007.)

But just being good at what you do isn’t enough to guarantee your partner is going to thoroughly enjoy herself every time.

There are a number of things affecting her sex drive that have literally nothing to do with you, and to think it was all about your own skill would be just a bit narcissistic. (Hey, I was a teenager in 2007, so I was allowed to be a narcissist back then.)

According to a bunch of scientists from the International Society for Sexual Medicine, female sexual arousal disorders are a lot more common than we give them credit for.

Many women go through episodes of FSAD at least temporarily, while some women have a more chronic form of disorder.

There are a bunch of triggers involved with FSAD, and it’s not a simple take-this-and-you’re-cured scenario. Most of these triggers fall into one of the four following reasons:

She’s preoccupied.

One of the most common reasons a woman might have trouble reaching orgasm is because she has too much other stuff on her mind. Where we might assume that arousal requires more stimulation, in many cases it actually relies on less stressors – meaning you need to “switch off” your turn-offs before you can really “switch on” your arousal receptiveness. Try setting the scene for relaxation before you get intimate – it might help to give her a sensual massage, or stop by the grocery store so she doesn’t have to. Often, it only takes a small action to lighten her load and help her unwind.

Sometimes, the feelings of dread, anxiety, and worry are more than a favor or a back rub can help with. If your girlfriend seems to always have a lot on her plate, it might be helpful for her to speak to a therapist. Anxiety, depression, and a number of other mental illnesses can get in the way of day-to-day life and make it nearly impossible to keep up with what’s going on without you. Be supportive if she decides to pursue therapy – it’s a difficult decision and she needs someone in her corner.

She’s not turned on enough.

After you’ve been together for a while, it’s all too easy to forget the simple things that we used to do to get each other in the mood. Whenever you’re going through particularly big life changes, such as a move, a wedding, or a new child, it can be even more difficult to get turned on. But different people handle stressful situations in different ways – so you may be skipping foreplay to race to the end, right when she needs you to dedicate your energy on building up the finish.

These slight differences have a huge impact on our sex lives, and in my experience they tend to come at the worst time. If neither of you is paying attention to the progression, it’s easy to confuse “misplaced effort” with “incompatible sex drives”. The solution isn’t to try sex with other people – it’s to try different kinds of sex with each other. (And don’t rush into it – let it happen in its own time!)

She’s self-conscious.

One of the biggest stressors to affect our sexual arousal is self-consciousness and insecurity. We’d all like to pretend we’re perfectly confident in everything we are and everything we do, but the reality is that’s unattainable – at least for the large majority of us. So, we put on a brave face and hide the things we think are our weaknesses. But when you’re laid out naked in front of someone – physically and emotionally – our insecurities might just get a little more of our attention. Body image issues, concern about the way we smell or taste, or even feelings of guilt can work their way in at the worst time and just fuck up your whole day.

Unfortunately, self-confidence doesn’t come from other people – it comes from within. That means it’s super, super hard for you to actually influence someone else’s way of thinking about themselves. The most obvious course of action would be to help dismantle the things she’s insecure about, but that’s not always a realistic expectation. Instead, try to keep the focus off of your sex life until you’ve helped her work through some of the issues. The added pressure of feeling like she needs to perform can lead to even more feelings of self-doubt – try not to make things harder on her!

She has negative associations with her sexuality.

In most cases, these negative associations come from a history of sexual or emotional abuse, or other instances when a person feels shame for their sexual arousal. It could be hard for her to open up about this part of her past, but it’s still a very real possibility that can get in the way of a healthy sex life. Even if it hasn’t been an issue in your relationship up until this point, traumatic memories often make their way back into our daily thoughts at some point, and we can’t always prevent them from getting in the way.

What does this negative feeling surrounding her sexuality mean for your sex life? In some cases, it may mean a change is required. If, for example, she has started to feel like sex is the only thing she has to offer, it might be helpful to take a step back from the sexual component and remind her how much she means to you in other ways. If the problem is instead that she can’t focus on enjoying herself because her mind is stuck on her past experiences, she might just need a little reminder that you’re not the person who hurt her before you. I know it can seem unfair to be blamed for something that someone else did, but the brain makes unwanted connections sometimes. Try to be patient with her.

What does all this mean?

All in all, female sexual arousal disorders are more common of a problem than we thought. We’re used to hearing about these problems in post-menopausal women, but there are a number of issues that can make a bigger difference on your arousal than just hormonal changes. You should try to be supportive of your girlfriend while she’s working things out, but that doesn’t mean you need to stay quiet about how it makes you feel.

Remember, the health of your sexual relationship requires that both of you are happy. Your partner may be unaware that her arousal problems are affecting you until you tell her. She might be too wrapped up in her own thing to even notice! Just make sure that you’re bringing it to her attention without losing your temper – your sex life shouldn’t be the entire basis of your relationship, and it’s unlikely to help anything if you make her feel like it is. You both deserve happiness – so go out and find it together!

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