An orgasm is a transient peak sensation of intense sexual pleasure and varies from person to person. They can be whole body orgasms, extended orgasms, those which happen only with intercourse, clitoral stimulation or even just kissing – and everyone describes them differently.
It’s National Orgasm Day today, and though it might seem like a simple PR stunt from a sex toy company (and a perfect opportunity for a plethora of penis jokes), a lot of anxiety and stress can arise from the issue. We can place so much importance on trying to achieve orgasm at the same time as a partner, or how good the orgasm will be, that we often forget about enjoying the sensations of touch and sexual pleasure throughout the whole lovemaking experience. After all, no one goes to a concert to hear the last few notes!
Orgasms are a subjective experience they begin in the mind and manifest in the body. Some men believe that if they are not ejaculating they are unable to enjoy an orgasm, but this is not true. They are two separate entities - for example, after post prostatectomy surgery and spinal cord injuries, men talk about feeling intense pleasurable and enjoyment with orgasm sensations throughout the whole body.
Anorgasmia is a type of sexual dysfunction in which a person cannot achieve orgasm, and it’s estimated that 4.7 per cent of women suffer from it - but there is little research on the condition.
It is not uncommon for men to ask, 'how can I make my partner orgasmic?' He can't! We are individually responsible for our own sexual pleasure. We have to tell our partners what we like or don't like and not leave them touching an area of our body for hours to try and make us orgasmic, it is a waste of time and fruitless. Most of all the brain needs to be focused on the feelings, sensations and pleasurable thoughts. If we allow ourselves to relax and let go, an orgasm will come in what any form it takes.
Some women might feel they need to fake an orgasm if they feel under pressure. We have all either seen or heard how a woman can be orgasmic instantaneously and for hours on end, screaming with delight and pleasure, her whole body twitching her limbs thrashing around. Yes, it can happen. But certainly not for everyone.
Sometimes we are simply knackered, or worried about what our children or parents might hear, get cramp in our legs or even just don't want to let go, that’s fine - it's the meaning we all place on having an orgasm which is important. Some men worry that if their partners don't have orgasms they have failed in some way. Are they good enough? Is something wrong with the relationship? Do they fancy me? Will they be able to have children? So many questions, and yet they are rarely shared with one another.
It is so easy to get caught up in the fantasy of how we think sex should be that we forget completely that having sex is about feeling treasured, loved and intimate with someone we really care for. Old fashioned maybe, but instead of thinking about what we think we ought to be doing because that is what the rest of the world is supposedly doing, we could do what's right for us.
Perhaps on one day we just don't feel like having an orgasm, does it make sex any less pleasurable? No, it means we have a choice. Let's stop thinking about endings but rather enjoy the individual moments.
It is good to aim high and improve your sexual repertoire, but we can have far too high sexual expectations. Watching porn and seeing unrealistic images is not helpful - the reality is usually very different.
So let's stop focusing on orgasmic endings. Enjoy them if they happen, but much more important is treasuring each and every single moment of being intimate with someone.
Victoria Lehmann is a sexual and relationship therapist, adviser to the Sexual Advice Association, and author of Sleeping with ED