The Intimacy Conundrum
In honour of Orgasm Day, we are talking about one of the most important and least understood parts of human intimacy – the orgasm. Before saying “Happy Orgasm Day!” I want to mention that anxiety about orgasms, or climaxes as they’re sometimes called, can be a lack of intimacy between partners. The common sexual problems entail rapid or premature ejaculation, low sexual desire as well as pain during intercourse. Recent research from American Medical Association has shown that around 30% of men and 25% of women encounter sexual problems. These sexual problems can sometimes arise from negative sexual experiences causing fear of sexual intimacy, and the inability to reach orgasm.
Let’s take a look at what an orgasm is for those that do not know. Technically, an orgasm is a biological response to a very specific type of physical stimulation which men and women both experience. The male orgasm is anecdotally easier to achieve and requires a much lower mental involvement. The male orgasm is also a “one and done” type of event that requires a recuperation period before he can climax again. On the other hand (no pun intended), a female orgasm requires much more mental stimulation when she is not tuned into her sexuality. Additionally, the physical stimulation is less straight forward because women can have multiple orgasms and don’t have the same recuperation period. (Yay to the goddesses out there!) The sexual process comes in 3 stages that involve lust, attraction and attachment. Lust initiates the production of oestrogen and testosterone in both partners. According to Hellen Fisher, stage 2 involves the production of adrenaline, dopamine and serotin. These chemicals trigger feeling of pleasure, and they give an explanation why someone is falling in love. The last stage is attachment oxytocin and vasopressin is important in this stage. During an orgasm, oxytocin hormone is released by both partners. The hormone makes them feel much closer after sex. The hormone handles bonding. An assistant professor for psychology, Diane Witt, from New York, proved that blocking this hormone in rats and sheep leads to them rejecting their young ones.
As far as relationships go, orgasms can enhance sexual intimacy but shouldn’t be the only type of intimacy binding your relationship together. Relationships cannot solely last on sex, and sexual intimacy takes the time to build. Sex is not all about orgasms; it’s about the sexual intimacy a relationship could have, but, unfortunately, many people miss this vital element. During an orgasm, the brain releases a neurochemical cocktail that leaves you in ecstasy, making you feel incredibly amazing all the while making your partner more desirable to you. This sensation bonds you even closer to your mate, especially when the intimacy component is in place.
An area of difficulty that sometimes arises is the ability to distinguish between a purely physical orgasm and a sexually intimate orgasm. If you feel free to share with your partner about your inner most fantasies, fears, and desires along with your likes and dislikes, you are most likely missing out on sexual intimacy. Many individuals will engage in sex with a partner confusing this with sexual intimacy. They then find themselves feeling awkward, going through the motions and dealing with some level of anxiety during or after sex. When this anxiety escalates, some individuals have greater difficulty achieving orgasm, which can perpetuate a negative feedback loop of beliefs about oneself. This can lead to low self-esteem, frustration, and feelings of rejection that sometimes become repeated failures in achieving orgasm.
An orgasm has a stimulating mix of physical, psychological, and emotional components. Troubleshooting orgasm difficulties takes both physical mechanics and self-awareness of the psychological and emotional components. On the technical end, every person responds differently to different stimulation. With the emotional and psychological component, individuals need to feel a sense of safety with their partner to let go of their hindrances and fully experience orgasmic bliss.
-There is no right way to get an orgasm when you’re tuned into your sexual desires.
-Less vanilla may equal more fun. Give yourself permission to explore your turn-ons freely by being messy, dirty, and funny, whatever this may mean to you. (did 50 Shades of Gray spark your interest?) Let yourself explore it!
-We are all turned on by different things so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get turned on by someone else’s fantasy.
-Spend time self-exploring your body; the type of stimulation and pressure that you enjoy, not focusing on any one area.
-Understand what an orgasm means to you specifically as an individual.
-Take the time to explore your attitude, behaviour, and beliefs around sex, your body, and your orgasm.
– Know if you have sex to be intimate or to express intimacy.
– Get some toys and play. Don’t limit yourself but do keep it safe.
– Explore inner sex equally as much as outer-sex. Sex is so much more than just intercourse.
If we have a clear picture about orgasm, we attach to orgasms and sex, we can break through the barriers and allow ourselves to connect with our partner and our sexual calling. The ability to candidly verbalize our inner most needs and desires, turn on and turn offs, can only happen when we are truly comfortable with it ourselves. Along with this self-understanding and acceptance come the most amazing and unbelievable orgasms imaginable, because only then can you truly and freely let go of your fears, inhibitions, and self-judgments that hold you back. This sexual intimacy allows you to let go to freely frolic in bed, on a rug, or any place of your choice with your partner while letting yourself explore your sexual worlds together. Experience a sexual world that’s filled with fun, a sense of safety, and sexual expression with your partner all while getting the big O.
Couples or individuals having conflicts about sex should consult the help of a professional therapist to help resolve these issues. Many of our beliefs about sex come from our upbringing, past sexual experiences, and the society we live in. From any of these, many individuals learn to carry shame about something that is the most natural of self-pleasures. The negative feedback loop needs to be broken and replaced with positive feelings.
Orgasms feel great and make us happier. The more often you and your partner make each other feel happy, the stronger your relationship will be. Happy people live longer and make others feel better. If there is one thing this world needs more of, it’s happiness.
If you want to make the world a better place to live in as well as improve your life, take Orgasm Day as a time to celebrate. Give yourself the best O, ask your partner to watch, or even join in the fun. Most importantly start speaking up about your turn-ons while becoming comfortable in your body, and mind, this type of orgasm makes the world a better, happier place.
By Carolina Pataky, LMFT
Relationship Expert Carolina Pataky gives relationship advice on a wide range of dating and relationship issues. Get advice about online dating, first dates, meeting Mr or Miss Right, intimacy, courtship, the honeymoon phase, engagement, marriage, break ups, divorce or getting back out there.
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