Dear Madame Lestrange,
Full disclosure: the female orgasm is a total mystery to me – in the worst way possible. I’ve been sexually active for a few months now, and part of the whole thing is that I am dealing with a lot of shame from my religious and family background when it comes to sex and female pleasure – and that leaves me in a bad position when it comes to my relationship with my partner.
He’s been trying to go down on me to help me get to where I need to go (get it- come – ha.), but I feel bad that he’s even doing that, and push him away.
At the same time, I get so angry with myself when I can’t pull it together and push myself to orgasm.
I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried taking care of myself, but that doesn’t help that much.
The girl with no joy
Dear Joyless Girl,
Gosh, I appreciate this question so much. This is something I’ve personally dealt with in the past. And, to some degree, can still struggle with. It’s really great that you’ve been able to pinpoint from where your issue is stemming. I think that will make it easier (not necessarily easy, though) to combat this problem.
For so many women, the art of orgasming is deeply tied with her psychology. How I’m feeling and what I’m thinking absolutely keeps me from orgasming. Religious and familial shame is a threat to mental stability in general, but add that onto the fact that you’re trying to enjoy sex?
I get it.
[bctt tweet=”For so many women, the art of orgasming is deeply tied with her psychology. ” username=”wearethetempest”]
As a Muslim, as a woman… I understand the very real effects of shame. We are so quickly sexualized from a young age, yet not allowed to be sexual without the threat of being shamed. But then, certain cultures (mine included) somehow manage to convince us that our family’s reputation is directly tied to what we do (or don’t do).
On top of all of this, you and your partner are frustrated because orgasming is something you both want to happen. Yikes.
[bctt tweet=”I am going to ask you to unlearn decades of shame associated with being sexual.” username=”wearethetempest”]
I am going to ask you to unlearn decades of shame associated with being sexual. That’s a fucking lot to do, I know. But you can do it. And I’m going to give you some tips, but at the end of the day – this is going to come from within you.
It has to.
Things to Remember:
- The shame cultures place on a woman’s sexuality is deeply rooted in patriarchal systems. It has no religious basis. It’s a result of men attempting to control our bodies and our pleasure. Don’t let them. If you’re concerned about the religious aspect, I suggest finding feminist translations of your holy book. They are out there, and they are empowering. The female perspective has far too long been missing from religion and the creation of tradition.
- You’ve made the decision, despite the shame you’ve learned, to become sexually active. This is a big step – be proud of yourself. You’re starting to realize that your happiness is more important than centuries-old traditions of keeping women from sexual exploration and pleasure. OWN. THAT. There is no shame in embracing who you are or in seeking pleasure. Why should there be? Can you complete this statement with any tangible points: As a woman, having sex is shameful because ____________________________. What’s your answer there? Figure it out, and break that down. Where does your answer come from? Is it based in truth, fear, what?
- Do whatever it takes to believe that you deserve to find sexual pleasure. Because you do. Just as much as anyone else. You have a great partner who is willing to work towards your goal. Let him. Your body is a really interesting vessel for a happy soul. The process of finding what gets you to orgasm is exciting and fun if you let it be. This is maybe totally weird, but it’s worked for me in the past – anytime you start thinking “I shouldn’t be doing this”, reframe your thoughts to “I SHOULD be doing this. I DESERVE it. I DESERVE to feel good.” I would also HIGHLY suggest looking into some books/readings by Brené Brown, who studies shame and human behavior. I think you’ll find her work right up your alley.
- You have only been active for a few months. Don’t feel like you need to have everything figured out already in regard to orgasming. It took me 2 years of being sexually active before I orgasmed by someone else. I had orgasmed from masturbating for years before I even started having sex, but during sex with someone else? Nope. This is because it took me a while to feel completely comfortable with someone else (again: it’s all mental). Don’t get angry at yourself for feeling something completely normal. The more anger, shame, and stress you feel, the further you will push yourself from that orgasm.
- Masturbating is always important… I am a huge, huge believer in using masturbation to get yourself comfortable with the idea of pleasing yourself, which will translate to your relationship with your partner. I know you said it doesn’t help to do this. Orgasming through masturbation is, of course, going to be difficult with that shame looming over your head. But I suggest practicing #3 while masturbating. Get a vibrator, start using it… if you start feeling that shame or thinking you shouldn’t be doing it – keep going. Remind yourself you should be. Remind yourself you deserve sexual satisfaction and that nothing will keep you from it. Reframe your thoughts and keep going. This process will be easier alone, and once you get good at reframing, try it with your partner.
- Because I feel strongly about keeping your mental health in check, go to a therapist. There are people who are trained in helping you deal with these emotions and find solutions to overcome what you’re feeling. Take the steps to become happier, healthier, and orgasmic. Relieving yourself of the shame you feel will not only help you orgasm but will lead to a more fulfilling life. Search online for therapists near your area and call a few until you feel confident with a choice. If you’re currently in school, set up an appointment with your mental health center on campus. Therapy is an amazing way to break down and overcome your anxieties.
Good luck. I know you can do it.
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