Why can’t I have an orgasm? Sexperts share advice on achieving bedroom bliss

If you've been worrying, "Why can’t I have an orgasm?" no need to panic—the pros are here to help

Why can’t I have an orgasm? Pictured: Female hand pulling white sheets in ecstasy, orgasm.
(Image credit: Getty)

"Why can’t I have an orgasm?" 

There's no need to chuck your sex toys in the trash or skip out on a sofa sex adventure. Whether you're experiencing something psychological or emotional that could be standing in the way of your sexual satisfaction, the pros are here to help you get back on track and revel in a satisfying O.

And, above all, it's important to remember that the phenomenon isn't a "make it or break it" deal.

"An orgasm isn’t the be-all and end-all of sex, nor does it define a sexual encounter," Annabelle Knight, a sex and relationship at Lovehoney previously told My Imperfect Life.

That being said, it is still in pretty high demand, so allow the professionals to help walk you through any potential hiccups you might be experiencing. 

Why can’t I have an orgasm?

There isn't necessarily a clear-cut answer. While medical factors might inhibit some women from achieving orgasm, emotional hurdles might prevent others from having a satisfying experience. Regardless, the first step towards taking back the pleasure is identifying the problem. 

"Many people may have anxiety that can interfere with the ability to relax and enjoy the present moment. This can lead to difficulty becoming aroused, achieving orgasm, and performance anxiety," says sex and relationship expert Melissa Stone. 

Though it may seem like everyday stressors wouldn't be an issue in bed, that anxiety can carry over into your sex life, so it's crucial to take an extra few steps towards calming your nerves. 

"It is important to practice self-care and find healthy ways to manage stress and anxiety such as deep breathing and mindfulness meditation," Stone says. "Additionally, talking to a therapist can help to explore deeper issues and find ways to cope with and manage them."

When it comes to physical causes, everybody is different—quite literally. Hormone imbalances, medications and conditions like endometriosis could be contributors to your orgasm's elusiveness. Another factor we oftentimes overlook is vaginal dryness, so perhaps it's time to play around with different types of lube. Whatever the case might be, should you believe that the issue is pressing, make an appointment with your doctor. (And have a look at what gynecologists want you to know about your reproductive health.)

Meet the expert: Melissa Stone

Melissa Stone is a sex and relationship expert at  Joy Love Dolls, the "world's leading authority on sexual exploration, adult toys and realistic dolls.

How to get back on track with your big O:

Before going into panic mode, there are methods to consider if you're looking for that memorable final moment. Pippa Murphy, the sex and relationship expert at condoms.uk, and Stone, break down different remedies to consider.

1. Talk about sex

If you cannot orgasm with a partner, you have to be frank. Talking about sex is the key to making it better and analyzing what works and what might need some fine-tuning. 

"Couples that communicate openly and honestly are more likely to maintain a stronger emotional connection, which naturally leads to better sex," Murphy says.

Should you feel a little bit stressed about sex, you'll be more relieved once you have an open dialogue.

2. Try using lube

There's a lot of misconception about lube—don't think that it can't help you. 

"Whilst many people believe that lube is strictly for those who suffer from dryness during sex, that certainly isn’t the case and can bring a lot of benefits to the bedroom," Murphy says. "For example, it can enhance pleasure by creating different sensations like a warming or cooling effect wherever it’s applied. Plus, previous studies have shown that lube makes it 50% easier for everyone to orgasm. Need I say more?"

Have more Qs about lube? Don't worry—we asked them so you don't have to!

3. Experiment during solo sex

One-on-one time gives you the freedom to do as you please without the fear of judgment from a partner. Solo sex is necessary for you to find out what you like and what you could do without. Plus, the experts say masturbation is the key to women's most intense orgasms.

4. Switch up positions

Should your go-to move not really feel satisfying, try switching things up. And don't forget about erogenous zones—Murphy says a little extra attention in these spots will go a long way. (Plenty of sexperts make the case for nipple orgasms.) 

5. Try foreplay

"Your brain is wired to experience more pleasure when the anticipation of a reward goes on for a long period, making foreplay even more key to an orgasm," Murphy says. "So, if you feel that your partner rushes it, take control of the situation and ask them to slow down."

We've rounded up fun foreplay ideas to get the ball rolling. 

6. Don't underestimate kissing

 A simple smooch goes a long way. And science says kissing during sex increases the chance for orgasm. 

"A study found that couples who kiss for at least six seconds had the most successful relationships. This is because the kiss gives you enough time to get out of your brain and, instead, be in the moment," Murphy says. "Chances are you may get more sexually stimulated as time goes on, increasing your chances of orgasming."

7. Stay present

Though at times it's easier said than done, remember the importance of staying in the moment. Don't let your thoughts drift. 

"Relax and try to enjoy sex. If what goes through your mind during sex isn't exactly sexy (e.g., "What am I doing wrong?"), it's easy to lose sight of what matters most — enjoying yourself in the moment," Murphy says. "So instead of focusing on how things should be or what's going wrong, try thinking about what feels good and what makes you happy."

While you're at it, be sure to have a gander at the best sex tips ever and the 2023 sex trends dominating the bedroom. And again, should the orgasm issue persist, don't be afraid to seek professional advice from a doctor. 

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.