You may have heard or read the famous quote from Sara Gruen’s haunting New York Times bestseller Water For Elephants, “even as your body betrays you, your mind denies it”.
Or you might be unfamiliar with this beautiful novel about the life story of a ninety-plus year old veterinarian living in a nursing home who is trapped inside his mind due to Alzheimer’s disease.
But all of us have some first-hand experience of a physiological let-down – a mind-body disharmony when our body gets in the way at the worst possible time. A brake pedal that you didn’t hit on time. An iPhone that you dropped into the toilet.
Or, as in the case of many women of all ages, an orgasm that inexplicably refuses to happen despite our partner’s best efforts at touching us here and rubbing us there and seemingly doing everything right.
When it comes to material things, you can easily fix your car bumper or buy a new iPhone without devastating your psyche. (Well, speaking from personal experience, breaking the iPhone enough times can start to feel almost as frustrating as not being able to orgasm, and it can definitely be devastating to the wallet.)
But what can you do about your body betraying you at a time when you are at your most vulnerable, like when you’re in bed, mid-coitus, dying to experience the orgasmic release? And why would your body refuse that release anyway? It’s not like sex is hard labor (unless 50 Shades of Gray is your style). Sex is more like a reward. It’s that piece of cake you’d get as a child after eating your greens. Yum!
The Mind-Body Connection
Mother Nature designed our bodies in a very tricky way. Our “shell” only responds to commands that were pre-selected and filtered out by our built-in security service, i.e. our nervous system.
This is what a psychosomatic symptom is all about; for example, if you don’t feel like going to work because it happens to be review time, or an important report delivery date, you’ll most likely get a headache or an upset stomach.
This is because your emotions sent a clear command to your brain to not go to work. And it doesn’t matter that your responsible adult brain is supposed to be processing the opposite command, “I must go to work”. The brain will only respond to its owner’s genuine deep down wish. Unlike our manipulative brain, our body is very honest and obedient.
It works the same way when it comes to falling in love. We’ve all been in a situation when we develop a major crush on a guy despite our better judgement. You can think of a thousand reasons for why he is not good for you: he has cats (and you are allergic), he’s got three kids from the first marriage that live with him (and you are happily child-free), he’s a total player (!!!).
By all measures, you know that this guy is bad news. But your body still gets excited and makes you radiate pheromones up to a mile away. Suddenly you are overflowing with energy, have lost your appetite, and can’t sleep for more than a few hours at night. This guy is all you can think about. Your body knows what you want – him! NOW!
But guess what – your brain will never abandon you like that, letting you try to live happily ever after with a cat lover who will spend all his spend time with his children or sleeping around with other women. OK, this might sound a little over the top. But come on, let’s be honest here – we’ve all had crushes on guys that were blatantly wrong for us. So wrong that we were too embarrassed to admit the crush to our friends.
So yes, your brain will always come to your rescue! How? Well, once you get in bed with this guy, you are likely to experience low self-esteem and feel like a nervous wreck. Good luck reaching orgasm in that state!
The Two Root Causes
The two most common causes of difficulty with reaching orgasm, or in more severe cases, complete anorgasmia, is guilt and fear, which may lead to denial or repression of one’s sexuality. Your pesky inner voice takes you on a mental journey that starts at “I don’t deserve to have fun” and ends with “I am scared of sex and men.”
Basically, our body receives a clear message from our brain to not fully enjoy or be present for the actual pleasure being experienced during sex. And sexual enjoyment is about being fully present! Your mind blocks the necessary nerve impulse, and prevents it from following the golden path to orgasm.
Why is your body betraying you like that? Robbing you of one of the most pleasurable natural experiences? Because the orgasm will be followed by emotions that your mind wants to avoid at all costs – guilt and fear.
And it’s not always because your body wants to stop you from falling further in love with a guy who you know deep down is wrong for you!
Another common reason for not climaxing for many women that we’ve worked with is because they feel guilt due to the fact that their parents taught them that only bad girls could enjoy sex. Between our well-meaning parents and teachers, Hollywood movies, literature, and porn, many women (and men!) adopt problematic narratives like the Madonna-Whore complex. Young people are bombarded with negative messages about sex as they are trying to figure out and get comfortable with their sexuality.
And then, of course, there is fear. The way human nature works is that fear is our biggest obstacle in life and is just about the hardest emotion to overcome.
Fear can be rational (caused by negative experiences, pain, or violence) or irrational (being consumed by a loss of control, obsession, or anxiety). Like a barometer, our body can feel our primal instinct to protect ourselves. And it will do everything it can to defend its “homeland”.
When it comes to love, our body will defend us by stopping us from experiencing orgasm with someone we love (out of fear that we will feel like sluts afterward) or with someone who is a bad match for us (so we don’t fall deeper in love only to feel heartbroken when the relationship inevitably fails).
Do This To Achieve Orgasm Easier
You can absolutely overcome fear and guilt to freely enjoy great sex with the one you love, or enjoy casual sex, if that is what you desire. But the only way to do so is by seeing fear and guilt through a new lens.
Instead of running away, the best strategy is to give a helping hand to these mind obstacles by facing them head-on.
For example, if you are scared of giving up control in bed, try out a dominatrix role in a sex game that lets you keep control. The illusion of safety will build up your confidence and finally allow you to relax and stop feeding into your fears during sex, so you will start reaching orgasm easier.
For some women, the problem is that they can’t get lost in the moment and focus on being turned on or enjoy their favorite position during sex because they are completely preoccupied with the fear of looking unattractive.
A cruel inner voice keeps whispering to you, “Doggy style? Seriously? Have you seen your butt? Surely, he must be wondering how a woman could have so much cellulite in one place.” You end up worrying about your looks and how your partner may react, so much so that you forget about enjoying yourself.
But the truth is, guys simply don’t notice or much care about those extra few pounds or that new wrinkle you’re fixating on. It’s all in our head, ladies!
But getting over our insecurities is easier said that done. So here’s a mind hack that we have found works very well for most women: if you’re worried about a guy noticing your ‘imperfections’ in bed, just distract him. Learn to turning your imperfections into advantages!
Who’s going to care about your ingrown hair or sagging breasts when you are dazzling your partner with a shiny new sex toy or lacy lingerie?
A woman with small, perky breasts will never manage to lick her own nipple during oral sex!
So stop obsessing over your ‘flaws’, and embrace them. Switch up your perspective during sex, from fear and guilt to being relaxed and in the moment, and you will see an instantaneous shift in your ability to reach orgasm.