Written by Dr. Alyssa Dweck, MS, MD, FACOG, Chief Medical Officer
The orgasm is an enticing topic, and without question, one that peaks every woman’s interest. But weak orgasms or lack of orgasm can seemingly come out of nowhere, causing concern and frustration.
If you’re suddenly finding it harder to achieve orgasm or have noticed your orgasm is weaker than it used to be, rest assured there’s usually an explanation. Here’s what you need to know about weak orgasms, and how to treat the issue.
What Exactly is an Orgasm Anyway?
Before we talk about what causes weak orgasms, let’s talk about what happens when women climax, in general. If you ask Dr. Google, an orgasm is “a climax of sexual excitement, characterized by feelings of pleasure centered in the genitals.” Physiologically, the genitals become engorged with blood, the heart rate soars, genital muscles contract, and oxytocin and dopamine are released by the brain. In short, it feels fabulous.
The clitoris is central to the female orgasm. Don’t be fooled: the clitoris isn’t just the tiny structure you see externally. It’s actually quite extensive with crura, or legs, which extend well into the labia. Other fun facts? The clitoris houses more than 8,000 nerve endings. It’s super sensitive! It has erectile tissue, similar to the penis in a man, and becomes engorged and erect with stimulation. It’s no wonder that most women need direct clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm. In fact, more than 70% of women will not achieve orgasm from intercourse alone.
What Causes Weak Orgasms, and What Can You Do About It?
The cause behind weaker or nonexistent orgasms isn’t always crystal clear, but there are some things you can do and keep in mind to help improve the situation:
- Be present. Surely, you’re not going to reach orgasm if you’re thinking about what happened at work today or everything you need to get done tomorrow. It’s vital to put that busy mind to rest and be in the moment.
- Optimize your lifestyle for sex. A healthy diet means a healthy heart and a healthy weight. I recommend the heart healthy Mediterranean diet as a lifestyle. Smoking interferes with blood flow, including to the genitals. Just don’t smoke. Alcohol is ok in moderation. Exercise is beneficial; if biking or spin class is your thing, adjust your seat and handlebars to avoid numbness to the vulva. Nerve compression around the vulva can definitely influence orgasm potential.
- Address any underlying medical issues. Hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, if left untreated, can negatively influence blood flow, including to the genitals. Less blood to the genitals means less satisfaction. Remember to manage chronic medical issues.
- As hormone changes occur during menopause, so might the orgasm experience. What used to feel like a thunderstorm might seem like a light drizzle now, and that can be a frustrating change. Occasionally, lack of adequate lubrication is the issue. You can ensure vaginal moisture and lubrication with foreplay, or you can look to your favorite lube or vaginal moisturizer for a little help. Revaree®, a hyaluronic acid-based vaginal insert, is a wonderful hormone-free moisturizer and lubricant meant to help ease vaginal dryness and improve elasticity when used regularly.
Some women prefer to use topical, vaginal estrogen to supplement their own decline of hormones, and that’s ok too. I also recommend the use of a vibrator. Vibration enhances blood flow and orgasm…consider it the doctor’s orders!
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The health benefits of sex have been demonstrated over and over again. Orgasms feel great, relieve stress, help with sleep, burn calories, strengthen pelvic floor muscles and provide a general sense of well-being. True, at times the stars may need to be aligned to achieve orgasm… but a little help with the tips above certainly can’t hurt!