Dr J's Sex Facts

Fun sex facts and accurate information from a clinical sexologist for a hotter and more fulfilling sex life.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Dr. J’s Top 10 of ’08: Orgasm: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

“Fifty percent of the women in this country are not having orgasms. If that were true of the male population, it would be declared a national emergency”
Margo St. James, social activist

As promised, it’s time for some more holiday fun with a list of questions I like to call the Top 10 Women’s Concerns. For the next few weeks, we’re looking at an assortment of concerns drawn from actual questions I’ve received from readers just like you. This particular Top 10 list represents the most common sexual concerns expressed by women. OK, because you’ve been such very good readers this year and have hardly ever misbehaved, after each and every question you’ll find my answer. Oh—and if you’re a really astute reader (that’s right, I mean you), you’ll no doubt notice that most of these questions share a common theme (did someone say “orgasms”?)

In fact, the #1 all-time, most popular question I receive from both women and men has to do with women’s orgasms. Never has such a subject been so scrutinized, analyzed, hypothesized and brutalized.

So get comfortable, pour yourself a glass of whatever, and journey down this well-traveled road with us.

WHY?????? Can’t I Have an Orgasm?

I've been sexually active on and off for about 5 years. I have never had an orgasm.. not even close to ever having one. Is something wrong.. or should we just try new things?


Dr J’s response:

When you meet someone who tells you they can't swim, you know it's not that they CAN'T, it's that they just haven't learned yet--usually because they're afraid, right?

Orgasm is the same way: for most of us, it's a learned behavior, but many of us haven't yet learned how because we're afraid--for a myriad of reasons.

First, many of us don’t ever learn about our own bodies—particularly our vulva. What do girls learn about their vulva? They receive either no message at all (which is the same as receiving a negative message), or they are given two washcloths—one for their body, and one for “down there.” Now there’s a negative message for you: It’s so dirty, you can’t touch it with the same cloth you’d use on the rest of your body! It’s no wonder that we’re woefully ignorant about orgasm as well.

So how to remedy that? The first step in claiming your body is to learn about your crotch: 1) Do a self-exam: Get a good mirror, sit down, find all your parts and get to know them. Look at your unique colors and shapes and revel in this wonderful gift you’ve been given! 2) Look at photos of vulvas. Excellent books are available from http://www.libida.com and http://www.goodvibes.com/

Most of us learn about women’s orgasms from movies, TV and books. You know: the perfect, romantic, spontaneous, simultaneous, earth-moving Big O. We’re supposed to orgasm from 2 minutes of penis-vagina sex in the missionary position in the dark with a partner who is clueless. So we put this pressure on ourselves and are mostly disappointed when it doesn’t happen.

Here’s the reality: In women, the clitoris must be stimulated—either directly or indirectly—in order for orgasm to happen. The clitoris is our primary sex organ--not the vagina--and consists of the glans (or head), the hood which covers the glans, and the shaft. Most women do not orgasm from penis-vagina sex alone, so please don't put pressure on yourself to do so.

For most women, orgasm results from a constant circular motion around the shaft and glans. Also important to know is that once a woman’s orgasm begins, if the stimulation is removed, the orgasm will end. Orgasm is characterized by a series of pleasurable, involuntary contractions in and around the vulva (clitoris, vagina and inner/outer lips). Most women have between 5 and 8 contractions per orgasm.

Once you understand your own body’s responses, then you can begin to share them with a partner—even more fun! Be patient. It takes time to learn and to build up trust, but if you do this now, you’ll be setting yourself up for yummy sex for the rest of your life. I highly recommend the book, "For Yourself: The Fulfillment of Female Sexuality," by Lonnie Barbach. It's widely available in paperback, and is a step-by-step program for learning about your own sexual response. In addition, it contains lots of sharing by women about their own personal journeys of sexual self-discovery. I think it will help you immensely.

And one final word about orgasms: They last about 10 seconds, and yet we put so much value on them. Besides orgasm, there are lots of pleasurable things to enjoy during sex—whether it's with yourself or with a partner. So please don't focus solely on orgasm. If you put that kind of pressure on yourself, it becomes a "job" instead of fun. And sex can be lots of fun if you relax and enjoy all the sensations. Sex is a grand buffet of wonderful dishes. If you focus on only one, you'll miss out on all the other wonderful flavors. Good luck! Dr. J

Here’s an idea: Let’s all start gettin' in the holiday spirit by starting with the most important gift of all: love and acceptance. If you start by loving and accepting yourself, you’ll find it that much easier to love and accept others. So stop being so hard on yourself. Give yourself a break from that relentless criticism, and enjoy this special time of the year.

Back next week with more questions, answers and general hell-raising.

With Pleasure,

Dr. J


  • At 3:05 PM, Blogger Adam said…

    When I work out I ejaculate and my penis is not erect, I dont know how to stop this from happening every day and I think this is a sperm leak. Please tell me what I need to do.

  • At 2:08 PM, Blogger Dr J said…

    Hello. This is actually fairly common. The fluid you see is probably not semen, but rather Cowper's Gland secretion.

    Your penis isn’t leaking (there's no such thing as "sperm leak"). It’s behaving exactly as your body is telling it to do. When post-pubescent (adult) men become sexually aroused or stimulated, a gland called the Cowper’s Gland, secretes a milky fluid, also known as "pre-come." Some men produce large amounts of this fluid, while others produce very little. Everyone is different. This fluid clears the urethra of uric acid prior to ejaculation. Without this fluid, many of the sperm carried in semen would be killed or damaged by the acid contained in urine. So when you get turned on, that’s what happens: Cowper’s Gland fluid comes out the end of your penis. And some men produce this fluid when their penis becomes even mildly stimulated during strenuous exercise. If you’re producing lots of fluid, you might want to be sure to carry some tissues for wiping up.

    That's just my guess, however. You MIGHT be ejaculating during exercise, and having orgasms at the gym in public: embarrassing, right? If you're under 30, you're in the midst of your prime sexual years. Generally, at this age, your hormones are raging, and you'll experience lots of erections as well as sleep orgasms. If you aren't being sexual with yourself or with a partner--in other words, if you're not having orgasms, it's definitely possible that you'll experience some during physical activity. Gotta got that stuff out somehow!

    Have an orgasm before you work out, and see if this makes a difference. My guess is that after a few times, you'll notice a lessening of those spontaneous orgasms.

    However, if nothing changes, make an appointment for an exam with a urologist to determine whether there is any physiological or medical cause for this. It's rare, but may be fairly easy to treat. Best of luck. Dr. J


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