I'm a woman and have never had an orgasm. Is this normal? How do I reach orgasm?
A: Orgasms don't come easily for many women. In fact, some have never even felt a tremor of the Big O, despite numerous attempts. It's not uncommon, and the term out there for this sort of thing is "preorgasmic."

Don't fret, it's not necessarily an incurable phenomenon. Just because you never had an orgasm and feel you have done everything possible to get one, don't give up. The power to get off can often be found in your hand, your mind, a partner, or in some vibrating devices.

The basic formula is: aim for what feels good, and repeat it. Try not to stress about reaching orgasmic heights with every attempt you make. All this stress is more likely to hinder your performance than help it. Let's examine a few techniques you can try, then discuss the possibility of seeing a sex therapist.

One way to help preorgasmic women reach their first orgasm is through masturbation. Even if you have tried 100 times, do it again. Take an hour each day and explore your body and mind, find out what makes you tick. Set a place where you can be comfortable where alone or with partner, unplug the phone, relax, and focus on positive thoughts about masturbation.

Allow yourself time. So what if it takes you more than an hour? Take breaks if you want them. Experiment: stroke, pinch, pat, massage, and rub yourself. Vary your breathing, gyrate your hips, listen to sexy music, rent a lusty video, watch yourself in a mirror, or throw in regular Kegel exercises. Masturbation enables you to find what you like, and it can help you instruct your lover how to please you.

Many women experience their first orgasm with the help of vibrators . After the first orgasm, it can be easier to identify and assist others to occur. You can also experiment with dildos and g-spot toys. Also, communicating with your partner what you prefer and what you don't prefer is important. For some, giving sexual instructions may be awkward at first, but in the long run many find that it's worth it. There's no one way to reach orgasm, each woman is has her preferences.

If you've tried the things above for a while, you might consider a sex therapist or a physician. You may be better off seeing a sex therapist rather than a physician since many physicians are not trained in sexual matters. It's best to find a sex therapist through universities, medical schools, or doctors. Because there are many fraudulent sex therapists, ask questions with a potential therapist to get a sense of their experience with sexual subjects and their attitudes about sex. Also, there are many who think they know what's best, but are not qualified. Two valid organizations that print sex therapist directories are The Society for Sex Therapy and Research and The American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists. You can also call us at the SFSI switchboard for help selecting a therapist near you.

When you have a prospective therapist in mind, discuss his/her education and training. If s/he doesn't want to talk about it, walk away. In addition, be skeptical of therapists who state that part of your cure is to have sex with him/her. Lastly, make sure the therapist you go to is straightforward about cost, schedules and plans.

May your path to screaming orgasms be prosperous. If you haven't already, see our articles on this site for more information about how you can enjoy your own g-spot and your clitoris and more about masturbation for women.

For more information...

Check out the book Becoming Orgasmic.
Clitical.com - A good web site about female sexuality, including anatomy (with pictures), masturbation, and other sex topics
If you have questions about any of the above information, or would like to know more, please call the San Francisco Sex Information switchboard at (415) 989-SFSI (7374) or toll-free in the USA (877) 472-SFSI (7374). Our hours are Monday through Friday from 3-9pm Pacific time (6pm-midnight Eastern time), and now we have limited Saturday hours too. Find out more about calling us.