Whether you experience trouble orgasming, never had a partnered orgasm, or never orgasmed at all, this article is meant to help you find routes to your pleasure! You may be surprised, but most of what you’ll want to do rests in self-reflection and general self-work before it gets physical. That’s because what often keeps us from pleasure is what’s between our ears rather than what’s between our legs.

Step 1: Identify your negative beliefs (if any)

This step is dedicated to naming the beliefs that may be holding you back from experiencing orgasmic pleasure. If you’re not sure what they might be, consider whether you ever hear distracting voices in your head saying things like:

  • Your pleasure doesn’t really matter
  • You take too long to orgasm
  • Sex or masturbation or pleasure is wrong
  • Your partner will leave if you don’t concentrate on them
  • It’s too much work to bring you to orgasm
  • You don’t look good at certain angles

It’s easy for me to come up with examples because I’ve experienced quite a few of these!

Write down anything that you believe (even if you don’t want to believe that you believe) that may be affecting your mindset and capacity for pleasure.

Step 2: Explore those negative narratives

Next, it’s time to identify where these narratives or beliefs come from and why they hold power over you. Depending on how you best process, you might choose to talk these out with a friend or family member. Share stories of your past experiences and influences. Another option is to  share these with a therapist who can help you identify the sources, journal out responses using freewrite techniques, or any number of forms of processing. This will help you attain a better understanding of why these beliefs exist and impact your experiences.

Step 3: Rewrite the narrative

Once you’ve come to terms with where the negative beliefs come from and why they hold power over you, it’s time to start releasing them. A great place to start is affirmations. I wasn’t much of a believer at first, but I find these can be incredibly powerful when they are what we need to hear. For example:

  • “I deserve pleasure/a partner who values my pleasure.”
  • “I am sexy and confident/my partner finds me sexy.”
  • “My partner loves pleasuring me/cares deeply about my pleasure.”

It can also be helpful to teach these to any partners you have or may have to serve as outside affirmers. I have had multiple partners let me know there is no rush, they are enjoying the process, and that I should relax and have fun. Sometimes, this is all I need to hear to help me reach orgasm.

You should also practice some self-love activities that center your sensual experiences.

  • Dressing up in whatever makes you feel most attractive
  • Taking sexy pictures of yourself
  • Savoring the flavors of decadent food
  • Engaging all five senses with things you love
  • Reducing stress

This last one can come in the form of saying “no.” Practice being present in what you are doing on the daily and identify things that your body and mind are asking you to drop and see if you actually can. Whenever possible, it’s important to prioritize you and your well-being, especially because it’s a lesson in you mattering more than whatever the unwanted thing you are dropping.

Step 4: Get in touch with your mind

This is similar to Step 3 but goes a little further. Here you want to think about your ideal sexual experience. How does it start? What’s the environment and mood like? What activities occur?  Who is involved (if anyone other than you)?

Create a sexual fantasy in your mind that you may play out in real life. Maybe use the fantasy while stimulating your body/being stimulated. You may choose to read or watch erotic materials for inspiration.

Step 5: Get in touch with your body

This may take multiple forms. If you experience any sort of negative body image, you can take this as an opportunity to get to know the whole of you rather than concentrating on the pieces you don’t like. Try the mirror activity. Watch your body in its natural movements. Appreciate the way it shifts in relation to your breathing or other movements.

Get to know your genitalia, if you are unfamiliar. Practice doing pelvic floor exercises to build up physical strength, which can help with orgasming. Play with different types of touch around your body and genitals. See what feels good when aroused (touch while reading, watching, or imagining sexy scenes).

Do all of this without an end goal. The pressure of having to love your body or having to orgasm can be distracting and counterproductive. Give yourself time to simply notice, observe, and learn.

Step 6: Accept Fluctuations

You will likely find this is an ongoing process. There may be several internalized beliefs that you begin to change at different rates. While it may feel frustrating, finding your orgasmic pleasure is not a race. Be gentle with yourself. Be open to uncovering more as you move forward in this journey. Consistently practice steps 3 – 5 to feel supported, confident, and deserving. Your mind is your most powerful sex organ, so it’s up to you to make sure it works in your favor.

Inspiration for this post comes from many places but three people that stand out are Sonya Renee Taylor’s The Body is Not an Apology, adrienne maree brown’s Pleasure Activism, and Lonnie Barbach’s For Yourself.

Yael R. Rosenstock Gonzalez

Yael R. Rosenstock Gonzalez

Sex Educator, Researcher, Author, Speaker
Yael R Rosenstock Gonzalez is a sex educator, researcher, author, speaker, and curriculum developer. As a queer, polyamorous, white-presenting Nuyorican Jew, Yael has always been interested in understanding the multi-level experiences of individuals. This led her to found Kaleidoscope Vibrations, LLC, a company dedicated to supporting and creating spaces for individuals to explore and find community in their personal identities. Through her company, she facilitates workshops, develops curriculum, offers Identity Exploration Coaching, and publishes narratives often left out of mainstream publishing.

Yael has been engaged in workshop development and facilitation since she joined the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) as a teen peer reproductive rights educator at 15 years old. Since then, she has served as an educator with children ranging from 10 months old to adults in their 70s with different organizations and communities. In her work as first Program Coordinator, then Director of Programming, and finally Associate Director of the Center for Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Understanding, Yael developed and led events, workshops, and programs with an intersectionality lens.