“Sometimes I think I’m so close to getting it (orgasm), but my mind often gets in the way, and I lose the plot altogether, leaving me high and dry. Why and how can I overcome it?”
I often hear this comment in my practice as a sex therapist, and it becomes one of the most common challenges that my vulva-owner clients face. Let’s explore some reasons behind this frustrating phenomenon and discover some valuable tips to help you reconnect with your sexual self for more pleasurable sex.
We live in a high-paced, stressful culture which can create a lot of busy thoughts and distract us from being fully present with the experience. By embracing pleasure through your senses, stress-reducing activities and relaxation, you can create a more profound connection with yourself - even boost your sex drive!
Emily Nagoski, a renowned American sex educator and researcher suggests that addressing stress levels in your day-to-day life can do wonders to overcoming the mental obstacles to great sex! Some practices include incorporating mindfulness, unplugging from social media or walking/running which can help clear the mind and release endorphins – the feel-good hormone. These practices help prime your bodies to be ready for pleasure and get you turned on real fast.
Here are 3 mindful tips you can explore today to release tension.
- CURATE A PLAYLIST: Seduce yourself by listening to slow & sensual tunes during your daily commute to reconnect with your sexy self
- TAKE A BATH: Invigorate your senses with a warm bath to relax tight muscles, improve blood circulation & regulate your mood
- SHOW YOURSELF GRATITUDE: Massage your body, pause on what feels good or where there's tension, and embrace each touch with a sense of deep appreciation
It’s also important to note that there are many factors that can get in the way of fully experiencing the Big O. These may include physical causes like aging or loss of tone in pelvic muscles and mental health challenges such as anxiety and depression. In such cases, it is essential to consult with healthcare professionals to address these conditions.
Create a safe environment for you and your partner
Aside from a ‘’literal’’ safe environment, fostering trust, openness, and non-judgment with your partner provides psychological safety. In turn, this allows everyone involved to explore their sexual desires freely, build a deeper connection and have a more enriching intimate experience shared together.
Safety can also take on different forms. Ensuring physical privacy like having a lock on the master bedroom door to eliminate distractions, or simply removing work-related papers in the environment where intimacy typically takes place for you, can help create the right kind of atmosphere to make us feel more at ease and connected with our bodies and minds.
Not sure how to express your desires? Go easy on yourself and try adopting these 3 shame-free practices:
- EXPRESS YOUR BOUNDARIES: Vocalize where you like to be touched and kissed vs. places you don’t.
- START SLOW: A simple action like a forehead kiss could be what's needed to increase intimacy & a sense of closeness that your body is craving
- COMMUNICATE YOUR DESIRES: Beyond just using words, show & guide your partner on how you’d like to be touched. Guide them to your sweet spots & let your body do the talking
These qualities provide psychological safety, enabling both partners to express desires, boundaries, and vulnerabilities without fear of criticism. Best of all, when you're relaxed, it will put you in a better mental state to reach climax.
Explore with sex toys
Using sex toys can be a great way to shift our busy minds away from work and chores into something more fun and sexy.
Going from manual (fingers) to automatic buzzing devices can be a fun way to explore different parts of your body and its erogenous zones. Play with the varied settings, speeds and strokes to help you find out what really excites you as you uncover a variety of sensations for pleasure, one such example is finding out what a clitoral stimulation would feel like versus a vaginal stimulation or realizing anal play can be really arousing for you. These discoveries are always enlightening as everyone's body is different, and so everyone's pleasure experience and bodily responses are going to feel fairly different from one individual to the next.
As you get more comfortable in your own skin, naturally you will become more relaxed, confident and happier as you become more attuned with your sensual self (not to mention there are also plenty of other health benefits attributed to self-pleasure!).
For an added bonus, when you’ve finally acquainted yourself with a toy that works best on you, don’t be afraid to propose the idea of incorporating it into your partner's sex to spice things up! Sex toys can work wonders for couples, enriching intimate experiences, deepening connections and creating fun core memories together.
In our culture, we’ve been typically taught that P-in-V (penis in vagina) is a widely accepted way of intercourse. However that is only one way to have sex, let alone enjoy pleasure! Between 70 percent to 90 percent of women are unable to achieve orgasm with penetration alone and usually require plenty of foreplay to reach the Big O’. So if this resonates with you, don’t fret! It’s perfectly normal and using sex toys into your play sessions might just be the thing to help you achieve a more fulfilling sex life.
Have a conversation first about incorporating toys before your next intimate moment. Co-create ideas and discuss scenarios to enjoy these toys with your loved ones, or consider buying toys you can enjoy together.
If you need a little nudge on how to add toys into the mix, here’s a sex toy tip for you and your partner.
POLE DANCER + PEBBLE
SEX TECHNIQUE: Your partner sits on the chair with one leg up while you straddle that same leg and give it a good grind!
HOT TIP: For clitoral pleasure lovers, sandwich The Pebble in between your partner's upper thigh and your vulva for an elevated experience.
With all that being said, I understand that the one-size-fits-all advice above may not work for you. Nevertheless, I hope these tips and tools can jump-start and help you break free from your head and connect you to your erotic self. May you enjoy a more fulfilling, exciting and pleasurable sexual experience – and remember, it's all about pleasure and not pressure.
We hope this article has inspired you to kick start your pleasure journey with us, if you’re looking to explore more check out The Zen Collection and enjoy a FREE Toy Cleaner for every purchase from now till the end of Aug 2023.
Dian Handayani, Director and Founder of Nambani.
A sex therapist, sexologist and an art psychotherapist