Uh, So I've Never Had An Orgasm: How to Make It Happen, & Why You Should

When it comes to orgasms, we live in a weird freaking culture. For many women, first orgasm stories aren't just about the orgasms themselves: they're about the symbolic weight that it carries. For so many of us, sex and orgasms are intertwined, with sex, and the "loss" of virginity as the way we Become A Woman. Which is bullshit: you're a woman if you say you are. It has nothing to do with checking a list. But accepting that is easier said than done, and when you've never had sex, with yourself or with anyone else, and you've never had an orgasm, it can feel like you're missing out on this entire world of adulthood.

We chatted with some experts to figure out how to navigate the world of ~orgasms~ if you never have before, and to talk about why this journey is so important to so many of us. 

Why are orgasms so fucking stressful? 

Many women who haven't had orgasms by the "expected" age feel truly alone and awkward about it. Remy Kassimir, host of podcast How Cum, was over 20 when she had her first orgasm (something she talks about a lot on the podcast). When asked how that made her feel, she said, "It was horrible! I felt like a defective weirdo. It was lonely and sad to be excluded from something it seemed like everyone else was doing."

"A lot of women feel embarrassed if they haven't yet had their first orgasms," explains Vanessa Marin, sex therapist and creator of Finishing School: Learn How To Orgasm. "You may have this idea that it's supposed to happen without any effort whatsoever, so if it hasn't happened yet, you may worry that something is wrong with you or that you're blocked in some way. You may be scared that it won't ever happen for you. You may also be feeling pressured by your partner to orgasm. Or even feeling pressure from society or from your friends to orgasm." 

It's important to realize that just because something is "normal," that doesn't mean it's the right move for you. Maybe you just haven't had an orgasm yet. Maybe you never will. Maybe your orgasms are just different from what your friends are experiencing. It's all valid. 

How can you put less pressure on yourself to orgasm?

"If you're feeling a lot of pressure to orgasm, channel that energy into actually learning how to orgasm!" Marin says. "A lot of women get stuck feeling pressured and anxious, but still expecting orgasm to just happen. If orgasm truly is important to you, you can spend that energy exploring different techniques and figuring out what feels good for your body. My course, Finishing School, is an amazing resource for women who are serious about wanting to learn how to orgasm."

If you want to learn more about orgasms, there are endless resources. Get real with your friends. Talk to your mom. Read a book, or join Sex Talk on the @HerCampus Instagram. Figure out what makes you feel best, and start there. 

Why is it important for young women to know their bodies, and discover their "O"?

"The corniest answer would be that you can’t really be loved until you love yourself. But also — it’s true," Remy says. "You have to love yourself first, figuratively and quite literally too. A lot of women expect their partners to make them cum or have some special sexual knowledge, but there’s no better knowledge than knowing exactly what you want, being able to do it yourself and being able to ask for it. Usually masturbating or using a toy is the way to figure that out."

How Cum's Charlotte Kassimir agrees. "In a way, often sex and sexual discovery isn’t about sex at all, but rather learning how to take time for ourselves and to put ourselves first. Once we do that, when we are with a partner, we can communicate much better and make the experience enjoyable for ALL parties. It’s also just incredibly cool to have control over something that powerful and well, awesome."

It's never a bad idea to go into a sexual experience knowing what you're into. Talk it out with your partner, and let them know what you are and aren't comfortable with up front. Nothing is quite as awkward as having terrible sex and not knowing how to help out your partner. But if you get to know your body, you can fix it with a pretty quick, "Uh, no. How about this?" 

Your orgasms are for you. 

"It's also important to remember that your orgasm is for you. If orgasm isn't important to you, that's totally fine! You can have an active and satisfying sex life without them," Marin explains.

Preach. 

Why are orgasms empowering for young women?

"Orgasms are empowering for everyone!" Remy says. "Especially young women. It’s essentially realizing you can be being self reliant and able to give yourself a release. For some of us, it’s the first time we’ve ever been able to feel independent, and self satisfied. It also puts way less emphasis on finding, 'the one.' You’re the one! How fun is that?"

"Not to sound super cliché, but I really do think that being confident and secure in your own skin, especially in such an intimate way (the MOST intimate way, really) affects all facets of your life for the better," Charlotte explains. "If you can speak up and advocate for yourself in what many would consider the most intimidating of settings, why not also in a classroom, boardroom, etc.?"

Empowerment, here we come. But seriously. Don't feel weird or ashamed for exploring your own body, OR for choosing not to. These days there can be a hugely empowering aspect to sex positive culture, but that can also feel like a pressure, like if you aren't open about sex and masturbation, you're doing something wrong. At the end of the day, though, it's about you, and your body, and your experience within it.

Have a million orgasms, or zero. Whatever makes the most sense for you. 

*Names have been changed.

This was published as a part of The Most Real: Sex, Wellness, and Bodies, our answer to your questions (and, let's be real, our questions) about everything sexual health and wellness. Tampons, strap-ons, first time sex, ingrown bikini hairs, why you poop so much when you're on your period - we're getting real. Get real with us. Join the convo using #HCMostReal, and tagging @HerCampus.