The Inability to Reach Orgasm

The inability to reach orgasm can damage self-esteem and become an obstacle to establishing sexual relationships. But, why does it happen and what can be done about it?
The Inability to Reach Orgasm
Elena Sanz

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 07 February, 2023

Men and women, single or in relationships, youngsters and adults… there are many people who’ve faced the inability to reach orgasm at some point in their lives.

Being unable to experience the culmination of sexual activity can be really confusing and overwhelming. You might find yourself blaming your partner or yourself or feeling that there’s something wrong with your body or your relationship. However, it’s a situation that can often be fixed.

As human beings, sexuality is a fundamental part of our lives. Consequently, experiencing complications can generate great frustration and affect both self-esteem and the ability to relate emotionally. Although there may be a medical or an organic problem, the answer is often to be found in the psyche.

Worried woman in bed

Inability to reach orgasm

The inability to reach orgasm is usually associated with the absence of libido or the impossibility of experiencing sexual pleasure. For example, maybe you’re really attracted to your partner and feel pleasure during sex, but find it impossible to reach orgasm.

If you’re in this situation, you must first analyze if there’s any injury, illness, or organic pathology that could explain the situation. Once any physical causes have been ruled out, you can begin to work with the psychological component. This is an extremely important aspect, although it’s often undervalued within the field of sexuality. Although the causes of the inability to reach orgasm can be varied, these are some of the most frequent.

Wrong beliefs

Often, the beliefs and attitudes developed around sex act as an obstacle to enjoyment. Indeed, in many families, religions, cultures, and settings, sexuality remains a taboo subject  associated with shame and guilt.

If you hold any of these kinds of ideas, you won’t feel free or comfortable during any type of sexual activity. Therefore, first of all, you should reflect on your beliefs.

Lack of self-awareness

On the other hand, it’s extremely common that those who experience difficulties reaching orgasm are people who’ve not allowed themselves to explore their sexuality on their own. It’s essential to know your own body, your erogenous zones, and your specific tastes and preferences if you want to enjoy a satisfactory sexual life.

As a matter of fact, masturbation can be a really useful and healthy tool. It’ll help you get to know yourself and what you enjoy and allow you to feel more comfortable and calm. You’ll also be able to guide your partner during sex.

Lack of sexual assertiveness

It could be that, despite possessing healthy and functional beliefs and having had the chance to explore and get to know yourself, you’re still unable to achieve orgasm. This can be due to a lack of assertive sexual communication. In other words, you’re unable to communicate to your partner what you like and what you want without feeling embarrassed or guilty. If this exchange of information doesn’t occur, your sexual relationship will be hindered, preventing you from reaching orgasm.

You need to remember that, in a sexual exchange, both parties have the right to enjoy and experience pleasure. Moreover, your partner probably really wants to please you. So, why not ease the situation by providing them with some helpful guidance?

Role of the spectator

Lastly, if you can’t achieve orgasm, you must consider where you’re focusing your attention. Are you excessively concerned about how you look physically or whether your partner is enjoying themselves? If so, you won’t be able to let yourself be carried away by any physical sensations. Instead, they’ll remain in your mind, and you’ll merely be little more than a spectator of what’s happening.

Man worried because he does not reach orgasm

What to do if you can’t achieve orgasm

By working on the above points, your difficulties in reaching sexual climax will likely disappear. So, start by reviewing your beliefs and eliminating any taboos, and feelings of guilt and shame. Allow yourself to see sexuality as an integral part of you, as a human being.

Get to know yourself, explore yourself, and learn to enjoy yourself. Discover your preferences and communicate them to your partner. Above all, communicate without fear. After all, sex is something natural and beneficial for both of you. Try to focus your attention on the physical and bodily sensations that you’re experiencing. In fact, try and participate fully in the experience in a more sensory and emotional than an analytical or reflective way. Finally, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice if the situation doesn’t resolve itself by adopting the measures we’ve mentioned. 

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Santos-Iglesias, P., & Sierra, J. C. (2010). El papel de la asertividad sexual en la sexualidad humana: una revisión sistemática. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology10(3), 553-577.
  • Carrobles, J. A., Guadix, M. G., & Almendros, C. (2011). Funcionamiento sexual, satisfacción sexual y bienestar psicológico y subjetivo en una muestra de mujeres españolas. Anales de Psicología/Annals of Psychology27(1), 27-34.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.