The Big O: Is this why you can’t get there?


Sex doesn’t always have to end in an orgasm. But it’s nice when it does, and a lot of people equate good sex with the kind of reaction Meg Ryan’s character had to her sandwich in “When Harry Met Sally.”

In reality, putting orgasms on such a high pedestal is actually part of the reason why some women have such difficulty achieving them. The vast majority of young, healthy women (no medical disorders, not related to a medication, theyre either single or in a healthy relationship) who come in to see me about never having an orgasm, its because of something mental,” said Leah S. Millheiser, MD, director of the Female Sexual Medicine Program at Stanford University Medical Center. “Often times these women are aware that they are stopping themselves from reaching orgasm.”

In this case, the inability to orgasm is a result of some anxiety surrounding letting go of control or the pressure society has put on “finishing,” but there are also some underlying health issues Millheiser suggests ruling out.

Because blood flow and muscle contraction determine the intensity of a woman’s orgasm, a peripheral vascular disease a condition which reduces blood flow to the limbs could be causing weak or nonexistent orgasms. “If someone has longstanding peripheral vascular disease, meaning they have blocks in their peripheral vessels (the blood vessels that go to their legs and their genitals) because of diabetes or high cholesterol, they have decreased blood flow. And when you have decreased blood flow to the genitals, your orgasms arent going to be anywhere near as intense.”

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