Overcoming Sexual Misconceptions from our Orgasm-Centric Society

In our society, it is easy to develop unrealistic expectations, especially in regards to sex; this often includes a misconception of what our sex life is “meant” to look like.  Misconceptions affect so many individuals and couples.  I am sure at some point you have even had the thought, “I bet ___________ (fill in with anything related to sex) is unusual for other people… I wonder if we’re the only ones who have experienced this.”  Many sexual misconceptions occur because our society is so orgasmic centric.  Two misconceptions that are very popular are the ideas that orgasm is a requirement for sexual activity and that simultaneous orgasm can and should be achieved on a regular basis.

It is no secret that the American culture is highly focused on orgasms.  As a result, many people think that if sex doesn’t look like foreplay, penetration, orgasm- something is wrong.  Think over your own sexual experiences.  Has there been a time that you and/or a partner ever become frustrated during a sexual experience due to an inability to reach orgasm or climax, so that the encounter can end? 

Orgasms are great - I think you will be hard pressed to find someone who disagrees with this statement.  But, why should orgasms be the end-all-to-be-all for sexual encounters?  Especially when considering the statistics regarding orgasms.  Many women have a difficult time reaching orgasm from penetrative sex alone.  According to a comprehensive analysis completed by Elisabeth Lloyd, about 50% of women sometimes have orgasm during penetrative sex.  That is a lot of opportunity for frustration if each person thinks that an orgasm is required for a sexual encounter.  Women are not alone in this issue, men also experience difficulty with ejaculation and orgasm; according to the American Sex Survey, 28 percent of men under 50 experience difficulty with ejaculation and orgasm. 

Next time that you and/or a partner are having a difficult time reaching orgasm, take a step back, and try enjoying the shared experience as a time to emotionally and physically connect with one another.  A sexual experience does not have to be a race to the finish line.  Try to relax as much as possible by reducing your expectations for an orgasm.  It is not the end of the world, if one or both of you don’t reach orgasm, so there is no need to add more pressure to the situation.  Sharing this experience without an orgasm can still foster closeness within a relationship, too, because oxytocin (also known as the bonding or cuddle chemical) is still released regardless of the presence of an orgasm.  If you and a partner are reaching the point of frustration try going back to foreplay, cuddle together, switch sexual positions, bring in a sex toy, and/or end the experience knowing that you both enjoyed yourselves.

Simultaneous orgasm is another sexual misconception that I believe results from our orgasm-centric society.  The idea that in order to have a successful sexual encounter two people should sexually climax at the same time is a bit ludicrous.  Now, don’t get me wrong, this does happen occasionally and can be an amazing bonding experience for a couple, but the idea that simultaneous orgasm can and should be achieved on a routine basis is unrealistic (if you are the couple that can do this – serious props to you!).  Just as we discussed earlier, expecting an orgasm from every sexual encounter in general can be unrealistic, but to expect simultaneous orgasm every time is bound to lead to disappointment.  Just as I mentioned earlier, only about 50 percent of women sometimes experience an orgasm during penetrative sex – so the idea that both of you are supposed to orgasm at the same time, every time, only sets you up for failure.

There are no orgasm police! We do not have to let the absence of an orgasm dictate how we view a sexual experience, nor should we.  Instead, we can change how we look at a sexual encounter with our partners; moving from an orgasm-centric experience to a shared, pleasurable experience (with or without orgasm).  So what if you don’t cum together, it’s more important that you have come together for the shared experience.

 

Written by Katie Mitchell, M.A., LPC-Intern CST-Candidate

Katie Mitchell is a counselor and Certified Sex Therapist-Candidate at Heights Family Counseling. She believes in using a solution-focused therapeutic approach to therapy, in order to empower clients to discover more effective solutions to their problems.  Katie aims to foster a non-judgmental, accepting environment that helps clients to feel comfortable sharing their deepest thoughts and self-reflections. Katie enjoys working with a variety of clientele, such as individuals, couples, and families.  She also enjoys working with both individual and relational sexual concerns.  She understands that an active sex life is incredibly important for most individuals, especially those in a relationship. Learn more about Katie by visiting, https://heightsfamilycounseling.com/amy-rollo/, or learn more about our services at, https://heightsfamilycounseling.com/services/

Elisabeth Lloyd, The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution

Sex in America - http://www.nationalsexstudy.indiana.edu/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3183515/