The orgasm has been compared to a sneeze – they’re both involuntary muscle spasms.
I think I can draw a more useful parallel: a laugh.
Laughing is certainly more fun than sneezing, and there’s another useful similarity – they’re both about relaxing, and letting yourself have fun.
Most of my patients who have trouble attaining an orgasm are able to climax when they’re alone, but not with another person – especially not with someone they know.
It’s hard to relax enough to have an orgasm in someone else’s presence. It’s also hard to laugh with a stranger. That’s why the number one thing my patients say they are looking for in a partner is “someone who can make me laugh.” It’s a sign that you’ve achieved a connection – you can let go and relax and laugh. You feel safe enough to be yourself.
Sex is a barometer for communication in a relationship. If a couple stops having sex, their communication has usually shut down. There’s something they aren’t talking about, and it shows. They’ve tensed up and stopped talking – the trust in their relationship is compromised. That breakdown of trust is reflected in their discomfort opening up sufficiently to do something as awkward and private as get naked and have sex.
For some of my patients, having sex with strangers is easier than sex with someone they know because they can hide with a stranger. In some sense, they are alone, since there’s no real connection, so they can let go.
It’s interesting that a good comedian’s job is to relax us enough that we laugh in the presence of others. The best comedians can make you laugh even if you’re trying not to – it really is involuntary. They do this by surprising us with forbidden communication. Ironically, one of the easiest way for a comedian to get a cheap laugh is by “working blue” – talking about sex in an open way that surprises the audience into admitting truths about themselves.
In order to relax enough to have an orgasm, you need to own the forbidden feelings around this act of supreme openness. Instead of beating yourself up for having a “problem,” you can treat your feelings with respect, own them, and explore them.
Why is it scary to open up and relax around another person?
Probably because when you did it before, in the past, you got hurt.
Simple enough. A trained response, just like Pavlov’s dogs.
So you’re going to have to respect that trained response, and address it by reassuring yourself that this time you’re safe.
Maybe, as a child, it wasn’t safe to open up and be yourself, relaxed and present. You learned to close down and assume a defensive posture.
But as an adult, there’s nothing you can’t handle – because you always have yourself nearby.
Someone’s got your back.
So go ahead. Laugh. Or sneeze. Or whatever.
It’s going to be okay this time.