'I’ve had a baby, but I’ve never had an orgasm'
When Rosanna wasn’t having orgasms in her teens and twenties it wasn’t a big deal – “I’ll get there one day,” she thought. But when she turned 32 and that Big ‘O’ still hadn’t shown up, things changed.
This article originally appeared on Kidspot.
Rosanna* is one of those beautiful women. And it’s not a fake beauty either. She’s got this whole earth mother thing going on. And when you sit opposite her and chat while she plays with her toddler you would never think that she has spent most of her life carrying a secret. For when Rosanna talks to you, she really engages. And when you convey something meaningful, she’ll put her hand on yours. She doesn’t seem to be holding back; she’s in no way uncomfortable with touch; she’s just never had an orgasm.
“I knew enough as a child to know that it’s a secret thing,” she reflects. “But there was never a sense of discomfort in my family around sex. It wasn’t taboo and my mum bought me all the books. She talked about it with me but never in a too much information way. There’s no real reason why I shouldn’t be able to do what everybody else seems to do so easily.”
“Because of the way I look, everybody assumes I’m really sexy and know how to have good sex, but I actually just don’t know. I don’t know how,” she says. “I feel defective. That’s it. That’s the word that keeps tumbling about my head. Defective. I mean, I don’t know anyone else who’s never had an orgasm.”
When Rosanna first started having sex in her late teens, she remembers it as a primarily positive experience. Don’t get me wrong, she loved sex, she just never ‘got there’.
Something was going on though
From the get-go Rosanna assumed the fact that she didn’t climax with her partners was her problem, not theirs. But wouldn’t the majority of teenage girls be making the exact same assumption? Learning how to climax with a partner takes time, after all.
But there were things that told her, her vagina wasn’t broken.
“I often gush,” she says, “although the gushing is not attached to a feeling of fireworks. Once a partner, using a vibrator on me brought me to a point where my vagina actually blew the vibrator out and I sprayed liquid across the room. I was so surprised!”
But while such explosions may look like orgasms, Rosanna isn’t so sure. Because she has a sense of what the type of arousal that leads to orgasm should feel like, it’s just really … illusive.
“Every so often I’ll wake in the middle of the night and be like a red hot ember. If I touch myself the fire goes out, like my hand were water to the flame. But if I don’t, if I allow the sensation to exist, I can just go for hours, riding these incredible waves. I call it my heavenly twilight.”
The ‘something’ going on
According to sexologist and sex therapist, Tanya Koens, 85 percent of women don’t know when their bodies are highly aroused and only about 28 percent of women are able to reach orgasm through intercourse alone. Yet the most chronic problem women in our “come focused” society are experiencing is not a physiological problem, it’s a mental one.
Tanya says that the problem Rosanna presents is an extremely common one and her view is that many of these women actually are reaching orgasm, they just don’t know it.
“Everyone experiences orgasm in a different way and yet the assumption is that all orgasms are these big, explosive, fireworks-in-the-sky-type events – but they’re not. Some women’s experience of orgasm is more like a speedbump. And sure, there are exercises and techniques you can play with to make that speedbump more intense, but it doesn’t have to be.”
The truth is, you don’t need to orgasm to have good sex, but all too often, our busy brains are getting in the way of the good sex AND the orgasm. “Maybe they’re not aware they’re actually having tiny orgasms,” Tanya explains. “They’re so busy worrying about it, that when it turns up, they’re missing the event completely.”
The news to Rosanna of the possibility that she actually was having orgasms (even if they were little ones) changed her thinking significantly. “I feel really reassured. Delighted in fact! I would much rather be someone with just a speedhump than nothing at all. What? I’m NOT defective? What a huge relief!”
Telling the man I love
Rosanna was in a relationship with her partner for five years before she told him the truth.
“We were both really drunk and when it tumbled out he was shocked. He disconnected and I just remember crying like I’ve never cried before. It was utterly awful to be honest. It wasn’t even a relief to have it off my chest.”
Her confession led to the pair making her orgasm their mission, “but that just ruined sex completely,” she says. “There was way too much pressure – for both of us.”
So, they just let it go …
Stayed in love;
Got married and had a baby.
But while the Big ‘O’ still hasn’t arrived, the light around it has changed.
Sex after baby
“I’m now way more relaxed about the whole thing,” Rosanna muses. “I was really hung up on sex having to be sexy, but after ten years and a baby, everything just gets toned down a lot more. I don’t need to put on a front.
I ‘m prouder of my body now than ever before - I have birthed a baby; rather than feeling defective, I just feel super-functional. My body, my vagina is INCREDIBLE.”
The issue hasn’t gone away though and it often leads to her feeling somewhat on the outside. “It’s one of those things where you just assume everyone else is either dong it, or at least able to do it, and I can’t. But I haven’t given up hope. I definitely haven’t resigned myself to the idea that I’m going to die without having an orgasm.”
And while Rosanna, like so many of us, could benefit from turning off the “worry” during lovemaking, she says that regardless, the sex in her journey is better than ever.
“I remember how my husband used to sometimes look down at me and smile during sex. It used to drive me nuts! I thought sex had to be pillow-bitingly sheet-searingly sexy, and you can't smile lovingly when you're being that sexy - grimacing seemed like the more appropriate expression. But now sex is lovely - we know each other so well; we don’t take it so seriously - and we both smile.
* Not her real name
Tanya Koens is a Clinical Sexologist and Counsellor based in Surry Hills, who helps people with sexual issues, relationship problems, self-esteem and anxiety. Find out more at surryhillstherapy.com.