Don't get me wrong -- orgasms are amazing.
I won't feign disinterest or pretend to think otherwise for the sake of sheer shock value. But the importance that we as a society place on this loaded word can be destructive. According to Brown, one out of three of all women have difficulty reaching orgasm. In fact, it's the number one sexual complaint for women between the ages of 18 and 30.
Yet placing too much importance on orgasm alone can weigh down the sexual experience and self-prophesize a certain degree of "failure." It is, ironically, our obsession with the orgasm that is actually making orgasms harder to achieve. (Plus, if you're defining "good sex" on getting to the orgasm alone, I think the 30 percent of men who complain about premature ejaculation would beg to differ.)
So what's to blame? How can we account for this cultural fixation?
Could it be the traditionally male-centric cultural view of satisfying sex -- a single peak followed by a refractory period -- that's making it impossible for women and men to understand the more complicated dynamics of female pleasure?
Is it porn's depictions of infinite and epic orgasms?
Or is it maybe a result of being constantly sold on "15 new sex positions" that are going to guarantee us "the greatest orgasm ever!" by the latest newsstand eye candy. (Hint: chances are, if you are having difficulty orgasming, you're probably not going to find the answer in a glossy magazine.)
Whatever the reason, we're missing out on crucial aspects of sex by idolizing orgasm and ignoring all of the other subtle magical moments that can take our intimate experiences to the next level: the sensations of touch, the moments of connection, and the relaxation and mindfulness which ultimately allow us to be present and anxiety-free.
In letting these key components take a backseat to one single, all-encompassing and lofty word, we're sabotaging the very result we're looking to achieve -- better sex.
True. It's difficult to "just let go" and "not worry about it" -- especially when you're trying really hard to accomplish this sense of ease (A bit like when your yoga teacher instructs you to "relax" after contorting you into some pretzel-legged half squat position.)
But that's why I'm writing this.
To assure you that the number of orgasms you have should have nothing to do with your self-worth.
There is nothing wrong with you if you aren't experiencing mind-blowing orgasms every single day of the week. The absence of orgasm does not indicate bad sex or lack of pleasure or worst of all, defeat. If you are happy with your sex life and it is orgasm-free, great for you! If you feel unsatisfied by your orgasms and want to explore achieving more or stronger orgasms, there is a ton of informational material that I'm happy to recommend. But don't ever let anyone tell you that there's an objective standard for sex.
It is easy to use orgasm as a means of quantifying a completely subjective experience, but what we really need to do is to chill out -- enjoy the ride -- and stop taking things in the bedroom so darn seriously.