Your Call: How Do I Mentally Unblock My Orgasm?

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We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section. 

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Dear Em & Lo,

I was a virgin when I met my husband, and eight years into the marriage, the sex has gotten twenty times better. However, no matter how hard he tries or lasts, I seem to self-sabotage my orgasm. I get to a nine and then get tired, panic, or just lazy. I want my orgasm but I can’t seem to let go and turn myself off to allow it. My mind will do either all three things above — or worse, just get distracted by a thought about work, etc. It’s like mentally I’m blocked, or somehow trained to not allow an orgasm. How can I unblock and orgasm?

— This One Wants to Go to Eleven

What words of wisdom do you have for Eleven? Leave your advice in the comments section below.



  1. With respect to Dave W, I’d like to mostly disagree. At least for SSRI antidepressants, inability to orgasm is a common side effect. It could be that Eleven has constitutively high serotonin signaling (or maybe she is on one and didn’t mention in her letter).

  2. Oh Eleven, I can certainly relate. My orgasmic journey has had many pitfalls. I’ve also been in a long term relationship where even if the sex was great and my partner was attentive – I couldn’t orgasm. I found that this always became more of an issue for me when I would stop masturbating on my own. There is something very different about the pleasure you feel from masturbation vs the pleasure you feel from partner sex.

    Do you masturbate on your own? This could help tremendously with oh so many things. Masturbation can ease anxieties around your own pleasure and help you feel more comfortable with yourself and your sexuality by giving you time to just concentrate on you what you like and be a sort of self love meditation. You deserve it! Sometimes when a partner is around it can be distracting.

    Masturbation gives you the ability to really explore your body on your own – home court advantage anyone? Try using both toys and manual stimulation. Exploring different sensations can give you a better idea of what you really like.
    Once you start feeling all those tingly feelings on your own you might better identify those autonomic bodily responses – such as changes in your breathing rhythm when you are turned on, warmth in your cheeks, etc. When you know what happens to your body when you are close to orgasm and you notice those responses happening when you are with a partner you can become that much closer to your orgasm and can sort of jumpstart it yourself. Accentuate those responses and own them.

    And just as a side note – I don’t orgasm every time with my partner still, but those sexy times are no less pleasurable. And sometimes I’ll orgasm right in the beginning and still want to keep going even if I can’t orgasm again. Orgasm isn’t the goal – it’s just another form of pleasure.

    Good luck and happy masturbating!

  3. I would encourage you to see a therapist or counselor, possibly a sex therapist. If this is a years-long pattern that you can’t haven’t been able to solve on your own, then I would get help. Best wishes.

  4. This may sound counter-intuitive, but an anti-depressant?? I find that when they’re working right, I can stay in the moment with pleasurable stimuli or thoughts, and unpleasant thoughts are kept at bay.

  5. Have you tried to figure out the origin of why you are blocking it out? You have stated what you do to block it out, but why does it get to that point? For example, some women self-sabotage an orgasm because they were taught that good girls are not allowed to experience pleasure on that level or masturbate.

  6. Try role-playing. I’ve found that creating a hypothetical situation and letting me mind venture into the scenario will get my mind off of other things that might halt my orgasm.

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