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July 31st is National Orgasm Day.
In 2007, Councilman Arimateio Dantas of Brazil passed a law requiring men to ensure their wives achieved proper stimulation, in a move that was seen globally as taboo (by, quite frankly, a lot of men) and a wonderful sign of the awareness of women’s sexuality.
Ever since, July 31st has been recognized internationally as National Orgasm Day, and it’s only right that you celebrate accordingly.
If celebrating a day about orgasms feels far removed from your life—perhaps you are single, in an unhappy relationship, or suffering from an age-related decrease in libido—these insights and tips are for you:
Insight #1: Communication is Key
In adult relationships, female orgasm can become the source of both great joy and great suffering. It’s crucial to understand that men have no idea what feels good for women, and so they need to be told. They want to be told.
For over 40 percent of women, vaginal intercourse does not lead to orgasm. For young inexperienced couples, if that is all that is on the menu, both members of the couple are likely to have sexual encounters that end in disappointment, shame, blame, and feelings of inadequacy. It is our responsibility as women to tell our partners, male or female, what we like (start with the positive: “I like it when you…”), and what you don’t like.
Set clear boundaries around which sexual activities are acceptable to you and which are not. In a perfect world, we would have that discussion before our first sexual encounter with a partner. In my research and the research of many others, resentment or unspoken anger is the number one killer of libido and orgasm, as a result of unclear communication and a pattern of activities that we simply do not want and that cross our boundaries.
Insight #2: You May Be Your Best Sexual Partner
In my 2018 study for my book Sexually Woke, the most reliable way for women to achieve orgasm was with a vibrator or toy, alone. In second place was manual stimulation, alone. Equally placed for number three were oral sex and manual stimulation with a partner, and vaginal intercourse was in fourth place. This highlights the fact that we know exactly what we want, but we are not communicating it well to our partners.
If all we needed was an orgasm, clearly we have that covered on our own. But my study and many others show that we crave intimate connection and orgasm with a partner—we are just not always sure how to get it. Women especially have been conditioned not to speak up about what we want, but in the bedroom, challenge yourself to speak honestly about what feels good for you.
Insight #3: You Are Not Alone
The perception that we are given in the media is that everyone else is having sex all the time. Trust me, they’re not. This is just another one of the many unrealistic ideals that are imposed upon us by our culture. Starting from a place of understanding that low libido is normal when you are married with young children and working from there is healthy.
Certainly, trying to improve our sex lives is important for our relationships and is a healthy aspiration. But thinking that it should be easy and should come naturally can be lonely, disappointing, and frustrating. This is an issue that we don’t talk about because of the perception that something is wrong with us, and we fear shame if we expose the truth that our sex lives are not as exciting as they used to be.
Insight #4: You Can Reclaim Your Libido At Any Age
As we age, particularly for women around and after the time of menopause, blood flow to the clitoris decreases, and nerves become less sensitive. As a result, most women experience a decrease in libido and ability to orgasm as we approach menopause, and after. Now that we are going to live perhaps half of our lives after menopause (without ovulation and the associated hormones) it’s important to realize that our bodies are changing, but sex can still remain as vibrant as ever, or even more.
For women suffering from age-related issues decrease in orgasmic potential and sexual pleasure, a number of treatments are available to keep the vagina and clitoris young and vibrant. But as I always say, doctors can do everything under the sun to optimize your hormones and your anatomy, but if you mind isn’t into it, you won’t want to have sex.
For women, the primary source of our libido is from above the neck. So talking through any limiting beliefs that you hold about sex or your sexual potential with your partner or a therapist is often the most important element to get you back to your vibrant, orgasmic self.
Celebrating National Orgasm Day may be taking time for reflection and self-care. Spend time with yourself, getting to know what feels good, and how to have an orgasm without the pressure of a partner. Let go of whatever shame and negative conditioning you have around this natural and beautiful experience that can lead to deep, loving connection.