How To Bridge The Orgasm Gap With Dr. Shelly Persad

Imagine if all people with vaginas were taught that they could find feelings of empowerment, enlightenment, freedom, joy, bliss, creativity, courage, and meditative transcendence through their vaginas?

Words by: Dr. Shelly Persad

There’s an orgasm gap, and it’s mostly because people with vaginas AREN’T being taught that their relationship with their vagina can and does affect all areas of their life.

According to Planned Parenthood, as many as 1 in 3 people with vaginas have trouble reaching orgasm when having sex. Other statistics show that around 40% cis women struggle to reach the Big O, 70-80% aren’t sexually satisfied, 50% claim it isn’t a priority (sex often feels like work or an obligation), and nearly 10% of them have never experienced a toe-curling orgasm.

Many cis-women feel disconnected from their sensuality and sexuality. And this disconnect makes them feel depressed, unworthy, not good enough, frustrated, non-motivated, robotic, non-sexual, sad, angry, stressed, and as though something is missing in their life.

However, the Big O has become a cultural obsession, and in a way, that’s a miraculous thing considering the female sexual pleasure has been considered everything from unimportant to an actual myth.

So why are so many disconnected with this?

  • Societal Programming
    Let’s be real – sex ed sucks!  And not only does it NOT educate you about sex, but it also fails to identify female sexual anatomy properly.  Did you know that American health textbooks often neglect to label the clitoris in their female anatomy diagrams?  In one study, 29% of college-aged women were unable to identify the clitoris on an anatomy diagram.  In 2016, Eve Appeal, a U.K. gynecological cancer charity, asked 1,000 women to identify their anatomy in a medical illustration.  44% were unable to identify their vagina and 60% were unable to label their vulva.  
  • Religious Belief Systems
    You’ve heard all the sayings, “good girls don’t like sex,” “sex is a sin,” “sex is dirty,” “virginity is a prize to be won,” etc. which perpetuates the stigma that sex is still taboo and only to be enjoyed and discussed behind closed doors.  
  • Shame 
    Shame blocks pleasure of any kind.  Whether it’s body shame or sexual shame, it drives women with vaginas to fake orgasms so that they don’t ruin the mood.  Many struggle with asking for what they want in the bedroom, so if they fake pleasure, they won’t have to damage their partner’s ego, self-esteem, or feelings.  But the problem is… that means they have to keep faking pleasure. Every. Damn. Time.
  • Sexual Traumas / Past Experiences
    Neuroscientists call the brain-vagina “a single system” and science proves that a good sexual experience drives joy, creativity, and happiness into the brain while an abused vagina conditions the brain to be in a constant state of stress and affects a woman’s level of confidence, courage, connection, and joy.  Furthermore, it leads to long-term damage, including symptoms such as vertigo, depression, MS, tinnitus, phobic postural sway (push-over), balance issues, visual processing problems, and other nervous system disorders.  The abuse (violent rape, non-violent rape, and self-inflicted abuse from negative self-talk and low self-esteem) gets stored in the cells of the body and creates desensitization, leading to the inability to feel pleasure.  Until a body is healed, it will be missing out on the full orgasmic potential.
  • Patriarchy
    We do sex wrong!  It’s plain ‘n simple!  We live in a masculine-dominant society, and we’re even doing sex the masculine way which just doesn’t cut it.  And then we have the obsession with end-goal related sex, which makes pleasure a destination instead of a journey, and can lead to misunderstandings, anxiety, pressure to get there, and taking the joy and fun out of sex.
  • Unrealistic Expectations
    Let’s be real – sex education sucks!  So where do people learn about sex?  Unfortunately, most people learn from porn – which propagates unrealistic expectations as seen in a 2017 study of Pornhub’s most-viewed videos that proved that female participants were portrayed reaching orgasm only 18.3% of the time.  
  • Myths
    Anorgasmia is not a real thing.  Well, not according to a Danish research study that evaluated 500 women and the effectiveness of The Betty Dodson Method.  The results?  Astonishing!  465 out of the 500 women were able to achieve an orgasm.  The majority of these orgasms were signaled by exaggerated facial expressions and vocalizations and didn’t appear to involve clitoral stimulation.
  • Mental Blocks
    Your pre-frontal cortex (the part of your brain that regulates control, fear, anxiety, and your mile-long daily to-do list) must shut down for you to reach a state of arousal and ultimately the Big O.  If your mind is overactive and filled with body image issues, fear of what your partner thinks of your performance, how much money is in your bank account, what time you have to pick the kids up from school, who you have to call tomorrow, and what’s for dinner, you’ll never get there.
  • They Don’t Know Their Body
    If you can’t make yourself cum, how can you expect someone else to make you cum?  Self-pleasuring is the best way to get to know what your body likes and dislikes so that you can communicate it with your partner.

Unfortunately, if you find yourself stuck in the comfort zone of excuses that it’s too hard to figure out or takes too much time to get there or it feels like a chore, this gives you a sense of helplessness that stops you from ever feeling free to explore your sexuality and reconnect to your birthright.

Are orgasms worth it? Absolutely! We all know the endless benefits of orgasms:  they’re good for your health, they feel incredible, they relieve stress, they heal sexual trauma, they enhance your creative energy, they are 1 of 2 activities that put you in a deep meditative state without having to meditate, they help you manifest your dreams, and they connect you to the divine.

But you can still have amazing sex and juicy pleasure without orgasms. Most importantly, when you’re disconnected from your sex life, you’re disconnected from all areas of your life.

As Naomi Wolf said, “Sexual pleasure, rightly understood, is not just about sexuality, or just about pleasure. It serves, also, as a medium of self-knowledge and hopefulness; creativity and courage; focus and initiative; bliss and transcendence; and as a medium of a sensibility that feels very much like freedom. To understand the vagina properly is to realize that it is not only coextensive with the brain, but is also, essentially, part of the soul.”

And until you consciously choose to let go of the programming, belief systems, shame, and the old paradigm of how sex is done, you will continue to attract the same disempowering patterns and experiences over and over again.

You don’t have to accept your limiting belief systems as real.

You don’t have to disassociate yourself from your body.

You don’t have to apologize for having sexual needs, wants, and desires.

By reclaiming your power, you will reconnect to your innate, yet often forgotten potency that lies within you.  This potency helps you to feel supported to show up as the most confident, bold, beautiful, unapologetic version of yourself in your work, love, relationship, and sex life.


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