We’ve all been there: Things are moving right along and you’re so close…when suddenly, you’re not. It’s no surprise that for women achieving the big O isn’t always an easy feat. Research shows that compared with men, women are significantly less likely to have orgasms during vaginal intercourse—and many women report experiencing orgasm only through masturbation. Thing is, getting stressed and anxious about getting there only makes matters worse. Here, a helpful step-by-step guide for chilling out, being present in your own body, and making sure your next romp in the sheets is more satisfying than ever.
Set the mood
Sure, sometimes it’s easy to instantly get into a sexy mindset, putting aside all the stress and BS of day-to-day life. And sometimes it’s not. In order to make that transition a little more seamless, consider changing up the atmosphere. “Even simple things, like lighting a candle or putting on some sexy music helps take your mind off the day and onto the pleasurable activities at hand,” says psychologist and relationship expert Antonia Hall, author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life.
Now’s not the time to tap into your innate ability to be an excellent multi-tasker. “Don’t let yourself get distracted by monkey-mind. It’s the mental chatter that can most get in the way of climaxing,” points out Hall. Just as you would while meditating, she advises acknowledging any thoughts that come into your head, and then letting them go. Instead, direct and focus your attention on the sensations at hand—the feel of your partner’s lips, touch, and breath.
Make some noise
To the point of focusing on sensations, the sense of sound can be strikingly powerful. “The more you breathe and the more noise you make, the more pleasure your body can feel,” says Hall. Breathe slowly, loudly, and deeply, and go ahead and moan away; both are great ways to get out of your own head and amplify your pleasure (not to mention turn on your partner).
Take matters into your own hands
Most women need clitoral stimulation to orgasm—and that’s just an undisputable fact. If the sexual position itself isn’t cutting it, there’s no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed about taking matters into your own hands, quite literally, whether it’s with your fingers or a small vibrator. “Ultimately, our pleasure is dependent on ourselves–taking care of our own needs is empowering,” says Hall.
Remember, it’s all about pleasure
At the end of the day, if it’s just not happening this time around, go with it. As the saying goes, it’s the journey, not the destination. Stay focused on the pleasure rather than the end goal. “Sure, a big climax is great, but that shouldn’t be your objective,” advises Hall. “If you focus instead on the amount of pleasure each touch, kiss, lick, and stroke is giving you, the orgasm tends to happen on its own.” And if it does, great. If it doesn’t, that’s okay, too. There’s always next time.