Making Love, Sex, and Orgasm

Thoughts On Orgasm

Almost everyone with a sexual problem goes through a period of putting things off. Andy hadn't slept with Patti in nearly three years, although they continued to live together. I asked them what they had done about the problem so far. She said she'd urged him to talk to someone, at least a friend. He always said he would but never did. Andy told me, "I'm probably the biggest procrastinator in the world."

Many others go through a period of lethargy or inactivity. Every therapist in the world has heard this line from hundreds of people with every kind of problem imaginable: "During all the time that I've had this problem, the way I would handle it was to try to ignore it and hope that somehow, magically, it would go away."'

Whereas others seem completely directionless. With this sort I keep picturing a couple coming into a strange town and asking a good Samaritan to assist them because they're lost. And the good Samaritan says, "Of course, where would you like to go?" And the couple says, "We don't know."

The Viscount Montgomery, the leader of Britain's North African army during World War Two, said, "I am not a bit anxious about my battles. If I am anxious I don't fight them. I wait until I am ready."

This is a philosophy, or point of view, that may easily be transferred to more peaceful aims, to the movement not of armies but individuals.

I remember Richard, a fifty year old businessman from Palo Alto, and his wife, Marie, who had been married for 25 years. Richard didn't know it, but he was already in a great state of readiness when he arrived in my office.

For some twenty-two of those twenty-five years, he said, "I was of the opinion that our sex life was to all intents and purposes normal. Then three years ago the business started to allow some more time to me, and I realized that time was passing. I was nearing fifty and I started to look at the way our life-style was, sexually. And I found that my wife, while she accommodated my wishes sexually, never initiated sexual approaches. And because we have an excellent communication, discussions revealed, in her own words, that she just wasn't turned on. And because of that I was ejaculating prematurely, but I never took responsibility for controlling it, instead I blamed my wife for not wanting sex."

Richard wanted to know what to do. How, he wondered, could he pump sexual life back into a relationship marked by "sameness" and which was, quite literally, an interlude during television commercials.

He confided that he had been dining with a woman he met at work, usually with several of her friends, but recently he found himself alone with her. It was then that he experienced readiness, although, as I say, he didn't recognize the state at that time.

"As it turned out," he said, "the situation that particular evening was resolved for me. Instead of returning to the lady's apartment, which was my intention as well as hers, I met friends who precluded such an action and we broke up.

However, it did awaken the feeling within me that if I felt this way toward another woman, there should be some ways of initiating those feelings within me for my wife. What I'm saying is that you're listening to a fellow who wants to find the way, to make it with his wife, who wants to maintain his marriage, who doesn't want to look around outside his marriage for sexual satisfaction, and who has the willingness to learn new styles and be taught new techniques or whatever."

Richard was experiencing readiness. He had accepted the possibility of a Right (Artistic) Brain, and once he had recognized its possible existence, he was free to imagine what he might do with it.

 Can you imagine using what's there, even if you're not sure what it is? Can you imagine doing that right now? Even if you're not certain what "doing that" means? Can you admit the possibility that you might have the answers in a brain you didn't know you had? Does that sound so far out, really?

The best part is, it's easy. Thomas Jefferson said, "Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly."

To be willing is to be ready.


What we're talking about here is responsibility, which is one of the major areas of exploration in the humanistic movement. The question is: Who owns the problem? The answer is: I do.

If people only knew that they're in charge of their emotions, that they're cause rather than effect.

"0h, that s.o.b. got me angry!" someone cries.

No, no, no! That person did whatever it was that he or she did and, yes, he may be a son of a bitch, but you got angry. If you can't reach orgasm, it will serve no one for you to lie there helplessly, waiting for Mr. Right to come along.

If you experience pain during intercourse, you can do something to relieve or eliminate that discomfort. If you're bored in bed, it's only because you're bored in bed, not because someone is boring you.

Buffy's problem was she hated sex. She said, "I feel if I have to satisfy my sexual desires, I would rather masturbate and hide in a closet by myself and not let anyone see me or know, rather than to get into bed and have sexual pleasures with my husband. I dislike seeing my husband's body naked. I dislike it very much. I don't like touching his genital area at all. It really bothers me. I get lumps in my throat, I feel very uncomfortable. I feel pressure and I'm very tense inside. When we have foreplay beforehand, I just don't get aroused. I'm wondering in my subconscious mind if the neighbors are hearing me, if the kids are going to wake up. When we do have sex, I have a problem of getting off him or getting him off me and going to clean myself up."

My response to all this (and there was more, lots more) was: "That's very interesting, Buffy, but tell me, how much longer do you intend to think sex is yucky?"

Chuck was really down when he came in. "Failure has been a major portion of my life," he said. "No matter what I do, I feel as if I'm failing. I really like my work, but my supervisor makes me feel my moves are wrong. I've never had any friends, really. I've never been able to command a situation. I always feel I am saying or doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. I feel schizo, as if there's another person within me who doesn't want me to have sex. Everything is falling apart. My car, work, people around me, the girl I was going with is not going out with me, she's going with someone else. She wants sex and I can't do anything about it. Premature ejaculation always occurs with me, even when I don't have an erect penis. Physical love has been a total lack in my life."

I listened to Chuck and I asked him, "How much longer do you wish to remain so unhappy?"

Natasha said, "I didn't take an active part in sex when I was in college. I just lay there until Tommy got satisfied. Then we got married, and pretty soon we tapered off to maybe once or twice a month. This was followed by a forced sex situation, where I went off the pill to get pregnant, and that took almost a year. It was terrible. We were forcing ourselves to do something our heart really wasn't into doing. I don't think either one of us was satisfied emotionally. I got uptight about sex. I wasn't getting pregnant and I felt it was something I had to do to get pregnant. Then when I did get pregnant, I found I lost most of my interest in sex. After having so little sex and then so much, now our sex life just about came to a close. I guess it started when I got so trained in my head as a teen-ager to hold back and not fully enjoy what was going on with me sexually, because I might get pregnant or someone might find out or whatever. And then when I got married and it was OK to do that, I was in such a habit of thinking of not fully enjoying myself that maybe I couldn't let go."

I looked at Natasha and asked, "When do you intend to let go? How much longer do you care to hang on to the past?"

This question usually confuses my clients. They look startled, then puzzled. "What?" they ask, blankly.

I said, "How much longer do you intend to be the way you are, hanging on to the past?" (How much longer do you intend to think sex is yucky ... wish to remain so unhappy, etc.?) "For a week? Will you feel the same way next Tuesday?"

My clients usually are smiling by now. They think I am being silly and often say so. They think I am joking. A very few are embarrassed. A few others are still confused.

I say, "Look at it this way. I believe that hardly anyone lets pain be transitory. Some people hang on to it tenaciously, as if their continued life on the planet depended on its presence. I think it's possible not to extend the depression any more of a courtesy than what is normally extended to having an orgasm..."

At this point, my client may think, "Having an orgasm? What's that got to do with it?" Or: "Having an orgasm? I can't have an orgasm ... that's why I'm here!"

I coax the client into the game. "It's a stupid game, but...can you tell me how long an orgasm during sex lasts? In minutes, or seconds? What do you think?"

Most will guess around ten seconds for the male and about two or three times that for women. Masters and Johnson say the duration varies more widely for women than for men, but always it can be counted in seconds.

"That's not very long for a peak experience," I say. "Look, let's try something. If we say that an orgasm lasts ten seconds, let's extend that same time limit to the depression. For right now. Can you try it? Close your eyes and when I say, 'Go,' really get into your depression, and when I say, 'Stop,' get out of it. Ready?"

I check my watch and say, "Go." Ten seconds later I say, "Stop," and tell the client to open his or her eyes. Then I ask, Mow do you feel?"

Nine times out of ten the answer is, "Still depressed."

"Right," I say. "Now we're going to do it again, but this time when I say 'Stop,' remember the best orgasm you ever had. Remember what it was like when you experienced it. Remember exactly where it felt so good, and who you were with and what you said, and how hot you felt. Really get into that orgasm. And hold the feeling for ten seconds. First the depression, then the orgasm. Ready? Go."

I ask clients who have never experienced orgasm to get a picture of whatever it was that turned them on most. Maybe it's a hole in one on the golf course, or listening to a church choir singing Handel's Messiah, or eating chocolate cream pie, or kissing the one they love. I tell them to get a clear picture of a peak experience ... and hold it for ten seconds.

I ask my clients to play this game with themselves whenever they catch themselves in a depression over a sex problem. It's like doing what mothers and fathers do for their young children when they fall down; they kiss them where it hurts. Giving yourself an orgasm in fantasy when you are depressed is like kissing yourself where it hurts.

Best of all, it is taking charge. You see, I just can't pat someone on the back and say, "That's okay, it'll be all right."

Because I don't believe it will be all right unless you know it can be and then do something about it. Poets always know the truth about such things. William Blake wrote, "He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence."

This was psychiatrist Bill Glasser's point of view in Reality Therapy. What, he asked, do you intend to do? His definition of responsibility is a good one. He says it's "the ability to fulfill one's needs, and to do so in a way that does not deprive others of the ability to fulfill their needs."

I like that. What Glasser is saying is really little different from the so-called hippie ethic of the 1960s: Do your thing, but don't lay your trip on someone else. What's important to notice is that from all these sources the focus is on doing. Changing. Expanding. Shifting. Refraining. Becoming.

Becoming more responsible is figuring out what our purpose is. See, some people have a purpose in having a problem. They believe it's so good to have a problem to work on. It is as if they are saying, "It would all be so meaningless without this problem. If I didn't have this problem, what would I have?"

Other people are afraid to let go because they figure their present problem will be replaced by another. So they hang on to their problems rather apathetically, saying, "Well, at least I know this problem, I've learned how to live with it, sort of. I don't want to stir everything up again." Come hell or high water, the status is quo.

For others, purpose is something greater than that. Norbert Wiener wrote in The Human Use of Human Beings, "There is one quality more important than know-how" and we cannot accuse the United States of any undue amount of it. This is "know-what", by which we determine not only how we accomplish our purposes, but what our purposes are to be."

Now we're talking about setting goals. We have become responsible, or response-able, able to respond and ready to respond. Now we decide the ways in which we choose to respond.

[ Stages Of The Female Orgasm ] Intercourse and Orgasm ] Relationships, Sex and Love ] Simultaneous and Multiple Orgasm ] Women's sexual anatomy (1) ] Women's sexual anatomy (2) ] Women's sexual anatomy (3) ] Sexual Arousal and Libido ] The Male Orgasm ] [ Orgasm problems and anorgasmia ] Female ejaculation and G spot orgasm ] Manifestation And Law of Attraction ]