Orgasms are awkward: Here’s what to do about it

April 27,2021

Today, we’re going to talk about awkward orgasms. 

Orgasm is one of my all time FAVORITE topics to talk about! (That’s why I’m so passionate about Finishing School!) 

I also struggled with orgasming with a partner for 10 years, so I know first-hand just how awkward it can get! 

Over on Instagram, I asked our audience what aspects of orgasm they struggle with the most. Here are the top 3 answers, plus my top tips for overcoming the awkwardness! 

Feeling awkward that you’ve never had an orgasm

After close to two decades of study, research, and teaching, I’ve come to understand the dirty little secret about why the vast majority of women struggle with their orgasm: it’s because we’ve been set up for failure. 

We don’t talk about female orgasm openly and honestly, and we don’t give women the accurate, detailed information they need to know to learn how to orgasm. 

We only talk about female orgasm in terms of it being “complicated”, “mysterious”, and “difficult.” 

You hear the same generic, unhelpful advice over and over again. “Just relax!” “Don’t think about it!” “Just let it happen!”

Instead of being taught how our anatomy actually works, we’re taught to feel ashamed and embarrassed of our bodies. 

Instead of being taught to ask for what we want, we’re taught to be self-sacrificers and caretakers, and put others’ needs before our own. 

I mean really, think about it. What were you taught about your body, orgasm, and sex in general? 

The truth is that all of us women have been cheated out of the opportunity to learn basic information about our bodies and have a fun, joyful, relaxed relationship with our bodies, pleasure, and orgasm.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! That’s exactly why I created Finishing School in the first place! 

The bottom line is that orgasm is a skill, and like any other skill, it takes technique, time, and practice to learn.

There’s seriously NO SHAME in not having yet had an orgasm. It’s not your fault. And you can learn how to have them if you want to! 

Feeling awkward about the amount of time you take to orgasm

So many women worry about orgasmic timing. I hear things like:

“I feel bad that I take so much longer than my partner.”

“I worry that my partner’s hands or mouth will get tired.”

“I usually just give up instead.”

I know that timing can be frustrating. Not everyone has 30 minutes on a Tuesday night to focus on getting there

But here’s my bottom line when it comes to orgasmic timing: however long your body needs to orgasm is however long your body needs to orgasm. 

I try to teach women to respect and connect with their bodies instead of fighting against them. 

It’s OK to wish it was faster. It’s OK to feel awkward when it takes a long time. 

But what would sex be like for you if you could give yourself permission to take up time and space?

Plus, the reality is that this isn’t the same thing as waiting in line at the DMV.

You’re not “waiting” to have an orgasm; you’re “building up” to one. 

You’re feeling waves of pleasure slowly but gradually rising. You’re noticing sensation in more and more parts of your body. You’re enjoying that anticipation of reaching your peak. 

The build up can be just as much fun as the orgasm itself! (And it can even bring you WAY more pleasure than a standard 10-20 second orgasm.)

Ironically, the more you focus on the build-up, the faster you’ll reach orgasm! 

And don’t forget – the best way to speed things up is to replicate what you do on your own, when you’re with your partner. Do you usually give yourself direct clitoral stimulation? Then focus on that! So many heterosexual women expect to orgasm from intercourse alone, but that’s just not enough stimulation for the vast majority of women! 

Worrying about making awkward faces or sounds when you orgasm

A lot of women feel anxious about what’s going to happen when they orgasm. Women tell me, “I’m worried about losing control. What’s my body going to do? What’s going to happen? Am I going to embarrass myself?”

So I want to be perfectly clear that you do not lose complete control when you orgasm. 

Yes, your muscles might contract involuntarily, but you’re not going to completely lose touch with reality. You’re not going to become a different person!

Even if you were to start doing something “weird”, you can stop an orgasm mid-orgasm. So if you’re really worried about making a weird face or sound, take solace in knowing that you could shut things down if you really needed to. 

But honestly? Your partner really doesn’t care. 

I polled our audience on Instagram, and asked the partners of women what they think. 

First I asked if they’ve ever noticed their female partner making a weird face or sound. Here are some of the responses I got:

“During sex, any sound or face my woman makes is bliss to me!”

“She has made unusual faces, but honestly that doesn’t even matter a little bit! It’s all about her enjoyment.”

“It’s weirder if she makes no face or sound…”

“The face and sounds are visual and verbal feedback. Please don’t hold them back!”

Next I asked what they would say to women who hold themselves back because they’re so afraid of making strange faces or sounds. Here’s what they said:

“I would tell her that 80% of my pleasure comes from pleasuring her.”

“I WANT to experience your raw face/sounds! Don’t filter it out of fear!”

“I’m sure my face and sounds are weird too! Let’s be weird together!”

“I don’t care if you sound like T-Rex stepping on a Lego, let me hear your pleasure!”

“I love seeing and hearing your pleasure. There isn’t a right or wrong way to enjoy it!” 

“We WANT to see and hear them. Your pleasure should be celebrated.” (I looooove this one!)

Sure, there are some awkward aspects of orgasm. 

But here’s the bottom line: Your pleasure is worth the awkwardness!


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I'm Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and writer specializing in helping you have more fun in the bedroom.

I have bachelor’s degrees in human sexuality and sociology from Brown University, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’m also a licensed psychotherapist. I’ve been working in the sex therapy field since 2002 and have been featured by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, and many more.

If you’re interested in improving your sex life, you can work with me via my online courses or personal coaching sessions. I look forward to supporting you in creating the sex life you’ve always wanted!