The Weekend Sexperiment: Relax During Orgasm

April 18,2014

Welcome to The Weekend Sexperiment! Each Friday, I alternate between The Weekend Sexperiment and Reader’s Request Fridays. In TWS posts, I offer a simple sex therapy homework assignment to try out over the weekend. Some experiments are geared towards couples, but others are suitable for single folks. As always, please feel free to contact me if you have a certain topic you’d like to see covered. If you’re interested in more Sexperiments, call (415) 658-5738 or visit my Appointments page to schedule a Sexploration Session.

This week the focus in on the relationship between relaxation and orgasm. While most of us experience a great deal of peacefulness after an orgasm, the moments leading up to an orgasm, and the orgasm itself, tend to be full of immense focus and tension.

People get tense around orgasm in a couple of different ways:

Don't tighten your muscles


Muscle tension

Most people clench their muscles as they approach orgasm. Our butts, abs, fingers, and toes become especially contracted. Some of this tightness can be explained by the physical exertion sex requires, but most of it is caused by trying to reach climax. I actually recommend trying to tighten your muscles when you are first learning to orgasm, as it tends to help push you over the edge into climax. But once you’ve learned how to orgasm reliably, it can be preferable to focus on relaxation instead.


Breath tension

Most people hold their breaths in order to reach orgasm. Others tend to breathe quickly and shallowly, almost nearing hyperventilation status.


Emotional tension

Men and women alike feel a lot of pressure to orgasm at just the right time. Women get stressed out about not being able to orgasm, or whether or not to fake orgasm. Men get worried about not lasting long enough (or too long), or losing an erection.


Mental tension

Orgasm requires a great deal of focus for many of us. We close our eyes, tune everything out, and concentrate on reaching climax. While this can sometimes be a pleasurable experience, more often than not it means we’re disconnected from our partners and the non-genital parts of our bodies.

All of this tension isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Sometimes the hyperfocus and anticipation can feel wonderfully delicious. But it’s also worth experimenting with trying to relax. Many of my clients report that their orgasms take on an entirely different quality when they are loose and calm. Those who struggle with erectile problems and orgasmic difficulties may find relaxation to be particularly helpful.

So this weekend, your Sexperiment is to try relaxing your way into orgasm. Start with experimenting when you are far from your climax, and work your way up to relaxing during your orgasm itself. Try out each of the following:

Happy Sexperimenting!


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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!