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ISSUE 117 VOL 17 PUBLISHED 4/30/2004

Sex on the Hill: Climax lax

By Jennifer Hancock
Contributing Writers

Friday, April 30, 2004

There was a woman in my dorm sophomore year I called the "Orgasm Queen." She had audible and lengthy orgasms whenever her boyfriend was visiting. But I met her a while ago and we got onto the subject of sexuality, and she told me she'd never had an orgasm. I was troubled and amazed. Last week, a student sent me the following letter:

Dear Sex Columnist-- As I have been discussing sex and relationships with my friends of late, I've noticed a startling trend. Women aren't orgasming during sex. Some don't even experience "the big O" at all. I have never had this problem -- [my boyfriend is very conscious of my needs] -- but why can't the rest of these girls experience an orgasm as well? Many of them fake it during sex, which I think is the worst tactic possible, but I'm curious: what do you think is contributing to this lack of climax among college-aged women?

Something is wrong. It's not just St. Olaf, or collegiate; it's societal. Women do not orgasm for two reasons: biological and sociological.

First off, I assume that the student above is referencing heterosexual intercourse as opposed to anything else. There may be a number of reasons why a woman is not orgasming during sex, a large one being that her clitoris is likely not being stimulated. Only 30 percent of women are capable of climaxing from vaginal penetration alone.

Luckily, there are helpful positions and techniques you can learn about both on-line and sexual guides like "The Guide to Getting It On" (Goofy Foot Press, 2000). In addition, women are much more likely to orgasm with others if they orgasm on their own. Masturbation is an excellent way to discover what you enjoy so you can advise your partner.

Sociologically, women continue to suffer myriad stigmas against female orgasm, namely shame -- a big one at Lutheran St. Olaf. If you are a practicing Christian, you may feel substantial guilt over having sexual desire, let alone over wanting to orgasm. If you grew up in a sexually conservative household but have since become more liberal, you may feel residual shame. Some women may feel ashamed that they orgasm too much or have too much desire. Sexually expressive women may be ashamed they even have desire.

Still other women may believe that it takes too long to make them climax, and feel guilty. I've seen first-hand the frustrations of men who struggle to make women orgasm, and it's hard to watch. It's important to remember that women work on an entirely different sexual schedule than men: they often take longer and require more attention in order to orgasm.

While some women feel guilty that they orgasm (or want to), other women are ashamed that they don't. They feel obligated to please their male partners, to be quick and loud (porn-style) and appear satisfied. I've heard about the frustrations of men who struggle to make women orgasm; they often struggle with it. It can take a lot of relaxation and work to make a woman orgasm, but it's worth it. Consult "The Guide to Getting It On" for further advice. And women, if you're faking orgasm, you need to talk to your partner; things can get better.

There is also something I refer to as orgasm anxiety: Will I look ugly when I orgasm? Will I lose too much control? Will I be too loud? Will my partner think I'm insane? The answer to all of these questions is "no." An orgasm can be a beautiful thing (check out for proof). Having an orgasm is about losing control; there is no such thing as a too-loud orgasm. Orgasm brings out the primal and beautiful side that exists in all of us.

There is no shame in sexual pleasure. So all of you "Orgasm Queens" out there: get real! Get touching! Get talking! Get going! The world is your oyster. No pun intended. I'll be rooting for you.

 The Manitou Messengers resident sex columnist is available for questions and comments on all subjects sexual and otherwise. You can also borrow her sex guides. Contact her at

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