The reason women can’t orgasm


Today we’re going to be talking about orgasms. So, get ready for it. My name is Janna Denton-Howes. I am a sex coach for married women. I specialize in helping married women want and enjoy sex more with their husbands. And there are some women out there who have never had an orgasm, and maybe have been married for a very long time and still haven’t had an orgasm. Why is this happening? Why is there such a huge orgasm gap between men and women? Because a lot of men are doing just fine in this department. Here’s the reason why I think this is happening. It’s not because their bodies don’t work. It’s because of shame.


We have a crazy culture of shame when it comes to women’s bodies and women’s pleasure. And it gets in the way of everything to do with orgasms for some women, not for all women. Some women’s bodies and structures are just like, we’re just going to power through all that shame and we’re going to get to orgasm or vibrate our way to get to orgasm. Without this conversation, without knowing what the real reason is, you can just blame yourself and just say, “Oh, well, I’m just broken. I don’t work. Let’s just move on with life,” and not fully have the satisfaction or the enjoyment that you want in a sexual experience.

Now, I don’t think orgasms are the end all be all. They shouldn’t be the measurement of success for women in their sexual experience. I think that women can have incredibly satisfying experiences without them. And I think that women who can have orgasms have incredibly unsatisfying sexual experiences. But I think it’s an equity issue and I believe that everyone should have the right to have them and to learn about them if they want to.

So, shame is at the heart of it because if we’re told our whole lives, which we are as women, that you should not touch your body, you should not look at your body, you should not explore your body, you should not read about your body, you should not educate yourself about your body. Then guess what happens? We feel shame.

We’re completely in the dark about how our bodies work.

If we feel like it’s wrong to go seek out information… healthy, helpful information about how our bodies function, it’s very hard to achieve anything. If we feel like it’s not okay for us to look at our vulva in a mirror and see our clitoris and learn how to make it feel good, then it’s like trying to put on makeup without any light or mirrors. Does that work there? I had a huge dose of shame when it came to my body and I can’t even really pinpoint where it came from. Except for that I came from a religious upbringing that didn’t quite know how to talk about sex, and we’re learning and we’re maturing and we’re growing.

Investigate the truth

I had to unpack a lot of religious messages when it came to my body and my pleasure and sexuality. And that’s where I started. Maybe you’re saying, “Thanks Janna, I got all this shame that I need to unpack. I don’t want to learn about my body because of it. It makes me feel uncomfortable. Even watching this video makes me feel squirmy like I’m doing something wrong. So where do I even go from there?” Well, it depends on where the shame is coming from. You might be able to pinpoint it or you might not be able to, but if you are resonating with the fact that it does come from perhaps some religious messages, whether you’re in the religion still or not, it doesn’t really matter, you got the effects of it. You need to start to learn how to investigate truth for yourself.

Open your own eyes. See with your own eyes. Hear with your own ears and look at the scripture or the writings or the document that is causing you some turmoil. And you might not even know it because it might just be this vague sense that female bodies are wrong, or female orgasms are wrong or pleasure is wrong. You have to do a little digging, a little investigation, a little learning. And emotions are normal while you’re going through this process.

I felt a lot of anger and rage.

I remember once I was walking up and down my hallway in our old house and just kind of screaming and yelling at the top of my lungs. Like I was just so mad at the effects that I experienced from well-meaning individuals who probably had their own shame around sex. It’s a wonderful, delightful cycle that you and I get to stop right now. Isn’t that awesome? We get to stop the cycle of shame for generations to come. Yay us!

If it comes from childhood messaging, this is a time to use your rational brain. What I was taught, does it make sense now? Because you need to come out of that childhood construct of magical thinking that everything revolved around me. “That’s what children do”. We’re the center of the universe. But now you’re an adult. You can really think, does this make sense? If I have something going on with my ear, I would look at it. I would go to the doctor. I would stick a Q-tip in there.

If we think about it rationally as a grown, mature woman, ah yes, this is different. This is education. This is scientific. It really depends on where the shame messages come from. And then, you can really start to look from a scientific, rational, mature brain. “Does this make sense? Is this what I want to take on?” And we start to investigate truth for ourselves and see culture for what it is, which is a lot of immaturity and a lot of really misguided avenues.

Permission to feel uncomfortable

So, you have permission to feel awkward as you’re doing this. You have permission as you’re waking up to shame messages and you’re learning new things for things to not feel comfortable right away. You’ll have many moments where you feel like, “This is wrong. I shouldn’t be doing this.”

“I shouldn’t be looking at my vulva in a mirror or learning about how the clitoris works. Or looking at images of what other healthy, normal functioning vulvas look like.” Why wouldn’t we? When we’re learning and educating ourselves about how to buff our nails and put on nail polish, we look at other nails and it’s not so freaky or weird or anything like that.

You have permission for this process, permission for you to watch this video and just feel awkward and comfortable and strange. And then when you start to walk through that tunnel and you start to uncover the shame, you start to combat it. You start to come out of secrecy, because shame loves secrecy.

 Perhaps talk to your friend about it. Or join the Wanting It More program (there’s a little plug) and talk to other women about it and start to feel like, “Okay, all right, it’s coming out. It’s not so dark and secret anymore.” Guess what happens? Is that your body is like, “Oh, this is safe now.” It’s safe to experience pleasure. It’s safe to relax. It’s safe for this not to be all about performance and expectation and tension and anxiety. You get to actually feel good.

That’s the path to orgasm.

That’s really all that it is. It’s about educating yourself and giving yourself permission to feel pleasure. You’re combating those messages that you received from childhood or religion or culture or negative experiences that you’ve had with other people, maybe even things they’ve said about you.

This is a process of learning. That’s all it is. It’s not magical or mystical, and it’s not that some bodies are capable of it or some bodies aren’t. Some of us are just more affected by the shame messages that we’ve received. I can’t encourage you enough to make sure that you’re not just looking at the mechanics if you want to learn how to orgasm. It’s mostly about overcoming shame and how you can do that.

Reach out to me if you’d like some more resources and let me know what you think about this #1 barrier to orgasm.

Talk to you soon.