WHEN I last wrote about sex in this column, I talked about why and how sex is good for us.
There are numerous physical, psychological, and emotional benefits from sex when you are in a long-term, trusting relationship with your partner.
However, before women can start to enjoy the benefits of sex, they have to be able to enjoy sex. Otherwise, intercourse will become a painful, uncomfortable experience that they try to avoid as much as possible.
When my patients bring up the topic of sex in my clinic, it often takes a little coaxing to get them to open up about their sexual problems or frustrations. I’m usually not surprised, though, when they admit that their biggest problem is achieving orgasm during intercourse.
Failure to achieve orgasm is probably an age-old problem, although social norms and taboos of the times dictate whether it is acceptable for women to discuss their sex lives.
Our modern society has come a long way since, and women are able to now understand the physical and psychological complications that stand in the way of a satisfying sex life.
A widely accepted truth is that women can have orgasms. Any notion that women are not “made” to enjoy sex is purely a myth, as is the idea that a woman is “frigid” because she does not orgasm.
A woman’s insecurities about her inability to orgasm can cause a great deal of concern and disappointment, not only to the woman, but also to her partner.
While sexual problems can be linked to physical conditions, such as female sexual dysfunction, there are also a woman’s emotions, mental hang-ups and relationship factors to consider.
Do not underestimate the effect of your relationship on the quality of your sex life. It is important for a woman to feel respected and loved, in order for her to fully enjoy sex – not just purely from the physical aspects, but also emotionally.
Sex is greatly dependent on a situation where both partners respect and care for each other, because that means that each partner will be sensitive to the other person’s needs and desires, rather than his or her own.
If you are having problems in your relationship, it will inevitably spill over into the bedroom and turn love-making sour. So resolve your conflicts out of bed first, before you can expect smooth sailing in the bedroom.
However, even in long-term, loving relationships, you need to make an effort to keep the sexual spark alive. The pressures of everyday life, such as work, financial or family worries, can occupy you full-time and place a toll on the intimacy in your relationship.
Even though you don’t realise it, these thoughts will weigh on your mind and affect your enjoyment of sex. If these kinds of anxieties and distractions join you in bed, there will be no room for orgasm.
This mental and emotional state will just exacerbate your problem, because you will not be able to stop thinking, “What’s wrong with me?”, which only adds to the stress.
Quite simply, the best state of mind for sex is one of relaxation. How will this be possible, you might ask?
Intimacy and stimulation during intercourse play a big role in helping you to relax, while increasing excitement.
As orgasm is the result of your peak response to stimulation, it makes sense that the body and mind have to be “turned on” during intercourse. After all, you can’t expect your body to go from zero to climax without anything happening along the way.
You can be stimulated in many different ways, for instance through kisses, caresses, words, or a variety of positions.
However, every woman will have a different response to different stimulations. What is more important is that you tell your partner what you find pleasurable.
Many women know what they want, but they may be reluctant to express their preferences. Often, this is due to taboos, as our society is conditioned to think that it is wrong to talk about sex or to try and find pleasure in sex.
In this case, you are truly your own stumbling block, and you have to learn to overcome this in order to achieve orgasm.
Tell your partner what feels good, be bold to experiment with different positions, and don’t focus on your expectations. Simply think about what is happening at the moment.
Are there specific foods that have aphrodisiac qualities or are those myths as well? Actually, science has proven that certain foods and nutrients can play a role in stimulating certain hormones, as well as triggering responses in the body.
Oysters are the most well-known aphrodisiac, and for good reason. The shellfish contains D-aspartic acid and NMDA, which are powerful chemicals that trigger the release of sex hormones. They also contain a lot of zinc, which increases the sperm count.
Chocolate is also known to be a “sexy” food. Some Italian scientists even claim that women who regularly eat chocolate have higher leves of desire and gain more satisfaction from sex.
This is probably due to the amino acid phenylalanine contained in chocolate, which has antidepressant and analgesic characteristics. In other words, when you eat chocolate, you feel happier. While gorging on chocolate is probably not a good idea, calorie-wise, you can give yourself a treat every now and then (and choose dark chocolate over milk or white).
Pumpkin seeds, almonds and ginger are also thought to have aphrodisiac qualities. Pumpkin seeds contain magnesium, which help the body’s muscles to relax, a necessary condition for arousal and orgasm. Almonds are a good source of vitamin E, which boosts blood flow in the boyd, including to the sex organs.
Ginger has the same qualities as almonds, while also containing vitamin C, zinc and magnesium.
No matter how many oysters and almonds you eat, however, you have to remember that the mind can be the biggest stumbling block to achieving orgasm.
So let go of all your hang-ups and worries. There’s no room for them in bed.
Datuk Dr Nor Ashikin Mokhtar is a consultant obstetrician & gynaecologist (FRCOG, UK). For further information, visit www.primanora.com. The information provided is for educational and communication purposes only and it should not be construed as personal medical advice. Information published in this article is not intended to replace, supplant or augment a consultation with a health professional regarding the reader’s own medical care. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.