Sensual Massage & The Female Orgasm

Where the journey can be as exceptional as the destination

Why can’t I come like others?

The experience of orgasm is unique for everyone. A person can only experience their own orgasm, and we can never know what another person’s orgasm feels like. We can watch another person orgasm, we can help another person orgasm, but what the sensation is that they feel and what they describe as orgasm, we can only imagine.

So when someone says that they have never reached an orgasm, or for women never managed a particular type of orgasm (vaginal, anal, G spot,), what they are saying is they don’t feel they have experienced a sensation that they believe others are experiencing.

Men can identify and compare with another man’s ejaculation, but no man can know what another man is feeling at that moment of ejaculation. Equally, no matter how expressive or physical a woman becomes, it is impossible to know what another woman is feeling at the point of orgasm. Even asking for a description of what an orgasm feels like will vary from person to person.

You are not alone.

In the ten years I have been working as a sensual masseur, sex therapist and erotic bodyworker, I have been told various motivations given by women wishing to explore sensual massage as a way to improve their sexual experience.

  • I want to learn more about what my body can experience
  • I have lost my libido.
  • My sex life has become unfulfilling.
  • I can only orgasm when I masturbate.
  • I only orgasm with another person if I help.
  • I don’t experience vaginal orgasms.
  • I almost get there, but I don’t think I actually reached orgasm
  • I can’t orgasm – is there something wrong with me?

Difficulty in reaching orgasm is common, and according to a  study from the Archives of Sexual Behaviour that researched over 52,500 adults’ sexual activity, an impressive 95 per cent of men reported they usually or always reach orgasm during sex, compared to just 65 per cent of women. 

But it is important not to measure your orgasm against others or expect it to be shown in porn, where much is fabricated and edited for effect. Great sex is about personal pleasure, yet orgasm is often seen as the end goal of sex for both parties and while orgasms are certainly part of the fun, pleasurable sex is about the journey – not always the destination. Trying to achieve an orgasm could get in the way of actually enjoying sex.

Outside influences that may effect orgasm

Particular medications can effect the arousal process. Some antidepressants or medicines for high blood pressure can influence how the body responds to erotic touch. Has there been an injury or damage to the genitals? Neurological issues such as MS can also be a factor in hindering orgasm. Once these possibilities are ruled out, then it’s two possible factors that are most likely the cause. The individual’s state of mind during sex and the ability and techniques of the person they are with.

State of mind

In the human anatomy, the Autonomic Nervous system is divided into two divisions: the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic. These divisions typically function in opposition to each other. But this opposition is better termed complementary rather than antagonistic. For an analogy, one may think of the sympathetic division as the accelerator and the parasympathetic division as the brake. The sympathetic division typically functions in actions requiring quick responses—the parasympathetic division functions with actions that do not require immediate reaction. The sympathetic system is often considered the “fight or flight” system, while the parasympathetic system is often considered the “rest and digest” or “feed and breed” system.

Recent studies have shown that for anyone to orgasm, the parts of the brain associated with anxiety need to shut down. In other words, stress can prevent you from reaching climax. Simply put, humans (and most mammals) are not designed to fight or flee & fuck at the same time.

Sexual monogamy – the bane of female sexuality 

The most common complaint I hear from women who have sex with men is that most men are too fast and too orgasm-focused. Why is this?

Too fast – The sexual arousal cycle of the male from arousal to erection to penetration to ejaculation is, biologically speaking, 10 – 15 minutes. For hundreds of thousands of years, sex was a risky business. Unable to defend ourselves with teeth or claws, humans had to make sure sex took place quickly. Additionally, for the male, reproduction was a numbers game. No matter how many times he copulated with a female, it was not until modern-day DNA testing became possible that any male could guarantee who his offspring were. So, to have the best chance possible to secure his genetic lineage, he needed to have sex at every opportunity, with as many females as would have him. 

To orgasm focussed – Research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, supports the idea that female orgasms might have originated from a reflex that prompts some female mammals to release eggs during intercourse. If this is the case, it may explain why some women do not reach orgasm during intercourse and why men are so focused on penetration and mutual orgasm. Not only a sense of achievement but a more profound primal urge to ensure fatherhood, securing his genetic lineage.  

Multi-partner sex

For the female, having sex with just one male was strategically not as beneficial as having sex with a series of males. If she could attract and have sex with a series of males over 1-2 hours, then she could not only test their worthiness as potential sperm providers, thus maximising the chance of getting the best biological match, but she also, in so doing, create multiple paternity.

Since no male could know for sure who his offspring were, each male had a vested interest in protecting the female through pregnancy, supporting her through childbirth and protecting the offspring until they were reasonably capable of looking after themselves.

Hence, the female arousal process is anything from forty minutes to two hours or more. Giving her time to fit in several suitable males and, if she is very clever, ones with various characteristics that will protect, support and feed her during the mating process, pregnancy and child-rearing.  For the female, this form of consequential sex enables her body to go through the natural stages of arousal until she is stimulated enough to reach orgasm and potentially conceive.

The usurping of female sexuality

Why female and male arousal times are now out of sync

One theory is that when early man evolved from hunter-gatherer to farmer, multi-partner sex was gradually replaced by sexual monogamy. No longer wandering in large groups across the savannah of Africa, humans began to settle in one place and grow crops. Men needed help to tend the crops, and ownership created territories that needed protecting. Hence, it became necessary to identify offspring, and this could only be achieved by controlling whom the females had sex with. So long before culture and religion made even more conditions around female sexuality, natural sexual systems that had worked so well for so long gradually became controlled to become sexual monogamy.

Why sensual massage works

Regular sensual massage enables women to experience sexual arousal to help maintain their health and well-being without judgment or condition.

It’s all about you.

Enjoying a sensual massage, whether the motivation is for pleasure, exploration or help with orgasm, enables the receiver to be the complete centre of attention. When having sex with a male partner, it is often difficult for women to completely let go and feel justified only receiving. However, when taking a sensual massage, being positioned on a massage bed, being touched and aroused from top to toe and knowing that you are not expected to give anything in return is a most fulfilling, empowering experience.

Taking time to be touched and teased

Sex and sexuality are a part of women’s life. Aside from relationship and reproduction, sex is about intimacy, pleasure, good physical and mental health, and adventure. As explained, the female sexual arousal process is far longer than the male. Taking a sensual massage enables a woman’s mind and body to take the time needed to become fully aroused. The first part of sensual massage must be designed for both mental and physical relaxation, and only when her body is ready should erotic stimulation take place. This re-creates the period that her body is designed to experience.

The whole body is an erogenous zone.

Human touch is a huge part of how we interact with others. This is also relevant when we have sex. But often, for many men, the focus quickly turns to the vagina, forgetting the importance of gradual arousal of the broader erogenous areas. Men are initially stimulated visually. Women need teasing, teasing and exciting exploration. A sensual massage makes this happen. When touched like this, the brain releases a hormone called oxytocin. This makes a woman feel good and builds emotional, trusting bonds while lowering anxiety and fear. The head, feet, hands, fingers, inner thigh, buttocks, calves, underarms, and neck – a sensual massage includes all these areas and more.

Are you having difficulty reaching orgasm?

My body wants to, but my head won’t let go.

The conflict between head and body is symptomatic for women who experience difficulty with orgasm. Despite being turned on and lubricated, the thought maybe today it will happen can become disappointment and frustration that, yet again, it is not. The sexual encounter initially starts with optimism, being hopeful that perhaps this time, orgasm can be achieved and as the stimulation heightens and the intensity of the moment builds, the thought of yet another failure emerges until, eventually, it is accepted it definitely won’t happen. The sexual euphoria is replaced by familiar feelings of frustration, exasperation, exhaustion and resignation that, yet again, ‘I can’t cum. ”I am different’ I am a failure.

He can’t seem to hit the right spot.

A partner’s lack of skill or ability to give the right type and length of foreplay is one of the more common reasons women cannot reach orgasm during sex. Many women unconsciously know this but feel reluctant, even unqualified, to say something to their partner about their lack of skill or bad technique. Many women can experience clitoral orgasm during sex if given by their own or the partner’s hands or even with oral sex but then find it difficult to reach orgasm through vaginal penetration. Whether it is hands, penis or a toy, if the partner is inexperienced and unskilled or simply unimaginative, the orgasm again becomes an unattainable goal.

The underlying primal dynamic of a woman is to feel desired. This dynamic is particularly relevant during sex, and if the man is either too timid, inexperienced or focused primarily on his pleasure or is just quick to cum himself, then the mental stimulation she requires to take her to orgasm will not occur.

The massage stratagy

In discussion before the massage, it often becomes apparent that she has only ever experienced one type of male sexual dynamic (usually passive or lack of sexual creativity). It may be that she has only been with one partner sexually or had limited sexual experience due to culture or belief systems.

My strategy is to create a massage that, from the outset, is designed to make her feel desired. The treatment starts with an initial exploratory conversation, which should identify her past and present relationship situation and her experience so far with sex. Following this conversation, and once she feels at ease, I start the massage with firm, confident traditional massage strokes of her upper body. As she relaxes, the strokes become longer and more explorative to excite and stimulate her body and mind. Her responses guide me, and as her body reacts to this new form of stimulation, the treatment becomes more assertive and intentionally arousing. If this more robust approach is received positively, usually indicated by her expressing verbal and physical responses, then I know that this more assertive, confident approach is welcomed. From then on, I follow my intuition and put body pressure to stimulate her primal sexual urges. I may include firm shoulder pressure to her groin and pelvic floor, putting pressure on her vagina. When she produces a positive response, I sense that she is moving into her primal sexual state. In that case, I then bring in direct stimulation of the clitoris and internal vaginal stimulation with my hands. Again depending on her response, this can remain light and gentle or become more assertive using deep penetration and massage of the internal vagina wall. This sensation can often bring on an orgasm. Sometimes, multiple orgasms and, in some cases, ejaculation.

If I lose control, something terrible might happen.

I often hear women say that they can’t orgasm because they have control issues and that when having sex, they cannot let go and relax. 

Rather than seeing it as a need to control, I feel it is more a trust issue in that to let go when with another person, one must feel trusting towards that person and the situation they are both in. Lack of trust is common in women who have experienced trauma or a lack of security when young. 

The effect of this is to create a behaviour strategy to ensure she remains in control. This does not mean they are necessarily controlling people but more about being in control of the situation. The unconscious thought is, ‘If I am in control, then I am safe, and if others around me are happy and non-threatening, then I am safe’. Not trusting the need to be constantly aware and alert will often cause the orgasm to be withheld.

The Massage Strategy 

 Anxiety during sex plays a large part in withholding pleasure. What differentiates each situation is the motive for the concern. For people reluctant to trust others, the best way to help them overcome the fear is to equip them with a genuine sense of safety and security. One can create a treatment that comforts this by talking through and identifying the basis of their trust issues. 

It is essential for the person who may have experienced trauma to reassure them that they are in a safe, caring place. For the women who feel obligated to make sure everyone else is happy, permitting them to not be in charge and to be self-focused and self-caring will help them let go of their need to be responsible.

Once the massage starts, soothing hands on the body immediately help relax and calm. The hormone released when we are touched plays a large part in this, but by incorporating supportive holding and hugging movements, they will relax even quicker. Once the body begins to relax and the tension dissipates, 

I bring an intimate touch with the intent to arouse. This treatment should always remain close and caring. The actual erotic arousal also needs to be given cautiously since any feeling of discomfort can cause an adverse reaction. Orgasm may not always happen the first time, but usually, after a series of sessions, the orgasm can be achieved.

A fighting lesbian couple

 Busy life, always active, run run run, no time for me because I have lots to do!

Similar to the ‘Giver’ type, being both mentally and physically frantic is a sure way to hinder receiving pleasure. To be goal-driven may appear to be about seeking achievement, but striving for attainment is habitual behaviour. The child who has to work hard at school or the sportsman who must, on all accounts, win spends far more of their time attempting to reach his goal rather than winning the prize. Sex and orgasm are just other platforms for them to play out this behaviour, and the actual orgasm remains the elusive prize never to be won but always strived for.

The Massage Strategy

Recently, I gave a session to a female client aged 38. She had never experienced an orgasm, not even through masturbation, so primary anorgasmic. Her frustration was palpable, and it was clear that she was at the point of resignation that she would never achieve orgasm, believing that her body was not wired like others.

During our initial discussion, she revealed that although she grew up in the UK, one of her parents was from a culture focussing on high academic achievement.  As the eldest of three, she felt this pressure even more strongly. From as early as she could remember, the need to work harder consistently was a mantra instilled in her almost from birth. But no matter how well she did, it never seemed enough, and there was always another level to reach for.

Unsurprisingly, for this client, struggling to achieve success had become interwoven into her psyche, and that achievement was impossible. Her brain had become so used to the struggle, not success, so to allow her orgasm to come, though, was just not appropriate or familiar.

To avoid this repetitive dynamic, I assured her that orgasm was not the expected outcome of the massage and that she should focus on the journey of the massage and the sensation of arousal and let go of the need to achieve and take her time. As she became more aroused, the erotic stimulation took her quickly to a higher level of pleasure, and soon, what had been suppressed for so long broke through. She went on to experience her first orgasm, but also, to her complete surprise, it was a full-body orgasm with ejaculation.

Good girls like me shouldn’t do this.

Women who have grown up in culturally restricted societies or strongly moralistic or pious environments where sex is required just for procreation often say that when having sex, they feel guilt, shame, dishonour, remorse, and embarrassment and are told that to enjoy sex is the quickest route to hell and damnation.

An acclaimed male porn actor once told me that even after 15 years in the business, even when masturbating, he still felt guilty. Unsurprisingly, his Scottish, strongly Presbyterian mother had convinced her young son to believe that sex was not to be enjoyed but endured by women and that men who wanted sex were selfish and demanding.

The fear of doing wrong will always affect the ability to reach orgasm. In recent studies into multi-orgasmic women (women who orgasm multiple times within a short period), 80% of these women surveyed had shunned religious backgrounds. They had then become multi-orgasmic due to their now higher natural oxytocin levels in the body before and during sex. 

Conversely, women who felt a conflict between their beliefs and their natural sexual desire had a far lower level of oxytocin in the system before and during sex. 

The Massage Strategy

Success in helping people who experience a lack of orgasm due to guilt and shame can vary greatly, depending on how much they have already let go of these confining thoughts. When seeing these women, discretion and security are paramount as often they remain obligated to their situation and so fear being found out. The treatment starts gently to enable them to relax into the massage, then quite quickly suppressed sexual energy is released, sometimes quite explosively. Orgasm may not be the immediate result, but just being allowed to express her natural sexual needs can be life-changing

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