Why Can’t I Orgasm? Dr. Amy Killen, World-Class Sexual Medicine Expert, Explains the Science Behind It

9 minutes read -
Dr. Amy Killen, trainer of Mindvalley's The Science of Sex Quest, answering the question, "Why can't I orgasm?"
Table of Contents
Summary: “Why can’t I orgasm?” is a very common question among women. Dr. Amy Killen provides her insights on why you may be running into issues and what can help.

Orgasm — that’s the dream (of sexual intercourse). For a man, it’s not usually a problem. For a woman, however, it often leaves them wondering, “Why can’t I orgasm?

She may wonder if the problem is her, or if it’s her partner. The fact is, many of those with a vagina don’t experience orgasm through penetrative sex alone, explains Dr. Amy Killen, an integrative and regenerative physician who specializes in aesthetics and sexual medicine, in The Science of Great Sex Quest on Mindvalley. 

If that’s something that resonates with you, then understanding the science behind orgasms (or the lack thereof) can be the nudge towards a better sex life for you. Here’s where you can start:

It’s well known that orgasms provide ample benefits for one’s well-being. And learning how to shift from “Why can’t I orgasm?” to “Yes, don’t stop!” is undoubtedly a positive choice for a healthy lifestyle. As the unconventional saying goes, “An orgasm a day keeps the worry away.

Woman laying in bed in her lingerie, wondering, "Why can't I orgasm?"

Why Can’t I Orgasm: 3 Things You May Not Have Known

Don’t let erotic novels or even porn fool you — the inability to orgasm is more common than you’re made to believe. Medications, hormonal issues, or medical problems (like anorgasmia — delayed, infrequent, or absent orgasms) aside, there may be other reasons that could answer the dying-to-know question, “Why can’t I orgasm?

Let’s take a closer look at three common questions that encompass this significant topic, adding insights from Dr. Killen in her Mindvalley Quest:

1. Lack of knowledge of the female anatomy

One contribution to “Why can’t I have an orgasm?” could be due to the lack of knowledge of the female anatomy. 

In fact, a 2019 YouGov study reveals the lack of knowledge of the female genitalia amongst both genders with the inability to correctly identify the vulva, urethra, and labia. While two-thirds of men and women could identify the clitoris, the research found that one-third didn’t know what the clitoris was.

Additionally, research suggests women tend to put the sexual needs of their partners before their own. As a matter of fact, the data from a sexuality and health survey published in Sexuality Research and Social Policy reported: “ample evidence indicates that both women and men value men’s sexual pleasure more.” 

As Dr. Killen points out, because of the misinformation and lack of education about how sexual pleasure works, vagina owners are at a disadvantage. This not only applies to partnered sex but also when you’re self-pleasuring and thinking to yourself, “Why can’t I make myself orgasm?

It’s like if you want to learn how to drive a Formula 1 car, you’d have to really know the car itself. The same goes with the vagina — to really enjoy and appreciate it, you should understand the ins and outs of it.

2. The clitoris isn’t being stimulated

75% of vulva-owners don’t orgasm from penetrative sex alone,” says Dr. Killen, adding that  “for most people with vulvas, clitoral stimulation is a prerequisite to having an orgasm.

The thing is, heterosexual vulva-owners are having way fewer orgasms than others with vulvas (like bisexuals or lesbians) or penis-owners. This is known as the orgasm gap.

In a 2018 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, 95% of heterosexual men say they almost always orgasm when sexually intimate. Heterosexual women, on the other hand, say they do only 65% of the time (the lowest of the demographics). 

Why is that? Factors such as sexual anxiety and sexual trauma can cause make you wonder, “Why can’t I orgasm with my partner?” However, one part of the female anatomy that isn’t given the spotlight it deserves — and is the clitoris.

So, for you, massaging your clitoris (which, fun fact, has twice as many nerves in it as the penis) may just equal enjoying sex…and, perhaps, to a whole other level. 

3. The G-spot — where is it and what is it, really?

When it comes to the question, “Why can’t I have a vaginal orgasm?”, this is what Dr. Killen has to say: a high percentage of vulva owners don’t orgasm from penetrative sex. However, she does add that those that do, “many of them talk about the G-spot.

It’s likely you’ve heard of it. Shortened from the name “Gräfenberg spot,” it’s an erogenous zone in the vagina that may lead to a kama sutra-inspired orgasm.

But is it a fact or fiction? 

The fascinating thing about the G-spot is that it’s still unclear exactly what it is, where it is, and whether or not we all have one,” says Dr. Killen. And, according to one systemic review, different studies agreed that the G-spot exists, but not on its location, size, or nature. Therefore, “the existence of this structure remains unproved.

With that being said, Dr. Killen explains that several theories conclude the G-spot includes the interplay between the back of the clitoris and other structures nearby, such as the vagina, urethra, and the female prostate gland. She adds, “Although vaginal orgasms can feel different from ‘clitoral’ orgasms, they both rely on activating a part of the clitoris.

How You Can Optimize Your Sexual Health for Better Orgasms: 4 Tips From Dr. Amy Killen

You can absolutely learn techniques for orgasms. However, the key to enhancing the enjoyment of it is ensuring your health is at its optimum.

And this is where “sexponential medicine” — as Dr. Killen calls it — comes in. It’s the exponential growth happening in the field of sex and medicine.

You have all these sorts of other technologies converging with traditional medicine to give us rates of change that we’ve never seen before,” she says at Mindvalley’s A-Fest 2022 in Jordan. She dives into what you can do to boost your sex drive, including the different types of sexponential things you can try.

Taken from her stage talk, here are four of the more natural ways you can reclaim your sexual power.

To understand more about sexponential medicine and Dr. Killen-approved gadgets, you can watch her talk for more in-depth insights:

What Is Sexponential Medicine? | Amy Killen

An important note: if you’re asking yourself, “Why can’t I orgasm?” (or, Heaven forbid, “Why can’t I orgasm anymore?”), it’s always advisable to seek a medical professional for advice.

1. Mind the mind

Your mind is the biggest and most important of your sexual organs, according to Dr. Killen. She explains the common reasons people aren’t interested in sex are because they’re overwhelmed, tired, and stressed.

It’s paradoxical, in a sense: while having sex can reduce the level of stress, having stress (especially chronically) can reduce the frequency of sex. For example, one study found that high levels of chronic stress were related to lower levels of genital sexual arousal.

It’s called mind-body connection for a reason. So to tackle your lack-of-orgasm problem, “mind the mind.”

What you can do

There are a few tools she suggests in her A-Fest talk that can get you in the right headspace. You can also do things to awaken your inner sex goddess that doesn’t require a device.

  • Adopt a regular meditation practice,
  • Practice breathwork,
  • Write in a gratitude journal,
  • Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink,
  • Schedule sex into your calendar, and
  • Get quality sleep.

All of this is so important and I would absolutely recommend starting with those things to get your mind in this sort of parasympathetic rest and relax state,” she says.

2. Boost your blood flow and increase your nitric oxide

Your genitals appreciate good blood flow. And as you get older, the circulation may not be at the top of its game as it once was. This can truly damper fornication, especially if you’re having sex after menopause

Additionally, it’s just as important to increase your nitric oxide levels, the compound that helps widen your blood vessels and stimulates the release of crucial hormones, like insulin and human growth hormone.

What you can do

Healthy lifestyle is honestly the most important thing you can do,” advises Dr. Killen. Things like:

  • Aiming for less inflammation, 
  • Maintaining a healthy blood sugar level, 
  • Ensuring your cholesterol is down, 
  • Not smoking or drinking too much, 
  • Exercising, 
  • Keeping your diet in check, 
  • Getting enough sunlight, and so on.

Sexual pleasure isn’t about the other person, according to Dr. Killen. It’s really about yourself. And the first step to orgasms (or even multiple orgasms) is your health.

3. Optimize your hormones

Women need both estrogen and testosterone for all phases of sexual arousal — “for desire, for the arousal part, for orgasm,” says Dr. Killen. Not only are they great for sexual energy, but they keep the sexual organs healthy.

As women age, the levels of these hormones naturally decline. With less estrogen, the cells of the vagina start to atrophy — thinning, drying, and inflammation of the vaginal walls, which can make sexual intercourse painful. And with testosterone, research shows that low levels of it can lead to low sex drive, as well as weight gain and changes in mood. 

What’s concerning, though, is that for those who aren’t in menopause, there are external factors that can contribute to the changes in levels of these hormones, according to Dr. Killen. This includes endocrine-disrupting chemicals (in plastics, non-stick pans, hygiene products, etc.) in the environment.

What you can do

It goes back to a healthy lifestyle, especially if you’re not yet in the menopausal stage of life. Additionally, Dr. Killen advises trying your best to avoid endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the environment and reduce the use of medications that affect sexual function, including orgasms.

More importantly, she recommends getting tested “to look at your hormones and really give you more information about what’s going on. She, herself, got tested and found that her body makes more testosterone than estrogen, which can affect her body later in life. But by knowing this information, she can put herself on a lifestyle path that is best suited for her longevity.

And by getting yourself tested, you, too, can find the best path for you.

4. Support your structures

The pelvic floor houses your sexual organs and so, strengthening them can help contribute to sexual sensations and arousal. According to the National Association for Continence, being able to contract and relax your pelvic floor can also:

  • Help make for pain-free vaginal penetration,
  • Optimize the blood flow during sex to promote orgasm, and
  • Help increase vaginal lubrication.

However, with a weak pelvic floor or even an overly tight one, as Dr. Killen explains, you can have problems with all of those parts of sex.

What you can do

Kegels to strengthen the pelvic floor is one that many people have heard about, especially if you’ve given birth. 

However, if you’ve got tight muscles in that area, then Dr. Killen suggests doing, what she calls, the Anti-Kegel, an exercise that comprises of five B’s: breathing, relaxing the belly muscles, relaxing the back muscles, relaxing the buttocks, and relaxing the “bowl” (a.k.a. the pelvic floor muscles).

Woman laying down in her lingerie, thinking, "Why can't I orgasm?"

Put the “Oh!” In Your Orgasms

There is a way to shift your “Why can’t I orgasm?” to “Oh yes, orgasm!” And it starts with none other than sexual education.

Not your typical high school health class taught by the gym teacher — no, no. Rather, a comprehensive, science-backed Quest at Mindvalley with one of the leading anti-aging and regenerative physicians who also specializes in sexponential medicine. 

With Dr. Amy Killen’s guidance, you’ll learn how truly empowering and powerful sex can be. It’s not only a way to connect with your partner but how you can best use it to have a thriving sex life well into your golden years.

When you sign up for a Mindvalley account, you can sample lessons from Dr. Killen’s The Science of Sex Quest. What’s more, you’ll also have access to the vast library of guided meditations, even those to help you have mind-blowing orgasms.

Because, let’s face it, what’s better than an orgasm? Multiple ones, of course. And your first step in knowing how to tap that — pun intended — superpower is at Mindvalley.

Welcome in.

Watch the First Lesson of the Quest

A Science-Based Solution to Great Sex That Ignites Your Pleasure, Drive, and Satisfaction: In the Bedroom and in Life

Join this 11-day program with sexual medicine expert Dr. Amy Killen, and get science-based tools and techniques for transforming your sexual health - and your overall wellness and happinessGet started for free

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman is the SEO content editor for Mindvalley and a certified life coach. With a background in spa and wellness as well as having gone through a cancer experience, she's constantly on the lookout for natural, effective ways that help with one's overall well-being.
Written by

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman is the SEO content editor for Mindvalley and a certified life coach. With a background in spa and wellness as well as having gone through a cancer experience, she's constantly on the lookout for natural, effective ways that help with one's overall well-being.
Expertise by

Dr. Amy Killen is the trainer for Mindvalley’s The Science of Great Sex Quest. Her expertise lies in anti-aging and regenerative medicine as well as in aesthetics, platelet-rich plasma and stem cells, hair restoration, bio-identical hormones, nutrition, fitness, and sexual health.

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