Sure, you're likely to encounter partners who can't get you off, but even you can fail to give yourself orgasms once in a while. Although it seems like you can't go wrong working with just me, myself, and I, turns out that if you're not getting the orgasm you want (and deserve!!!) when you masturbate, then there might be a simple, or sometimes not-so-simple, reason that's standing in the way. Cosmopolitan.com spoke to clinical sexologist Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce as well as loveologist Wendy Stragr, founder of Good Clean Love, and discovered five ways you might be holding yourself back under the sheets.
1. You're trying too hard
"If you are feeling pressured for the Big O, the less likely you are to experience it," says Dr. Pierce. After all, masturbation should be first and foremost about pleasure rather than getting to orgasm as fast as possible. Giving yourself permission to enjoy the moment rather than feeling like every moment not spent orgasming is a failure will actually make an orgasm more likely to happen. Try ~*not*~ thinking about the end goal, and rather focus on just touching yourself in a way that feels good.
2. You're waiting until bedtime
The reason you crawl into bed every night is not because you're ready for some *wink wink* ~alone~ time, but because you're ready to pass the eff out. No wonder you sometimes feel too tired to make it happen! However, late at night in bed is usually the best time for our schedules, so Dr. Pierce recommends getting things going throughout the day. "If you can sneak in some foreplay throughout the day/evening, then by the time you hit the sheets you will be revved up and ready to explode." Now, sneaking out of the office to masturbate is probably a pretty quick way to get fired, but you can always make time to wake up a little earlier, or use this tip to full advantage during the weekends.
3. You're not doing kegels
People go on and on about the benefits of kegels, but seriously, once you've worked them into your daily routine you'll see why. A strong pelvic floor equals strong orgasms. If yours have been feeling a little lackluster, kegels are the perfect pick me up. You can try squeezing the muscles and lifting your hips if you want to focus on endurance, or do quick bursts of muscle contractions to work the fibers associate with arousal.
4. You're not giving yourself consent
Unfortunately, the taboo surrounding masturbation, particularly female masturbation, dates back centuries. While 2016 is (thankfully) a lot more accepting of these things, Wendy Stragr says if you're having trouble masturbating, it could be because you're still harboring some kind of guilt. Cut that the eff out. Stragr points out that if you're not giving yourself permission to touch yourself, then "How else are you going to know how you like to be touched?"
5. Your sexuality has always been dependent on a partner
Because masturbation is something some women don't feel they are "allowed" to do, it's possible they're placing the responsibility of their orgasm solely on their partner. If you've always relied on other people to get off then, Stragr warns, "your orgasm belongs to somebody else." While this is a totally understandable place to be in, if you really want to get it on solo, you have to push your partner out of your mind and explore your own sexuality. "The guy isn't the magic," says Stragr. "We're the magic." There's only one way to learn about your sexuality, and that's to dive right in. Try looking at photos, reading literotica, watching porn, whatever makes you feel sexy.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.