Why "Half" Or Disappearing Orgasms Happen — And What You Can Do About Them

We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we hear the nitty-gritty of how we can actually better understand our deepest desires and most embarrassing questions? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist, to help us out with the details. No gender, sexual orientation, or question is off limits, and all questions remain anonymous. Now, onto today’s topic: how to deal with a "half" or disappearing orgasm.

Q: “For about a year I've been experiencing something along the lines of half of an orgasm, every once in awhile. The build up is fine, I get so close to climax, then the roller coaster ascent of that wave of energy gets to the top, but it gets dammed up, like a wall was just over the crest of the hill out of sight. The energy just doesn't release because it has nowhere to go. It's quite unsatisfying. My husband becomes discouraged when this happens, and I'm over here like, ‘Friggin halfsie!’ Do y'all have any thoughts on this frustrating phenomenon?”

A: Thanks for your question! Most women have had the experience of losing an orgasm right at that crucial moment. It’s almost like when you’re about to sneeze but the sneeze never materializes, and you’re left with a weird tickly feeling in the back of your nose. This phenomenon isn’t always avoidable (more on that later), but there are some tricks to try. Here are eight steps for avoiding the disappointing halfsie orgasm.

1. Dig Deeper For Clues

Do you think there might be a reason why your orgasms are getting blocked? Some women stop themselves right at the verge of orgasm because they’re afraid of what it will be like to fully topple over the edge. This can happen for a number of different reasons: fear of losing control, trauma from past sexual abuse, or mental blockages. You also mentioned that your husband gets frustrated, so his feelings might be creating some pressure for you.

I know you mentioned that this has only been going on for a year, and that it only happens some of the time, but I still think it’s worth getting curious about what happens for you in those moments leading up to orgasm. Do you notice any strong emotions, memories, or thoughts? Any fears? You may also want to consider checking in with a sex therapist, to see if there’s anything you might be missing.

2. Stay Steady With The Stimulation...

Most women require consistent clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm. A lot of women shake or twitch when they start orgasming, which can knock their partner’s hand or a toy away, or change the angle of stimulation. It’s possible that you’re losing your orgasm because you’re losing the stimulation that you need to get you there. Try asking your partner to hang on for dear life, or take mattens into your own hands and make sure you maintain the same level of clitoral stimulation.

3. … Or Switch It Up

On the other hand, some women find that changing the stimulation right in those crucial seconds before climax can help propel them overboard. In other words, they don’t need consistency. If you think you tend to get pretty consistent stimulation, try playing around with creating more or less intensity.

There are two different experiments you can try. If you have a sense that a halfsie might be imminent, have you or your partner apply more pressure or use more speed. The next time, try using less pressure or less speed. See if either option makes a difference for you.

4. Keep Breathing

Playing with your breath is one of the best ways to improve your relationship with orgasm. Paying attention to your breath helps bring you into deeper connection with your body, meaning that you can be more in tune with the sensation you’re feeling. It also helps you stay present and focused. As you feel your orgasm nearing, try to slow down your breath. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to keep your breath deliberate and measured.

5. Or Hold Your Breath

Some women find that holding their breath helps them orgasm. Again, different strokes for different folks! Try experimenting with holding your breath in the moments leading up to orgasm. Of course, be careful not to hold your breath for too long. We don’t want you passing out! Breathe in, hold you breath for about 5-10 seconds, then release your breath. Repeat.

6. Exercise Your PC Muscles

Your PC muscles (also referred to as Kegel muscles) are located in your pelvis. They contract during orgasm. Like any other muscle in your body, your PC muscles can be strengthened. Strong PC muscles have been linked to stronger orgasms.

You can find your PC muscles the next time you’re peeing. Before your bladder is empty, gently try to stop your flow of urine. You’ll notice that you have to make a “pulling up” type of motion. Those are your PC muscles. Try squeezing and releasing them 10 times in a row. Next, squeeze, hold for five seconds, then release 10 times in a row. Repeat the whole thing every day. If you need extra help with your PC training, consider investing in PC weights, a PC trainer, or an app. These exercises will help all of your orgasms feel better, so there’s really no reason not to get your PC muscles in shape!

7. Focus On The Pleasure

It is frustratingly easy to get stuck in your head about your orgasm, especially if you’re not orgasming in the way you’d like or you can sense your partner’s frustrations. Do you find yourself stressing out with thoughts like, “I better come now,” “jeez, I’m taking forever,” or, “he must be getting so sick of this”? Any time you feel yourself getting distracted, take a deep breath, and try to gently bring your attention back to the pleasure your body is feeling.

It might help you to think of a different phrase to serve as a mantra in the moment. For example, something like, “this is feeling really good” or “there’s nothing for me to do other than enjoy this moment.” It’s also a good idea to ask your husband to be more supportive in the moment. You’re the one who has to deal with the frustrations on the halfsie, so there’s no reason for him to get frustrated! If he’s more relaxed, you won’t feel as much pressure.

8. Let It Be

I’ve said before that orgasms are like snowflakes — no two are alike. Once you’ve had a really amazing orgasm, of course you’re naturally going to hope that all of your orgasms are that intense. But the reality is that your orgasms will never be uniform. It’s very possible that there’s no specific reason why you’re getting the occasional halfsie. Explore all of the different possibilities and exercises I suggested above, but if nothing seems to have an effect, you may just have to come to terms with this orgasmic annoyance. To soften the blow, try making a playful arrangement with your husband. For example, whenever you have a halfsie, he gets to pamper you with a vibrator play session or a relaxing back massage.

And don’t forget — celebrate the fact that you’re even able to have orgasms in the first place! There are lots of ladies out there who would kill for even a halfsie.

Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.

Images: Bustle; Giphy