Sexual pleasure starts in the brain. When sexually excited, your brain sends arousal messages to the rest of your body. If you’re having sex and you aren’t feeling sexual pleasure, ask yourself “Am I aroused enough for sex? ” and “What could be keeping me from feeling aroused?” There could be many things keeping you from feeling sexual pleasure or arousal. In this article, we’ll dive into the reasons why a female might not feel pleasure when having sex.
These two terms are often used interchangeably but they do have different meanings.
Sexual desire is the emotional want for intimate sexual pleasure.
Arousal is the physiological response to being sexually excited. A sexual urge is not arousal. You might have the desire to feel sexual pleasure with your partner, but you might have a few hurdles to jump before getting aroused.
1 Excitement - initial stages of feeling sexually excited. (initial arousal)
2 Plateau - the period right before an orgasm. (at full arousal)
3 Orgasm - the pleasurable peak and release that involves muscular convulsions.
4 Resolution - after an orgasm, your body relaxes and blood pressure drops.
Also read: 8 Signs of Female Arousal
A vulva or a vagina is not a live wire. It’s not like the minute women are touched or stimulated there, they feel pleasure. Women casually touch their vulvas all the time: in the restroom, in the shower and OBGYNs touch them during exams. Yet, in none of these situations are women overcome with pleasure. This is because of the lack of arousal.
The body will simply not enjoy sexual stimulation if the brain isn’t sending the arousal messages. Some arousal messages are sent via neurotransmitters like cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). This neurotransmitter encourages an increase in genital blood flow which leads to a natural release of lubrication and erections. (Yes, ladies get boners too.)If your brain is not sending the arousal messages, it’s hard to feel the pleasure that you want to feel.
This can be extremely frustrating if you have the desire to feel pleasure, but can’t.
There might be many things in the way of sexual arousal and pleasure. There are plenty of medical explanations for this, but there are also many psychological and emotional explanations as well. Let’s consider a few things that could be standing in the way of feeling sexual pleasure.
If anything could kill “the mood” it’s anxiety. When preoccupied, it’s very hard for our brain to focus on a sexy partner or bodily sensations when simultaneously worrying about work, bills, and if you look good in your new bra and panty set. Anxiety can take you outside of your body and outside of the present moment. Stress and anxiety can disrupt your hormones. Anxiety has been linked to high cortisol - the arch-nemesis of dopamine blissed-out orgasms.
Similar to number one, performance anxiety can be directly linked to sexual performance. If you are worrying if you are ”doing it right” or if you are “sexy enough.” You might not be able to send arousal messages because you are in a state of anxiety - your brain could be sending totally mixed signals.
If you personally feel a sense of shame with regards to your sex life, sexual needs, or sexual attraction, getting hot and heavy could be very difficult. The urge might be there, but the arousal state might be difficult to achieve.
Dr. Tammy Nelson says "The key thing for women to achieve any kind of sexual pleasure is women need to feel like they're safe." If you have experienced any sexual trauma in your life, sex might not feel safe for you. This can put your pleasure in a chokehold.
Let’s talk about strengthening your relationship with your own pleasure. A great place to start is to try to figure out what physically and emotionally feels good in your bedroom and what doesn’t.
If sex with a partner is not feeling good, try taking time to explore your own sexual pleasure by yourself. When you are alone, your sole focus is what you feel. Removing distractions or anxiety could allow you to explore. Try to bring yourself into your body, feel every sensation, and focus on what feels good to you. Take your time and do this often.
If you are having a hard time reaching orgasm, take a step back, and observe your arousal state first. When you are getting to know your arousal state, pay attention to what happens physically. Take note and identify your arousal triggers. It’s good to find a boundary of “I’m not ready for penetration until XYZ happens for me.” Sometimes reaching pleasure states and orgasms is more about timing than anything else.
Explore using sex toys, vibrators, or watching something particularly sexy. Or you can try increasing female sensitivity and try stimulating lubricants, and creams for sexual enhancement.
Perhaps you just need a little longer to feel aroused. The arousal stages of excitement and plateau are important for feeling pleasure. Try getting the most aroused as possible (plateau stage) before any penetrative sex. This could enhance the pleasure you feel.
Along with some of the other involuntary noises made during sex, you should hear your breath too. Shallow breathing is very common in general and during sex as well. Deepening your breath can actually enhance your arousal, your orgasm, and your connection to your body."The single most important key to sex that I've yet discovered is conscious rhythmic breathing; the more you breathe the more you feel and the more you come alive. " Annie Sprinkle, PhD., Tantrica
If you feel you experience any of the psychological roadblocks to arousal, try to explain your feelings to your partner (you don’t have to give them all the details if you don’t want to). You might find you need to ask for more. More eye contact, more reassurance, more foreplay. Or you might need to ask for less. This is why exploring your pleasure and your needs is important.
At Strut Health we know that sexual health is linked to overall health and wellness. If you struggle to feel pleasure during sex, please consider the advice in this article. You might be a good candidate for our prescription Strut O Cream which can increase your sensitivity. This could make a world of difference in your arousal state and natural vaginal lubrication.
Want to try our Strut O Cream? Simply complete a questionnaire-based online doctor's consultation to see if our treatments are right for you.
If our doctors find this product is a good fit for you, we’ll ship your discreetly packaged prescription to your doorstep.