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I’m 20 Years Old and I’ve Never Had an Orgasm

Embarrassment, insecurities, and the fear of not climaxing

By: Bashair Ali

An illustration of woman  lying in bed
Image by Gustavo Rezende from Pixabay

I've entered my 20s and I have yet to experience the big O. That's right, an orgasm. Not only do I feel the pressure of living an extravagant, unapologetic, and roaring lifestyle, but I now get to enter the, 'best times of my life,' without knowing what an orgasm feels like.

Before doubts and assumptions are made, yes, I've had sex. If you're wondering how many times and with whom, that's another story for another day. However, losing my virginity doesn't automatically include me in the statistic of heterosexual women orgasming during partnered sexual activity.

According to Pleasure Better, only 65 per cent of heterosexual women orgasm during partnered sexual activity, versus 95 per cent of heterosexual men.

Before suggestions of masturbation start to circulate in the reader's head, it hurts me to say that I'm afraid to test the waters.

With my lack of personal outlets and the humiliation of admitting my secret until now, I’ve built a gray cloud following me. Fingers can be pointed at the sex partner(s) or me, but either way, this truth has haunted me for quite some time.

I decided I had to be okay with never knowing the feeling — the feeling of your mind and body lost in a pool of irresistible sexual pleasure. The cherry on top is having a circle of experienced friends who know exactly what it takes to orgasm with a partner, or alone. It was inevitable that I would be left alone in my insecurity.

Despite having had sex, I've never known the feeling of, "see[ing] stars [and] rainbows" or "a kettle with water boiling overflow," according to the Cut’s lineup of women sharing the sensation of an orgasm.

After watching that video, a wave of embarrassment flooded my mind, and swallowed me whole. I grew extremely self-conscious, and constantly wondered what was wrong with me. Not a single woman could relate to me in not experiencing an orgasm. Myself, and the five to 10 per cent of women who haven’t orgasmed, would have definitely appreciated a woman in the video who responded with a, “no.”

So like any other insecure, inexperienced, adolescent, I googled why I hadn't experienced an orgasm yet. I started by questioning my testosterone levels, which resulted in a mini panic attack due to Google's search results. Then, I self-diagnosed myself with anxiety and depression, soon to realize I didn't have the illnesses, thanks to Ontario's mental health-care system. I even concluded that I could potentially be asexual. Overall, I had my fair share of overzealous results.

With Google being a failure, and men usually having no idea what to do with my body, I decided it was time to try something new. Masturbation.

Yes, that means I googled how to masturbate, too. The idea of asking my conservative Muslim mother didn't appeal to me, so websites such as Healthline and Refinery29 would suffice for the time being, because after all, Allure did guarantee “an incredible orgasm.

Advice like purchasing a toy or setting the mood with candles, and even details about where one’s fingers should be placed, was explained in a playful manner. Yet I couldn't bring myself to do it. I feel this sense of sexual shame when thinking about masturbation — the idea that any sexuality outside of marriage is a wrongful act. That idea sadly stemmed in my brain.

Sex, boys, and self-gratification, were not topics of conversation in my household growing up, and still aren’t. I don't have the privilege of going to my parents and discussing sexual problems. Instead, I was left with my confused thoughts, and wondered why some intimate experiences wouldn't meet my expectations, or how I don't feel comfortable touching myself.

Since masturbation is crossed off the list, I finalized that men would be my last resort, even if there are some guaranteed bumps in the road.

Since reading “Male Orgasm: Understanding the Male Climax,”I understand that orgasm experiences differ more among men than women. Women rely on the incorporation of different actions to reach a climax, which leads to a lesser result. That being said, is it too much to ask for them to understand the female body? Do they not understand how much of a requirement foreplay is? Do they even know where my clitoris is? In an interview with American men from all ages, Jimmy Kimmel proved the lack of knowledge that men have in regards to female human anatomy. Answers included the idea that women have two uteruses or one fallopian tube.

If a man struggles to satisfy a woman, the solution is to ask — whether it's seeking assistance from a friend, picking up a book from your local library, searching it up online or communicating with your partner to see what they enjoy. However, one should be mindful that some women have no clue about what they are and aren't comfortable with behind closed doors. This can result in both partners learning and discovering together in unison.

Unfortunately, that's not the scenario for most women, including me. I finally decided to talk about my disgustingly and mortifying secret with a partner I thought would be understanding.

Having to explain that I was faking orgasms with him, along with 59 per cent of women in North America, was not the easiest thing to do. I understand the frustration and anger behind my confession, but I didn't expect our relationship to go downhill. A potential, "We'll figure it out together," or "What is it that you like?" would have been appreciated.

Life is not a fairytale, and I had to accept that not all men are willing to trial and error what it takes for my body to climax, and honestly, that's okay.

After that treacherous situation, I realized that the only person that could truly be understanding, patient and loving, is me. I witnessed a man that once worshiped the ground I walked on, grow sick after hearing my name, all because of not telling him he couldn't make me finish.

In an embarrassing tone, I mentioned at the beginning of this piece that I am entering my 20s without knowing what an orgasm is like. Except, isn’t that the whole point of being in your 20s? Not the part about experiencing an orgasm, but the concept of trying new things, making mistakes, and being vulnerable. Whether the day is tomorrow or five years from now, it will happen when it happens, and I'll be sure to explain if it was worth the wait.


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