Women who don’t experience orgasm during sex often feel performance anxiety and put an unrealistic amount of pressure on themselves to get there. Rather than trying to ‘click on’ their clitoris like a vending machine, they need to’map’ their vagina, find the areas that have feeling and stimulate them gently.
Women who experience numbness during sex may think that orgasm is no longer possible. But there are still plenty of things they can do to feel orgasm again. Vaginal numbness can happen from overstimulation of the nerves in the area, and it can also occur due to physical changes that come with menopause.
Menopause typically occurs when a woman has not had a period for 12 months. However, it is also possible for the symptoms of menopause to begin several years earlier. It is also common for women to experience symptoms like hot flashes, mood changes, and a decreased libido during this time.
The changes that occur during menopause are linked to a reduction in estrogen levels. This change can cause the vaginal tissues to become dry and less sensitive. It can also take longer to reach orgasm and to become aroused.
If you are experiencing symptoms of menopause, talk to your doctor about them. They can recommend treatments that can help you manage your symptoms and reduce their impact on your life. For example, prescription estrogen therapy (estrogen in a cream, gel or pill) can help you regain feeling in the pelvic area and restore your sexual drive. Many women find that joining a menopause support group is helpful as well.
Trauma, whether sexual or non-sexual in nature, can impact sexual desire and pleasure in a variety of ways. Some survivors of sexual trauma become hypersexual while others become hyposexual. The reason for these contrasting responses has to do with how the survivor reacts and interprets the sexual events, which may include being touched inappropriately, being forced into unconsensual acts, or being unable to engage in sexual activity at all.
A therapist trained in treating sexual trauma can work with survivors to help them understand the root causes of their numbness and provide tools and techniques to address the issue. This can be done in a safe, confidential, and supportive setting, and often results in sexual pleasure being restored.
Physical issues like endometriosis or pelvic organ prolapse can also interfere with a woman’s ability to experience orgasm during sex. Conditions such as these are often associated with low levels of estrogen, which can also contribute to the numbness. A health care professional can perform a physical exam and discuss your medical history to rule out these and other factors.
A sex therapist can also help by teaching you how to stimulate your vaginal nerves and how to get yourself to orgasm. They can also discuss any medications you’re taking, as some drugs—including those used to treat high blood pressure and antipsychotics—can cause numbness during sex.
Low Estrogen Levels
Estrogen is a hormone that is essential to female health. It helps with sexual development during puberty, breast changes that occur during pregnancy, cholesterol metabolism and bone health. Estrogen levels typically rise and fall throughout the menstrual cycle. When estrogen is low, women experience problems with arousal, orgasm, and pelvic pain. Estrogen levels may be low because of the natural aging process, or because of a disease.
The most common reason for low estrogen is menopause. Estrogen production slows down in perimenopause and menopause as the body prepares for no more childbearing. Estrogen may also be low because of a medical condition that affects the ovaries, such as cancer, ovarian cysts or radiation therapy.
Low estrogen levels may cause the vaginal walls to become drier and thinner. This is known as vaginal atrophy and can lead to painful sex because of a lack of lubrication. It can also increase the risk of urinary tract infections because a thinner urethra makes it easier for harmful bacteria to enter.
Low estrogen can also cause hot flashes and night sweats. If you are experiencing these symptoms, talk to your doctor. They will likely order blood tests to measure your hormone levels and determine the underlying problem. Your doctor may recommend that you take a menopause support supplement to help with your symptoms.
Pelvic Floor Issues
Pelvic floor muscles are the group of muscle and ligaments in your pelvic area that acts like a sling to support your pelvic organs including your bladder, uterus and prostate. These muscles contract and relax to control bowel movements, urination and sexual intercourse. If your pelvic floor muscles are weakened or tight you may experience pain during sex and other problems.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction can affect both men and women. For women, it can cause pain during sex called vulvodynia. It can also affect bladder and bowel control, and it can cause pelvic pain. For men, it can cause erectile dysfunction. Painful sex is a medical condition and should be evaluated by a health care professional. Pain during sex can be caused by a lack of lubrication due to insufficient arousal, medications, medical conditions, pregnancy, childbirth, menopause or physical trauma.
The pudendal nerve controls sensation in the vulva, perineum and clitoris. This nerve can be affected by prolonged pressure on the vulva or clitoris and by anal trauma such as from dilators or constipation. It can also be impacted by stress, sexual trauma or depression that causes you to avoid sexual activity. This numbness is sometimes called intercourse dysfunction or dyspareunia. If this is your problem, a doctor can prescribe some medications or treatment to reduce the pain and numbness.