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Becoming Orgasmic: A Sexual and Personal Growth Program for Women Paperback – December 10, 1987


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Becoming Orgasmic: A Sexual and Personal Growth Program for Women + For Yourself : The Fulfillment of Female Sexuality + The Elusive Orgasm: A Woman's Guide to Why She Can't and How She Can Orgasm
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Fireside; Rev Exp edition (December 10, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671761773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671761776
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Julia R. Heiman, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the University of Washington Medical School. Joseph LoPiccolo, Ph.D., is professor and chairman of the psychology department at the University of Missouri. Both have extensive experience in treating sexual and marital problems.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

Getting Involved

Where are you at this particular time in your life? You may be single, married, separated, divorced, or widowed. You may have several children or none at all. You may or may not be involved in a sexual relationship with someone. You may be under thirty, over sixty, or somewhere in between. There may be many difficulties in your life right now, or things may be pretty satisfying.

All of us, wherever we are in our lives, have emotional needs for closeness, intimacy, affection, and sexual gratification. While for most of us our emotional needs are more important than sexual gratification, even the strongest of emotional relationships can be disrupted by sexual problems. For many women, inability to become fully aroused and inability to experience orgasm are major sources of personal frustration and relationship distress. This book is designed to help you address these problems.

As you begin to look through this book you will probably have mixed feelings. Perhaps you are wondering if this book really is for you. You may be worried about whether or not you will get everything you want from it. On the other hand, you may feel unsure about exactly what you do want for yourself sexually or whether you are putting too much emphasis on sex as a problem. You may feel enthusiastic -- or very hesitant -- about beginning. Perhaps you are tempted to find a magic formula for changing. One thing we are fairly certain of is that you probably feel you want something different for yourself. You want to grow and explore your potentials, and you see the enhancement of your sexuality as part of this exploration.

That's why we refer to this book as a sexual and personal growth program. Specifically, this program is designed to help women who have not yet experienced or who have difficulty experiencing orgasm. We have developed the contents of the book from successfully treating, in sex therapy, numerous women with a variety of problems, fears, and potentials.

Orgasm is certainly a satisfying aspect of sexual growth. And yet, as you proceed through the following chapters, you will find that orgasms are not an isolated part of your sexuality. Orgasmic response depends on many things. Of course, it depends on sexual arousal, but feeling sexual can be influenced by your ability to feel comfortable with yourself, with your ideas about sex, and with your ideas about men and women. Thus, growing sexually has a lot to do with general personal growth. This book offers you a framework for learning more about your sexual feelings, changing those that you choose to change, and deciding how you want your sexuality to continue to develop and fit into the rest of your life.

Perhaps you've already read books and magazine articles on sexuality, and you've tried to make changes. You may have even attempted to put into practice certain ideas of your own that you thought would help.

It's important to remind yourself that as recently as twenty-five years ago, orgasms were not considered to be very important to women's sexual enjoyment, though they were considered to be directly linked to more general personality qualities. Thus, a nonorgasmic woman was likely to be labeled "frigid," implying a pervasive problem -- something quite deeply wrong and automatically requiring extensive therapy. Then, beginning around the 1960s, these views were challenged and a new standard appeared, this time fostering a supersexual image: Orgasm is a must. As a result, in order to feel sexually adequate, many women began to feel pressured to be instantly, regularly, or even multiply orgasmic.

Women we've seen in sex therapy often come to us feeling like failures because the sexual techniques they'd tried didn't work for them. Perhaps you've felt at times that if you could just do things the right way, you'd be orgasmic. It's natural to feel this way at times, to put pressure on yourself -- to try harder. However, doing this makes orgasm practically impossible. Rather than looking forward to and enjoying sex, you may find yourself wanting to avoid it or getting it over with as soon as possible. There may have been times when you've faked an orgasm in order to protect your self-image and your partner's opinion of you.

We hope that reading this book will help you take the pressure off yourself. We have tried to make this experience more than just a conglomeration of techniques. Sexual growth is not a series of steps or techniques toward a goal. It is a process that involves all of you. It involves your attitudes, thoughts, and feelings as well as your body. Learning to become orgasmic or more readily orgasmic is only a part of the process of lifelong sexual development. However, it is likely that you have some specific concerns about changes you want to make. We'd like to share with you a few of the questions that women more frequently have.

Will I ever have an orgasm? If you've never experienced orgasm, it's natural for you to worry that you may never have one. One woman in therapy said, "I used to go to parties and look at the other women. I would be sure that I was the only one there who couldn't have an orgasm." Actually, the fact that you may not have had an orgasm yet is not unusual. Currently, about 15 to 20 percent of the cases seen in sex therapy involve women who have never experienced orgasm. An even greater percentage of cases involve women who are orgasmic but who experience difficulty reaching orgasm some of the time or are unable to have orgasms with their sexual partners.

Many factors may be influencing why you haven't yet experienced (or rarely experience) orgasm. For instance, your family's religious and moral values may have strongly shaped your own attitudes about sex. Your positive or negative feelings about yourself as a person and as a sexual being may be conflicting with your attempts to feel more sexually satisfied. Your feelings about your present or past relationships with men, both on emotional and sexual levels, are likely to be important. How comfortable you are with your body and how familiar you are with sexual responsiveness and techniques may also influence whether or not, and how often, you are orgasmic. And there are also other possibilities, many of which we will discuss in the following chapters. It is possible to deal with those attitudes and feelings that are making it hard for you to experience orgasm. You can learn things about yourself and your sexuality that will make orgasm possible.

What will it mean to be orgasmic? Change usually involves some uncertainty, and you may be concerned about the changes that becoming orgasmic may make in your life.

Many women have concerns of this sort, which often reflect mixed feelings about being a sexual woman. Movies and books typically present female sexuality in ways that have an unappealing edge: the message that the sexy woman is at best not worthy of respect and at worst evil and dangerous.

Also, our parents, who serve as models in so many areas, often hide their own sexuality from us. (Do you remember being surprised when you realized that your parents had intercourse?) Unfortunately, then, women often grow up with very few models for female sexuality whom they respect and want to be like.

So it's not surprising that you may feel some conflict about wanting to change sexually. Most women share some of these feelings. Right now, it is important for you to trust yourself enough to begin to explore who you are and where you might want to change. Becoming orgasmic will not make you into a different person in terms of your basic sexual values and moral beliefs. What becoming orgasmic will do is facilitate a more rewarding expression of your basic sexual and emotional feelings and needs.

Will becoming orgasmic improve my relationships with men (or with my partner or husband)? If your relationship is a good one, you will probably find that becoming orgasmic will give you a more complete sense of pleasure and satisfaction from sex. However, becoming more sexually responsive or orgasmic will probably not improve other serious conflicts in the relationship. Sometimes it's difficult to gauge the degree to which problems in the sexual area affect a couple's other problems. One way to begin sorting this out is to ask yourself: If sex were no problem, would there still be other serious conflicts in our relationship?

Also, try thinking about your reasons for wanting to become orgasmic. Do you want to learn to enjoy your body and its responses for yourself or for the pleasure it can give your partner? You stand a much better chance of reaching your personal goals if you are attempting to grow because of your care for yourself first and your care for someone else later. Learning to understand and have some influence over your body enables you to begin to enjoy sex for the sensory and emotional experiences it can provide you. This involves taking responsibility for your own sexuality, something we will talk about in more depth later on.

GUIDELINES FOR USING THIS BOOK

This book was designed so that you can use it in the way that is best for you. The first part of the book (chapters 2-8) deals with exercises and learning experiences you can do on your own. The second part (chapters 9-13) deals with how to improve your sexual relationship with your partner. Each chapter builds on the information and exercises in the preceding chapters. For this reason it's best that you begin with chapter i and progress through the chapters, trying the exercises in the order they are suggested. Some of the exercises are optional, and at certain points you will be able to skip ahead or go back to previous exercises so that you can progress in the way that is most meaningful to you. If you are already orgasmic, we still suggest you read through all the chapters and try the exercises. Changing old patterns, examining your attitudes and feelings, and having some new learning experiences are equally important...

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Customer Reviews

This book is meant to help a woman heal herself.
H. Foxworthy
I've heard great things about the book and I look forward to reading it.
Anna E. Bohn
Very gentle and comprehensive as well as respectful in tone.
Laura Lee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 77 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
For all those women out there who think there's something wrong with them... chances are there's NOT!!!
This book is thoroughly helpful. I was almost at the point of giving up hope altogether... then I purchased this book on a whim, after reading a recommendation of it by an on-line sex therapist. Let me say I have NO regrets!! It was one of the best buys of my life.
The style is easy to understand and the tone is compassionate; but it is not patronizing, like some other self-help books can be. On the contrary, I found it to be quite educational. I have learnt a great deal about relationships and dealing with my emotional baggage, in addition to all the detailed stuff about my physiology and how to press the right buttons.
On the whole, this book has boosted my confidence in the bedroom ten-fold. To anyone who has problems achieving the big 'O', I couldn't recommend it more. Ten thumbs up!
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86 of 100 people found the following review helpful By H. Foxworthy on July 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
What I liked best about this book, was it was not pornography in disguise. So many sex "self-help" books boarder on the inapproptiate. But not this one. The language was respectful and diagrams tasteful.
"Becoming Orgasmic" is very professionally written by doctors, with a lot of clinical research, both their own and by others. What I appriciated was that the doctors did not present a quick-fix, one size fits all solution. This book is meant to help a woman heal herself. THe book stayed respectful and lets the woman that she is not alone and that her dyfunction does not make her weird or strange.
This workbook was recommended to me by a doctor and I recommend it to you.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book helped me immensely. I bought the book about 7 years ago. Before I read and followed this book, I thought I would be "faking it" my whole life. I doubt I would have figured out how to acheive "it" if I hadn't read this. I highly recommend it to any woman who just doesn't get it when it comes to orgasm and you feel like you're the only one! This book can truly help you.
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353 of 431 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
I got this book hoping it would have some new insight and excersises to help me reach orgasm more frequently with my lover. However, I soon discovered everything in the book had already been thought of. You see, this book is aimed at women who have NEVER ever had an orgasm before in their lives, at women who are afraid to look at or touch themselves, at extremely religious couples who need to be TOLD to loosen up, and so forth. It just wasn't for me, and it isn't for most of you who are seeking more fulfillment in your sex lives. Secondly, the illustrations are drawn by a man, and they look more like bimbo models. I'm sure he enjoyed being paid to draw masturbating women. The pictures are not helpful, they're offensive.
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22 of 31 people found the following review helpful By H. Foxworthy on June 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
What I appreciated most about this book was that it was NOT pornography in disguise. Most sexual 'how to' and self help books can be quite degrading, graphic, or base. This is a text book. These two doctors know their stuff and went to great lenghts to write medically accurate and proffionally. (Still, I got a giggle that the doctor's last name is Heiman.)
I like the fact that this book doesn't have a right way, only way, or quick fix formula. It helps one explore all possiblities for sexual dysfunction and helps the woman better unstand her dysfunction.
The tone of this book is very encourageing- just what women need to hear, that your problem does not isolate you or make you different. My doctor reccomended this book to me. I reccomend it to you.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cait on April 24, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this book because it helped me to see my body as something that I shouldn't be ashamed of. It helped me and it may not be for everyone but I thought it was worth it.
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By Josh on May 8, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a male and read the book. It has some good exercises to help develop intimacy with yourself and others. I found nothing really sunk in with me and I passed this book on after reading it. For those wanting to develop more sexual intimacy with themselves, this book is for you.
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By Martin on May 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has been a great read and I have shared it with many of my friends that had questions about the subject.
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