Step 3: Let Go of Negative Messages
If you grew up being told that sex is dirty or wrong, Dr. Berman says it's time to stop listening to those nagging voices in your head. According to Dr. Berman, before you can start to overcome them, first you have to identify the negative messages holding you back. "Then think, 'Okay, here I am as an adult woman. ... Which of these do I really want to hold on to? Is this really what I'm about?'" Dr. Berman says. "It can be a really conscious decision to replace those negative messages with positive ones."
Watch Dr. Berman discuss how negative messages can affect your sex life.
Luanne, who says she has been faking orgasms for 20 years, says she doesn't think she's ever had an orgasm, but she's come close. "There's a mental block or a barrier making me stop short," she says. "Sometimes I think I'm afraid. Sometimes I really think that I shouldn't be feeling like that.
As a child, Luanne says she was taught that sex was vulgar. "It was not something that was discussed. It wasn't something you were supposed to enjoy. It was maybe just what you did if you were going to have children," Luanne says.
Although trouble reaching orgasm can sometimes indicate a medical condition, Dr. Berman says most of the time it's a mental block. In Luanne's case, Dr. Berman says the messages she received growing up were unconsciously holding Luanne back—even though she's now a married woman. "When those voices come into your head, you say to your head, 'Head, you can go tell those messages to someone else. I deserve this pleasure. The pleasure is good. The pleasure is loving,'" Dr. Berman says.