Are your Tensing to O or Faking it?!

Did you know that forcing yourself to climax in bed or to fake it can be a trauma response?

I notice a lot of my clients have had a very similar experience to mine. Either they struggle to climax because they get so in their head about it happening at all that it doesn’t happen, and they may fake it. Or they have to tense their body to make themselves orgasm.

Friends of mine and I joked about our legs and butts being sore from clenching so hard to climax. I didn’t even have my first orgasm until I was 29 and many of my clients tell me they either have very few Os or they’re not sure if they do. Again, if they do, I always hear they have to tense their whole bodies to make the O happen.

It felt embarrassing to admit it wasn’t till 29 that I had my first O after being a stripper and nude model and teaching sensual movement for years. I always felt like a fraud teaching other women and AFAB peeps to tap into their sensual side and yet I couldn’t even get off or if I did, I needed to be in the right position, with a vibrator, and make it happen.

It’s not like I grew up catholic or something with all the creepy religious shame. It didn’t make sense to me until I realized why I’d first spent years faking it and then needed to force it.

Growing up, all of my pleasure in life, and everything about my happiness was determined by my mom and whether or not she was in a good mood, or I performed/behaved to her standards. I’d tiptoe around her trying to figure out how she was that day and act accordingly.

She determined if I was happy, sad, scared, relaxed, and yes good enough. With that as my model, I felt that my partners would not only be responsible for deciding if I was good enough to be with them. I also made them responsible for if I enjoyed sex and had an orgasm.

I figured that the right partner would not only make me feel happy and fulfilled in life and our relationship but also in bed. I seriously thought someone would have this magic key that would make me not depressed and insecure and make me climax.

So, I didn’t bother exploring my own body because I was also taught the only reason to look at my vulva was to know if something was wrong with it. I was leaving it up to my partners to determine if I experienced any pleasure, but I wasn’t giving them any feedback because I was worried about upsetting them all the time.

I’d notice when my partners were touching my body in any way, I couldn’t really sense it. Like I knew I was being touched but I didn’t perceive the sensation of the touch. I’d also get super in my head worrying that I was going to disappoint or make my partner feel bad if I didn’t climax. So, then I would fake it which later turned into forcing when I finally had an O.

The tensing caused pelvic floor problems giving me an overactive bladder and it increased my anxiety and depression because I felt so shut down and broken.

So how did I break through that? Well, I had to completely forgo pleasure for the sake of climax or finishing.

I had to start reconnecting with my body through daily practice. I did this while understanding the whole reason for me faking it and tensing was due to a trauma response of people pleasing (fawning) and going into my head/disassociating then tensing to have it(freeze).

I spent time every day closing my eyes and asking myself “What do I feel now?” and then checking in anytime I touched myself or was touched by anyone else if I was OK being touched right then or not? I mean this was with every touch, even inserting my menstrual cup.

When it came to actually exploring my body for the purposes of pleasure, anytime I noticed I started to tense up or to check out. I would stop or pause and see if I was ok to continue and if yes, what did I need to continue? I honored the hell out of the no or need to slow down too because, for the first time in my life, I cared more about what I needed.

I spent literally a year doing this because I had built up so much trauma and had so much other trauma on top of it.

The benefits of this and all the other work I did were MASSIVE!!!

1. I figured out the way I like to be touched and the types of pressure I enjoyed when being touched were completely different than I thought!

2. Because I spent so much time checking in with myself, I found I was better at expressing my thoughts and feelings overall.

3. As an add-on to the better language I’m also better able to understand when I’m overwhelmed, what I have capacity for and don’t so I can tell everyone in my life what I can and can’t handle.

4. This also led to me changing how I structured my career and life because I realized I wasn’t living in a way that supported me.

5. Communication in my romantic relationships is so much better and I’m able to weed out partners and people in general better.

6. This led me to get a new OBGYN that was consent and compassion based which means my checkups are super relaxed.

7. No more pelvic floor pain or active bladder issues.

8. Because I was better connected to my body my nervous system was more regulated to handle processing all the past traumas. So instead of years of triggering talk therapy, I used a somatic approach that went faster and smoother. I notice the same with clients!

9. I feel more comfortable saying no because I understand how much harm that did to my body.

10. Oh, did I mention not only can I fully relax to orgasm but that caused them to change completely? Instead of a quick burst, I feel this rush through my whole body that feels like my soul is being cracked open and it can last for minutes.

11. The way I see myself and feel about my body is also completely different. Before I’d always be worried about looking perfect and being thin enough. I love what I see in the mirror and the person I am.

Partners have told me because of how secure and open I am and how relaxed I am about pleasure it’s made them feel more comfortable expressing their needs too. I’ve taught many of them the same relationship check-ins and container techniques I’ve taught clients and it just makes dating so much more fun when Ido it!

If I ever needed proof that everything is connected, this was it because learning to relax into pleasure changed me so much.

by Valerie Schrader

I’m your resident generational trauma coach, sex educator, and earth witch!

For over 2 decades I’ve been doing Somatic Experiencing, Childhood Trauma Integration through practices like IFS Parts Work, Somatic Movement & Embodiment Work, EFT, Meditation, Breath Work, and Intuitive Guidance.

I’ve supported thousands of Women, AFAB, and Couples in that time and I’ve spoken at dozens of events about healing mother wounds, generational trauma, sacred sexuality, and my own experiences growing up with a narcissistic mom, being a former sex worker, business baddie that’s owned and run 3 businesses and I’ve led dozens of group programs. As a practicing witch for nearly 3 decades that works with ancestral, elemental, and herbalism I bring a special edge to my practice because I believe we can hold the dualities of science and mystical practices while working with the mind, body, and spirit.

I’ve gone from food stamps to building a 6-figure business as a single mom. I’ve gone from being hospitalized for a suicide attempt, losing my fiancé, and friends, nearly losing my business and feeling worthless to turning it all around by developing radical self-love and worth as I released the old wounds, toxic patterns, and people and welcomed in success, abundance, and joy in all areas of my life along with wildly fulfilling relationships. I’ve seen many clients do the same inner work to drastically change themselves and their outer world, so I know it’s possible for all of us.

A few other fun facts about me: I’m a mama of one amazing non-binary daughter who's in college, I’m a huge animal lover with 2 dogs and a crazy cat, I’ve experienced housing and food insecurity and building my business to 7 and 6 figures each and started both with under $1,000 because I’m resourceful AF, I was a professional aerialist for 17 years and trained jazz & blues singer. Social justice work is hella important to me and I come from a long line of activists (my German Jewish grandma legit stood up to Nazis like the badass she was)!


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