Multiple Orgasms - Can fish oil be the answer?
Find below in the article taken from the Daily Telegraph
Marrena Lindberg rarely had an orgasm - now she says she can summon them at will. Her secret? Lots of fish oil, a little chocolate, but no coffee. Zoe Nelson finds the housewife's 'Orgasm Diet' hard to swallow. After two decades of having sex, I have yet to discover a reliable route to orgasm. Other women I know can depend on making love in a particular position, or receiving a certain amount of foreplay. As long as they fantasise about Orlando Bloom or point their toes, they'll succeed every time.
I, on the other hand, am always starting anew. If I do manage to get there, which happens about once every seven times, the journey is usually too circuitous and serendipitous to retrace. It never happens from intercourse alone - which research shows puts me in the company of up to 75 per cent of women - and I can't count on clitoral stimulation either, no matter what the endurance or dexterity of my partner. There are studies that claim up to 25 per cent of women are unable to achieve orgasms of any kind. I've never found that statistic very consoling. After years of looking for a solution, I started to think that having an orgasm wasn't ever going to come any easier for me. It's one thing for me to accept my place among the unlucky minority and quite another for my boyfriend.
A sensitive sort from the first generation of men taught assiduously to attend to their partners' pleasure, he was unwilling to give up on trying to bring me to orgasm. The truth was, I didn't really want to resign myself to an orgasmless existence either. So when yet another lovemaking session devolved into an argument, I ended up where all desperate people do: surfing the internet late at night. On the message board of a website sponsored by Jennifer and Laura Berman, the doctor and sex therapist sisters, I stumbled across a thread about an 'orgasmic diet' posted by a woman calling herself Zaneblue. She promised that by taking high-grade fish oil, avoiding stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine, cutting carbohydrates and increasing proteins, eating half an ounce of dark chocolate every day and doing Kegel exercises with a resistance device, I'd be having orgasms from intercourse alone in no time. So the problem wasn't me but my diet and lack of (vaginal) exercise?
Pretty much, according to Ms Blue, whose real name is Marrena Lindberg. The four factors Lindberg believes critical to female sexual functioning are sufficient 'free' testosterone, the proper balance between the brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin, good blood circulation and toned pelvic-floor muscles. She claims that her diet addresses each of these elements, but she knew she'd be just another crazy blogger until her theory was backed up by research. Which is why the 39-year-old, who once worked at an environmental consulting firm crunching data about air quality, settled down to write a detailed research proposal.
On a late spring morning Lindberg and I sit in the dining-room of her one-bedroom apartment in a Boston suburb to eat, drink and talk sex for several hours. A big woman, Lindberg has beautiful grey-green eyes and a small, flirty mouth. She says it all started one night during a long drive, when she suddenly began to orgasm spontaneously, simply from flexing her pubococcygeus (PC) muscles in the pelvic floor.
The thing was, Lindberg usually didn't have orgasms, which was a long-standing source of tension in her marriage. Only two men had been able to make it happen, the second being her husband. At the beginning of their relationship, he dutifully tried to bring her to orgasm every time they made love. But after they married, Lindberg says, he seemed less and less eager - 'He would sigh or roll his eyes' - to do what it took. 'I can't say that I blame him,' Lindberg says. 'Who wants to have to always work that hard?' She felt so self-conscious about the situation that she told her husband she didn't want orgasms any more. When they did have sex, it rarely lasted more than a few minutes. Then she had her on-the-road epiphany. Lindberg's first thought was: 'What just happened? That was so weird.' Then she thought that, if she could replicate it while making love, she could save her marriage.
Thinking back, Lindberg realised that some of the changes she'd made because of her pregnancies might have set the stage for the unexpected orgasms. First, she'd been using vaginal cone weights designed to help new mothers regain their PC muscle tone. (By stepping up her workouts, Lindberg found that she could repeat her experience in the car at will.) Second, when she decided to get pregnant, she had begun taking refined fish oil as a natural remedy for depression. Coincidentally, she noticed that her desire had also increased. She discovered that when she took a break from these pills her new aptitude disappeared.
In the beginning, when she was having just one or two orgasms at a time, Lindberg says her husband felt 'really studly', and the couple's sex life improved. But as she continued to strengthen her PC muscles until she could orgasm immediately upon penetration and every 30 seconds thereafter, he started to get turned off. According to Lindberg, he said that a man wants to think he has something to do with a woman's pleasure. Rather than saving her marriage, her orgasmic ease hastened its end, Lindberg says. The couple divorced last June. 'Guys can't deal with this ability,' Lindberg concludes, shaking her head.
So why not mute it a bit? Take less fish oil, cut down on the Kegels, have a cup of coffee. Lindberg struggles to answer this question. Had she foreseen her husband's reaction, she says, she probably would have stopped at 'normal' - that is, a woman who regularly has vaginal orgasms. 'But I didn't know what I was doing.'
Also, after years of feeling flawed, Lindberg seems to revel in her sexual mastery. She tells me how, during a musical starring an actor she lusts after, she had 52 vaginal orgasms. For clitoral, her personal record is 27 in a row with a vibrator and eight with manual stimulation. I thought the point was to lose count. 'You can have sex like a man,' Lindberg says, 'without emotional commitment or a lot of foreplay.'
Ever since the invention of Viagra, pharmaceutical companies large and small have been searching for a female equivalent. But they've discovered that women's sexual healing is no simple matter. After eight years of testing, Pfizer recently gave up trying to prove that Viagra worked on women.
Then, in the wake of the arthritis drug Vioxx's being pulled from the market, the Food and Drug Administration declined to approve Intrinsa, a testosterone patch intended to stoke women's desire, calling for several more years of testing to better grasp its long-term impact on heart disease.
These setbacks have dampened enthusiasm for developing 'female sexual dysfunction' (FSD) remedies. 'A lot of companies are on hold and have been looking for over-the-counter solutions,' observes Laura Berman, who treats FSD at her clinic in Chicago. Further complicating matters is disagreement among those who treat FSD over whether it is a problem of the mind or body.
While Lindberg falls squarely in the physiological camp - 'I think it's a lot less relationship issues than people think' - she sees her diet as a compromise solution because it's 'nutritional and holistic'. But she has had trouble even getting on the radar of people in the FSD community, never mind having them take her diet seriously.
For example, when I spoke to Laura Berman in July, she hadn't heard of the orgasmic diet, even though Lindberg has been corresponding about it in a chatroom on Berman's website for three years. Asked to comment on it, Berman says: 'People have been looking for aphrodisiacs since the beginning of time, but there hasn't been anything to my knowledge that's been dependable or well studied.' Berman is always hearing that this or that increases women's sexual satisfaction, 'but when I ask what evidence they have, they say, "Centuries of Chinese medicine has shown … "'
Despite such scepticism, Lindberg hasn't given up. And, gradually, her efforts have gained her supporters in the scientific community, including David Ferguson, an independent research pharmacologist who has consulted on studies for many treatments for sexual dysfunction, including Viagra and Levitra.
Ferguson tells me that he was struck by Lindberg's intelligence, determination and, especially, her fresh ideas. 'I often feel that one of the basic tenets of science has been forgotten: first you must form a hypothesis. Many scientists just test other people's findings.' Ferguson gave Lindberg a crash course in research methodology, emphasising that gold-standard clinical studies require testing one variable at a time.
She decided to start with fish oil and managed to persuade Ridwan Shabsigh, a urologist and the director of the New York Center for Human Sexuality at Columbia in Manhattan, to run a trial studying its effectiveness. All that's left to do is find funding, and Lindberg says a supplement manufacturer is now considering her proposal.
Lindberg has given up, however, on finding a man who appreciates her orgasmic exuberance. While sex is always better with a partner than by herself, she says she ends up wanting it all the time and the fellow quickly feels overwhelmed. Perhaps when she's ready to be emotionally involved with someone again, she'll feel differently. Her voice grows wistful. 'I have faith that there are good men out there who would enjoy this in their lives.'
For a few months I gave the diet a half-hearted try, taking fish oil, sometimes eating chocolate and cutting down on coffee and carbs on days when sex might be on the menu for later. I also got myself a device called Myself that helps to ensure you're doing Kegels correctly, but I never managed to stick to the daily five-minute routine for more than a couple of weeks at a time.
Even so, I definitely noticed more sensation - a tingling throb in my loins - though it never translated into faster or easier orgasms. And following the diet still made orgasms feel like work, just another kind. Perhaps I should redouble my efforts, try harder. But how does trying hard mesh with letting go, the psychological cure for my orgasm difficulties that perhaps has the most merit? If Lindberg's diet is one day shown to be effective, she'll have her happy ending. I'm still waiting for mine.
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