I've never been able to orgasm through sex with my partner, but I'm afraid to tell them. What should I do?

Q:

I've never been able to orgasm through sex with my partner, but I'm afraid to tell them. What should I do?

A:

Orgasming with a partner is something that movies and social narratives tell us is oh so easy, when, in fact, it poses and a continual challenge for many, especially for people with vaginas. One study found that 70% of people with vaginas never achieve orgasm through penetration.

Society often tells folks that their bodies are dysfunctional or problematic if they don't reach orgasm a certain way or at a specific time when the opposite is true. Based on the way that you phrased your question, it sounds like you have not been able to experience an orgasm with your partner often, if at all. This can be profoundly frustrating and can even cause you to question the relationship entirely, inside and outside of the bedroom. The good news is that there are a number of ways to make this situation better and create a more satisfying sexual relationship for both of you.

The first step is to clarify for yourself what you want your partner to do to help you achieve an orgasm with them. Is there a particular sexual act, position, or toy that you think would help? You can also spend time showing them how you masturbate and using toys that you enjoy during solo play so that they can better learn what works best for your body.

After you have some ideas, the next step is to make time to sit down and discuss these ideas and your needs. Make sure that this isn't something you are just saying in passing or when you are distracted. Take the time to find a comfortable and private space where you can share openly and discuss your mutual needs and desires.

Also, remember to clarify that your request for different or more focused techniques is not a statement on your overall relationship or that they are somehow a failure as a lover. Many people think that by stating their needs this will somehow hurt the relationship as a whole. The reality is that without honesty and communication no relationship can truly thrive.

Lastly, remember that practice makes perfect and that getting to a place where sex feels fantastic for both of you takes time. Relax, give feedback, and focus on sex is a journey, not a destination.

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Written by Laura McGuire
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Dr. Laura McGuire is a nationally recognized sexuality educator, trauma-informed specialist, and inclusion consultant at The National Center for Equity and Agency. Dr. McGuire earned her bachelor's degree in social sciences from Thomas Edison State University and her graduate degrees in Educational Leadership for Change from Fielding Graduate University. Her experience includes both public and private sectors, middle schools, high schools, and university settings. In 2015, she served as the first Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Program Manager at the University of Houston, and in 2017, she became the first Victim Advocate/Prevention Educator at the US Merchant Marine Academy.

 

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