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Help! I can only orgasm in the same position.

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Jen asks:

Help! I"m 22 and I can only orgasm with my legs completely straight and close together. How can I change this? I've been having manual/oral sex with my boyfriend for 5 months now and still don't have to courage to tell him because I'm embarassed. Am I weird? Can this be fixed? If so, how?

Jenna replies:

First things first: issues or difficulties with orgasm are extremely common, so you are definitely not "weird". In fact many teens, young adults, and older women and men alike have never experienced orgasm, so that's great that you have found a position that brings you pleasure. People have orgasms in different ways and enjoys different sensations - there is no "normal" or "weird" when it comes to sex and sexuality.

When you say that you can only have an orgasm with your legs completely straight and close together, you do not specify whether that was when you were by yourself, with your current boyfriend, or with a previous partner. I don't want to make any assumptions, so I am going to talk about a few different factors.

Orgasm Starts in the Brain

Orgasms are complex! An orgasm is a physical experience, but it is usually affected by both your body and your mind. So if there are any thoughts or emotions going on that aren't conducive to a pleasureful sexual experience, then having an orgasm is unlikely. There are so many reasons why women and men find themselves unable to orgasm. Check out Why can't I orgasm? for information on a variety of those reasons, as well as specific tips to address them.

A few items to consider: are you happy in your relationship with your boyfriend? Are you attracted to him? Do you feel comfortable around him and enjoy the sexual activities that you are currently engaging in? I realize that these are some serious questions, but the reason why I ask is because these can all be factors that can affect whether you are able to have an orgasm or not. While they might not be an issue at all, it is still good to take a step back and ensure that you are happy and feeling respected in your relationship.

If you are feeling happy and satisfied in your relationship, there are still issues that could be posing barriers to experiencing an orgasm. In your situation, thinking about the fact that you have only had an orgasm in one specific position and being embarrassed by that is a huge potential barrier to having an orgasm with your boyfriend. If you masturbate, you might notice that you have a far easier time experiencing an orgasm alone than with someone else. That could be for a variety of reasons, but one is that you are probably not concerned or preoccupied with what your partner is thinking or whether you will succeed in achieving orgasm when you are alone. Having a relaxed, pleasure-centered mindset is an important key to experiencing orgasm.

Masturbation

Masturbation is a wonderful activity that many people enjoy. For some folks who have not yet achieved orgasm, masturbation is likely the most effective way of being able to. For other people who are only able to orgasm in a certain position or using a certain type of stimulation (vaginal, clitoral, with a vibrator, anal, etc), masturbation can also be helpful in broadening the range of sensations that your body responds to.

Often times people acquire certain behaviors when masturbating, which can potentially influence the way that you have an orgasm or experience pleasure with a partner. For instance, some people tend to use vibrators during masturbation, and might have a more difficult time orgasming without their toy when they're having oral, manual, or penetrative sex with their partner. Some people with penises become accustomed to reaching orgasm quickly during masturbation, and find themselves doing the same thing when they're having sex. Mind you, I am not saying that any of these are bad situations to be in, provided that you are still enjoying yourself. However, masturbation can also be seen as an opportunity to enjoy pleasure in new and different ways.

If you have been experiencing orgasms from masturbating in the same position, you might enjoy changing it up from time to time. Even if the new position that you try does not result in orgasm, it might feel great. This could also be a fun opportunity to try using vibrators if you have not yet, or any additional stimuli that you find erotic (i.e. sexy books, porn, etc). Being in the right head space and not pressuring yourself to have an orgasm opens up the door to so many more pleasurable sensations. Worst case scenario: you learn what does not work for you. Best case scenario: you find out that you are a huge fan of something that you had never tried before!

For more information on masturbation, check out Having Trouble Reaching Orgasm? Masturbation Is Your Friend, as well as How Do You Masturbate? to read more about other peoples' experience with masturbation.

Talking to Your Partner

The key to any positive sexual relationship with someone else is good, clear communication. You said that you were embarrassed to tell your boyfriend about the way that your body is likely to reach orgasm. Is that because you have been faking orgasms with him? Or are worried that he will think that you are weird? I can't make any promises about how he will respond, but I can assure you that feeling comfortable talking about your sexuality with someone that you are having any type of sexual relationship with is extremely important. Chances are that if your boyfriend is interested in your pleasure, he will be open and willing to explore new activities or techniques with you to increase the likelihood of your orgasms.

It can be hard to know where to start, but here is a good resource for communication tips when it comes to talking about sex: Be a Blabbermouth! The Whys, Whats and Hows of Talking About Sex With a Partner. Having open communication is crucial for ensuring that both you and your partner are getting what you want out of sex, but also makes for a much healthier relationship overall.

In addition to making for a healthier relationship, expressing your feelings to your boyfriend will also likely alleviate a lot of stress that this has been putting on you! It sounds like you have been extremely concerned with both your ability to have an orgasm, as well as what your boyfriend will think about it. Feeling any type of pressure or stress during sex can definitely negatively impact your ability to enjoy yourself and experience the pleasure that you want. In fact, it sounds like this is probably the main barrier that you are facing right now.

If you do not feel ready to discuss your situation to your boyfriend yet, this might be a good opportunity to take a step back and really look at your own comfort around the sexual activities that you are engaging in, and whether you feel fully ready to be sexual with a partner. Not wanting to address your own pleasure and desires with someone that you are sexual with indicates that you might not feel comfortable with your own sexuality, or with the fact that you are having oral/manual sex with another person. Or perhaps you do not anticipate that your boyfriend will be receptive to your needs, which might be a red flag for larger issues within your relationship. While it's possible that neither situation applies to you, it's always good to have a check-in with yourself to ensure that you are happy and taking care of your own well-being.

What Else?

Once you feel comfortable having an open discussion with your boyfriend, there are a few other things that you can try, if they sound appealing to you:

  • Mutual Masturbation
  • Mutual masturbation is two people masturbating together, and can be a really fun, safe activity. Having your boyfriend watch you masturbate would be a way for him to see what you like and what works for you, and would also be a way for you to potentially experience an orgasm while being together.

  • Change It Up
  • If you do masturbate and find yourself able to orgasm from solo sex, then perhaps you can bring some of your masturbation practices into your sexual activities with your boyfriend. That might mean adjusting the positions that you have oral/manual sex, or integrating sex toys or whatever else works for you when/if you masturbate.

  • Vibrators
  • While vibrators are not for everyone, many women find themselves far more likely to be able to orgasm when using a vibrator. Many men and women find that their bodies respond to vibration, which is a very different sensation than rubbing, touching, or licking. If this is something that sounds interesting to you, you and your boyfriend can go into an adult store together and pick out a toy that you both think would be fun to use together.

  • Journal
  • Writing down your thoughts and feelings about being sexual with your boyfriend, your desires and wants, what you like and don't like, what excites you or scares you, and how you feel about experiencing orgasm can be a really helpful way to prepare to talk to your boyfriend. Being a sexual being can create confusing thoughts sometimes, especially when there's another person involved. Writing down all of your feelings will likely help you feel more comfortable talking about them with your partner. There's a great sex diary listed below that can help you get started!

Orgasm as an End Goal

It is important to keep in mind that orgasm does not need to be an end goal. In fact, having orgasm as a goal can really detract from the experience of enjoying being sexual with another person. Sometimes focusing so much on "Is is going to happen? I'm almost there! Shoot, I don't think it's going to happen" can take away some of the pleasure. It is completely understandable that you are looking to expand the types of positions that you are able to experience orgasm in, but you can also see this as an opportunity to really explore yourself and what you enjoy, both by yourself and with your partner.

More on Orgasms!

And some great books:

written 18 Jul 2012 . updated 21 Jan 2014

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