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What can I do to get her to orgasm: am I the problem?

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Anonymous asks:

My girlfriend and I have been together for about 2 months now, and we have been having sex for about a month. I am unable to get her to climax. She has only had sex with one other person besides me, she only had sex with him one time, and she didn't like it when they did it. She had sex with me for the first time because her friends were pressuring her. I told her that I was not with her for the sex I was with her for her, but she told me she wanted to. So we had sex and she said it hurt her. It doesn't hurt her anymore and she tells me that she enjoys it, but I cannot get her to have an orgasm. I have gave her oral one time and she liked it, her legs started to twitch and afterward she had a cramp in one of her legs, but it didn't get her to reach her climax. Now she won't let me do that anymore because she thinks that it is nasty down there but I like doing it and when I did it I didn't find it the least bit nasty. She is a little bit chunky and she thinks that the sweat will make it taste nasty or what ever, but when we do have sex she does get pretty wet down there so I don't see a reason to use extra lube.

The last girlfriend I had reached her climax every time and usually two or three times. But when she left me I was single for about 10 months because I was trying to get over her. Now when I have sex I can't last very long. We have sex for about 10 minutes and I have reached my orgasm. The other night we had sex and I came and then we waited for about 10 minutes and had sex again only this time I lasted for about half hour. I am very self-conscience about my penis because I feel that it is small and unable to get the job done but I have never had a problem getting any other girls to climax. Could this problem be because she is new to sexual experiences or becuase my package is to small? Is there a way for me to make myself last longer? I have tryed masturbating before she gets here to try to make myself last longer but it does not work. I have never had problems like this before, my last girlfriend and I used to have sex for an hour or two everytime. I think she is also worried about having sex to much because she doesnt want to become "loose". So I don't know if it is her or me that is the problem.

I am concerned because I have liked this girl for a while now and now that we are together I am falling fast for her. I just want her to have the most pleasure she can out of the sex. Also she does not masturbate so she has never given herself an orgasm either so she don't know what she likes and I think she is sometimes trying to hard to get herself to experience an orgasm because I am trying so hard to get her to that her body don't let her. Also I would like to talk to her about new experiences and new ways to try to get her to climax but at the same time I dont know how exactly to talk to her about it. Thank you for your time and advice.

Heather Corinna replies:

Phew! This is a lot of information -- and that's helpful -- but there is also a lot to address in here. I'm seeing an awful lot of unrealistic expectations, from you and from your girlfriend, so I'd like to speak to those. Unrealistic expectations about sex really can make the sex we're having be a lot less enjoyable, and can make our sexuality feel a lot less good than it could otherwise.

  • That last girlfriend that reached orgasm EVERY time you had intercourse, and often two or three times only from intercourse? I'll be honest: either she wasn't being honest -- or wasn't aware of what orgasm really is -- or she's an extreme rarity. Only a minority of women reach orgasm from intercourse alone at all, and very, very few will reach it every time. A woman reaching orgasm from only intercourse not only every time, but having a few orgasms from that alone every time is really beyond incredibly rare. And an awful lot of women express feeling like they need to fake orgasm during intercourse simply because it's enjoyable for so many more men than women (which doesn't validate faking, mind, I'm just explaining a common motivation). So, I'd adjust your expectations, understanding that you either had a partner who is just unlike most women, or who was faking or saying something was orgasm that was just high arousal. When we're only talking about vaginal intercourse, the reason why reaching orgasm through it for most women is going to be a problem isn't about the length of time anyone is erect for: it's about the fact that for most women, vaginal intercourse alone doesn't result in orgasm, no matter the size or shape of the penis, the position, or the length of time intercourse goes on for. Vaginal intercourse just usually doesn't stimulate our most sensitive parts enough to do the trick all by itself.

    Even when we're not talking about intercourse alone, everyone really is different. Not only do plenty of people not reach orgasm every time with sex, for some, it is going to take a while to get to orgasm at all. It's not uncommon for that to be a particular issue for people who don't even masturbate, but even for those who can and do reach orgasm alone, it takes some people longer than others to work it out when it comes to sex with a partner. One month really is not a long time to be with someone, and when you've only had one sex partner before, once, that's a pretty big learning curve. Expecting her to get the hang of all of this, all of that given, so soon, is expecting an awful lot of her.

  • Another expectation you need to adjust is the idea that lasting 10 minutes once intercourse begins for you is a short period of time. It's not: that's actually very average, and in many cases, even longer than average for many men. If you were literally sustaining erections while having intercourse for one or two hours, that is very unusual.
  • You can tell your girlfriend that the vagina is a muscle: worry about making it "loose" by using it doesn't make any more sense than worrying that lifting weights will somehow make a person's arm flabby. For more information on that, you can check this out
  • .

  • On the lube issue, if you're using condoms (as you should be, given this is such a new partner, so you can't have had six months of safer sex yet), extra lubricant is usually needed, both to keep condoms from breaking, and also to make things feel best for everyone.

So, I'd bear all that in mind when you're considering these issues, and try and adjust how you think about them accordingly.

One other thing I'm hearing in all of this is how much you're making HER orgasm or climax about YOU, your performance, and your esteem. For sure, part of enjoyable partnered sex isn't just our own pleasure, but enjoying a partner's pleasure, and real partners are going to be invested in their partners feeling good. That's all good. But it's not quite the same thing if we get in a space where we need a partner to reach orgasm to validate ourselves, and that's not so good. With any partner, we can take part in them reaching orgasm, for sure, but it's still THEIR orgasm, and it's still more about them than us, no matter how we contribute. Sounds to me like you need to work out your own issues with worries about performance, rather than projecting them onto her.

When you're having a hard time reaching orgasm, and are new to partnered sex, you really can feel the weight of a partner who needs you to respond in a certain way for THEM, and that's pretty harsh, and doesn't tend to feel very good. That kind of pressure also makes a person a lot less likely to reach orgasm, because it makes it so tough to just let go, relax and enjoy. So, I'd back off when it comes to talking to her endlessly about what to do to get her to reach climax. You say that you get the feeling this might be an issue: I'd agree that it'd be really hard for it NOT to be.

Is she enjoying what you ARE doing? THAT is what's important, and it's important that if she is, you let her have that, without pushing or working towards orgasm for her. It's about making her feel good, which ...

What it might be time to do, really, is talk about if it really is working for her to be sexually active now. You say she started having sex with you because of peer pressure, but that it got better. But it's also pretty easy for heterosexual women to feel like once they start having any kind of sex with a male partner, if they don't keep on doing it, they're going to be sacrificing the whole relationship. That should never be true, sex should always be 100% optional every time someone has it, but it might be worth reminding her that sex is NOT a requirement. If she's got body image issues, if she's not finding most kinds of sex enjoyable, if she doesn't have any desire to even have sex by herself, it may well be that she's just not that into sex yet and may want or need more time. I'd be sure she knows that if that's the case, she should know all she needs to do is make that clear, and that you're glad to wait.

If, after saying all that, she makes clear she IS enjoying partnered sex right now and wants to keep having it with you, then the best thing I can suggest is that for the times you want things to be about her pleasure, you really do let them be about her: not about YOUR need for her orgasm, not about your concerns for your sexual performance or your erection. About her, full-stop, about what activities SHE expresses really wanting to engage in (so long as they're activities you want to engage in, too: it's not like your wants and boundaries don't count during times things are about her), about her just enjoying herself without focusing on needing orgasm as a result, about her unique body and sexuality, as she discovers and shares it with you. If, say, it is an issue for her that erections don't tend to last for as long as people would like them to, or for as long as she wants vaginal intercourse to last for, then you could, for instance, talk about realistic expectations, and then other activities which can extend those same kinds of feelings for her, like manual sex with your fingers. If you like giving her oral sex, but that isn't something SHE likes -- or something she's comfortable enough with yet -- then don't push. Give her time, and allow her to go by her own comfort level.

But you've got to also allow that that often takes time with a new partner: not everyone will just put all of that right on the table from day one, especially if they aren't even sure of what it is they'd put on the table. When someone doesn't do that, that doesn't mean there is a problem, nor is it often sound to think of it as one -- rather, just recognize that it's something in a state of constant development. Partnered sex is, in many ways, about growing intimacy and getting to know someone with more and more depth. That takes time: it's a process, and all of that process really should be enjoyable for everyone. If it's not, it's worth looking at why for yourself, and seeing what you can do to work that out.

Let me suggest one more thing? Sounds like if you could share your concerns about your own sexual self-worth and performance with your girlfriend, the way you have with me, that it might make her feel a WHOLE lot better about her concerns, and would probably bring the two of you closer. Again, this kind of sharing is part of the intimacy of sex, and when one partner is feeling exposed and vulnerable -- as I bet she is - having the other also risk the same is a very positive thing that tends to help relationships a lot.

I'm leaving you with a few links for you both that I think, combined with everything I've said above, should help you out. Have a read, and then just remember to keep communicating and be patient, focusing your energy on enjoying the process of all of this rather than being so focused on an ideal or product, okay? Clearly, you're invested in this, and clearly, you are able to consider both your partner and yourself: equipped with all of that and some plain old patience, honest communication on both sides, and unloading some of the stuff that isn't helpful, I think you'll do just fine, by yourself and your partner.

written 10 Nov 2007 . updated 25 Sep 2013

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