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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » "I can't orgasm from intercourse!"

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Author Topic: "I can't orgasm from intercourse!"
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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We've been getting a LOT of posts like this from female users lately, so I thought I'd address it in one place. Please use it when you have a question like this, and if you've got an individual circumstance that doesn't apply, you can just post below. That helps us keep all our eggs in one basket, as it were.

I think all of our regular readers know that we feel the soundest approach to partnered sex is to understand it's not just all about orgasm. It's about a lot of things, and orgasm may be one of them, and sometimes, it may not.

But at the same time, it is important to a lot of us, and when it doesn't happen, it's pretty normal to want to know why, especially if it continually doesn't happen.

So, here are a few things to look at:

1) During penis/vagina intercourse, is the ONLY real physical stimulation you're getting that intercourse? If so, that can be the problem. The vaginal canal by itself is NOT rich with nerve endings like the clitoris or other body parts (not just genitals!) are (if you doubt that, spend a day at the library with some current sexual anatomy and sexology books and studies). So, during intercourse, whole-body contact, or additional stimulation to body parts that really DOES arouse you, like the clitoris in most women, is important. Sometimes that's as simple as moving around and finding a position that gives you more contact. Sometimes, that means having manual sex during intercourse, for instance. Since sexual arousal tends to be pretty individualized, what works for you is usually something you have to come to through trial and error.

Too, don't forget that intercourse -- and most sexual activities -- is just not likely to feel good if you aren't aroused beforehand, if you aren't adequately lubricated (and with condoms, that pretty much ALWAYS means using extra latex-safe lubricant), and if you aren't feeling okay about it emotionally, able to trust your partner to listen to your boundaries or needs, or if your privacy isn't a sure thing, and so forth.

2) Are you feeling anxiety? That could be from many things: from maybe not feeling ready to be having intercourse with a given partner, knowing you're with a partner having sex for the wrong reasons, worry about STIs or pregnancy, worry about your own body image, feeling pressured not just to be having sex, but to be having arousal or orgasm from one particular activity, etc. In other words, look at the whole situation. And take the pressure off -- that may mean a talk with your partner about what feels good to you and what expectations are realistic. It may also mean not having intercourse right then, or with that partner, at all, or at that time. It may mean taking some time away from sexual partnership to explore your sexuality and your feelings about it by yourself so that you can come back to sexual partnership with the tools you need to make it right for both of you, physically and/or emotionally. It may mean making sure you have reliable birth control or safer sex tools to use next time, if that's the worry.

3) Are you "spectatoring?" That's the term sex therapists use to describe when a person continually is having sex for nothing but orgasm, putting all their energy and thought into making orgasm happen. And that's the thing most sex therapists say is responsible for orgasm NOT happening, more than anything else. In a word, try not to worry about it. Do what feels good for the both of you on all levels, and go with the flow. if it happens, great. If it doesn't, and you've had an intimate, pleasurable, healthy experience anyway, it really isn't THAT big of a deal. Cosmopolitan magazine only says it is on covers again and again because it makes them gobs of money, folks.

4) Are you expecting something bigger than orgasm? In other words, my sense is that a good number of our readers who say they aren't having orgasms actually ARE. Most women, for instance, do not ejaculate with orgasm. And for most people, an orgasm doesn't shake the roof or the walls, make your whole body feel nigh unto exploding, or make you scream like a banshee. Every now and then, all of those things CAN happen, but they're not that common. And orgasm differs a lot from person to person, as well as even for one person, from one day to another. Sometimes, it just feels kind of floaty and tingly. Other times, you can feel your whole body tense up a lot, then relax. Some people might tremble or quiver, others might not. For the most part, what it just feels is good. Sometimes squealy-moany amazing, other times, just plain nice.

But if you're looking for a porn-star movie orgasm, chances are, you're expecting something that isn't much like real orgasm.

If none of this seems to fit, or you find you cannot have orgasms or even arousal with a partner, or by yourself masturbating, then talk to your gynecologist. Sometimes, there are physical conditions, medications or psychological conditions that can directly affect the ability to orgasm or become aroused.

Certainly, that's not all to say on this topic, but it's the basics, and it's pretty much what the answer is to this question every single time it's asked.
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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 06-24-2002).]


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logic_grrl
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Just to add my 2 cents to Miz S's wise words ... I think sometimes people seem to feel that it's "better" to be able to have orgasms from intercourse alone, and that needing extra stimulation (or having orgasms primarily from other activities like oral or manual sex) is somehow "cheating" or "second-best".

And really, it isn't so. An orgasm is a very pleasurable sensation, not a badge of achievement . There's no particular way you're "supposed" to have it.

So if you find that one particular activity (whether it's intercourse or anything else) doesn't provide enough stimulation by itself for you to reach orgasm, then it doesn't have to be a big deal. If you communicate with your partner, you can make sure that your sex life includes other things which do provide enough stimulation for you. And you can still enjoy a sexual activity for other reasons even if you never reach orgasm from it.


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cumquat
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To address number four:
My orgasms are vey uncomfortable, in a way where sometimes I feel I would rather not have one. The arousal period is great, but once my body starts getting very clenched and I have less control over my movement, I stop enjoying it fairly quickly. I also stop breathing a lot of the time. Sometimes it feels like I really have to pee, and then it disappears and I often feel very strongly against doing anything else. I am immeaditley bored. I don't really know what's going on here.

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sad_girl
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i have been masturbating for many years and i have always been able to reach orgasm but over the last year, i have not been able to. it's really frusterating because i've tried lots of different things. i know my body well and nothing seems to work.
i am now sexually active and i find myslf faking orgasms with my partner because i don't want to disappoint him. him and i have a very open relationship and we discuss sex freely, not just when we're about to have it, but any time. i've even told him about my difficulty to orgasm and i've admitted to faking so excitement. but i can't seem to stop.
the truth is, sex is justmore pleasureable for him. we've tried a bunch of different positions, we have tons of foreplay, we don't just have intercourse but others kinds of sex too. nothing seems to work.
i enjoy it for the first bit of intercourse but then i find myself zoning out and waiting for him to finish. i love him a lot. and i have no idea what to do? do you think my ongoing struggle with dysthymic disorder or my use of anti-depressants could have something to do with it? do you have any advice?

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Bobolink
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The problem with faking orgasm is that it reinforces behavior and actions that you might not enjpy. Most lovers are trying to please the other. If you fake an orgasm, your partner's reponse is likely to be "Aha! That works! I should do this again." What you end up with is a unproductive feedback loop.

Sex is all about experimenting. Finding out what really works is part of the fun. But you and your partner must learn to communicate on a very intimate level for this to work.

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We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

- Albert Einstein


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logic_grrl
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Certain anti-depressants can make it much, much harder to reach orgasm, so this might well be something to discuss with your doctor.

But you also need to be honest with your partner. Faking orgasm is effectively a kind of lying, and you can't have a "very open" relationship if you're lying all the time.

If you decide that sometimes you want to say, "look, right now it's really difficult for me to reach orgasm, so let's not make that the goal", that's one thing. There's a lot more to sex than just orgasm, after all.

But as Bobo's pointed out, faking isn't going to help the situation.


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Gumdrop Girl
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to address the sudden jump in the number of girls asking this said same question, i hope y'all read this good and carefully, twice over.

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Gumdrop Girl
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again, it's on the rise

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plasticdiamonds
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I'm quite glad I found this thread. I've been wondering about this sort of thing for ages, except I didn't think of coming to you guys for help. Silly me!
Anyway! My problem is: When I go solo, I can orgasm no problem at all. It's really easy. But when I do anything with my boyfriend, I can't get the same feeling. Everything we do - touching, feeling, licking, biting(!), sex - feels really good, but NOTHING comes even close to the feeling I get when I masturbate. (Haha, oh how I hate that word).
I've asked close friends about this and a couple have told me to "think dirty" and such like, but I find that hard when I'm busy doing other things with my boyfriend. I don't understand it.
Suggestions, anyone?

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Heather
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It's that time again...
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