Enjoyment and Ejaculation: Inside and Outside

Is it true that an orgasm is more enjoyable for a guy if it happens inside his partner? Even though I take the pill religiously, I've always been afraid to let my partners finish inside me. I have them pull out and ejaculate their sperm on my stomach instead. No one has ever complained but I hate to think I'm robbing my boyfriend of pleasure. Any truth to this?
Heather Corinna replies:

Let's shift this question a little bit, because ultimately, what you're asking isn't just about guys. You're asking if there is one way where orgasm or ejaculation feels better or best for any given group of people.

The easy answer, and the truest answer, to that is no: just like there isn't any one kind of sex everyone likes best, there isn't any one way of reaching orgasm, or one way or place to ejaculate (when that happens: many women don't ejaculate at all or often, and guys don't always ejaculate with orgasm either) everyone likes best. All of that varies from person to person, relationship to relationship, day to day, life phase to life phase, and isn't usually primarily about gender. Our gender is one of many facets of our sexuality, and the idea that it somehow rules everything, or leads our sexuality more than anything else just isn't sound.

As well, what a partner -- who really is being a partner in the truest sense of the word -- likes and feels pleasure with when it comes to partnered sex isn't usually just about what physically feels good to them: it's also about what their partner does or doesn't enjoy. So, for instance, even if ejaculating inside your body felt, physically, very good to your boyfriend, if it made you scared, nervous, uncomfortable or unhappy, that'd likely impact his experience a lot and it would probably not feel so good to him overall.

In a separate question you posted, you also asked,

I've been sexually active with my boyfriend for 6 months and he never finishes inside me. He'll pull his penis out and ejaculate his sperm on my stomach and breasts. Is this more enjoyable for some guys? Is there some hidden pleasure that I don't know about? I want to give him the best possible pleasure I can but I'm starting to get tired of being covered in sticky sperm each time we are intimate.

Is ejaculating on a partner something some guys (and women) like? Yes, it is. Some people really, really like it, some like it fine, others could care less, some don't like it, some strongly dislike it. And some partners are excited by and like their partners fluids, others are neutral, and others, again, really aren't into it at all. Some people like fluid-sharing in any number of ways sometimes, but not others. Some people like it with one partner, or in one relationship dynamic, but not with someone else or where the emotional dynamics with it are different. I know it can seem pretty vague to answer questions like this with "different people like different things," but that really is what this all boils down to.

Now, some pornography has made a rather big deal out of men ejaculating on women, so it can happen that people who get a lot of their sexual information or cues from pornography may be more interested in this than others. Often in porn that is presented as a sort of humiliation, though I would not say that my sense is that's how most men or women who enjoy each others' fluids in real life usually feel about it when they engage in ejaculating on or inside of a partner's body.

For some men and women, for instance, semen is highly symbolic stuff. Think about it this way: if, during or after sex, we could just hand a partner one of our ova, there'd be some serious symbolism in that, right? We'd literally be giving them, in their hand, what could potentially create new life. That's heavy-duty. Because semen contains sperm, and thus, part of the material for creating life, it's understandably a body fluid that some men and women find to be especially meaningful or important, especially when shared.

In addition, there are partners of women who also really get off on our fluids: we might also get aroused by our own fluids and sharing them with partners. While ours don't have anything to do with reproduction, they can say a lot about how aroused we are, or how excited we got, so it's common to have our sexual partners get pretty jazzed about vaginal fluids. Men and/or partners of men can feel the same way about male sexual fluids. Sometimes the enjoyment of fluids is simply tactile, just like we might enjoy the feeling of running our fingers through someone's hair, or soaking our feet in cool water. And fluids are part of sexuality, just like erections can be, swollen clitorises can be, moans and groans can be. Fluids are only of many possible parts of sexual experiences that people may or may not value, find important, or get excited about.

I hear that you have a concern about "robbing" someone of pleasure, or not doing something the other person would prefer to do. Partnered sex isn't about one person satiating the other based only or primarily on what that other person likes or wants: it's about doing things together based on mutual pleasure and the places we intersect sexually.

When we have places we don't intersect, we have some options. We can either just nix doing something we don't like or aren't interested in, we can try something to see if we do like it with that partner then see how we feel, we can seek out middle ground that may have aspects of something a partner likes without the aspects we don't. It's pretty rare for any two people to find that they share exactly the same set of sexual desires, likes and dislikes, wants and needs: more often, we will have plenty of places we intersect, but some where we don't.

In partnerships where we have no or few intersections with desires, wants and needs, likes and dislikes, we might consider that that isn't the best partnership for us both: in other words, that we just aren't very sexually compatible. But in partnerships where there are just a couple areas where these things don't mesh, it's not usually any big deal: any of us will be just fine not having every single desire we have met by one person or in one partnership.

What I hear you saying is that you're not comfortable with your partner ejaculating inside of you, but you also don't really like your partner ejaculating on you. So, why not explore the other options with this?

For instance, if your partner uses a condom, or you use a female condom, he CAN ejaculate while he is still in your body without ejaculating inside you. Condoms are a more effective method than withdrawal anyway, so that should also take care of your pregnancy concerns better. And if you two also haven't been sexually exclusive for at least six months AFTER you each had a full round of STI tests and used latex barriers for six months first, then it's not wise to go without condoms anyway from a standpoint of infection prevention.

If you prefer not having any ejaculate inside you or on you, your partner can also ejaculate somewhere else entirely, like into a tissue or his own hand. Or, if it's only being sticky that you don't like, but you do like him ejaculating unto you, you could simply keep some tissue or wipes handy to quickly clean the semen off of you when he's ejaculated. This activity is also something that you two can do sometimes when it is exciting to you, but which don't have to do at the times when it's not.

Ultimately, these are the kinds of things we have conversations about with our sexual partners. In fact, I'm not the best person to ask about what "guys" like, nor is anyone, since men like different things: they don't all like the same things just because they're all men. And you don't need to know about all guys, anyway: you just need to know about the given guy you're sleeping with at the time. You need to know what this guy likes, right? I'm not the right person to ask about what he likes: he's the right person to ask.

Ask him what he enjoys, ask him how he feels about all of this, then talk about your own feelings. Talk about all of your options around this together and find the places where you have shared desires and things you enjoy and the places where you don't. I bet he's invested in your pleasure just like you are in his, so these are things you both likely want to know about each other.

In the areas where one partner likes something and the other does not, the general etiquette -- and this also can be about consent -- is to defer to the partner who does not like something, who does not want to do something. But that partner also has the option of compromising if he or she wants to. But if you really, really don't want to do something or don't enjoy something? My advice is simply not to do it. Getting in a pattern of doing things you don't enjoy, like or want because a partner does can start to create a dynamic where pleasure isn't shared and about both people, but about the sexuality of only one. And that's what masturbation is for, not partnered sex: partnered sex is supposed to be about both, very mutually. And partners really invested in that are not going to experience a lot of pleasure from a partner doing things they really aren't into or just don't like, just because they think we do: that can actually feel kind of creepy.

It's obvious what really bad places that kind of dynamic can go to, but I think it can also keep partners from getting to the really good places, too. Sexual partnerships are so unique, and when we truly and openly communicate, and explore sex in a way that's about both of us where we intersect, and our unique partnership, over time what we'll usually wind up with is a sex life that fits us -- you, he, and the partnership you have together -- best and most authentically. It may not look or feel like the sex life we have had with other partners, which is fine: again, we're all unique. It may not look or be like the sex life we have with ourselves during masturbation, or the kind of sex life we might fantasize about having with a partner: that's also okay. It may or may not look like porn or anyone else's sex life. This is reality, not fantasy, after all.

Okay? So, I'd suggest you think on all of this, and what you really like and don't like, and then just get talking together. In those conversations and your thoughts around this, I'd try and dump your worries about robbing anyone of anything. Lead with what you and your partner each enjoy and finding the places where you meet, remembering that they don't all have to be the same, and not every single desire any of us has needs to be met for us to be satisfied and have a sex life we enjoy.

Here are some links I think might be helpful to you:

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