I can't get her to reach orgasm, and I really want her to.

I was directed to this site by a friend of mine and I'm really impressed in the amount of information and real life questions that are answered. I've had a few things on my mind that I just can't seem to figure out so I guess this is one the best place to ask. I am 19 years old and my partner is 18. We have been dating for almost 8 months and are very much in love. We have been sexually active for the past few months, and we were both virgins. We have only used condoms during sex because my partner hasn't had time to make an appointment to get a prescription to go on "the pill" We are hoping to have her start soon (within the month if things go as planned) We have been very careful when we have sex. We make sure the condom is on properly and that both of us are sufficiently lubed before there is any penetration. We have had a few scares, but it just turned out to be us over reacting over a late period (but I bet we aren't the only ones who have done that). We have been through a lot together and have shared so much with each other in the time we have been together. I never force her to do anything sexually if she doesn't want to. I respect her mind and body like it should be. We have had some really great experiences sexually but there are some things that are starting to bother me.
Heather Corinna replies:

(Anonymous' question continued)

I will try my hardest (as in I will work as long as I can) to help her reach orgasm, but she just can't seem to. Not once have I managed to make her climax during vaginal or oral sex. The most recent time She came very close, but just as she was about to peak she went back to just a "heightened" level of arousal. I've tried everything I could think of to help her. I've preformed oral sex on her as well as even used a vibrating device on her clitoris. Nothing seems to work. Could this be because she's not completely comfortable with me? She thinks because she was so used to masturbating with her legs closed that she's become accustomed to that. Is this a possibility?

I have read in various places that some girls cannot seem to orgasm with a partner. It would mean so much to me (and her) if I could get her to. I have also heard that some girls can orgasm more easily with anal sex. At first I didn't want to try that, but now I've been wondering about it. My girlfriend always seems so turned off at the idea and every time I talk to her about it she either tells me "some day maybe we will" or just straight out "no". I don't want to force her into it, but I don't want the option totally closed.She seems afraid that it will hurt. I can understand that because, well.. the anus wasn't meant for things to go in. I have talked to a friend who had just tried anal sex for the first time and she said it didn't hurt and that she actually enjoyed it. I know that we would need lube. We have lots. But really what I would like to know is, can anal sex help some girls orgasm and what are some of the risks and dangers involved in anal sex? Is there a specific position that's safer then others? I want to learn as much as I can about this so that if we decide to try it we're not going into the room blind.

The big thing that I want to talk to you about first is about having your partner have an orgasm be so important to YOU.

By all means, it's ideal to be very invested in our partner's pleasure, and that's absolutely what we want to see around here with our users. So, I'm by no means critiquing you wanting your partner to experience pleasure and orgasm, and you making that a priority. You sound like an awesome and sensitive partner, and that rocks.

Believe it or not, a lot of people -- especially guys -- are overinvested in their partner's orgasm, and feel like they need it for reasons that are clearly about more than just their partner having a good time. If this is an experience you've been having, we're glad to take some time to talk you through it and help you get to a better way of approaching this. You can find us on our moderated forums, or, if you're in the U.S., on our SMS/text helpline at: (206) 866-2279.

But one thing we know about orgasm is that it tends to shy under pressure.

In other words, if we're feeling like we HAVE to orgasm, or our partners are going nuts trying to make it happen, we're often less likely to have one. And if she's feeling that you're getting frustrated, and that you have a lot invested in terms of her orgasm to make YOU feel good -- about yourself, your performance, what have you -- that's going to usually inhibit orgasm and also dampen pleasure. There's even a term for that: it's called "spectatoring." In other words, there we are, in sex, going nuts to make someone come, trying to do everything we can to net that result, sometimes even long after sexual arousal has subsided. Our partners feel that pressure and frustration, feel the element of pleasure start to leak out of the room (because you suddenly have to start thinking about coming to make someone else feel better), and the body responds in kind. So, doing everything you can to NOT put so much focus on orgasm, to NOT go nuts trying to make it happen, is going to have a much better result than what you've been doing.

I also want to bring up a couple of things that you're thinking about which may make orgasm even less likely for her.

Vaginal intercourse alone does not result in orgasm for a majority of people with vaginas. That's primarily because the latter portion of the vagina doesn't really have sensory nerve endings, and because orgasm from genital stimulation for people with vaginas tends to be from more targeted activities per the clitoris and the very front end of the vaginal canal. So, if all or a lot of your focus has been with intercourse, and/or with her vagina alone -- rather than her clitoris and the whole of her vulva -- that may be part of the issue.

It's also really normal for it to take a bit of time, especially for younger women, to reach orgasm with a partner -- heck, to reach orgasm period. This is her first sexual relationship, and three months is a really short time for such a big and lifelong learning experience.

With the anal sex, anal sex alone is pretty darn unlikely to bring a cis woman to orgasm, all by itself. It's more likely to do that for cis men on the receving end than for women.

That isn't to say some women don't enjoy anal sex or other kinds of anal play: many certainly do. For some, too, that combined with other activities certainly does lead to orgasm. But you find that out with gradual introduction - such as, does a lubricated, gloved finger in her anus feel good to her? If it doesn't, anal sex with a penis sure isn't likely to. But if she doesn't even have any interest in exploring any kind of anal play/sex at all, that's a red light where you need to stop the car. If something isn't arousing to her, but instead fearful, not only is it highly unlikely to be pleasurable for her, less still to bring her to orgasm, it may well make her feel terrible. You've put it on the table, she's expressed disinterest. She knows it's an option, so if it's one she wants to explore, she'll bring it back up: per your end of things, it needs to be a closed matter for now until she expresses that interest.

Overall, what I'd advise is going back to those times which have been very enjoyable for you both. Sex really should be about process, not product, and I think you both could stand to remind each other about that. While orgasms rock the house, sex without them isn't always somehow lacking, nor unpleasurable, unless we get it stuck in our heads that it is.

It also sounds like she can reach orgasm on her own via masturbation, so it might be helpful for the two of you to engage in some mutual masturbation so you can get a better idea of what works for her. For instance, if she prefers her legs closed, that may be because very direct clitorial stimulus doesn't feel as good to her as more general vulval pressure: that's a good thing to know, and may be why a vibrator held right on her clitoris wasn't so great, or why whatever approaches you're doing with oral sex aren't the ticket. Maybe she's more of a manual sex girl who might prefer some solid pressure on her mons and upper vulva during intercourse, or with another hand used for vaginal entry, or even just all by itself. It's important to realize that everyone is so different in what feels good to them and what works for them sexually: there's no one right model we all need to try and fit. The goal is to figure out what works for us, what feels good to us, figure out the same with a partner, and find ways to make those things mesh best.

And do your best to be patient: again, if we feel that pressure and frustration, it bums out our sexual responses in a pretty big way. If we feel like we have to have an orgasm for anyone but ourselves, we're much less likely to have one: our orgasm should be for us, not for someone else. If you need to be reminded that her lack of orgasm with you to this point doesn't mean you're a bad lover and doesn't mean you're somehow deficient, I'm telling you that now: it doesn't mean that.

Focus on what just feels good for both of you, physically and emotionally, not on what it might lead to. Make sure you're communicating well during and about sex, and that there's also room for her to offer up what activities she's interested in exploring, and not just because you or she think they might lead to orgasm. If you need to step back from intercourse to better explore her body, do that for a bit. But all in all, if you two can just focus on enjoying each other in whatever sex you're having, just because it feels good in that moment, it really is all good. Likely, in time, that will lead to orgasm, but until it does, it'll all feel good, anyway.

I'm going to load you up with a handful of good links on this, including a link to information on my book, which I think might be an excellent primer for the two of you to have. So, read up, try and adjust your thinking on this -- and talk about doing that so you're both on the same page -- and I'm willing to bet that things are going to get better for you both, especially considering that you seem really invested in her.

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