Q: I’ve tried dildos, vibrators, and pretty much everything else out there and I can't seem to orgasm. My partner is starting to feel self-conscious, which just makes the whole thing worse. Help!
A: Perhaps the biggest point of contention in any sexual relationship can be boiled down to one word: “orgasm”. For men, achieving an orgasm can be as simple as spending five minutes with a bottle of lube and their website of choice. For most women, it’s not quite that simple.
The problem begins with the cultural script we've all been fed, which says "functional" women can come at the drop of a hat, or at least with more than a minute's worth of P-in-V input and output. Fortunately, bringing a woman to orgasm is less of a feat of engineering as it is about a couple’s ability to connect, communicate, and be intimate with one another.
If you're a woman who struggles to orgasm during sex, it helps to know you're in good company. The general consensus is that approximately 10% of women have never had an orgasm, and only one-third regularly climax during vaginal sex. That leaves a considerable number of ladies in the middle who have experienced an orgasm, but can't rely on their ability to get off every time.
Here's a couple of tips to help you expand your explosive potential.
Let's get cliterate
If you haven't been directing enough of your attention to the clitoris, that's probably the first place you want to start. Experts seem to be divided over whether women are actually capable of climaxing without clitoral stimulation. The clit is packed with even more nerve endings than the penis, and holds the key to unlocking the body's orgasmic potential.
Slow start, hot finish
Don't skimp on the foreplay, and certainly don't feel bad about asking your partner to spend more time during the "on boarding" process. Men are wired to orgasm at a moment’s notice so we can get this show on the road, but women have a greater need to get down in the proper context. "Setting the mood" is a cliché for a reason. Women generally find it easier to orgasm when there's some hot and/or loving energy flowing - that usually means more than two minutes of kissing and touching.
On that note, try having your partner bring you to orgasm before you get to the thrusting. It's entirely possible you're one of the many women who won't get there during intercourse, and that's totally fine.
More sexy alone time
Make it a point to get down more on your own so you can share this knowledge with your partner. Exploring on your own gives you the vocabulary and experiential knowledge to tell your partner how you like to be touched.
Be your partner's teacher
If you find it hard to direct your partner in the heat of the moment then communicate your desires outside of the bedroom. That way, you can ask for what you want when both of you are feeling less pressure to perform (and not derail the mood by sounding critical).
Be aware that many men get their sex ed from watching porn, which tends to prioritise the kind of fucking that looks good on camera (versus what actually feels good to women). Don't be afraid to gently guide him in the right direction. More pressure? Less? A lot of men tend to clamp their mouths down when they eat pussy, but because the clitoris is a pretty sensitive and delicate part of your anatomy, the end result could be a heavy dose of overkill. If that's the case, ask him to move his mouth an inch or two away and use just his tongue.
In this same vein, less can truly be more. If you have a hard time getting aroused during the standard oral sex routine, ask him to spend some time teasing you before he gets to the real physical contact. Sometimes the anticipation of touch can do more to prime your pump than any immediate friction.
Oral sex is usually a better bet for most women, but if he's using his hands, make sure there's enough lubrication first. Rubbing a dry clit is about as effective (and pleasant) as giving a dry handjob.
To relax or not to relax
Despite what you may have heard about relaxing, it's actually useful to engage some muscular tension. Try engaging your pelvic floor (like a Kegel) during sex. This helps encourage the flow of blood to the genitals.
This can't be overstated - don't put too much pressure on the situation! There's nothing wrong with you - or your partner - if you're not reaching orgasm. It may be hard to forget that you have an end goal in mind, but paradoxically, letting go of the need to get there can help you arrive there faster.
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