You Need Help: No One’s An Expert on Orgasms Right Away

featured image via Shutterstock

Do you guys know how many questions we get about sex? Formspring, emails – hell, I’ve even been facebooked! More than once! But at least the last time I answered a question via facebook, I figured that the answer could spark a potentially meaningful conversation about sex. Talking about sex is something that we don’t do enough, as a society. So we’re going to start answering a few more questions about what we do in bed. Welcome to You Need Help: Sex EDition. Disclaimer: not everyone answering questions will be a medical professional. These are our opinions. These articles about sex are to promote conversation, so if you agree or disagree with what we say, please feel free to leave it in the comments. Discussion, much like sex, is a healthy part of life. And as always, You Do You. Or someone else.


 

I’ve been hanging out/ hooking up with this girl for about a month. I have her pretty figured out physically and can get her off fairly quick, but the same can’t be said about her. I don’t have a problem with it, but it’s starting to make her upset. Help.

If I understand this question correctly, you’re saying that you can bring her to orgasm during sex pretty consistently but she can’t do the same for you. Yes? And that you’re totes cool with that. Yes? If so, cheers! You are having sex! Congrats to everyone involved! Sex is wonderful! And sex is wonderful even when an orgasm doesn’t happen.

In fact, sometimes I don’t want an orgasm, personally. We, as a society, have decided that orgasm is the goal of sex. In my opinion, this view point is BOTP (because of the patriarchy). Sex has historically been viewed as solely for reproduction, which meant that the goal of sex was a man’s orgasm, and thus babies. As someone who has queer sex, I disregard this traditional point of view. Sex, for me at least, is about pleasure. Not making babies. And pleasure doesn’t always mean an orgasm. What if tonight I just want my nipples played with? Totes cool! No orgasm necessary. Still super pleasurable. Sex can feel really amazing with or without an orgasm.

However, it’s a tall order to change society’s pressure on you with just a paragraph on how sex can be amazing regardless. It’s understandable for her to feel weird about the fact that she’s coming and you’re not – it’s a common insecurity. Especially if you do want to orgasm. I understand her feelings. I’ve felt them even though I don’t think the point of sex should always be orgasm. Which is why I give you the following:

I notice the time frame you give is one month. I can’t figure out anything in one month, on any topic. Ever. Could you imagine if everyone had to be experts at everything they tried within a month? You start skiing tomorrow? Well in a month, you better qualify for the Olympics. Crazy, right? One month is a relatively short amount of time. Don’t put crazy pressure on yourselves to be an Olympic Level Doubles Team within such a constrained time period. Life is a process, and so is sex. Just jump in bed and have fun! The more y’all think about “OMG, I can’t get her off! I can’t get her off!” the harder it’s going to be to reach that, if that’s what you want the sexy time. Enjoy the process. Enjoy the process all night long.

via chelseawoosh.tumblr.com

via chelseawoosh.tumblr.com

So what can you do to make her feel better, short of pointing her to this article? Just keep communicating about this. If you really are cool with it, tell her that. Tell her that a lot of times, because The Patriarchy can’t be eradicated from anyone’s consciousness in one conversation. She’ll probably need to hear it a lot. If she still feels bad about it, consider showing her exactly what you like and how you like it. Take her hand/fist/fingers/cock/whatever and give her a sexy step-by-step. Some people (me included) feel better in general with a specific direction to go in. And then even if it doesn’t result in orgasm, she’ll know you really liked because you showed her how to do it. She’ll know she’s on the right track. She’ll have a flight plan.

In short, sex should be a collaborative conversation. It’s not about who finishes first, because it’s not a race. So hit the sack and have at it! Cheers!


 

Have a question about sex? Email me at ali [at] autostraddle.com
For 100% anonymity, contact me through Formspring.

Please keep your questions to around, at most, 100 words. Due to the high volume of questions and feelings, not every question or feeling will be answered or published on Autostraddle. We hope you know that we love you regardless.

Avatar of Ali

Freelance writer and fiction author, Geekery Editor for Autostraddle.com and Fiction Editor for qu.ee/r Magazine. Keep up with her at her website.

Ali has written 260 articles for us.

44 Comments

  1. Thumb up 8

    Please log in to vote

    I want to memorize this and repeat as needed:

    “Sex has historically been viewed as solely for reproduction, which meant that the goal of sex was a man’s orgasm, and thus babies. As someone who has queer sex, I disregard this traditional point of view.”

    • Thumb up 10

      Please log in to vote

      Since ‘patriarchal society’ is another way of saying ‘this society and the norms that result in our exclusion’…it kind of makes sense that it comes up a lot. You might want to try another site with a different political leaning if it bothers you.

      • Thumb up 0

        Please log in to vote

        It isn’t about politics. It’s just dumb to say expecting to orgasm during sex is a notion influenced by patriarchy. I’ve never even linked my orgasms to anything to do with men. Who thinks about that when they’re trying to come? I seriously wonder if its “queer” women everywhere or just on this site who have such lame opinions on sex.

        • Thumb up 10

          Please log in to vote

          I’m annoyed because I wanted to bring up the idea that orgasm = patriarchy doesn’t quite sit right with me, but now if I do that I’m going to look like I’m agreeing with you, and I don’t want to be even vaguely associated with someone who scare-quotes people’s identities and makes patently absurd statements like “”queer” women have lame opinions on sex”.

        • Thumb up 9

          Please log in to vote

          I think there’s a hell lot of theoretical background missing here which is making it difficult to communicate. Believe me… Patriarchy is not about teh menz. And lesbian women are probably not thinking about men when they’re having sex. I sure as hell am not. If you’re genuinely interested in where these ideas are coming from, you could look into basic gender or feminist theory. Or even just start with the idea that ‘patriarchy’ is closer to ‘society in which maleness or masculinity is central to social organisation’ — not ‘society of men.’

        • Thumb up 4

          Please log in to vote

          I think this case is primarily about the normalization of male experience. Men find it much easier, in general, to reach orgasm than women. Likewise, for most men, after they orgasm, they’re done with sex—not necessarily so for women. Thus, this whole schema of “You have sex until you and your partner orgasm and then you stop,” is very male-centered. Greta Christina has some thought-provoking articles on this I’ll try to link when I’m not leaving momentarily.

        • Thumb up 2

          Please log in to vote

          In “Are We Having Sex Yet?” she talks about how PIV is completely inadequate as a definition of sex. http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2006/09/17/are_we_having_s_1/

          Another piece that’s sort of relevant is “Lesbian Sex with Men” (not my favorite title, I admit), but she describes how different the standard script for heterosexual couples is from that for queer women. http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2008/04/lesbian-sex-w-1.html

  2. Thumb up 3

    Please log in to vote

    This reminds me of the conversation that was started on the NSFW Lesbosexy Sunday page. There we were discussing being part of the “orgasm-free casual sex” club. And the fact that the question said “hanging out/hooking up with” the girl, it still sounds pretty casual. Rest assured, many many of us can’t orgasm from casual sex, for whatever reason. But sex is still quite worthwhile and wonderful, so stay patient and don’t get discouraged!

  3. Thumb up 4

    Please log in to vote

    “In short, sex should be a collaborative conversation. It’s not about who finishes first, because it’s not a race.”
    YES. This. For me, partnership sex is SO much more satisfying than competition sex (although maybe you find the competition aspect hot, you do you and all that).

    This applies pretty well to other aspects of relationships, too!

  4. Thumb up 2

    Please log in to vote

    a month isn’t very long… show her what you likee. moan a little when she’s hittin the spot so she knows, or tell her not to stop when she’s gettin it right. or tell her after what parts u liked best, how u been thinkin abt that one thing she did that made u crazy all day long. hey if she still doesn’t get the hint she might at least start feelin a little better abt herself

  5. Thumb up 4

    Please log in to vote

    I agree with Benjhi, a month isn’t very long at all and part of being confident in bed is being comfortable.
    While moaning and groaning works, she can also pay attention to the movement of your body and breathing patterns or straight up tell her when she’s hitting the right or wrong spot.

    You also might want to dip into Neotantra; It’ll change your sexual life.

  6. Thumb up 1

    Please log in to vote

    Anyone any opinions on not liking oral sex? I’ve never once come from it, I either feel nothing or its uncomfortable and in general I just feel exposed and gross.
    IS THAT BOTP TOO? I dunno, girls seem to always be so let down when I’m not really enjoying myself. I want to enjoy myself though! What am I missing? :(

    • Thumb up 2

      Please log in to vote

      Sometimes people just don’t like it. It could be a result of internalized body shame from patriarchy saying genitalia = gross. Real question, do you masturbate at all? You may just have to learn how to enjoy yourself down there on your own and get used to the idea of you fiddling around with your lady bits before transitioning into someone else fiddling around with your lady bits.

    • Thumb up 7

      Please log in to vote

      I’ve never gotten off with oral either, I think its just not the right kind of stimulation for me down there. That said, I still love it when someone wants to go down on me cos I think that its hot as shit that they want to get their face all up in my business. Everyone’s different though – even if your shame about someone giving you oral is BOTP (internalised body negativity, modesty, sexual conformity etc) that doesn’t mean you should have to force yourself to feel comfortable with it.

      Also, I totally agree with mizbitters – I only just learned how to orgasm through masturbation recently (thank you Betty Dodson’s website) and I haven’t received oral since before then, so it might be different now that I know how to direct whoever’s in my bed and feel more comfortable with my own sexuality. But I suspect some people are just sensitive to different things, because we are all special snowflakes with special snowflake genitalia.

  7. Thumb up 3

    Please log in to vote

    Kind of disappointed to see Autostraddle reiterating the old line about not viewing orgasms as the goal and blah. I mean, I understand that viewpoint might be useful for taking the pressure off, but I remember reading the same advice in loads of women’s mags, and I reckon it kept me closeted and enduring miserable sex with men for at least 5 years longer than necessary. Hey, it doesn’t matter that you can’t come, sex is about more than that, the patriarchy etc etc. The patriarchy got it right about orgasms, we view them as the goal of sex because they are incredible.

    • Thumb up 4

      Please log in to vote

      I don’t necessarily agree. I *masturbate* for orgasms and I have partnered sex for the fun and connection of it. I don’t ever want to be fully reliant on someone else for my orgasms because I would rather be completely in charge of my own sexuality. Having an orgasm during sex is great, but the fact that it’s no longer the point for me takes a lot of pressure off.

      In fact, I had the opposite experience of you. I don’t orgasm easily and making orgasm the point had me enduring miserable sex with men longer than I had to. I felt much more free to be myself and have fun during sex once I started masturbating and didn’t have partnered sex as the only source of orgasms in my life.

  8. Thumb up 1

    Please log in to vote

    I have to say I agree with you (not the part about being disappointed in Autostraddle though) because yeah, this whole “oh you don’t need to orgasm every time, sex is fun anyway with or without orgasm” is totally something you read in women’s magazines.
    And I’m sorry but I personally can’t get all excited and then… nothing.
    Like, I need the release. And I need my girlfriend to come as well. Obviously we’re all different and that’s great. But for me sex = orgasm.

    • Thumb up 2

      Please log in to vote

      Some people can’t orgasm at all, though…and maybe this is my personal frustration since I’m in this situation with my partner, but being upset with your partner about their inability to orgasm isn’t…really…constructive. In my case it just made /me/ angry that they couldn’t be happy with what we /could/ experience together.

    • Thumb up 0

      Please log in to vote

      Look, I like orgasms. They are great. But sometimes it’s just physically not happening, and in those times it’s good to be able to remember that they’re not necessarily the point rather than you and your sexytimes partner being sad.

  9. Thumb up 6

    Please log in to vote

    Maybe instead of saying that orgasm isn’t the end goal, we should clarify that orgasm doesn’t have to be the end goal. No one should feel bad for wanting one, just like no one should feel bad for not being able to have one. Let this philosophy take the pressure off some people and let others continue enjoying their orgasms.

  10. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    http://www.dukeupress.edu/Catalog/ViewProduct.php?productid=47971

    On Annamarie Jagose’s new book “Orgasmology”: For all its vaunted attention to sexuality, queer theory has had relatively little to say about sex, the material and psychic practices through which erotic gratification is sought. In Orgasmology, Annamarie Jagose takes orgasm as her queer scholarly object. From simultaneous to fake orgasms, from medical imaging to pornographic visualization, from impersonal sexual publics to domestic erotic intimacies, Jagose traces the career of orgasm across the twentieth century.
    Along the way, she examines marriage manuals of the 1920s and 1930s, designed to teach heterosexual couples how to achieve simultaneous orgasms; provides a queer reading of behavioral modification practices of the 1960s and 1970s, aimed at transforming gay men into heterosexuals; and demonstrates how representations of orgasm have shaped ideas about sexuality and sexual identity.
    A confident and often counterintuitive engagement with feminist and queer traditions of critical thought, Orgasmology affords fresh perspectives on not just sex, sexual orientation, and histories of sexuality, but also agency, ethics, intimacy, modernity, selfhood, and sociality. As modern subjects, we presume we already know everything there is to know about orgasm. This elegantly argued book suggests that orgasm still has plenty to teach us.

    • Thumb up 0

      Please log in to vote

      For anyone not confident with their skillz, you could always try Tristan Taormino’s Expert Guide to Oral Sex. It’s a 40-minute-ish video. Taormino is a queer sex educator, though her instructional videos often use hetero couples.

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.