You Need Help: My Partner Can’t Have an Orgasm


My partner cannot achieve orgasm (and they never have but they want to). I feel like I’m running out of techniques to try. What should I do?


If your partner is solely relying on you for the magical gift of an orgasm, that’s a whole lot of pressure on you and on your partner. Sometimes adding another person into the mix, even someone you love and trust, can add a layer of stress that hinders our ability to relax and release.

So what do you do? Release yourself from responsibility. You are not the keeper of your partner’s orgasms. You’re a supporting character. Your partner should play the protagonist in their Great Orgasm Quest.

Does your partner masturbate? If not, it’s time for them to (literally) take their orgasms into their own hands. The following advice is for your partner:

Just Do Yourself. — Masturbating daily, even when it doesn’t lead to an orgasm, is one of the best ways to get to know your body. Set aside time to masturbate in the same way you make time for other healthy habits like meditating, journaling, or exercising. It’s good for you.

Turn Yourself on First. — Have you been trying to crank an orgasm out of your body before your brain is on board? For many people, orgasms are mostly mental. Before you get anywhere near your bits, take time to fantasize. Watch porn. Turn on sexy music. Read some erotic fiction. Do whatever gets you and your body excited.

Focus on What Feels Good. — Don’t focus on trying to having an orgasm! Putting any amount of pressure on yourself will take you right out of your body and into your head. If you’re having trouble sinking into the sensations, play some music or put on a blindfold to help you bring your focus to your own pleasure.

Take Your Time. — Feeling rushed will only stress you out. Remember, there’s no pressure here. Luxuriate in your physical sensations.

Try Different Techniques. — Some people masturbate with their fingers. Some people like humping a pillow. Some people masturbate on their backs or on their stomachs. Some people like penetration.

Try a Toy. — If you don’t already own a vibrator, it’s definitely worth a try. You can find a cheap bullet vibrator at most sex toy stores. If you find that you need something with a whole lot of power, the Magic Wand is a classic that’s been helping people have their first orgasms for 50 years! And if you get a a Magic Wand and don’t dig its shockingly strong vibration — well, now you own an incredible back massager.

Once you learn what feels good to you, show your partner how you masturbate so they can join in on the fun! Your hands deserve a break after all that diddling.

If you’re still not experiencing orgasms, there might be a psychological issue at play. Seek out a therapist who can help you work through your sexual blocks. Psychology Today offers an extensive database where you can search for a therapist based on their identity and experience.

Good luck and happy masturbating!

You can chime in with your advice in the comments and submit your own questions any time.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Ro White

Ro White is a Chicago-based writer and sex educator. Follow Ro on Twitter.

Ro has written 105 articles for us.


  1. Agree so much with the first paragraph!

    Some points I’d like to add:

    – I have difficulty climaxing when depressed or when using certain anti-depressants. (So basically almost always.) It might be helpful to check medical reasons for their inability.

    – For me pelvic floor physiotherapy has helped both with relaxing of the muscles (less pain) and increasing sexual pleasure. This is especially helpful for cis-women due to some anatomical differences.

    – For me vibrating toys are uncomfortable, a magic wand seems like torture. However: the suction type toys (womanizer etc) are very effective. Despite the terrible name.

    – Sex can still be enjoyable without orgasms! A technique that I learned about in medical school (gynacology rotation) was to have sex for a limited amount of time. You could even set a timer. This makes sharing pleasure the point, not the orgasm. If “normally” an orgasm is the endgame, now the timer is. By changing the goal, you both can relax more, and not continue more and more frustrated.

    Hope this helps!

  2. Also I know this isn’t ”quite” what this is about, but still: there are lots of other ‘points’ to sex. I can have orgasms by myself but I can’t reach the back of my own neck with my mouth! There are a stack of ways to feel good that are much easier with another person (s) than solo, or with toys.. explore and have FUN.

  3. I wish I had this back when I was with my first gf/sex partner. I can have an orgasm in 2min by simply thinking about so I ignorantly thought all women were like me. Not being able to please my ex in that way played a part in the dissolution of our relationship because I got so frustrated and felt so guilty even though she never blamed or put pressure on me (she knew she had issues). What I had to learn the hardest way possible was that for women who have physiological and/or psychological blocks just being intimate.

    • Wow, that’s an impressive superpower to have. I’m sorry you went through such a hard time with your ex because of it though!

    • Hi, Alex! A whole host of psychological issues and/or past trauma can affect a person’s sexual response. A mental health professional can help folks identify what exactly is going on!

  4. Also I know this isn’t ”quite” what this is about, but still: there are lots of other ‘points’ to sex. I can have orgasms by myself but I can’t reach the back of my own neck with my mouth! There are a stack of ways to feel good that are much easier with another person (s) than solo, or with toys.. explore and have FUN.

Comments are closed.