I’ve recently bumped into an issue with my new girlfriend. I’m 28 and she’s 27, and old enough to not rush into things, but that’s what we’ve done. We’ve been having sex like rabbits and it has been mind-blowing on my end. It took me two weeks to convince her to let me finish her off. Normally she stops me before she orgasms. She has some abuse in her past, and it has been hard for her to let go. Recently, we were having sex and I pulled out some old tricks. She went wild, and I felt like king of the world. She didn’t know where she was and needed help walking to the bathroom because all of her muscles were so limp. I felt great, she felt great. she passed out and went to sleep. She NEVER does this. Usually in bed I have to just stop responding so she will stop talking so much. She’s been raving about me to her friends and la la la.
Anyway: I think I’m starting to have performance anxiety. I weirdly feel a lot of pressure now to be the best and I actually can’t even enjoy receiving as much. Sex has become an anxiety-provoking experience. I know this sounds stupid, but I am struggling. Sex isn’t everything in our relationship. We absolutely enjoy spending time together watching Netflix, spooning, cooking together, etc. I need help.
Have you ever seen the movie Grease?
There’s a scene in Grease with Stockard Channing as Rizzo (subconscious bae of my confused 11-year-old heart) and Kenicky in the drive through. They’re making out, he goes to take out a condom, and it breaks. He’s suddenly completely forlorn, and it’s totally at odds with his bad boy exterior. He bought that condom when he was in the seventh grade; it was a piece of his childhood, and to have it break in front of Rizzo was a moment of vulnerability for which neither of them were prepared. After he shows his softer side, they are even more into each other because they’re able to admit that they actually, you know, have feelings, as uncool as those are.
That scene was the first thing that came to my mind when I read this letter. Because you’re not talking about orgasms; what you’re really talking about is vulnerability. (You’re the Kenicky.)
It’s amazing that you and your girlfriend feel a strong connection and have such amazing sex. It’s hard for a lot of people to open up, but it can be especially difficult for people who have experienced abuse in their past, so you’ve got that going for you too. Moving so quickly with someone new is a bit of a red flag; we all have moments in new relationships where things are going extremely well and the planets seem to align and everyone is coming all the time, and that’s great. But tempering that New Relationship Energy with an awareness of just how fast you’re bonding is a good idea.
New Relationship Energy is a term more common to the polyamorous community, but the phenomenon itself doesn’t only apply to non-monogamous partnership. Anyone can experience NRE, which More Than Two defines as “a strong, almost giddy feeling of excitement and infatuation common in the beginning of any new romantic relationship.” Great sex with a new person you’re ridiculously attracted to is a huge part of NRE, and it’s powerful and can be blinding. Continuing to check in with yourself, and your girlfriend (with clothes on and outside of the bedroom) is definitely a good idea.
Focusing on building your non-sexual communication with your partner is a good idea all around. If she’s chatty after sex and you just want to go to sleep, there’s nothing wrong with a gentle, “Hey, babe, it’s getting late and I’m so sated I can barely keep my eyes open, can we talk more in the morning?” rather than ignoring her ’til she shuts up.
As for her raving to her friends — it sounds like that makes you uncomfortable, which is also something you should talk to her about. Sit with how you feel about this, and ask yourself where your boundaries are when it comes to your girlfriend talking about your sex life with her. She’s of course free to talk to her friends about her life and relationship — having connections outside of romantic relationships is extremely important, and making sure you both don’t get completely isolated in your own sex cave is a good way to diffuse some of this NRE — but if she’s sharing all the gory details in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable or self-conscious, you also have a right to say something about that.
You also don’t have to be the sole provider of every orgasm she experiences. Since you’ve already proved yourself the Lady-Boner Whisperer, it’s not a comment on your performance and ability if she needs to take the reins from time to time. If you feel like you’re losing your mojo because you’re feeling anxious, she should know her body well enough to get herself there without you. If she doesn’t, that’s something you can talk about together. Ask her, specifically, to describe what it is you do to her that drives her wild. Hearing positive feedback will probably go a long way to help you recover from psyching yourself out. Bonus? Dirty talk about what a sex god you are will probably turn you on A LOT. Ask her to masturbate in front of you, or masturbate together. You’ll be able to watch her get off, which is sexy as hell, while feeling less pressure to do it yourself.
Finally, as great as they are, orgasms aren’t everything. Lots of fun, intimate sex happens with no one having an orgasm at all, so examine if part of your anxiety comes from a place of thinking of orgasms as required or that the point of all sex is to end with an orgasm. Do you link orgasms to self worth? Do you feel responsible for her pleasure? Are you worried that if you can’t make her come, it says something about the relationship? Or that she won’t like you anymore? If so, ask yourself why you feel that way — and express these thoughts to her, too! A mandatory orgasm with a stressed out partner who is hiding things doesn’t sound particularly sexy. But a relationship where all parties feel safe enough to say, “Hey, I’m a little in my head about my performance, and I could use some validation and support around that”? That sets the stage for deeper connection and more profound pleasure.
In short, feelings are sexy, but more importantly they’re necessary for building intimacy. Share your feelings with your partner, stud.