Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Difficulty Achieving Orgasm

This is a rather interesting one because I actually got emails from two people asking the same question who are in a relationship together. They did not originally know that they had both written to me, but came to realize this later.

Partner #1:
Dear Garnet,

I'm a 23 year old woman who has never, ever been able to achieve orgasm, whether it be through intercourse, masturbation or cunnilingus. I pretty much can't feel anything in my vulva region (but I'm certain it's not a technique issue). The closest I can get is a slight, pleasurable sensation when I masturbate, and even then, my clitoris completely loses sensation after a few seconds... and on top of that, if I'm too aroused, I feel absolutely nothing. This is very frustrating for me and my partner, and it ultimately makes both of us feel inadequate. I had repeated, severe UTIs as a young child, could this have somehow damaged my ability to orgasm?

Partner #2:
My girlfriend seems to have very little clitoral and vaginal sensitivity. Using my fingers and enough pressure, I can stimulate her clitoris, but it's an all or nothing approach. Too little pressure and she has no pleasurable reaction; it's just a sensation and nothing else. Any other pressure creates too much stimulation, and she often times has to ask me to stop. She also gets very little stimulation from oral sex. She's also never had an orgasm before.

This sensitivity (or lack of) carries into genital sex. We've had very little success finding a position and rhythm to create consistent pleasurable feelings for her. We haven't moved into using anything other than our own bodies, and usually spend a good hour on foreplay.

I was wondering if you had any advice for us?

First of all, I love that you are both working together on this and communicating. That is really really important. I'm sure it is very frustrating for the both of you, but even more frustrating if you weren't talking about it and being honest with each other.

The first thing that I recommend sex-wise is to keep doing what you're doing. Keep experimenting with different kinds of touch and keep communicating about what seems to work and what doesn't. Keep an open mind and try all kinds of different things including sex toys, fantasies, talking dirty, having sex in different rooms of the house even. Just be really open to anything that might strike your fancy and don't focus on trying to achieve orgasm. Just figure out what feels good for the both of you. And above all, Partner #2: don't ask Partner #1 if she orgasmed. That will put pressure on her. You can ask her what felt good and if there's anything she'd like you to do differently the next time, but try not to put the focus on orgasm as being the goal here. Mutual enjoyment and pleasure is the goal.

The second thing I want to recommend is for Partner #1 to really spend a lot more time masturbating, but don't think of it as homework or even something you have to do. Think of it as a fun past time. I don't want you to try to orgasm either. Just spend time touching yourself. And when I say touch yourself, I don't just mean your genitals. Touch all over your body, learn your body. Try different types of touches: rough, soft, tickly. Try different ways of touching yourself whether its with your hands, vibrators, or scooching yourself under your bathtub faucet. Try different fantasies, watching porn, or reading erotica. Have fun and remember that a lot of women have a hard time finding what works for them, but that almost all of them do actually find what works. The orgasmless woman is pretty much a myth. It just takes some women longer than others. The hardest part really is just trying to stay positive and its not always going to be easy. But if you can try to switch your goal from orgasm to just figuring out what feels good then you'll have a lot more fun in the process.

I also highly recommend the book I Love Female Orgasm. It is filled with all kinds of helpful information including a chapter specifically for women who are pre-orgasmic.

And, Partner #1, if you really are worried about the possibility of your severe UTIs as a child effecting your sex life now, talk to your doctor. Get copies of your old medical records even. I doubt that it would've had any real effect, but your doctor will know more than I do about that kind of thing.

**7/8/08 EDIT: I was just informed by one of the people who wrote that actually they didn't know each other. It was just a really big coincidence that they wrote me about the same problem within two days of each other.**

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