Sarah Says: Great Relationship, No Orgasms

Orgasms are one of the major motivating factors of the human race, usually valued somewhere just below air, food, water and shelter

Got something to ask? Strange date ideas? Taboo topics that you can’t broach with friends? Sarah has been giving advice about sex and relationships professionally for the better part of a decade, and has written for men’s magazines and women’s, local and online publications on topics ranging from first date ideas to proper anal sex etiquette.

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Dear Sarah,

I hope you can help. I feel like I have completely messed up my sex life. I am 25 and have never climaxed with a partner or solo. I’ve been sexually active for 11 years. My first sexual experience was an unpleasant one when I was 14. It’s not hard to talk about anymore, but seems inappropriate to talk about. Yes, I was sexually assaulted by my older brother’s friend.

That’s not why I’m emailing you. Ever since that first experience, I have made every wrong decision. My first time taught me that sex was only about men. I thought it was my job to please and to do everything for them. For the next five years, it was like I only attracted men that would treat me badly or didn’t care about me, until I met my current boyfriend at the age of 19.

We have been together for six years and love each other completely. We have good, open communication. We trust each other and are very open minded when it comes to sex, not to say it was always like this. We have definitely had our ups and downs. At one point we broke up so I could pursue a relationship with a girl I had become friends with who was a lesbian. I never considered myself as gay or bisexual, but I got very little pleasure from sex and thought who better than a woman to teach me or help me learn about my body? When that didn’t work for me, I went back to the love of my life. We have come a long way and have a very active sex life. We use toys, try different locations, we have watched porn together, we try all positions, dirty talk. Sometimes we spend all day in bed, but it seems like I’m broken and can’t feel climax.

You might ask why I have so much sex, but I love being close to him and so badly want to have that uncontrollable, overwhelming, lose-your-mind sex. Some sex feels okay/good, but what’s happening now is I’m getting very sexually frustrated. I want to finish. Do you think that because of my sexual history I might not be able to orgasm? I just don’t know what to do.

Climaxless And Frustrated

Dear Climaxless,

Orgasms are one of the major motivating factors of the human race, usually valued somewhere just below air, food, water and shelter, and sometimes even those are sacrificed in the pursuit of the perfect climax. It’s for good reason: orgasms are awesome. They are one of the rewards we get in exchange for the many frailties and sicknesses that attack our bodies throughout our lives.

With that said, I think it’s important to acknowledge that orgasms are hugely varied and every person experiences them differently. It is possible that your perception of what an orgasm should be that you’ve gleaned from your friends, TV, movies, books and porn is vastly inflated. Do you experience a building and a release that is pleasurable? If so, that is an orgasm. Just because it’s not all fireworks and trumpets, doesn’t mean it’s not a climax of sorts. For men, ejaculation is a pretty clear indication that orgasm has occurred, but women do not have such a consistent marker of success in this regard. If you’re not getting any of the work up and relief at all, that is something to work on. If you’d like a more powerful orgasm, this is also something that could be looked into.

First, let’s look at this thing from an anatomical point of view. Have you visited a medical doctor about your concerns? It is possible that there is a physical problem preventing you from achieving orgasm and this should be investigated. Find a doctor you are comfortable talking about sexual issues with and see what they think.

In this case, given your history, it may be more likely that the hurdle to your climax is a mental and emotional one. If you haven’t already tried talking to a therapist about your past and your present issues, I highly suggest it. I’m a big proponent of talk therapy and although you may have to see a few different therapists before you find the right one for you, it can be remarkably helpful when working through trauma from your youth. You can also try seeing a therapist that specializes in sex, but from what you’ve told me, I would suggest starting with someone you can speak to in general terms about your sexual history and the consequences it has had on your psyche.

You’ve mentioned that you’ve tried different toys, locations, porn, positions, talk and even partners and those are all valid experiments, but let’s get back to basics for a minute. There are several areas of your body that may contribute to orgasm including your breasts, clitoris, vulva, vagina, g-spot and anus.

The majority of women climax most reliably from clitoral stimulation, even though many of us are under the false impression that we should all be coming from intercourse (and only some of us do). There has been some debate recently about the existence of the g-spot, an area of spongy tissue located on the front wall of the vagina, but many women swear by its orgasmic potential. Anal orgasms are a thing and, yes, there are even women who can come from stimulation of their breasts alone.

If you have been relying upon only one of these areas to provide you with a climax, I would suggest involving some of the others, at the same time, if necessary. You have two hands, your partner has two and a penis and you’ve got toys too. Use all your resources and all approaches and see what happens.

It is important to relax and let things happen. I know this is difficult given that probably all you can think about is how you’re NOT having an orgasm, but being tense and worried about it will not be conducive to making it happen.

Also, don’t forget to value the days you spend in bed with the love of your life feeling close to him. A lot of people have plenty of orgasms and haven’t found the kind of trusting, open, loving relationship you seem to have, so be sure to not take that for granted.

So in conclusion, consult some professionals to make sure everything is in order physically, mentally and emotionally, acknowledge that orgasms come in all shapes and sizes, stimulate all your erogenous zones in pursuit of your climax and continue to relax and enjoy the great partner you have.

Also, this is probably a subject for another column at another time, but I feel compelled to mention that, in future, if either of you come across another partner you want to try out, I submit that you could try adding them on side (in a healthy, open and respectful way) rather than breaking up your primary relationship in order to pursue it.


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