My Boyfriend Can’t Make Me Orgasm

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My boyfriend and I have been together for six months now; he is the only man I’ve ever enjoyed having sex with. We are in love, we spend all of our time outside of work together, and I stay at his place more than I stay at mine. The problem is he can’t make me orgasm. It’s not just him who can’t make me orgasm; nobody ever has before. He knows I’ve reached orgasm with a vibrator while focusing on my clitoris but never just vaginally. It’s a constant issue in our relationship because he feels like he can’t provide me what I want or that he isn’t enough. I try to reassure him in every way possible that my sex life has never been better, and I am still extremely happy whether I orgasm or not, but he believes “that’s the whole point” of sex. How can I get him to move past this? It’s not an issue for me, but it seems like it really bothers him. Even though he hasn’t made me come, I feel like it will happen soon, and every time we make love, it gets better and better. I tell him this. I’ve even suggested we try different types of sex, not just to help me orgasm but because I simply enjoy different types of sex. He tells me, “We shouldn’t have to try all these different things to help you, it should just happen.” It makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me, while he feels like there is something wrong with him. How can we understand each other and move past this?

It sounds like you’re doing a solid job communicating how you’re feeling. Your boyfriend may be a great guy, with great hair, and the charm of a thousand Drakes, but let’s be clear: He has no idea what he’s fucking talking about.

His ignorance doesn’t mean he’s a jerk. It does mean that, like most guys, he’s gotten a terrible sex education, and he doesn’t have even a basic, rudimentary idea of how women orgasm.

My Boyfriend Can\'t Make Me Orgasm

However, your boyfriend is being jerky when he arrogantly dismisses your own opinions about your own body. It’s simple: He doesn’t know your body better than you do. He needs to stop dismissing your feelings and making you feel like “there’s something wrong with me” when nothing is wrong with you. Don’t blame yourself. Don’t let him tell you how you should orgasm. He needs to know he shouldn’t feel threatened every time you don’t reach orgasm, thanks to his magical penis alone.

I think the solution here is simple sex ed — the kind everyone would get in school, if most sex education programs cared about anything other than preventing teen pregnancy and preaching abstinence. A lot of sex ed programs simply don’t teach anything about orgasms and often don’t even mention the clitoris. A little actual education based on real research can go a long way, both for your boyfriend and yourself.

Start a little book club with your boyfriend. Read Heather Wood Randolph’s excellent Cosmopolitan feature, “The Orgasm Deficit,” which gathers some terrific information, including the one fact that you and your boyfriend need to memorize: Between 70 and 80 percent of all women do not come from vaginal sex. The reason women don’t come from vaginal sex isn’t because the women are not doing it right. It’s not because their boyfriends’ aren’t manly enough and their penises aren’t big enough. It’s not because women aren’t turned on by their partners. It’s because the biology of a woman’s body is different and a little more complex. It’s also because most guys (and a lot of women too) base their sex lives on a lot of misinformation.

So your boyfriend can learn about how your body works, buy him a guidebook: Ian Kemmer’s She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman can teach him more about the actual science and technique of female orgasm. But remind him that, no matter what’s in a book — or what anyone else declares “normal” — your sex life is all about what works for you two individually, and nobody else. For a sampler of the vast range of different ways in which different women come, check out the first-person Tumblr essays at How to Make Me Come.

Finally, tell him that the most important thing isn’t that he reads every sex guide he can find, it’s that he remembers to listen to you. He needs to trust you when you tell him that you understand your own body and that you know what makes you come. That may change sometimes, so it’s important that you keep talking — and that he keeps listening.

How do I get my boyfriend to be more seductive? I don’t know if that’s the right way to phrase it. We’ve been together a few months. When we first started hooking up, it was fireworks. I couldn’t get enough of him, and he would do so much to get me excited, but now he’s totally different. If he’s in the mood, he’ll just say things like, “So you should drop your pants and come sit on me,” and then wonder why I’m not turned on by it. I’m not sure how to talk to him about it because I had a similar issue in a past relationship and when I talked to the ex about it, it finished off killing our sex life. What should I do?

First, I just want to note that you shouldn’t avoid approaching an issue just because talking only made things worse with an ex. I doubt your approach — let’s just call it honesty — was the reason things went south. It certainly isn’t here.

My main advice is this: Think about how low you want to drop the bar.

Do you really want to accept a guy who doesn’t care what turns you on or off? A guy who says idiotic stuff like, “So you should drop your pants and come sit on me,” and thinks you should be satisfied, or even turned on, by it? It isn’t just dumb as hell, it’s a little pathetic, even as a joke.

But here’s the thing: You say it’s only been “a few months.” Do you want to be with a guy who’s this tasteless after just a few months? What’s this prince going to be like when he relaxes and starts taking you for granted?

Early on in any relationship, you have to assume that the guy is showing you his best behavior. And if this guy is this lame after just a few months, please try and imagine what this gentleman will be like in a couple years. If his bar for basic decency is this low, what happens when he gets comfortable and a little lazy? What happens when he stops trying to impress you?

So, yes, you need to talk. And you need to first draw a line, “Hey, I don’t know what your exes were into, and I’m sure you don’t mean to hurt me, but I feel disrespected and turned off when guys talk to me like that.” Don’t accuse him of malicious intent, just point out how it makes you feel. Be clear.

If he respects your feelings and apologizes, don’t just leave him with the critique. Tell him what sex talk does turn you on. Explain how you do like to be seduced. It sounds like this guy needs some guidance.

If he’s not responsive and respectful, break up with this doofus and find a guy with better manners. It won’t be hard.

Recently my fiancé’s sister came down with a serious illness. She’s doing great now but at the time, it was touch and go. His family is from Oregon but we live in Connecticut where my family is. He was being kept in the loop on his sister’s condition via phone updates, but one night, his father called and said, “You need to come see her now.” Obviously we both were as good as packed and [were planning on] booking a flight for first thing the next morning. But before his dad hung up from their call, he said something to the effect of knowing it was kind of an unexpected expense and he appreciated the gesture of flying out, so he’d be happy to pay for my fiancé’s plane ticket and hotel room in Oregon. He said he already found a flight and had his ticket on hold for him. Just him. Not me. Through the Bluetooth in the car, I heard the whole conversation and honestly, it basically sounded like his father never even thought or considered I would go with him. It had nothing at all to do with them not wanting to pay for the extra ticket, I promise they (or we!) could have afforded it. I just wasn’t thought of at all. I seem to get along great with them when I’m around them, and my fiancé and I have been together for almost six years. But it could not be more obvious that they just do not accept me as part of their family. Will they ever? He was as good as born into my family the second they saw him. We’re at over half a decade here now and his family still treats me like a cordial acquaintance. And the kicker? He doesn’t really do anything about it. How do I go about fixing this without obnoxiously inserting myself where I just may never belong?

Your everyday relationship with your fiancé’s family could be terrible, for all I know, but I’ve got to say: This one example doesn’t seem so bad.

You’re judging his family in a moment of crisis. Step out of your skin for a second and imagine you’re the father: Your daughter is so seriously ill that you feel you have to call her siblings back home to see her — in case what? You’re panicked. You’re thousands of miles away from your son on the opposite coast, updating your son on the phone. You’re terrified and you want your family close. In the middle of that duress, you somehow remember to reserve some plane tickets to make travel easier for your family. So you quickly book some plane tickets, call your son, and say, “You need to come and see her now.”

At a moment of terrible stress, he booked his son a ticket and forgot to book a ticket for his fiancée. Maybe he assumed a sudden, last-minute trip would be difficult for you. Maybe he assumed it would be too much to ask. Maybe he didn’t want to assume and didn’t have time to get into it because his daughter seriously ill. Maybe he figured you and your boyfriend would sort that out yourselves. Maybe it just slipped his mind. Give this family some credit.

You say, “I seem to get along great with them when I’m around them.” What are you missing? You also say, “It could not be more obvious that they just do not accept me,” but, frankly, it’s not that obvious to me. At a moment of family crisis, your personal feelings got lost in the shuffle. That sucks. However, this moment wasn’t about you.

For all I know, there could be all sorts of other slights and pettiness unmentioned in your letter. But don’t let your insecurity about being accepted get in your way of empathizing with this family, or doing your part and acting like you’re a part of it.

If you do consider yourself a part of this family, I want you ask yourself: In this moment of family crisis, what were you doing for them? Were you making everything as easy as possible? Or were you making an issue of this phone call and adding stress to an already awful situation? Did you rise to the occasion and support your boyfriend, his sister, and his parents — or did you get tripped up by your insecurity?

I often think of family as less of a noun than a verb: It’s not who you are, it’s what you do. Going forward, my advice is: Family the hell out of them, and they’ll family you back.

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