Why She Can’t Orgasm
I went down on my partner for a really long time last night, but she didn’t have an orgasm. What’s going on with that? Is it me? Is it her?
The first thing to address is: How important is it to you to make her orgasm? Is it the most important thing when having sex? I believe looking towards the journey of creating pleasure and making that our aim rather than some goal-oriented destination like orgasm diffuses expectations, anxiety, and pressure. Often, that journey leads you to the destination you seek without creating that extra weight on your shoulders.
A partner not orgasming can result from a host of possibilities dependent on many individual and relational factors. For me to guess would be like throwing darts at a dartboard — in the dark. But there are a few common areas worthy of exploration to see if they are associated with the female orgasm. Let’s take a quick look at her, and you, as well as the relationship you both have.
Is she stressed? What may be on her mind that could affect her pleasure or being present in the moment sexually? Any possible distractions present while you’re sexual? Has she had previous orgasms through masturbation/oral sex before and if so, what’s changed since then? Any new or existing medications that may affect orgasm? What are her feelings towards herself (body image, self-esteem) and towards sexuality/oral sex? Is she experiencing some feelings towards you, such as anger, resentment, or other frustrations?
Are you placing added pressure on orgasm, sex, or her? What is your style or the techniques used when engaging in oral sex/cunnilingus? How are you as a non-sexual partner? Do you listen, support, communicate, and add the often necessary non-sexual relational support that many women need to feel relaxed and safe sexually? Is there anything you’re doing or not doing that may be affecting the partnership and relationship?
I find that communication, technique, stress, and relational discord are the most common issues. Partners that communicate well about sex typically share what is pleasurable and which techniques work best for them. We can’t guess or mind read what each partner likes and wants. FYI, the old advice of licking the alphabet is pretty ineffective. You’re better off picking a couple of letters like “I” or “O” and getting their feedback for speed, pressure, and pleasure.
Also, learning to communicate our needs and discovering the importance of finding out the answers to our partner’s personal pleasure often opens the door to orgasm. It makes a huge difference with comfort, performance anxiety, and sexual confidence for everyone to talk about sex. Talking can help reduce stress and give her a space to let out some of her frustrations. In addition, doing relationship repair work and processing the resentments that exist helps us connect sexually.
So ask her what her experience is in the bedroom, have the fearlessness to bring up mutual pleasure and what she wants, find out more about her (and your) anxieties in and out of the bedroom, and learn to openly dialogue about your sexual and nonsexual experience. You’ll find that the more you challenge your own hesitations and fears through communication, the more likely you’ll learn information that can be helpful in reducing or diffusing sexual anxiety and building connection and intimacy.
Being More Romantic
My wife says she’s not happy and I’m not romantic enough. It’s beginning to really affect our marriage. I just don’t get what she means. What do you do because I don’t get it? I think I’m romantic.
I have a belief that men, deep down inside, have more romance, emotionality, and sensitivity than we allow ourselves to feel and express. Countless men I’ve worked with, both clients and students, seem to have this incongruence between their true internal romantic/emotional self and what they express to the world, especially with partners and in front of other guys. I think it has a lot to do with our socialization that limits the expression of sensitivity and emotionality for men and narrowly defines what masculinity is and what’s acceptable to express. Masculinity myths like “men don’t cry,” that “we have to be aggressive or tough,” that “guys should naturally know how to be good lovers,” and that “men can’t be sensitive” have all been drilled into our heads in various ways by the society around us.
It’s no surprise to me that a lot of men struggle with romance. When do we get a chance to learn how to express romance or practice it? Take an honest look within yourself: How much romance, sensitivity, and emotionality do you express? I looked at my last five partners and asked myself: What were the top five moments I expressed sensitivity, emotionality, and/or romance? Turns out, I’m doing a poor job, too, and can be better at being authentically myself. There were a lot of sports events, beach trips, casual dinners, and fun, but few candles, sensual massages, and conversations that revealed my true authentic thoughts. I can do better — we can do better.
You might be asking, what’s authentic to me? Here’s where men need to do more self-reflection and get in touch with their true self. I’ll put myself out there and give you examples of what’s authentic and real for me. You should try this for yourself. The real me enjoys a romantic or emotional movie. I do. I own The Notebook but have never seen it because I told myself I’m going to watch it with the next person I love. Yup, it’s been that long. I love to cuddle and want to receive more touch and massage, not just give the massages. Why is it hard to express this?
The real me remembers shedding tears while watching Titanic at a movie theater with my college girlfriend. I could see her out of the corner of my eye witnessing me crying — aka not “being a man.” She grabbed my hand and held it. That was a nice experience, and my sensitivity actually brought us closer together. I can be emotional and a man; they’re not mutually exclusive or separate. This is the man I need to express more often. This is the man I need to let partners know exists. Otherwise, some of my true needs may not be met. Why am I avoiding who I really am? I am my own worst enemy and create many of my own obstacles. I want you to do the same exploration into your emotional and romantic self. What comes up for you? What might you be avoiding, wanting, hiding?
Who are you as an authentic man? Have you ever taken the time to look deep and examine what are the ways you may want to express being sensitive, your emotions, or romance? I encourage you to take a look at this side of you and see if you are truly being your innate romantic or emotional self. I know society may not approve; friends may poke fun of you; it may feel awkward and strange at first, and it might shock the hell out of your wife, but would it help? You can help yourself by taking the risk to be yourself and start up a conversation about what romance looks like for you both. My guess is if you both share honestly and listen, this can open you up to a new level of intimacy.