Dear Alice,

I don't know what to do! My boyfriend has no trouble becoming sexually aroused around me, but when we try to have sex, he just doesn't seem to be able to actually have an orgasm and ejaculate. He only has had one with hand stimulation when hand cream is involved, but not otherwise. Oral sex does not even work. This is very frustrating; he tells me it's his fault but I feel like it's mine. Plus, he says he didn't have as much trouble with his past girlfriends, but that he cares about me so much more than them. I'm really confused. Is there anything either one of us can do?

--Frustrated

Dear Frustrated,

It is NOT his fault. It is Not your fault. No one is to blame for your current sexual situation. Once you take off the pressure and reframe this as part of your relationship (a challenge to be worked on), the stress and frustration associated with "having a problem" will dissipate. There are a lot of reasons why a man may not orgasm and ejaculate in a prescribed way. It may be physical, or it may be drug-related, prescription or non-prescription. It may be because of strong religious injunctions and guilt; the idea of not wanting to surrender to a woman; or, even fear of pregnancy. Or, it may be that you are different for him than other women he's been with, and that the closeness he feels to you makes him more anxious during sex than in the past.

Try enjoying the sex play that the two of you do together, without the expectation of orgasm. Work on spending time together being close. Let him pleasure you, without you trying to take care of his pleasure. Take the pressure off ejaculation and orgasm. Once you two feel close enough again, it may be that naturally he will be able to orgasm. If not, pick a time (not while in bed!) to discuss what's been going on. Ask him what it would mean to him to orgasm with you. Talk with him about what it means to you that he doesn't ejaculate inside of you. Make sure you're both open and honest, and working on the same wavelength.

For more information, see Alice's answers to Boyfriend has trouble ejaculating and No orgasm with partner. You can also contact the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) for brochures or a referral to talk with someone in your area.

Alice!
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