Reaching orgasm with and without sex toys

Originally Published: July 26, 2013
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Hey Alice.

I'm not an inexperienced girl at masturbation. I've been doing it for a very long time, but actually only ever discovered what an orgasm was when I was 18 and got my first vibrator. This never bothered me because I wasn't sexually active then, but now it does. I realized I have NEVER been able to orgasm from physical touching or from just using fingers. I've always needed a vibrator of sorts and this is worrying me for future relationships and stuff with partners. How can I learn to orgasm from touch instead of vibration? I've tried before and have always just gotten frustrated or fallen asleep.

Dear Reader,

Fidelity to your tried and true vibrator may seem like a problem in the context of a sexual relationship with another person; however, your situation actually presents many positives: First, you already know what feels good to you (and what it takes to reach orgasm), and second, you have an opportunity to keep things interesting by introducing your partner to your vibrator. Many women do not reach orgasm through intercourse or manual or oral stimulation alone, but societal pressures make some feel uncertain about using sex toys. Whether you feel you’ve habituated to this particular masturbation style or you simply prefer it to other types of stimulation, there are many ways for you and your partner(s) to enjoy sex, with or without your trusty vibrator.

People masturbate regardless of relationship status: In a study conducted by the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, approximately 75 percent of women ages 18 and older had experience with masturbation, and nearly 50 percent of these same women had engaged in masturbation in the presence or with the assistance of a sexual partner(s). It seems that you have solo masturbation covered, but you may be interested in learning more about how you can involve masturbation into your partnered sexual experiences.

Mutual masturbation with a sexual partner(s) takes many forms. It can involve masturbating simultaneously, or touching, watching, or listening to your partner(s) masturbate. It can also occur during intercourse — for example, a vibrator may be used to stimulate the clitoris during penetrative sex. If your partner feels a little uncertain about incorporating a vibrator into your next sex session, try your best to reassure your partner that you are sexually attracted to her or him, but that you need a little superhuman stimulation to get things going. Perhaps suggest that s/he take control of the toy and use it on you. By experimenting with the vibrator and seeing your reactions to various movements and techniques, your partner might find it to be a lot of fun. You can also use your vibrator on your partner(s) to share the love.

If you’re not keen on using your vibrator during partnered sex, there are alternatives. For example, many women find reaching orgasm easier with a little muscular training. You don’t have to hit the gym to train your pubococcygeus (PC) muscles, those that support pelvic anatomy around the urethra, vagina, and anus. Training these muscles may significantly increase a woman’s ability to orgasm from intercourse. To locate your PC muscles, simply stop the flow of your urine the next time you go to the bathroom. Squeezing these muscles several times a day strengthens them and increases blood flow to the area, assisting in the achievement of orgasm.

Another way to increase your ability to orgasm without your vibrator is to experiment with stimulating various areas of your vulva and vagina. Many believe the clitoris is composed solely of the small button-shaped organ at the top of the vulva, but the clitoris actually consists of 18 parts (!), many of which are not visible. Try stimulating the areas around the perimeter of the visible part of the clitoris, as well as the labia, area near the vaginal opening, perenium (the area between the vagina and the anus), and the g-spot.

Betty Dodson introduced a technique that may also help you achieve orgasm through intercourse. Her Rock ‘n Roll technique involves rocking the pelvis during sex, rocking backward while inhaling and forward while exhaling. The main idea here is to breathe deeply, relax the body, and keep the pelvis moving. Dr. Debby Herbenick, sexual health researcher and educator, also has tons of information about masturbation and achieving orgasm on her site My Sex Professor.

For some women, a vibrator is necessary to achieve orgasm, and that’s perfectly normal. For more information about sex toys, check out the Tools and Toys section of the Go Ask Alice! archives. While you’re at it, check out the Safer Sex Map to pick up some free safer sex materials on campus.

Alice