Dear Alice,

It's very hard for me to orgasm during sex, even if I help myself. I can do it all by my lonesome very quickly, but as soon as I'm with a guy, I just can't cum. However, I'm not worried by this whatsoever. I love sex, and I love everything about it. I love the act of sex, I love pleasuring my partner, I love the sights, smells, and sounds of sex. If I don't cum, meh, I'm still very happy. I'm no happier if I do orgasm during sex.

My problem seems to be keeping my partners happy with my contentment with not orgasming. They seem to think it's their life mission to make me orgasm. I had one boyfriend with whom I actually faked orgasming for a good two years because he was so upset that he couldn't make me cum. Every other partner I've had since then has taken it personally that I can't orgasm with them. It seems to put a bit of strain on my relationships.

I am with a new guy that I care for very deeply. He has been very understanding of my not orgasming, but he seems to try that much harder, and I think he is getting frustrated. I have orgasmed once since we've been together (a mere month and a bit), so it can be done, but I really don't want him to take it personally. I've told him already about this, and he said he was surprised that I'm cool with it. I REALLY don't want him to be disappointed and have this strain our relationship (like every other relationship I've had). I really do like him that much.

What can I do or say to ease his mind?

— Flustered

Dear Flustered,

Both men and women can enjoy sex — the "sights, smells, and sounds" that you describe — without orgasms. Nevertheless, some people still feel that for sex to be "successful," both partners must orgasm. Sadly, sometimes people fake orgasms to get things over with. Other times, some have trouble orgasming because they're nervous or because the sexual activities that happen aren't pleasurable to them. That doesn't seem to be your case, but maybe your partners are worried that it is.

You seem to be very comfortable with your sexuality and your body, which is a solid base for a satisfying sex life. Not being focused on having an orgasm may give you more enjoyment and appreciation for other aspects of sex, which others may miss out on in a race to the finish. It sounds like it may be time for a conversation with your partner about what you each want and need from your intimate encounters.

It's great that your partner is really invested in having a mutually pleasurable sexual relationship. You might ask why it's so important that you orgasm. He may enjoy pleasuring you and want you to feel the intimacy or ecstasy he associates with orgasms. If you do get positive feelings from other aspects of sex, maybe it would reassure him to know that. Would he like to hear the specific things you appreciate about his love-making style or technique? Does he say things that get you really worked up? Give great massages? Kiss you in ways that make you melt? Maybe you could even help him get more enjoyment out of the other aspects of sex that are fulfilling to you! You could let him know the specific things you like sexually, and he could feel good about pleasuring in those ways, without feeling so preoccupied with whether or not you have an orgasm.

Congratulations for learning that sex can be enjoyable without requiring an orgasm. With some open and honest communication, along with some patience, you may be able to help your partner understand your perspective.  Enjoy!


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