Dear Alice,

I am involved in a relationship with a man I love very much. That's the good part. My problem is that, with my very limited sexual experience, I am worried that I am not satisfying him. Also, I find it next to impossible to achieve an orgasm after the "flow" has been interrupted by his putting on a condom. We have talked about this and he tells me just to do what is natural and everything will be fine. I have read something about the subject, but nothing seems to tell me how to keep the proverbial "flow" going. I know that each person is a different case, but do you have any general advice? I'd love to hear some.

— In love and determined

Dear In love and determined,

With your partner's patience and reassurance and your determination, it appears that you have a great foundation in place for your developing sexual relationship. Like most experiences involving a partner, making love takes practice before you ultimately discover how to please each other without disrupting the flow.

Every sexual encounter doesn't have to end in orgasm for both people. What's critical is that both feel loved, desired, cared for, and, if they want, have the opportunity for physical release. In the next session, try to focus on pleasing your partner. If you think your partner may not be satisfied, ask! It's the development of a great sex life if you two can communicate about what you like, what feels good, and where your erogenous zones may be. Experiment, be playful, talk with each other, and listen for shifts in moans, breathing, and expressions as well as words.

Sexual play doesn't have to come to a complete halt when your partner puts on a condom. Consider incorporating the condom as part of foreplay. Have you considered having your partner put on the condom when your partner first gets erect, and having all your sexual play with the condom on? How about putting the condom on your partner, maintaining the sensuality that's been happening thus far? How about if you continue touching yourself while your partner's putting the condom on? Or, you continue touching your partner while he (or you) is putting the condom on? There are limitless variations!

A large aspect of being turned on, or keeping the flow, is in your mind. Rather than thinking of the condom, you may try focusing on the love making — the tastes, the sounds, and the sensations between you and your partner. Don't be afraid to be more adventurous — relax and enjoy (as you keep the safer sex happening, too). For more information on maximizing your love making potential, visit the Sexual & Reproductive Health archives.

With your determination, you may put your body and mind more into the foreplay with condoms and the love making. Here's to discovering how to keep the proverbial "flow" to achieve the proverbial "O!"


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