Lack of sexual sensation with my current partner

Dear Alice,

I could not find anything on this on the web. Maybe you can help me. I have a woman in my life who I am considering marrying. The only thing really holding me back is the sex with her. The thing is that there is almost no sensation. Sex with her feels like I'm wearing a condom even though I am not. I am thinking that either she is "large" or "stretched out", or I am too small. Perhaps it's a combination of both. I've been with women who were so snug and tight that I was able to climax within seconds. With this woman, it is very difficult and takes more than 10 minutes. We've tried baby oil, "motion lotion", and KY heating gel.

Nothing works, and I'm fixing to find another woman just to satisfy me, which I don't really want to do. But I know that if I stay with her and nothing changes, I will cheat eventually anyway.

She has never had any children and hasn't really had all that many partners. I'm just thinking that she and I are not a good match in that department.

Can you please advise? Is there anything that she and/or I can do to make for a better "fit" and thus-a better sex life-and ultimately, lifelong monogamy?

Dear Reader,

First of all, kudos for thinking seriously about your sex life before making a long-term commitment to your girlfriend. Sexual compatibility is an important issue to consider in a relationship. It sounds as if you and your girlfriend are comfortable with each other and have tried different products to enhance your pleasure. One thing you didn't mention was whether or not your girlfriend also feels like there isn't enough sensation during sex; if you both feel as though you aren't correctly "sized" for each other, there might not be much you can do. Every man and woman is different, and no two penises or vaginas are the same size. But whatever is the cause, this is a great opportunity to communicate with your girlfriend about sex and its role in your relationship. Communication about these issues is crucial to having a healthy relationship, especially one that is long term.

If your girlfriend feels like your penis is a good fit and you don't experience enough sensation, there is a very small possibility that you could have nerve damage in your penis, which could be affecting your ability to feel pleasure. Both diabetes and syphilis can cause nerve damage in the penis that can reduce sensation. You may consider seeing a medical provider, such as a urologist, to rule out these possibilities. If you have had an injury or surgery to your back or spine in the past, this could also account for possible nerve damage. A simple reflex test can determine if you have any nerve damage in your penis. 

If there is no physical cause to your lack of sensation from vaginal sex, you can still have a mutually satisfying sexual relationship with your girlfriend. You might consider making other sex acts — like oral or anal sex, or using sex toys — the focus of your sexual practice. The anus is significantly tighter than any vagina, and if your girlfriend enjoys it, anal sex could be one of many solutions to this problem. Just remember, if you try anal sex, start out with fingers and small toys, and use lots of lubrication and condoms.

If you choose to continue having a serious relationship with your current partner, using other sex acts in place of vaginal intercourse can enhance both intimacy and pleasure. Communicating with her about this and any other issue will make your relationship stronger over the long term and probably make sex better as well.

Good luck!

Last updated Feb 07, 2014
Originally published Apr 28, 2006

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