Reader Email: Problems with Orgasm

Here is an email I got from one of the readers of my original blog, who I called “lindsay”:

I’m 22 years old, female, and bisexual. I have never had an orgasm which was not essentially produced by masturbation. I have only come in the presence of a partner twice. Even by myself with a vibrator it takes me about half an hour to climax. If I’m trying to do that with someone else around, it could take twice that long. (When I’m alone I often read erotic stories to fuel my fantasies, which helps, but is hard to do with someone else there.)

I loved reading your WYW: Misunderstanding column, because it showed me I’m not alone in having this particular problem. I have felt guilty about it for many years, ever since I started having sex at 18. I can’t give my partner the pleasure of bringing me to orgasm. I know how nice it is to do that to a woman, so it makes me sad I can’t offer my partner that experience.

It can also be difficult to engage in particular sexual acts. Oral sex feels nice, but my partner could do it for three hours and I wouldn’t come, so it sometimes feels pointless.

Your mention of feeling ‘watched’ and being distracted by guilt about how long it takes was spot on. I need ‘really major and continuous clitoral stimulation’ to reach orgasm. I sometimes worry if I have an actual physical problem to do with this, but I get over it after a little while.

Pretty much no-one else can do it for me, because it needs to be in exactly the right place at the right time. I can give my partner an ‘assistant’ role with a vibrator or something, but it’s not exactly romantic, more mechanical. ‘Stick it in now! More gently! Yes!… No, harder! Point it upwards!’ There aren’t really sexy or non-commanding ways to give those sorts of instructions, sadly.

I know I don’t have to orgasm to a pre-determined schedule, or in three seconds flat like a Pornobabe, but it would be nice, just sometimes, to be able to really share my orgasm with my partner. We have enjoyable, adventurous sex quite a lot, but, well, I guess I *have* given up on the whole issue, because I just can’t make anyone spend an hour in cramped, damp conditions which are immensely unlikely to do any good anyway. So I let my partners off the hook, and let them know they don’t have to give me orgasms, it’s really too difficult. Then, of course, sometimes I get pissed off when they don’t try, or don’t keep making an effort to work something out, because they think it doesn’t bother me or matter any more. And since that’s pretty much what I’ve told them, well, I only have myself to blame.

I have a few ideas to try, but they’re all a bit plodding, definitely not spontaneous. Things like getting him to read me an erotic story we both enjoy, or resigning ourselves to a fairly non-erotic ‘hands-on-learning’ session where I don’t just show him where to touch me, but allow myself to keep on correcting him over and over and over (obviously making sure in advance he is okay with that – I don’t usually do it because I don’t want to make him feel he’s doing it wrong all the time. He’s not really, but…)


It’s my feeling that if more women could more easily achieve orgasm, there would be little need for this blog. But it’s a fact of physiological life that for many women, it really does take extraordinary stimulation, and sometimes it simply seems to be not worth the effort.

To read the original discussion which ensued following this letter, visit this page: Technique 1. Add your own comments below.

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