Is orgasm elusive because the whole time you’re worrying that you’re taking too long?
We’re in the middle of our October orgasm series, leading up to the release of The Orgasm Course on October 26! I spent most of the week at my daughter Katie’s house right now while we filmed the videos for the men’s add-on to the Orgasm Course (it’s a course for women, but we’re creating an add-on for guys so that they can understand how women work!).
And the more we’ve researched this, looking at other survey results, and at our results from our own survey of 20,000 women, the more I think so much comes down to one thing, as we were talking about yesterday: At heart, women’s orgasm tends to be seen as an “extra”, rather than the main event. And this leaves women feeling broken if they don’t reach orgasm fast enough, and selfish if their husbands have to bring them to orgasm afterwards. And it can just lead to a general feeling of awkwardness.
If we didn’t feel as if her pleasure was secondary, I don’t think men would feel as depressed if their wives took longer to orgasm, or as lost. If we understood women’s sexuality–that we take longer; that intercourse doesn’t tend to be the main way most women reach orgasm; that we need to feel relationally connected and safe as well–then maybe we wouldn’t have so many couples feeling like there’s something wrong with her when she doesn’t act like him.
Here’s a woman writing in, talking about how self-conscious she feels because it takes so long to bring her to orgasm, and her husband seems lost:
I have been married for a little over 2 years. My husband and I were both virgins before marriage. I was very naive and had little real understanding of sex. It was very painful for me for the first year, which I thought was normal. Eventually I saw a gynecologist and was referred to a pelvic physical therapist who changed my life! As long as I keep up with my pelvic floor exercises and dilators, I have pain free sex now which is great.
However, after we got over that hurdle, I really desired to finally orgasm. I had never masturbated. But I never felt that my husband was touching me quite right. It always felt too sensitive and off-putting. All the Christian advice I’d read was to just show him how. But I didn’t even know what I was supposed to be feeling. I had no idea what worked. How could I show him something I didn’t even know?
He even bought a vibrator, and that felt way too intense and sensitive. So after talking, we decided that I should take some time to get to know my body, play around with self-stimulation and the vibrator. I read some advice online about how to use a vibrator and was almost immediately successful. What a relief it was to know that my body was capable! I was addicted. I knew what I was looking for now and that we needed to take a completely different approach than what we were doing before.
I knew I didn’t want to make self-stimulation a habit, I wanted to learn just to show my husband.
But he’s not getting it. Or he gets me so close and then moves, and I want to scream and rip it out of his hand and finish the job myself. It’s so incredibly frustrating. How do I teach him what to do? It’s difficult to communicate or explain exactly what I want.
I feel he has a poor understanding of female anatomy. And most of the time, we start off with some fun foreplay and sex, and then it’s “my turn” which just means he’s sitting at my feet, concentrating on my nether regions, constantly glancing up at my face to see if it’s “working.” I feel so self-conscious and so much pressure, while he waits for something to happen. I hate that “my turn” feels so disconnected to the rest of our sexual experience. My fantasy would be to orgasm while he’s inside me, but I don’t know how to get there.
I don’t want to be dependent on the vibrator. This has been such a roller coaster. Pain, relief, hope, disappointment. What should we do? I know I need to be more patient with him as he learns me, but when I struggle, it’s so easy to resent him for sex being such a breeze. He can’t possibly understand the frustration of having to fight and struggle for things to be pain-free and pleasurable. It’s easy to resent God for making it so easy for him and so hard for me. I thought virginity meant guaranteed great sex in marriage. That God would reward me. That’s what I was told. And nothing could be further from the truth.
We want orgasm to feel natural, but often the whole thing feels anything but.
How can it be natural when it’s taking so long and he’s trying one thing and then staring at your face to see if it’s working? You feel like you’re under a microscope, and it’s not something you’re just “doing”. We go over this in a lot of detail in our course, and we help the guys get the right attitude about this, too! (We’ve even using her quote about him “concentrating on my nether regions, constantly glancing up at my face to see if it’s “working.”” to help men see how NOT to act. Make sure you’re on the email list so you’ll get notified when the course launches–and you won’t miss the big launch week sale:
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But today I actually want to throw this question out to all of you, and let you answer.
So I’m just going to give a few (super) quick thoughts today and then see what you all think.
Taking the lead can often make stimulation more fun and help him to “get” it
So take his hand and use it to stimulate yourself, so he feels what you want, and you know it feels good.
Rub against his leg. Have him lie still and you can grind against different parts of him. Let him see that you CAN get excited, and he’ll learn what pressure/timing you like, too.
Instead of just lying there while he tries to touch you, without really understanding what he’s doing, play “teacher”.
Or think of it like an eye doctor examination (I know that’s not sexy, but it’s the same concept). You know when you’re sitting in that chair, and they put the glasses on you, and they ask, “what’s better? A or B?”
And you choose B. So they they ask, “B or C?” And so on.
Have him try two different things, and then ask you what’s best. Help him to understand what feels better. And if you’re not sure, you’ll learn something, too! But often that’s better than him just doing one thing for 15 minutes that honestly doesn’t feel that great, while you have no idea what else to suggest.
Try the Intimately Us app!
I talked about this marriage & sex app last week, but I think it’s amazing, and I really think it will help this couple. Having him learn to touch with no idea what he’s doing can be really demoralizing for both of you. But if you have a game that tells you what to do, and that switches things up frequently so it’s not just doing any one thing, but it’s doing a combination of different things, can help you each discover what feels good.
And because the games start with emotional connection, it also helps you feel close and brings the tension level down at the beginning.
So much about the app helps you understand your own body, and helps your husband figure out your body, too. And sometimes all you need is that confidence that comes from figuring out WHAT new things you’re supposed to try! It’s much easier than him just lying at your feet, staring at your “nether regions” in confusion.
Finally, one last thought: the reason that we get self-conscious is because we still think that his experience should be the norm.
If men took 45 minutes to reach orgasm, and women took 25 or 30, we wouldn’t feel self-conscious about it in the same way at all.
The only reason we’re self-conscious is because we’re comparing ourselves to men, who tend to be faster.
But, ladies, this is how God made you! And husbands–this is how God made your wives!
That doesn’t mean it needs to take 45 minutes, or an hour, or whatever. Most women, when they figure out the orgasm piece, can reach orgasm in twenty minutes or so.
Nevertheless, the fact that it takes longer for you does not mean that there is something wrong with you or that you need to feel self-conscious or that he needs to feel like there’s something wrong with you.
You each just need to embrace the fact that you are different. Your body needs to be played like a violin. He needs to become an afficianado, and that doesn’t happen automatically, and that’s okay.
I know it can be frustrating, and I know you can feel self-conscious, but again, I do think the root of that is women feeling as if our sexuality is somehow sub-par, and as if we have to “catch up” to the men. Really, I think God was trying to teach men that they need to slow down for the women! Sex is made so that men need to care for women. That’s just the way it works. And that can make us feel self-conscious, because we’re not used to being the centre of attention. It feels wrong somehow.
But for sex to work, she has to be willing to take, and he has to be willing to give. And you both actually have to embrace those roles!
I know many of you also feel self-conscious about taking so long to orgasm.
I know many of you can relate to the woman in the letter.
So I’d like to open this up for you in the comments:
So it’s your turn to answer. What would you tell this woman? What would you tell her husband? How do you stop all this awkwardness? Let’s talk in the comments!
The Orgasm Series:
- You Are Not Broken if Orgasm is Elusive
- The Orgasm Podcast
- 5 Things that Make it More Likely that She Will Reach Orgasm
- What Sex is Like for Women Who Don’t Orgasm (October 13)
- How Do I Not Feel Self-Conscious about what it Takes to Reach Orgasm? (October 14)
- Figuring out What’s Holding You Back from Orgasm (October 19)
- What if My Husband Feels Self-Conscious about Talking about Sex? (October 20)
- The Orgasm Course Launch (October 26–we hope!)
- Start Your Engines Podcast: When your wife has difficulty with orgasm (October 29)
And don’t forget to check out:
- 31 Days to Great Sex
- The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex
- And sign up to be notified when The Orgasm Course launches!
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of Bare Marriage
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