The ORGASM SERIES: What Sex Is Like for Women Who Never Orgasm

by | Oct 13, 2020 | Uncategorized | 41 comments

What Sex is Like for Wives Who Can't Reach Orgasm
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About a quarter of women never reach orgasm, or very rarely reach orgasm, when they have sex with their husbands.

Another quarter orgasm only sometimes.

According to our survey of 20,000 Christian women, only 48% of women is orgasm reliable.

During the month of October, we’re talking all about orgasm, leading up to the launch of our Orgasm Course on October 26! (Make sure you’re signed up to the email list so you’ll get notified when it launches–and you don’t miss the launch bonus!)

Last week we talked about how you’re not broken if you don’t orgasm, and in the orgasm podcast last week I elaborated on that and shared some of the research on what makes orgasm more likely. And then yesterday Rebecca shared 5 things the research tells us makes orgasm more likely.

Today I want to paint a picture of what sex can be like for women who don’t orgasm–with thanks to some awesome commenters who first gave me these analogies!

Last week I was working on the men’s add-on to our Orgasm Course (a mini-course for men which will walk husbands through understanding female sexuality and helping her reach climax), and I shared this with them:

 

Imagine if we were taught that what women really need to feel loved is to go out to eat at a restaurant at least once a week, where you talk and enjoy a delicious meal. This is the pinnacle of marriage for her. This is how she feels loved.

So let’s picture a couple–Tracey and Dan–who try to live by this.

One Tuesday night, Tracey and Dan head to the restaurant. They order appetizers, and a main course, and a dessert, and the coffee and tea.

The waitress comes with Tracey’s appetizer–a steaming bowl of cheese and broccoli soup. Tracey eats it and declares it delicious. But nothing comes for Dan.

Then Tracey’s steak arrives. Dan’s still wondering where his appetizer is, but Tracey starts slathering on the butter and the sour cream onto the baked potato, and takes a bite of the steak with peppercorn sauce and asparagus. She loves it. She declares it amazing.

While Tracey’s eating, the couple also starts talking about the future. They imagine what life will be like when the kids are teenagers, and they don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn anymore. They dream about one day going on that vacation to the Grand Canyon they’ve always mused about. They wonder about fixing up Tracey’s uncle’s cottage, and spending a few weeks there this summer. They talk about Dan’s work and how it’s both stressful and rewarding at the same time.

Now Tracey’s steak is finished, and the waitress is heading towards the couple again.

In front of Tracey she places a steaming, luscious molten lava cake. Tracey squeals in delight as she scoops some out with her spoon.

Just as she’s almost finishing, the waitress finally arrives with Dan’s chicken wing appetizer. Dan’s ecstatic, and he digs in, eating one quickly, and then another.

But before he can get to his third, Tracey stands up, ready to go home. “Dinner was just amazing,” She declares as she heads for the door. He follows behind her, glancing at the chicken wings still there, uneaten.

“I just love doing this with you,” Tracey says.

Now imagine that Dan and Tracey do this, every week faithfully, for ten years.

How do you think Dan will feel about eating at restaurants?

 

For many women, that is exactly what sex is like, year after year.

Another commenter shared this analogy:

Imagine that, for your wife, what she really loved was, for lack of a better word, humping your leg. She wraps her legs around your leg, and rubs herself against you until she climaxes, and then she’s done. And she rolls over and announces that that was amazing, and how much she loves you.
How would you feel about sex if that was all that you got out of it?

When we look at those illustrations, it seems obvious that something is wrong.

And yet, why don’t we notice that something is wrong in real life when it is women living this out, year in and year out, in the bedroom? We can see the problem when we’re talking about couples going to restaurants. We can see it when we’re talking about one-sided sex in her direction.

But we don’t see it when we’re talking about sex where only he orgasms.

It’s largely because we believe that women’s orgasm is secondary to sex, and that if women don’t orgasm, it’s because they’re broken.

What would happen if, instead of accepting a woman not orgasming as normal, we instead, as Christians, considered women’s orgasm a vital part of sex?

What would happen if, when we got married, we focused first and foremost on helping her feel comfortable, feel arousal, and reach orgasm, rather than simply having intercourse? What would happen if we prioritized her pleasure instead of his?

Okay, quick check-in: Did you get uncomfortable reading that last paragraph? Did you feel, “well, if we prioritize her over him, then we’re just being unfair in the other direction!” Or perhaps you thought, “Well then he might never get sex, because what if the problem is with her? He’s not supposed to live in a sexless marriage just because she has issues!” Or maybe you thought, “we can’t just say you don’t get to have intercourse just because she doesn’t feel aroused!”

We’re actually quite quick, as a whole, to talk ourselves out of why a woman’s orgasm should matter as much as a man’s.

We can easily picture a marriage where she doesn’t orgasm as still being a healthy one, but we can’t picture one where he doesn’t get to orgasm as being healthy.

And that, my friends, is part of the problem.

Or maybe I should say it’s the main problem.


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When we think of her orgasm as secondary, then when she takes a long time reaching orgasm, she’s going to feel self-conscious, like she’s imposing. When she needs something more to orgasm beyond what he needs, she’s going to feel broken. Because his orgasm is the standard, his orgasm is the one that is emphasized, then when it isn’t happening for her, she tends to internalize the problem and blame herself for it.

And that makes reaching orgasm even more difficult.

If, instead, we believed that sex wasn’t really sex until they were both enjoying it, then maybe things would be different.

If she wasn’t enjoying it, it wouldn’t be her problem; it would be THEIR challenge to work through together.

To throw an even bigger wrench in things, women are told that they should enjoy sex, even if they don’t orgasm, because of how great it is for their husbands.

And there is something to that. In our focus groups for The Great Sex Rescue, we talked to many women who didn’t reach orgasm but who still craved sex because they felt close to their husbands during sex. That’s wonderful. Many women who didn’t orgasm still said, in our survey, that they enjoyed sex.

But I wonder how much of this is women internalizing the message that their pleasure isn’t important?

To return to our dinner saga, imagine if the husband were told, “You can’t feel badly about not getting your dinner; you should take pleasure in how much she enjoyed it and in the closeness you felt from the conversation you shared.”

We read that attitude in emails all the time. One man wrote that his wife doesn’t want sex anymore, and now she won’t even give him manual stimulation, even though it felt so great for him. “Why can’t she just be happy about how happy she’s making me?”

Perhaps we need to keep that dinner saga in our minds, and ask something different. Maybe the goal should not be both people being happy because they got to sit at the table. Maybe it should really be that both are dedicated themselves to making sure it’s good for BOTH of them?

And the way that God made our bodies, that means that women need to be a little bit selfish.

If we’re going to orgasm, we actually can’t be thinking, “well, at least I get to make him feel good.” We have to let ourselves take. And men? They need to let themselves give. No matter what happens, they’re going to have an orgasm (in the vast, vast majority of cases). So the emphasis should be on figuring out how to give to her.

I know that this is difficult for many women, and many wives already feel as if they’re failures, and they’re imposing on their husbands too much by trying to get their husbands to make them feel good. I know many couples feel a little bit (or a lot) hopeless.

But it is not hopeless! She is not broken.

Orgasm is very, very possible, and even very likely, if we can learn to accept the idea that her orgasm matters. It’s not an afterthought. It’s not inconvenient, even if it takes a long time. It’s not an extra. She’s not being selfish if she wants the things that lead to her orgasm. It’s the main event, and God made her to be able to revel in pleasure, and enjoy a long build up, and have great fun. So let’s stop thinking of sex as something that he automatically gets to enjoy, while she MIGHT enjoy it, and instead see it as something which you BOTH should enjoy, together.

I’m not trying to put more pressure on women who are already struggling. I know how hard that can be. But I also know that the breakthrough often comes when we start believing the right things about how we were created to be sexual. And when we discount the importance of our own orgasm, or think that our sexual response is wrong or “less than”, we damage ourselves. That’s what we’re trying to undo in The Orgasm Course, and I hope it will really help you!

 

The Orgasm Course is Open for Pre-Order!

Figure out what’s holding you back. Open the floodgates to orgasm.

The course launches October 26. But you can pre-order now!

Preorder–and get $20 off the complete course (women’s edition & men’s edition) until November 2!

So here’s what I want to ask today: Why is it that we recognize that the dinner saga is wrong, but we don’t recognize that her not having an orgasm for 10 years is wrong? Why do we have a difficult time advocating for her orgasm? Let’s talk in the comments!

The Orgasm Series:

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

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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41 Comments

  1. Becky

    There’s a ridiculous amount of mental barricades to trying to fix this problem. I know I have extra ones, since years of associating sex with pain is really hard to turn off. To be blunt, I very rarely even want to have sex at all just from that alone. When we do, it takes a ridiculous amount of time to even get aroused, like an hour or more, and then no matter what we try, any pleasure just stops abruptly and everything gets irritating with no payoff. Throw in factors like the exhaustion of parenting little kids, trying to keep the house just passably clean (which my husband does split the work well on), homeschooling, all of the extra stress of just living through this year… it honestly seems insurmountable. So if we tried to prioritize me reaching orgasm, we’d probably end up having even less sex than we do now, which already is infrequent. And then there’s a level of guilt about having a sexless marriage. It’s just SO many negative thoughts and feelings to untangle, and I don’t even know where an end of the yarn ball is to start.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Becky, I totally understand. It sounds like what you guys may need, though, is a moratorium on sex FOR HIM, and just concentrate on sex FOR YOU until you figure out the piece for you. I know you feel guilty about a sexless marriage for him, but the truth is you’ve been in a sexless marriage FOR YEARS–just in your direction. Think of how many orgasms he has had compared to you. If you’ve been having sex, but not feeling pleasure or orgasming, that’s essentially a sexless marriage for you.
      And here’s the thing: the more you have sex “for him”, the more you cement the idea in your body and your mind that sex is not for you. It’s only for him. Your body doesn’t work right. You’re broken. Etc. etc.
      I think you may need a break from the pressure and the obligation and the chance to explore and figure out the pleasure piece. It is there. It really is. But it’s unlikely that you’ll discover it when everything is still all wrapped up with obligation. Again, we talk about this in the Orgasm Course, but it is very difficult for many women to reach orgasm when they are still having sex out of obligation–sex that does nothing for them. Every time you have sex, then, you cement that it’s not for you. Taking a weekend away and just focusing on YOU and your pleasure, or taking some time and just making your arousal the focus, and not his orgasm, is more likely to help with a breakthrough. Does that make sense?

      Reply
      • Julie

        Great advice! And amen!

        Reply
      • Stefanie

        Thanks, Sheila for this clarification. I had this question. It’s hard to let go of the guilt. I’m going to read this to my husband.
        Follow up question…how long should this go on? What if it’s been two months of trying, and I’m still not there? Btw, I’ve been married 10 years, and I can count on one hand how many orgasms I’ve had, and those all happened in the first year of marriage.

        Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Great article, great analogies. If I may add another twist to the meal analogy though, I think that if I’m honest, I’m worried that I have subconsciously taught myself to turn down even “the appetizer” when it finally arrives for me (which is usually by the time my husband is at least half way through “dessert”). I’ve thought about this a fair bit and I think it’s because I know it leaves me feeling so unsatisfied stopping at the appetizer every time that I’d rather not even allow myself to start my meal most times. I suppose I’ve convinced myself that it’s more satisfying to watch him to have his whole meal including dessert, than to start my own but not finish it…? I’m not sure how to adjust my thinking but I’m worried about it. (Yes, we have tried to focus on me after he’s “done his meal”, but then I always feel badly because he’s obviously spent… and then my “feeling badly” stops it from happening anyways… so subconsciously I go back to square one: “Why bother allow myself to get turned on in the first place?”) Help… please!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s such a common problem, Anonymous! Question, though: Why don’t you flip the order? Why not focus on you reaching orgasm FIRST, and then he gets his? If he’s spent afterwards, or you feel guilty, a good way to do it is to make sure that you get pleasure first. Spending years with sex not being about you is not going to end well. It usually results in women feeling quite resentful after a decade or two. We’ll be talking about this a lot in the orgasm course which releases at the end of the month, but it is okay to ask for your own pleasure, and it is okay to ask for it first, if that’s the way it’s most likely to happen.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        Thank you for your response, Sheila. “Me first” is an idea to consider.
        I suppose it’s time to explain all this to him somehow… I worry though that my husband, who is under a ton of stress already, will end up feeling a huge load of guilt. He knows it’s extremely tough for me to orgasm (honestly, I’m not sure if I’ve actually had a real, full orgasm in our almost 10 years… maybe? I’ve never been absolutely sure). And I’ve done an unfortunately good job of convincing him and me that I’m content enough… because I just figure I’m one of the defective ones and that I should be happy with what I do have… a wonderful, Godly husband who knows he’s very, very loved and who is sexually satisfied.
        Yes, I know, I’m not defective.
        Yes, I’m going to take your course 😉

        Reply
      • Angela Laverdi

        Honestly, YES! Sex after orgasm feels AMAZING, more people need to try it!!! And it can help with having an orgasm during sex.

        Reply
    • Recheio

      I am exactly the same. And it’s not for lack of trying. My husband is so dedicated to making me feel good. We spend so much time on me but it never happens. So I also feel like, why even begin trying?!

      Reply
  3. Jane Eyre

    I need an actual explanation of why sex is intimate. There is nothing “intimate” about my husband using my body for pleasure that I have never experienced. That is literally the opposite of intimacy.
    Socially, we condition women to expect all of their gratification from emotional connections, as if we are not also fulfilled by career success, intellectual pursuits, athletics, etc. “But you enjoy the emotional closeness!” is just another way of telling women that we aren’t important enough to ask for the things men consider their birthright.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I completely agree, Jane. I don’t think sex is intimate–if what we mean by sex is one-sided intercourse.
      That’s why I’ve been trying to change the definition of sex so that her pleasure is intrinsic to it, and that’s why in The Great Sex Rescue we differentiate between “sex” and “intercourse”. We call sex “sex” when it’s a mutually enjoyable, intimate experience; we call sex “intercourse” when it’s just penis-in-vagina for his pleasure alone.
      If you are not receiving any pleasure, then it is not only not intimate–it is also not biblical sex. It has no resemblance to the “knowing” that is the Old Testament. It is not what Paul is talking about in 1 Corinthians 7 when he says “do not deprive.” If she is receiving nothing out of intercourse, then having intercourse is actively depriving her!
      You are not wrong to experience one-sided intercourse as a taking, rather than an intimate experience. Some women do enjoy the closeness even if they don’t orgasm, but not all, and it’s not wrong if you just can’t do it anymore. It’s not wrong to tell your husband, “we have to get the pleasure piece sorted out, because I am no longer willing to be used.”

      Reply
      • Angela Laverdi

        (Audience stands up clapping loudly and whistling) Go Sheila!!

        Reply
        • Sherri

          Absolutely. Standing ovation! Go Sheila and team.

          Reply
  4. Elizabeth

    Could you please repost the link for the somewhat recent post about how sexual problems often have multiple facets and how relationship problems should be addressed before working on the physical part?
    I remember before marriage reading how having sex with someone created a bond between you, so don’t have sex til your married. After getting married, sex was painful and difficult, and I didn’t even feel any special bond at all.
    After trying many things and failing, I often put sex in the category of “you don’t miss what you haven’t had”. So reading this blog sometimes gives me hope and sometimes makes me more discouraged because I see what I’m missing.
    I feel like I need to work on the relationship stuff first so I don’t set myself up for another failure.

    Reply
  5. Martha

    What do you think about starting with mutual biological attraction?
    Do you take pleasure in physical contact with your husband? Or do you feel used when he is kissing, touching, caressing, massaging you.? I hope not. Do you like smelling and tasting him? During a close physical contact pheromones and hormones come into play if you are with the man who your body finds attractive and compatible with you. Referring to the food analogy, either you like something or not, without rationalizing.
    If this natural chemistry isn’t there, if you don’t enjoy foreplay, giving and receiving oral sex, all the senses taking part etc, I suppose it’s even harder to get to the ultimate peak.
    Biology is an essential basis. For now, I skipped all the medical, emotional and relational issues.

    Reply
    • Natalie

      I’d agree with this to a point, but not completely. I do not physically find my husband sexually appealing (he’s obese & has larger breasts than mine now that I’m post-breastfeeding), though he does have a handsome face I think. I find the scent of his sweat rather off-putting. However, he and I get along personality-wise perfectly. He’s my best friend and I love his dearly. The sight and smell of him do not automatically turn me on. But when he’s pursuing me and making me feel desired and sexy, it’s easy for me to fall for his charms. Since I stopped focusing on his body and allowing myself to fixate on it and how frustrated I was with his obesity, I’ve started orgasming (though I did need to learn what orgasms first felt like with the help of a vibrator). His body didn’t change nor his pheromones nor my physically/visual attraction for him; my attitude towards him changed.
      However, with all that being said, I have noticed I’m more physically turned on by him when he’s working out regularly (which comes and goes in waves over the months. He’s currently in a lazy/no-working-out phase). So maybe there is something to pheromones. But I don’t know if pheromones are the end all be all of attraction and a woman’s ability to get in the moment and enjoy sex enough to orgasm. I think 99% of that is fought on the battlefield of the female mind.

      Reply
      • L

        Natalie, I know this is weird but how did the vibrator change things for you? I bought one, but it’s almost like the sensations it brings are mostly numbing?! I don’t understand. Another instance where, yes, it can feel like, “Is my clitoris broken??!!!”

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Hi L! It may be because you’re not already at all aroused. If you’re not aroused beforehand, then the vibrator can just feel like an intense stimulation of a weird kind. We do address vibrators in our Orgasm Course–when people may find them helpful, but also how even with a vibrator you’ll still want to learn how to understand your body, read your body’s cues, and help focus on arousal with your husband. It could be that it’s really the arousal piece you’re missing.

          Reply
          • anonymous

            Maybe I’m weird but aroused or not I can get there in minutes with a vibrator (but I always hold it myself). It’s really just a learned response without being turned on first. You put it on your clit and move it around a bit until you get to a spot that feels better and keep it there til you climax. Closing your eyes + nipple stimulation from your partner or having him say things you like to hear obviously help too.

          • Kiki

            This post makes me cry, because this is how I feel so often with sex. And I know you said that I’m not broken. But I just. Feel. So. Broken.
            We’re been married for just under 2 months and no matter what we try I just can’t seem to “get there.” I feel so close at times and then it’s just gone like it slipped through my fingers.
            We’ve tried oral, different positions, fingering, all sorts of lube. But I cannot seem to climax. The closest we got was on the honeymoon it felt great and got more intense but then it was just gone. Leaving me expecting more.
            Often when we have sex it feels good but we just don’t get anywhere, other times I start to get to (what I think climax might feel like) But then it just gets too intense -almost painful, and I can’t take it. I often think to myself – this can’t be it? There’s times when Id rather just let my husband finish and satisfy him.
            I keep telling myself that it’s okay that I don’t finish.
            Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy sex. But more for the feelings of being close to my husband and a few sort moments of “this is nice.” Although we both initiate sex, im slowly finding that I’m enjoying it less and less. As if the honeymoon was the climax of our sex life and it’s all down hill from here.
            It’s so hard on my husband, I can see how disappointed he is when he can’t get me to climax. I just don’t know what to do or how to direct him. I dont mind speaking up for what I want – but thats part of the problem, I just don’t know what’s missing.

  6. Elsie

    This was such a fantastic post, Sheila! Every time you write a post like this affirming the importance of women’s experiences in marriage, I always end up nearly in tears because it’s so rare in Christian settings to have the needs and value of women affirmed in this way.
    We are exposed to so many harmful messages that we aren’t always even aware of. To continue your dinner analogy, it’s like if men started being told from the time they were young that going to dinner with their wife is a need she has that he doesn’t, that he must always be sure to take her to dinner or she’ll end up going to dinner with another man, that he’s selfish or ungodly if he wants to enjoy dinner as well.
    As you pointed out so eloquently, its amazing how we so quickly see how problematic it would be to enjoy a meal while your spouse has nothing to eat but can’t see how problematic it is to enjoy sex while your partner isn’t. The church needs to stop teaching people that only men’s sexual needs matter

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Elsie, I didn’t even think of adding that, but you’re so right–go to dinner with her or she’ll go with someone else! Yep.
      It really is problematic. We need to talk about this differently. Thanks for your encouragement!

      Reply
    • Lisa

      Oh Elsie! You nailed it!
      “To continue your dinner analogy, it’s like if men started being told from the time they were young that going to dinner with their wife is a need she has that he doesn’t, that he must always be sure to take her to dinner or she’ll end up going to dinner with another man, that he’s selfish or ungodly if he wants to enjoy dinner as well.”
      Show up at the table enthusiastically, but don’t ask for a bite of the meal or you could ruin her dining experience!

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Oh, that’s a great line, Lisa! “Show up at the table enthusiastically, but don’t ask for a bite of the meal or you could ruin her dining experience!” Yep. I think I’m going to write a Dinner Saga, Part II when the new book launches!

        Reply
  7. Natalie

    Woo! That dinner analogy! Perfect!! That’s exactly what it felt like for me all those years. After awhile, you just get used to all that “fasting” and find your hunger has pretty much gone away.

    Reply
    • Marian

      Shelia, I totally relate with this 15 years into our marriage. I have not been aroused for years. I’ve never had an orgasm and feel so guilty when we don’t have sex, and used and like a fake when we do. I’m scared to be vulnerable with him inside and outside of the bedroom because I feel like he uses it against me. It is uncomfortable and hurts sometimes but I’m scared to tell him because he gets defensive and upset.

      Reply
      • Fiona

        Yes, and don’t forget she ‘wants you to want’ this ‘dinner’ just as it is. And he must learn to get his pleasure from knowing she is satisfied. I don’t usually like analogies (the chocolate one just makes me stop reading), but this one really illustrates the problwm so clearly.

        Reply
  8. Margo

    This might be my favorite post so far! Love it, thank you! I wrote something really similar in my journal after being married about 6 months except in my quick, frustrated analogy I likened it to a movie everyone keeps raving about. I kept getting invited to the movie and even asked to drive and buy the movie snacks but then always pushed out to hall of the theater until the movie was over. Hearing the audience have a great time and their excited chatter as they exited the theater but never actually getting to see what all the fuss was about until I was sick of even going to the theater in the first place. Not as great as your dinner explanation but hey, I was 19, lonely and writing into a tear stained journal haha. Nine months into my marriage I finally took a few minutes to relax and touch myself while I was home alone and BOOM, orgasm. After that I knew what to tell my husband to do with his hands and I orgasm every time we have sex. But honestly, it didn’t fix everything like I thought it would. I don’t know how to get over the confusing, lonely wedding night, frustrating honeymoon and months of feeling in the way and stupid. Kissing before marriage was a turn on but why wasn’t it after? Why does intercourse have to be the societal definition of sex when it’s inherently one sided? Why did I have to feel like crying after every sexual encounter? Why was the word clitoris NEVER mentioned or explained to me growing up? I know I sound bitter because I am, haha. Which makes me feel bad because it “only” took 9 months for me to have an orgasm and some ladies here are decades in and still working on it. I just think about that excited young bride and mourn for her. I was SO EXCITED for my wedding night and sex in marriage! I wanted to feel wanted and connected and heard so many positive things and seen happy, easy, passionate moments portrayed in books or films. Orgasms are great but sex still doesn’t feel intimate or really turn me on and I don’t feel broken so much as lied to.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I know exactly what you mean, Margo! i have a very similar story. And all your questions are ones that we deal with in the Orgasm Course (so I’m glad you wrote them down; it makes me feel better, like it’s confirmation we’re going in the right direction!). I think the definition of sex=intercourse is one of the biggest problems, because then women really do feel broken. It’s all so sad.

      Reply
  9. Let Down

    I’m sure this is a super common issue… but it is possible for it to go the other way too… my wife will agree to have sex between 4-6 times a year, if I’m lucky. It’s generally mutually rewarding, but there have been multiple occasions where the foreplay is good, leads into giving her oral sex where she orgasms, then she’s done, showing obvious annoyance/irritation and not responding if I try to continue for me.
    So it’s probably super rare, but it can happen the other way. I get all excited that she’s finally allowing sex, only to not get release.
    So if that’s many women’s usual experience… yeah, you have my sympathy, it sucks.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, it certainly can go the other way. I’m so sorry that that is what you’re going through. What does she say when you talk to her about it? Can you try something like 31 Days to Great Sex to help you talk about this more?

      Reply
      • Let Down

        Unfortunately, she was raised believing sex is something you don’t talk about, a necessary evil. She won’t talk about sex in person, or even via text; I got the “Intimately Us” app and filled in all my likes/desires/dreams/etc. but she refuses to use it or try it. I’ve tried every communication method I can think of, but even after 13 years she refuses to acknowledge or talk about sex (and she won’t even let me know what she does or doesn’t like while we’re having sex).
        [I’m 99% sure she’s not having pain or any purely physical obstacles]
        It’s exhausting being the only one making any effort, and nothing gets better.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Oh, I’m so sorry. She likely was raised like that! It’s so common. I hope she’ll read our book The Great Sex Rescue when it comes out. It may help her identify where these messages came from, and see in black & white how they’re not helpful.

          Reply
  10. Kellie

    For me, the dinner analogy is not quite right. It’s more like you both go to dinner and enjoy appetizers and and a great meal. You both order dessert, but only your spouses dessert arrives. They eat and then it’s time to go. It was still a good, even great experience, and you still want to come back to the restaurant.
    I can’t orgasm every time, but I still enjoy foreplay. I love kissing and touching. I get aroused and my husband usually tries to bring me to orgasm before intercourse. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen, though. But I still enjoy intercourse and love the feel of my husband inside me. So, it’s not just the closeness I enjoy, because our sex is still mutual even if I can’t orgasm.
    I know this is not the case for many women, I just wanted to offer a different perspective and encourage husbands who may feel like they shouldn’t even have sex if their wife can’t orgasm since it would be one-sided.

    Reply
  11. Desperately Discouraged

    My husband and I were fiercely aroused by each other when we were dating, to the point that we had to be really careful about where and how long our alone time was or we could get carried away. We were both virgins in every way when we married, save kissing, and he was so nervous on the wedding night, then just got naked and went from 0-60. No one told us about foreplay. Everyone was more worried about us discussing sex too much before marriage…I could slap them ALL lol. I have told every engaged girl I have met since then, a long list of all the things I can only wish had happened for us before marriage and that night…with a secretly very broken heart. I enjoy sex with my husband, but he has tried everything anyone ever said about the clitoris and nothing has even remotely worked in the last four years of our marriage…
    He’s spent hours on trying foreplay, but my mind and body immediately disconnect when I sense that he’s bored because it’s taking so long…and to be honest, he IS bored. He doesn’t get it. And it’s like what we had when we were dating is just a nice memory…
    As a teen I started orgasming at night, involuntarily, with no sexual thoughts or stimulation. It freaked me out at first – but all I had to do was lay on my stomach. No touching! No romantic thoughts involved! I didn’t know what it was except that it felt good…
    So later when I understood what had been happening to me, I was confident that I could orgasm easily and thought sure it would translate into marriage, especially with how attracted I was to my husband.
    I’ve never been so wrong or felt so cheated.
    I figured out again how to make myself orgasm after TWO years of marriage – and no, the stomach thing never happened again however hard I tried – but my husband makes me too nervous. He almost left me in the first year because I wasn’t “working right”, among other things, and even though our relationship is healed and better than its ever been, my sexuality struggles are still the most painful thing between us.
    He wants me to experience everything, and I wish I could.
    I’ve prayed and tried what feels like everything…we’re both so discouraged.
    And since orgasm for me only happens by myself behind closed doors, I can’t help feeling that it’s just sinful and I should just keep my sex drive turned off – because if I can’t get there in the right context, I shouldn’t be getting there at all, because I will be displeasing God.
    Is there any help for us?
    I’m so tired of this heavy, awful thing.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, dear! First of all, you’re not displeasing God if you happen to orgasm while you’re alone or sleeping. That’s just your sex drive coming out! That’s fine!
      And likely the reason you can’t orgasm with your husband is because of how nervous you feel. You worry he’s bored (and you say he is); you feel broken and he’s threatened to leave you in the past because of being broken. That’s a LOT on you, and that’s likely why you’re having such issues.
      You would likely really benefit from The Orgasm Course (and he would, too). In the men’s modules, we get pretty fierce and adamant with the men that they absolutely CANNOT act like they are bored or that their wives are taking too long, and that they need to understand female sexuality. And we help you identify what’s blocking you from orgasm. And we encourage you to get back to that “making out” you used to do when you were dating so that you can discover arousal again. I hope that helps!

      Reply
  12. LexiAnn Rearden

    Orgasms are the height of arrogance in my mind. I get enough validation knowing that I am the key to my husband’s sexual fulfillment. Our closeness during sex is the only gratification I need. I have always been a “pleaser” and put others first before myself; in fact I believe this is a wife’s duty to her husband. And no, I have never felt used or shortchanged (that is such selfish thinking!)…rather I know my husband cherishes me and is grateful for having such a selfless, devoted wife.

    Reply
    • Shannon

      I feel the same way. I’ve never had an orgasm and I have tried everything. I finally came to the realization that I was being extremely selfish in trying everything to make myself orgasm. My husband’s pleasure and happiness should be my top priority. I was told before we married 17 years ago that marriage is not 50/50 but 100%. I try to give 100% of myself to my husband. He is loving and patient, he chose me above anyone else, he works hard so we can live the life we have, he takes care of me and our house. He gives 100% of himself so I want to show my appreciation for him. Orgasms are unnecessary for me, my body was not made to do that anyway, but I can make him orgasm every time. His pleasure is my gift to him for loving me and taking care of me.

      Reply
      • Fiona

        Okay, Shannon and LexiAnne, but this is not what God intended, and there are millions of women out there who will heartily disagree with you.

        Reply
      • Amber

        Shannon, I have felt like you do, as well. But my husband finally started acting as if he didn’t want sex at all unless I could get aroused and enjoy it with him. For most of our fifteen years of marriage, he has tried really hard to help me come to orgasm. We’ve tried vibrators and 1-2 hours per night of stimulation for me, yet I rarely orgasm, and I was becoming very resentful because I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep. And we both felt badly that I was falling asleep while he was trying to stimulate me. So my learning to sexually respond to my husband needs to be my gift to him. I’m going through Sheila’s orgasm course in hopes of figuring that out.

        Reply
  13. Kt

    My inability to have an orgasm was due to the birth control pill. I had no idea, until I’d been off it for a year trying to conceive and started to experience some arousal for the first time in 8 years of married life.

    Reply

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