As we’ve been talking this week about new research showing that for many women, sex is like ChefBoyardee ravioli out of a can, I thought I could give you some hope that women can experience Nonna’s ravioli too!
I receieved this from a reader, and I thought it was too important not to share. I love stories like these!
Your book and podcast have changed my life, and I wanted to share my story with you.
My husband and I both grew up in conservative Christian circles, well trained by the Bible and godly teachers, but of course both at least tangentially affected by purity culture. We enjoyed each others’ bodies with exercised restraint when we were dating and were both virgins when we got married (and are glad for that). I had been forewarned by a friend that sex hurts at first, so I prepared myself for the worst. It wasn’t great but also wasn’t awful, and as I was absolutely in love, we happily engaged in intercourse even multiple times a day during our honeymoon. When my husband reached climax throughout that first week with such ease, we both were a little confused that I didn’t.
But again, we had heard that sex can be hard for women, so we both just accepted that this was how things would be for us.
During my annual gynecologist appointment later that first year, I shyly asked about orgasm for women and if there was anything physically wrong with me. The female doctor looked uncomfortable and said, “Just make sure you have plenty of lube and foreplay, and you’ll be good!” So we took our time during lovemaking, used scents and music and lube, and genuinely both felt great love and desire for the other.
But it still didn’t happen for me.
We went to a bookstore, and I scoured some less-than-holy magazines (LOL) looking for tips and tricks. Either they were not explicit enough or I was just so naive that I couldn’t understand what they were saying, but either way, nothing helped. I read most of the Christian books and resigned myself to the feeling of closeness as my “climax.” Truly, I was not bitter. I just figured my body would work itself out someday.
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Four years later, we entered the family season of life
For the next seven years, I was in and out of pregnancy and nursing, feeling exhausted but dutifully giving myself to my husband with varying degrees of passion. After Baby #1, I had tremendous pain during intercourse (my husband was sympathetic and kind to my condition, not demanding in any way), but after Baby #2, it was soooo much more enjoyable. (My midwife after suggested it was related to a bad stitching job after Birth #1.)
I had a true desire for my husband, and he had a true desire for me. I never felt used by him. We just didn’t know what we didn’t know. I remembered reading in one Christian sex book that the author had once counseled a woman who hadn’t reached orgasm in 15 years of marriage. “Isn’t that sad?” was the message I heard. So I knew that was the goal—reach orgasm before then.
As my body changed through childbearing and as my husband’s love for me never wavered, I grew more confident in myself and more desirous of him. But The Big O still never came. I knew it wasn’t an issue of libido, but I found myself growing weary of trying—trying to be more in the moment, trying to feel something (anything!), trying to not feel like a failure or make him feel like a failure. Sex had become an emotional act for me and a physical act for him. And I had come to mostly accept that. We would reach the end of intercourse with his climax, and on the harder days, I would think with disappointment and confusion, “Is this really all there is for me?”
As we neared that 15 year mark, I re-read the books with no success.
Really, their only outcome was to make me feel ashamed for not being able to orgasm—they told me that I was mentally lazy and didn’t want it bad enough (which was pretty humiliating) and that even if I did get there, it would never be a regular thing anyway. I listened to Christian sex podcasts that were mildly helpful but still didn’t change anything for me. I tried to will myself to orgasm, but apparently that’s not how it works either;) I confided in my husband that I was ready to get serious about this. I could tell that my body was wanting an ending, a resolution after building up such intense sexual tension; I was beginning to feel sexually frustrated (more with myself and God’s whole system than with my husband).
And then a friend introduced me to The Great Sex Rescue. I read it and wept. Other Christian books had normalized female anorgasmia; yours did not. Yours said that most women should be able to be sexually satisfied and that most female bodies are not the problem. You refuted most of the books I had read, and I suddenly understood why they had not helped. They weren’t written to help women have great sex; they were written to help women help men have great sex. I felt relieved and validated and reinvigorated, though I still did not know what to do to get myself there.
"A groundbreaking look into what true, sacred biblical sexuality is intended to be. A must-read." - Rachael Denhollander
What if you're NOT the problem with your sex life?
What if the messages that you've been taught have messed things up--and what if there's a way to escape these toxic teachings?
It's time for a Great Sex Rescue.
Then I started listening to your podcast and found the episode on orgasm.
You talked about how the movements during intercourse are exactly what the penis needs to reach climax and insinuated that the physical movement required for the clitoris is different than that. I’m embarrassed at how ignorant I was, but I just did not know this! I had been taught that masturbation was bad, so I’d never explored for myself. And my husband had no idea what to do with a body that was not designed like his. But I was getting excited and for the first time was beginning to feel strange things in my body during lovemaking.
It was a little scary at first, honestly, because I am a very in-control, Type A personality. But I knew this was only good and was how God intended it to be–pleasurable. So I ventured out of my comfort zone and tried to figure out my own body myself. Guys! After 16 years of being sexually active, I finally reached orgasm! And then I did it with my husband!
I have tears in my eyes as I type this, maybe in part because it was almost so easy–it didn’t take me 40 minutes or really hard focus or anything dreadful.
I’m actually able to climax pretty easily. I (we) just didn’t know how to do it.
In fact, I think some of these tears are because I feel angry. I was cheated out of SIXTEEN FREAKING YEARS OF SEXUAL PLEASURE. Because I was told:
It will be hard for you because you can’t stop thinking about the dishes or the baby and it’s so difficult to get mentally into it but it’s still something important for him so just keep doing it.
I so, so wish I had your resources when I first got married. I feel like I was robbed of so much. I so wish I hadn’t been scared of just exploring my own body. I so wish we could have gotten there earlier.
But I’m so glad we’re there now!
Wow! I can’t tell you how happy that email made me when I received it. I’m so glad The Great Sex Rescue could help her!
But at the same time–holy cow. Sixteen years?!? This should never be our story.
And what’s so interesting too is that her husband was not a bad guy. It’s not that he didn’t want to give her pleasure. He just didn’t know what to do, and the books had all taught them that this was normal.
That’s also why we created The Orgasm Course! And it’s helped thousands of couples too!
We need to do make it NORMAL to expect her to orgasm, and if she’s not? We need couples to figure it out, rather than just assuming she’s the problem.
Our books The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex and The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex were written to do just that. Please please please make them your bridal shower gifts, so that no other couples will be in this situation!
And if you are having difficulty reaching orgasm–please check out The Orgasm Course. You’re not broken. Truly. There is help, and you can get there!