Q&A: When my husband and I are being intimate and he is inside of me, I have not been able to orgasm. Is this normal?

Dear Natasha, 

Just before my marriage to my husband, I let him know that I would never fake an orgasm. I also told him that I had never had an orgasm during sexual intercourse. When my husband and I are being intimate and he is inside of me, I have not been able to orgasm. I can have an orgasm if he or I touch around the top part of my vagina. Is this normal?

I was sexually assaulted when I was very young and I have always felt that maybe there was damage to my vagina and that is why I cannot orgasm during intercourse. 

Also sometimes sex can be painful. Sometimes me being on top can cause me some discomfort. Some angles or positions can cause shooting pain…..My husband worries he might hurt me during sex. We have 2 or 3 positions that work for us. I feel like I might be boring for him. 

After years of therapy I am comfortable with physical touch. I do feel enjoyment during sex now. I really like feeling him hard and the energy that is released just before he ejaculates. 

 – A 

Dear A, 

Thank you for your vulnerable and thoughtful questions. I admire you for asking them and I know that they’ll help all the women who are wondering the same things! I will answer them one at a time and I hope it’s clear for you to understand. 

First of all I am so sorry to hear that you were sexually assaulted when you were young. I can assure you, that being a survivor of sexual assault, has nothing to do with a difficulty in orgasming from penetration alone. There is nothing damaged about you and are perfectly normal. <3 In fact it is 100% normal to not orgasm from vaginal penetration alone. You described orgasming when your husband or yourself touches above your vagina. The part you are touching is called your clitoris and most women need to stimulate their clitoris to orgasm — with or without penetration. Your clitoris is your primary sex organ and the only organ in your body that’s sole purpose is for pleasure. Your vagina is not. Damage to your vagina would not affect your ability to orgasm during intercourse (think of women tearing in child birth) because most orgasms come from stimulation of our clitoris. The clitoris is an incredible organ and what you and your husband are touching is called the clitoral glans. Your clitoral glans has 8,000 nerve endings in that tiny spot alone, and that’s really just the tip of the iceberg! Your entire clitoral structure extends into your body and is full of a similar amount of erectile tissue as a penis(see drawings below). You may have noticed that when you’re really turned on, your entire vulva (your external genitals) swells. This is because, with adequate stimulation, we get erections too, just most of what is swelling is inside of us. You may have heard about something called the g-spot, that’s located inside at the top of the vagina. This spot is actually the back end of your clitoris which is why it feels pleasurable to stimulate. I can’t say it enough that you are completely normal and I’m the same as you — I need clitoral stimulation to orgasm during penetration too! (one exception is cervical stimulation, but that’s another question 🙂 ) 

These two drawings compare the erectile tissue of the inner clitoris to that of the penis. All the squiggly stuff in the drawings is erectile tissue. You can also see how the artist has drawn dotted lines to represent how both the vulva and penis swell and increase in size when erect. In men this happens faster but for women it takes 30 – 40 minutes of adequate stimulation (could be both physical and mental stimulation) to fully fill up with blood. We can orgasm in less time than that, but the longer we take, the better it can be because we will be more erect)

To answer your next question, there are different reasons for sex to be painful, however the way you describe the pain and the position you most often experience it in — on top which allows for deeper penetration — makes me think that his penis is hitting your cervix. This is common when we aren’t turned on enough. When a woman is fully turned on, her cervix will lift to allow more room for penetration. (see picture below) Some men can even feel the difference when their penis enters this “space” or cul de sac as it’s often referred to. When your cervix is lifted, the tip of his penis can stimulate the nerves in that area and you may find it less painful and even highly pleasurable. MANY women come to me concerned that deep penetration hurts and when we explore the issue, the answer is almost always that they haven’t had enough stimulation to be turned on. Our bodies are designed to take time and this is okay. If you and your husband take the time to build pleasure through touch that you enjoy, you may find that your body is more open to other sexual positions. I like to think that my body is deserving of the time it takes for it to fully open and invite all the pleasure in — instead of trying to convince it that it’s ready. We wouldn’t try to open the petals of a flower before it’s bloomed would we?


Finally I don’t think you’re boring at all and the fact that you wrote this letter asking me all of this — along with the years of therapy you’ve been through — speaks to how much sex, pleasure and intimacy are a priority for you. I love how you you pointed out the energy you feel being released before he ejaculates and how good he feels hard. (I hope you tell him these things!) This tells me that you’re very in tune with energy and the subtleties of pleasure — which makes you far from boring!  I think that all of this makes you aware, interesting, sensual, curious, exciting and a bit mysterious. Sounds like a perfect combination to me!

I have included a video from my mentor, Betty Dodson, drawing and describing the internal clitoral structure. If you would ever like a more experiential explanation of this, I’d be happy to show you mine so you can deepen your understanding. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you need clarification on any of this or if you have any more questions. I’m here.


In pleasure and love,