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.
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,
I have a question about orgasms. I’m 43 and haven’t had a lot of sexual experience in my life. I was married to a man for 10 years and our sex life revolved around him getting his orgasm and none for me. After we divorced I started dating a wonderful man who does care about my pleasure and is very focused on my orgasm. I orgasm with him but only when there is a vibrator on my clit or his hand rubbing it. I don’t ever orgasm just from penetration even though it feels good. He’s had much more experience than me and says that all the women he’s been with have had no problem orgasming from sex alone — sometimes within a couple of minutes of him being inside them.
This is causing problems in our sex life because I get stressed about not orgasming when he penetrates me and now sometimes I can’t even orgasm when my clit is rubbed. He feels ashamed that he can’t pleasure me properly and has wondered if something is wrong with my body physically because he’s had no problems with anyone else. I’ve been to the gynaecologist and I’m scheduled for an ultrasound to see what’s going on. Can you help me?
Thank you so much for your question. First of all and most importantly THERE IS NOTHING WRONG with you. Needing clitoral stimulation to orgasm is 100% normal and is the case for almost all women. In fact the clitoris is our primary sex organ and most orgasms we have come from direct or indirect stimulation of our clitoris. Our clitoris is much more than the external glans that you can see and rub. Clitoral erectile tissue extends deep into your vulva and surrounds your vagina which alone has very little nerve endings apart from at the entry and up at the cervix. (note drawing. The squiggly lines represent your internal clitoral structure) This means that when you enjoy vaginal penetration you are often enjoying indirect stimulation of your clitoris (the erectile tissue surrounding your vagina). I personally think it’s best when clitoral stimulation is combined with vaginal penetration and manual clitoral stimulation during penetrative sex is what brings me to orgasm. I’m just like you and we are both normal.
Even though your partner may mean well, he has been misinformed and it’s likely that many of the women he has been with in the past, faked their orgasms. We do a disservice to men and their future partners when we fake our orgasms. Most women do not orgasm from vaginal penetration alone (unless there is enough clitoral stimulation with it) and definitely not within a few minutes of being penetrated. That is a “porn model” based on what the industry thinks men want to see — that one thrust of a dick is enough for us to orgasm instantly when in fact we don’t even need a dick to orgasm!! ha!
There is no shame in the way you feel pleasure or how you orgasm just as there shouldn’t be shame in how your partner feels pleasure or orgasms. Some men feel more pleasure from their partner’s hand than from their vagina — It’s not wrong. Your partners’ judgement of your orgasm will only negatively affect the pleasure you feel and is likely the reason you’re having more difficulty orgasming now. Pleasure and orgasm require stimulation and relaxation of your autonomic nervous system — not stress about what’s wrong with us.
I hope this helps and please let me know how it goes,
Almost always the answers are within us – sometimes we just need someone to ask the right questions to bring them out.
Q: Hey Natasha, are you still doing q&a? I have a sex question and I’m all kinds of embarrassed to ask.
A: Yes totally! Ask away!
Q: Okay. So I’ve been seeing a guy for a few months. The sex has been great and at first I was cumming every single time. Lately, the past month or two, I haven’t been able to orgasm with him at all. The sex is still super hot and I really enjoy it, but what’s going on? I can make myself cum no problem, but not with him anymore.
A: Have you tried masturbating with him? Did anything happen of significance around the time you stopped cumming during sex with him?
Q: I haven’t tried masturbating with him, sometimes I touch myself when we fuck but even that doesn’t do it. When it was strictly physical/casual, I could easily orgasm every time without touching myself. I can’t think of anything of significance…although maybe it was around the time I started to develop feelings for him. And of course I haven’t expressed those feelings to him…which is probably the problem, isn’t it?
A: Yes!! That is very insightful of you! Having feelings for someone and expressing them requires vulnerability. Orgasms are vulnerable. To orgasm is to surrender and surrender can’t happen when you’re holding back.
Q: Well shit, that makes perfect sense. Having been in a relationship for so long, sex and vulnerability with someone new is so different. So I guess I’m gonna have to do something about these feelings, both relationship-wise and sexually. It could totally scare him away, but if it does then that just means that he’s not right for me right now.
A: Yes!!! look at you owning your feelings more than your need for his response to them!! Yay!! That’s liberation!
I have a problem. I think my dick is small and I’ve had sex but sometimes can’t stay hard cause I think she’s gonna be thinking how small my dick is. I’ve watched videos on pleasuring women in other ways and I think I’m good at that but still can’t get past worrying about my dick size.
Thanks so much for your brave question. It sounds like you’re experiencing body shame and that’s a really common problem for both men and women. It’s hard to be present and feel pleasure in sex when you’re worried that your dick is too small or your belly is too big etc. And you’re very right that your difficulty with staying hard is caused by those thoughts.
I think it’s really awesome that you’re proactive in learning other ways to pleasure your partners and I also think that it would be a great idea for you to stop assuming that your penis isn’t big enough. We all have preferences. Some women like really big dicks and some don’t. Some women have shorter vaginas and big dicks can really hurt. Some women are naturally more tense and hold this tension in the muscles of their pelvic floor. This can cause tension in their vagina and a smaller dick would be much more welcome than a big one.
Some men like women with longer inner labia and some don’t. Some women like long saggy balls that slap around during sex and some like tight, firm balls. Preferences are preferences. However if someone actually likes another person, I don’t think that physical preferences matter that much at all. If I’m into someone, I’m into all of them. I see them as a whole — not defined by parts. Also if a guy shares with me that he has shame about a body part, his vulnerability would just make me love that part more. I’d adore it and want to show him that over and over until he could celebrate it himself. If you have a partner that you trust, I really recommend sharing your feelings. Vulnerability is super hot.
To help you stay out of your “spectatoring” thoughts, I encourage you to try whatever mindfulness practice you have ever done to stay present. This can be something you’ve done at work or home — any time in your life. Some people focus on a sensation — maybe the feel of your dick inside her, or her hand on your skin — others focus on their breath as they inhale and exhale. Some people have a mantra playing through their head (you could say “fuck me” over and over in your head and it will keep your focus on saying that instead of thinking of your dick size). Whatever you choose to do, the point is to stay in your body and not your head. Your head is messing it all up.
I hope that you can find this acceptance for yourself. After all, acceptance and confidence in ourself is the hottest thing ever. You were born with this dick and you’ll die with this dick, so why not own it!!!
Thanks again for your message and let me know if you need more clarification or support.
I’m the mom of 3 girls ranging in age from 7 to 15. I’ve told them the basics about sex in the terms of making babies but never anything about pleasure. Do you have any advice on how to talk to my daughters about pleasure? I don’t know where to begin.
Great question! The fact that you’re asking this says a lot to me about the kind of parent you are. 🙂
Having a conversation with our daughters about pleasure can be extra difficult because we’re culturally conditioned to think of pleasure as shameful and bad — especially in reference to females. It isn’t uncommon to hear a mother joke about her son who can’t keep his hands out of his pants. However if she said the same about a daughter others may think there’s something “wrong” with her, or that somethings been done to her to make her “that way.” The fact is that masturbating for pleasure is a part of our sexual development that begins even before birth.
“We recently observed a female fetus at 32 weeks gestation touching the vulva with fingers of the right hand. The caressing movements were centred primarily on the region of the clitoris. Movements stopped after 30 to 40 seconds and started again after a few minutes. Furthermore, these slight touches were repeated and were associated with short, rapid movements of pelvis and legs……. We observed this for 20 minutes.”
— The Story of V, Catherine Blackledge
So how do you start? Start by using correct terminology when discussing their sexual anatomy and avoid “dumbing it down” with terms like “front bum” or ”pee pee.” We use these terms to lessen our own discomfort and in fact they just feed the already imposed cultural shame around our genitals. If you don’t know the correct terms then please learn them before you talk. You can explain to them about their clitoris and how it’s the only organ in our body that’s sole purpose is for pleasure. I’d tell them that masturbating is normal and natural and that basically everyone does it and that it’s a 100% safe way to have sex. (only say the safe sex part if it’s age appropriate) I’d even go so far as to say that you and your friends masturbate so they know that you’re not just speaking rhetorically. This may feel a bit awkward to say at first but I think you’ll notice from their response that they appreciate hearing it. It also helps for them to know that pleasure through masturbation is normal at different stages in life. Of course discussions about masturbation should also include discussions about appropriateness and safety and you will most likely have a different conversation with your older girls than your younger one.
With your older daughter(s) I would also tell them that the pleasure they experience through masturbation can and should also be experienced in sexual experiences with others when they are ready. This bit of information was a missing link for me as a teen because I masturbated for pleasure alone and had sex with my boyfriend without pleasure. It didn’t even occur to me that pleasure had anything to do with sex or that I could have both at the same time because no one told me that was possible. I want my daughters to know this. Sex for my own pleasure was a completely foreign concept and I see this carry through with adult women who talk about “good” sex. When questioned on what this means it is often apparent that “good” simply means not awful and has very little to do with actual pleasure.
I hope this helps as a starting point for the conversation with your daughters. I find in my Orgasm Coaching practice that the best indicator of sexual satisfaction as an adult is if the woman masturbated as a child. If you have any other questions or would like some anatomy diagrams to print out please don’t hesitate to email me again. You’re a wonderful mother to be seeking this information for your daughters!