My Q&A with J feature has moved to Thursdays, giving me more time in the week to contemplate my response and answer. Today’s reader question is about one of our favorite topics (right, ladies?): orgasm.
We’ve been married for only 18 wonderful months, and have enjoyed the journey so far! But, I just can’t seem to orgasm. . . . I’m very body confident and pro sex, so I don’t think negative attitudes are what is holding me back. We have tried so many things to help me get there, and I often read blogs and Christian books to glean information. . . . When we make love it’s like I go up and up and up, and feel like I can’t possibly go any higher, but just can’t find what will help me tumble over the edge. It’s frustrating.
I know you encourage masturbation in these circumstances, to find out what works, but my husband closes up at the idea of me going solo, even if he were to be present. This is probably because I had an issue with masturbation when I was a sexually frustrated single woman. Because it was sin to me then, he has a hard time even accepting that it could be part of our marriage bed.
So I was wondering if you have any other ideas that might help, or are we just too green yet? Can I expect that with more time, trial and error and getting to know one another will eventually get me where I want to go?
How many wives have experienced that annoyance of not getting all the way to orgasm? At times, that climax can feel as elusive as the answer to that one crossword puzzle clue you can’t solve. So how can you “tumble over the edge”?
I have stated before that wives who cannot seem to orgasm may want to explore their own bodies to see what works and to demonstrate to their husbands how to touch them. This is very different from pursuing solo masturbation as a habit, because it’s for information and intimacy between husband and wife. But that’s certainly not the only way to go about this, and given the reader’s history, I can understand not wanting to introduce this activity.
First, here are a few prior posts about orgasm:
And Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage has a reference page for orgasm posts written by her and others. Reading those posts may help.
Ah, the frustration! I can’t help but think that one is issue is how hard we wives try. I understand that moment when you’re in the midst of making love and what your husband is doing is totally turning you on, and you think any minute now this is going to give me the kind of orgasm that deserves a standing ovation, and then . . . you’re waiting . . . you’re waiting . . . still waiting . . .
“Frustrating” is accurate. But here’s what happens to your body when you’re frustrated:
Blood pressure rises
Does any of that sound sexy? No, not really. Of course, your body can tighten up and your blood pressure can rise when you’re in the midst of an amazing high, but most physiology of frustration runs counter to getting you fully to climax.
Which is why when you reach that why can’t I edge over?! moment, one help is to back off that ledge, breathe deeply, and focus merely on the sensations happening in your pleasure zones. This may take you to an earlier point so that you have to build back up again, but you’re more likely to reach orgasm if you can lean into those feelings rather than having them tighten you up.
But what about sex toys? I know exactly what some readers are thinking right now: Just grab a vibrator already and let the buzz do the job! And I know vibrators have helped wives who really struggle with orgasm to finally reach climax. I think there’s a place for such marital aids.
But honestly, the longer I’ve been writing about sex in marriage, the less eager I am about sex toys. Maybe it’s because I watched this shift in our culture to sex being a purely physical experience, and then saw that perspective move in and take hold in some Christian circles. And while I’m 100% sold on sex being physically pleasurable (thank you, God!), if that’s our main focus, we’re missing out on God’s full design for sex in marriage.
There’s something valuable and sensual about using only the body parts God gave you to satisfy one another sexually. Not that it has to happen that way every time, but sex toys can shortcut the opportunity to really get to know our own body and our spouse’s body. Speaking for myself, I find it seriously sexy what my husband’s hand can do, but I wouldn’t be so impressed if a device with batteries did the same thing.
My point is simply that the ideal is to figure out together how to bring complete sexual satisfaction to one another without depending on outside frills. If the problem continues for a long time, however, I’d certainly look into marital aids as an option.
Practical tips. This wife says, “We have tried so many things to help me get there.” Since I don’t know what “so many things” includes, here’s a quick roundup of ideas:
Parts. Contact with his penis is the least easy way to reach orgasm. (Sorry, guys, it’s great — but I’m being honest here.) To reach that first, second, or maybe fifth orgasm, he should use his hands or his mouth.
Pacing. Take time with the build-up. This might feel like a slow-motion movie to a guy itching to get it on with his wife, but oftentimes it’s that first orgasm that’s hardest to reach. Once you know your bodies better, it can become a quicker process. Let your hubby know where to start and what you need, guiding the pacing with clear communication.
Pressure. The right pressure matters. Too hard, and you won’t feel good. Too soft, and you won’t feel. Help him know how much friction you’d like and whether he should press or stroke harder or softer. He’ll likely need to change the pacing as you go, so help him make adjustments.
Positions. Try lying on your back, lying on your stomach, straddling him, butterfly pose (knees cocked out, opening up access), on your knees, sitting on the edge of a chair, whatever you can think of. Despite all of us ladies having the same basic parts, our sensitivities are not the same, and some positions will give you more pleasure than others. See what works for you.
Clitoris. That’s what he’s aiming for. Make sure he starts elsewhere and gets you warmed up, but when it’s time to aim for the climax, he needs to be making pleasurable contact with that little knob of flesh between your urethral opening and your vagina.
Edging. I’ve been planning to write a whole post about this technique, so I’ll move that up in my queue and get to it soon. But edging in mutual sex is bringing your partner close to orgasm, slowing things down, and then bringing her back up again — a few times. This can increase the intensity so that when he finally follows through, it’s easier to reach orgasm.
He’s doing great. One last thing I want to mention: It’s frustrating for hubby too. The general message out there is that real men make their women hit the ceiling with orgasms every time. I have yet to see a rom-com or read a romance novel where the guy was a great lover but his woman didn’t climax. Which is frankly silly.
To husbands reading this, you’re a terrible lover if you aren’t trying. But if it’s a more of a challenge than you expected, hang in there and help her reach the height of pleasure that she, and you, deserve.
And for you wife, reassure your hubby that he’s doing great, that you’re in this together, and that you love that closeness with him. Of course, you want the orgasm and that should be a priority, but let your husband know he rocks your world in many ways.
What other ideas would you add for reaching orgasm?**
*From The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, a must-have book for fiction authors!
**You might want to check out my Comments Policy. Highly graphic comments or comments linking to questionable resources do not get approved.