Just so y’all know where my Q&As are, my email inbox is full with stories and questions. I read all of them, I pray about you, and I wish I could answer every one of you. But I can’t get to every one. If you have a severe issue in your marriage, keep pursuing answers and find help where you can get it — your personal physician, local pastor, or Christian counselor.
With that in mind, today’s question has been sitting in my inbox for months. But I’m eager to answer today, because this wife’s story illuminates some challenges in many marriage beds:
I have been married almost 8yrs and have never had an orgasm, this is frustrating to both me and my husband because he feels like he isn’t good enough and that he isn’t pleasing me. Even though I tell him time and time again that I do enjoy sex, and I do get a lot of pleasure even though I don’t orgasm. Sometimes I feel such intense pleasure that I think I’m going to and nothing happens, and he finishes, sometimes I feel like if he could last a little longer that maybe I could orgasm, but I don’t know (he wants to get a fleshlight to try some exercise to make him last longer but I don’t feel comfortable with it). I feel like he has given up on me, that he doesn’t even try to please me anymore, that sex is all for him and it makes me want to cry, there is hardly any foreplay anymore. I tried to talk to him, to tell him that I need foreplay to get wet, and I tried to explain that I read that some women need a lot of foreplay and clitoral stimulation to orgasm and that I want to try some new things. He took this as me being selfish and only wanting to do what I want by saying “I need this” that I only care about my pleasure and not his. But he does get pleasure and he does orgasm and I don’t, I just want to try to orgasm. He told me to try masturbating but I just don’t feel comfortable doing that because of how I was raised. I don’t know what to do. I don’t even want to bring it up to him anymore because I don’t want to upset him (he suffers from depression and self esteem issues, no he is not abusive).
Starting with her issues about reaching orgasm, let me first share some of what I’ve written about that topic, and you can read whichever posts seem to apply to your situation:
What’s So Great about an Orgasm?
Why I Sometimes Don’t Care about the Orgasm
But I Still Can’t Orgasm! What Next?
Q&A with J: “I Just Can’t Seem to Orgasm”
Q&A with J: Your Pleasure & Orgasm Matter
Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage also keeps a running list of posts about orgasm on her aptly named The Orgasm Page. It’s a terrific resource.
And the best treatment I have about reaching climax is in my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, where I walk through attitude, technique, and tips to help you achieve that marvelous peak of pleasure.
Now in this question, there seems to be a core issue that the husband doesn’t really understand how his wife’s orgasm works. And I hear that a lot.
Your spouse’s arousal isn’t like yours. We walk through life with the lens of our own experience coloring everything we see. When it’s relatively easy for you to orgasm, it can be hard to understand why it’s so difficult for your spouse. It takes intentionality and empathy to imagine what someone else is going through and to respond accordingly. But the beauty of God’s design is that you are required to get to know each other better, more intimately, to experience all the pleasure you can have in your marriage bed.
And it sounds to me like hubby just doesn’t know what her orgasm looks like. Because it isn’t like his. Or like he’s heard. Or even experienced with someone else. (I don’t know their history).
Once the wife learns more about how her pleasure and climax work (see resources above), then she can better teach her husband. But ultimately, it requires patience, communication, openness, exploration, and respect. Yep, respect. Respect that the wife’s body is its own beautiful creation and needs to be treated with wonder and, at times, perseverance.
Now I understand the appeal of a sex toy to help things out. That’s what a Fleshlight is, for those who don’t know. It’s a toy that simulates a vagina for a man to “practice” increasing his stamina. But in addition to my objections about the Fleshlight website (don’t go there—the “eye candy” is bad for you), I doubt this will achieve what you want. Because while it might increase his stamina, it still doesn’t help him figure out what works for your body. And your issue doesn’t seem to be him not lasting long enough. (By the way, if stamina is an issue, there are several techniques you can use to increase his time to climax.)
Also, while masturbating might get you there, ideally you want to experience him giving you such pleasure that you reach orgasm. I’m not opposed to adding your hand to the mix during a sexual encounter to finish out strong, but it is a lovely feeling to have your beloved husband get you all the way there.
With all that in mind, here’s what your husband needs to know about your orgasm. (You can even highlight and print the following and then hand it to him as a summary.)
Wanting orgasm isn’t selfish. God intended for both spouses to experience a great deal of physical pleasure and emotional bonding during the sex act. And while neither spouse has to climax every single time, it should be a regular occurrence that both of you complete your pleasure with that exciting peak. What’s selfish is to expect to achieve orgasm after orgasm after orgasm while your spouse pines to have even one.
Women usually don’t know their sexual organs as well as men know theirs. It’s a fact of life that men have easy access to their sexual organ from infancy, and they are intimately familiar with what it looks like, how it feels, and what it does. Women are more mysterious — with their sexual organs tucked in like the interior of a flower that must bloom for you to see and experience the beauty fully. Meaning we’ve got a learning curve to figure out how our bodies best respond sexually, and a husband can help a great deal with exploring and discovering all of her natural wonders.
It takes you a lot longer than it takes him. Typically, that’s true. Not necessarily once you’re both in the throes of passion, but most wives take longer to heat up to that point. We need romance, arousal, foreplay, pleasure. It’s why the number one tip I give husbands over and over is slow down.
Vaginal orgasms are the hardest to reach. Penetration is the best way for a man to climax, but not for a woman. Stimulation of the clitoris is required for a wife to reach orgasm. However, that stimulation is indirect during sexual intercourse, while it can be directly applied with manual play for her or oral sex. If you want a man’s view of how to approach things, Paul Byerly of Generous Husband has a detailed post for husbands on performing orgasmic massage.
Hopefully, that information and all the links in this post will help.
Finally, I know that you “don’t even want to bring it up to him anymore because I don’t want to upset him.” But what’s the alternative? Are you planning to continue the status quo? Because that seems rather unacceptable.
God wants you both to experience pleasure in the marriage bed, including the orgasm. Maybe you could read my post on talking to your spouse about sexual problems and figure out a way to bring up the subject gently, supportively, lovingly.