Your partner can makes you go weak at the knees – so why are you having trouble orgasming?
Rest assured you’re not alone and the reasons for your absent climax might not have to do with attraction at all.
Even if it is an important part of the puzzle – sexual attraction is really only one piece of it. In order to climax during sex with your partner there are three other major parts that usually need to be in place
Sounds simple – and perhaps you think you can cross this one off your list already? But give it a minute.
Though similar and hard to disentangle, attraction and sexual desire aren’t actually one and the same thing.
Attraction can be both sexual and non-sexual in nature, whereas sexual desire is, per definition, sexual.
Attraction can, however, spur desire and desire often partly comes from a place of attraction. But – attraction isn’t always enough to turn us on and feeling a pull towards your partner isn’t the same as your sex drive igniting.
Your partner might be beautiful, funny and smart, but for orgasms to happen, you need to feel sexual desire. So check in with yourself to make sure you’re not mistaking attraction for also feeling like you want to have sex.
If you are indeed mistaking attraction for desire – you’ll want to read more about low desire in my blog post: “why has my sexual desire decreased”?
Easier said than done – it’s important not to rush your orgasm if you want to have one.
Because it doesn’t matter how sexy you think your partner is or how attracted you are to them if you’re simultaneously having stressful thoughts. Because sex and stress are seldom good buddies in sexual situations.
It’s easy to get caught up in thinking things like: “I need to come now” or “it’s taking too long”.
When you focus all your energy on these thoughts, sexual desire diminishes quickly and the erotic energy in your body disappears.
Being stressed because you’re having trouble orgasming isn’t something you’ve chosen. However, with a little practise, you can choose to not pay attention to the stress-inducing thoughts.
By acknowledging that the thoughts are there and returning your attention to what’s going on in the moment (sex with your attractive partner!) you can forget about them and get closer to orgasming.
Try and remember, your body isn’t a soldier that obeys commands – it won’t climax just because you tell it too (frustrating, I know!).
Give yourself ample time which, according to sex researcher Lehmiller, usually means at least 5-6 minutes for men and people with penises, and 13-14 minutes for women and people with vulvas/vaginas.
But in all fairness, these are just averages – how long it takes you to climax can be as quick as 30 seconds and as long as 40 minutes – there are no rights or wrongs here!
My free resource The Desire Test helps you take that first step towards an increased sex drive, by understanding your decreased desire.
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Movies and pornography would have you believe that there’s only one type of stimulation, and one alone, that offers up explosive climaxes: vaginal penetration.
This is wrong. In fact, difficulty having an orgasm with a partner often has its roots in this very myth.
No matter what your sexual orientation is – for women and people with vulvas/vaginas, it’s actually external stimulation of the clitoris that’s usually responsible for orgasms.
This means penetration, whether vaginal or otherwise, probably won’t do it for you.
And it won’t matter if you’re incredibly turned on by your partner in the moment, if the right part – your clitoris – isn’t receiving the attention needed. You just won’t get there.
If you can bring yourself to climax on your own, you might want to try using the same technique with your partner.
For example, if you need a vibrator to come, introduce it during sex. Or if you need a certain amount of pressure that can only be offered up by lying face down on the bed, your pelvis propped up with a pillow – try it out with your partner!
For men and people with penises, penetration all-round can work well. However, sometimes the technique used during masturbation can be difficult to emulate during partnered sex as you use a lot of pressure or intense speed.
Try switching up your routine during masturbation and teaching yourself how to orgasm with less intensity. This can do wonders when you’re having partnered sex!
Our culture places a large emphasis on orgasms. They’re seen as the finale of sex, and as the ultimate proof that pleasure has taken place.
Orgasms are like a symbol of good sex and a good relationship.
And even if orgasms can be amazing, they’re not an inevitable result of a great connection – sexual or otherwise.
If you find your partner attractive, but still find it difficult to orgasm, try working on:
Being turned on mentally and physically during sex
Giving your orgasm time
Switching up your technique
Once you have these things down to a T – trouble orgasming might be a thing of the past.
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With 11 years of experience in the helping profession - Leigh helps her clients create stress-free, shame-free, pressure-free sex lives, through her unique combination of sexological science, & psychotherapeutic & coaching tools.