My partner (cis-male) and I (queer bisexual lady) enjoy getting super hot and bothered with each other, but we’re both frustrated with my seeming inability to orgasm. When we’re fooling around, just warming up, sometimes clitoral stimulation gets so intense that it’s painful, and we have to stop. When we move toward penetrative sex and I start feeling like I’m almost there — whatever “there” is — I start having trouble breathing or just forget to breathe all together and feel like I’m going to pass out … so we have to stop. When I play with myself, I just get bored without him there and have never orgasmed there either … and stop yet again. I love my partner and all things sensual and consensual with him. We’re great at communicating about these things together so we’ve tried going slower, relaxing, having him remind me to breathe, switching positions — everything, but nothing works!
— Stuck in a Cum-nundrum
Sounds like y’all are continuing down a traditional sex path of foreplay (clitoral stimulation), penetration, (hoping for) orgasm — what I call the Sex Schedule. Though the Sex Schedule is touted as the way to have sex, it just doesn’t work for many people — and can get real boring, besides. And if the Sex Schedule isn’t working, let’s re-schedule your sex to be more fluid (har har) and less linear.
The clitoris is packed with 8,000 nerve endings. That’s twice as many that exist in the entire penis. So, immediately treating the clitoris like you’re excitedly attempting to reveal the flavor of a new scratch-and-sniff sticker is overwhelming for most and can, as you’ve stated, feel quite painful.
Don’t start with clitoral stimulation right off the bat. Start with something else that you know you and your partner both enjoy for a strong kick-off. Maybe some making out and then penetrative sex — but only for a little while — before trying some clitoral stimulation. Or maybe he goes down on you, without heavy focus on your clitoris for now, and then penetrative sex, then clitoral stimulation.
The traditional story of the Sex Schedule has us believing that once penetration happens — especially penis-in-vagina penetration — we’re on the non-stop train to O-Town and if you can’t make it to the orgasmic destination then too bad — catch up! Boners are a wonderful part of sex. But just a part. Experiment with fitting them into your sex flow, but don’t set your entire schedule around them.
Sometime after mid-romp penetration fun, come back around to the clitoris. This is where masturbation can help you out: what kind of clitoral stimulation do you prefer? Hands? Toys? Firm? Rapid? Slow? A mix? Masturbation can be a great place to learn.
Miss your man while you masturbate? Bring him into it via fantasy, sexting or even make a DIY porn to watch. Or, actually have him there — touch yourself or use a vibrator during other sexual activities with him.
Rescheduling sex for yourselves takes the pressure off the linear route of the Sex Schedule and gives you both permission to continue sexploring together after a pause.
Take the pressure off the Big O for now and meander a bit. It’s worlds more pleasureable than continuing to treat your clitoris like a scratch-and-sniff sticker — that I can promise.
Yana Tallon-Hicks is a pleasure-positive writer and educator living in the Pioneer Valley. She has a website bursting with sex advice, resources, and workshops at yanatallonhicks.com.