I have no problem with giving myself an orgasm with a vibrator on my clit, but I’ve never managed to orgasm with a partner. I’m OK with that — I’ve greatly enjoy partnered sex without orgasm, but I’d love to broaden my orgasmic horizons. Even bringing the vibrator to the party doesn’t get me there and I do feel safe and supported, though maybe with a bit of performance anxiety. What can I do to coax my regular orgasms into partnered sex? Or just expand my orgasm zone more generally?
Signed, Moregasmically Curious
If I’ve done my job as a sex writer, anyone reading by now should know that the vast majority of vulva-having hopeful orgasmers are not going to reach that clitoral-climactic peak with penetration alone.
Most if not all people in such a position require direct, clitoral stimulation and over 20 minutes of it in order to have a clitoral orgasm, which stands in direct contrast to what we are often shown in erotica media such as mainstream porn or even a steamy romcom, both of which usually portray a few minutes of penetrative fun to pop the ol’ climactic cork.
This isn’t what usually happens with real live people who generally require more warm-up, eroticism, mental turn-ons, and physical variety to “get there.” A vibrator, with its consistency, battery-powered stamina, and yaknow, intentional engineering to do just this, can be the perfect tool for the job (my personal recommendations include the rechargeable Magic Wand and the Fun Factory and JeJoue lines more generally). But, it sounds like you’ve already figured this part out.
Of course, a clitoral orgasm isn’t the only kind of orgasm out there and there will be other tools to get those particular jobs done. Internal orgasms include G-Spot orgasms (which may or may not include the legendary “squirting” and requires shallower penetration and a curved hook toward the belly button — check out the NJoy Pure Wand), A-Spot orgasms which target the deeper anterior fornix region of the vaginal canal, and anal orgasms which, as titled, occur from penetrative anal sex which can be known to stimulate erogenous zones in the vaginal canal simultaneously as internally these two areas are quite close in proximity.
So, one thing you can do, Moregasms, is try out different kinds of climax than your go-to clitoral option (a perfectly excellent go-to, in my opinion). However, regardless of the type of orgasm you seek, the performance anxiety you speak of is likely a bigger piece of this than you let it on to be (intentionally or not).
The thing about many people’s orgasms is that they can take time. Time that isn’t necessarily pretty or pornographic or predictable. And when we bring a partner into the mix (even one you feel safe and supported by which, is also a requirement to pleasure in my literal, actual book), this time can feel like it’s taking even longer than usual.
And though my advice to counteract this may seem simple on its face, it’s proven to be quite impactful between the sheets: talk about this exact thing. This can sound like “I’m anxious that I’m taking too long to have an orgasm” or “Can you just tell me I can take as long as I want?” or “Promise me you’ll speak up if you want to stop or take a break if this is taking too long for you.” Not only is this just plain ol’ good sexual communication but mentally this can be a powerful way to get permission from yourself and your significant other/s to take the road less traveled, maybe less efficient, and ultimately, more pleasurable.
Yana Tallon-Hicks is a relationship therapist, sex educator, and writer living in the Pioneer Valley. After over a decade of writing the V-Spot sex and relationships advice column, this will be the last edition as she moves on to new projects. She’ll miss you dearly and thanks you for reading and writing in your questions for all of these years. You can find her work and her professional contact information on her website, yanatallonhicks.com. Get her book “Hot and Unbothered” wherever you buy books. Keep in touch socially on Instagram @the_vspot.