Sex Ed 102 Q&A: Help! I Can’t Orgasm


Hi Kara Sutra,

I just wanted to ask if maybe you could tell me what’s wrong with me; every time I have sex with my boyfriend I can’t climax.  I can have them on my own… just not with him. Help! I can’t orgasm, and I’m really starting to wonder what’s wrong with me?


What you’re facing is unfortunately very common.  So let me first just put it out there that there’s nothing wrong with you and it’s not any ones fault. Most women have had at least one (if not a handful) of occasions where they aren’t able to climax with their partner, men too. It’s normal, natural, and nothing to be embarrassed by. It’s just part of being sexually active.

Before I offer any suggestions, I’m going to throw out a few scenarios as I find it can be helpful to think outside the box when addressing issues like this.

Solo Sex vs Coupled Sex

You said you can come on your own, but not with him, maybe it’s a case of nerves, maybe you don’t feel totally relaxed, maybe you’re scared you’re going to look stupid, either way what you’re going through is pretty common. Let me explain…

When a person climaxes during intercourse it requires being in a position where they’re comfortable, feel safe, and trust the environment, and/or person they’re with, not to mention being comfortable in their own skin and/or the way their body will behave.

Although this isn’t always the case, sometimes our bodies do things we can’t control when we orgasm – convulse, make faces, twitch, say embarrassing stuff, flail, shudder, squirt, scream, shake, tense up, go limp (to name a few) – and no matter how hard we try, we just can’t stop that from happening. Allowing someone to see us ‘out of control’, for lack of a better term, requires vulnerability and courage. Two things that can be very hard to muster up when we already feel exposed.

When we masturbate, things are usually quite different; most people ensure they’re in a place where no interruptions can happen, that they’re secure, and the worries they have are limited; they aren’t scared someone else will get soaked if the squirt, that they’ll be laughed at for the look on their face/something they do or say in the heat of the moment, or that they’ll be judged for they way their naked body looks. Basically, there’s limited to no risk of embarrassment when masturbating, allowing us to let go completely, which definitely helps with achieving an orgasm.

Throw another person into the mix all sorts of embarrassing situations present themselves.  Often times we’re not even conscious of this and enter into sexual relations unaware, only to end up disappointed.  This isn’t to say that we’re not comfortable with our partner(s) or that we don’t love him/her.  It has more to do with the conscious/unconscious state of being and the willingness to share a very intimate and personal experience.

One thing I’ve come to learn from most women is that once they have had a self induced orgasm in front of their partner where nothing “bad” happened, they are better able to achieve an orgasms with them next time around.

With that in mind, I suggest you take a night where you both masturbate for each other. I’m serious. Relax and allow yourself to have an orgasm in front of him. Try not to be embarrassed or afraid to let go. Don’t rush, take as long as you need.  Do it for you and you alone. Use whatever toy you feel works best and that you love to personally play with. If it helps, just pretend that he isn’t even there. Sit him in a corner by himself in the shadows and do all of the things you would normally do for yourself. Whether it’s lighting candles, playing music, fantasizing about a male/female you are attracted to or putting on your pajamas. What ever you do when you are by yourself, do that.

I know it’s probably a scary, overwhelming, intimidating, and bizarre idea to throw out there, but if you trust your partner, self, and want to get past any issues you might be having it’s worth trying. What’s the worst that can happen? …you’ll have an orgasm, might do something embarrassing, he’ll make you feel better about it, and the next time you’ll both know what to expect. No biggie. Trust me, if he loves you and wants to see you happy, he’ll do whatever it takes to make you feel comfortable in your own skin.

Other Suggestions

For as hard or uncomfortable as it might be, talk to your partner about your insecurities and the things that make you feel vulnerable in the moment. If they understand where you’re coming from they may be willing to help you explore and feel confident in your skin.

Try using toys during sex. It is VERY common that most women can’t achieve an orgasm without the clitoral stimulation that a penis can not provide. By introducing toys during sex you create the much needed stimulation of the clitoris.

You also might want to look for a more powerful vibrator like the Hitachi Magic Wand as it may be “harder” for you to reach the level of arousal you need from clitoral stimulation to achieve an orgasm. Keep in mind that not everyone is built the same, so what might take one woman 1 minute of stimulation to reach an orgasm might take another 10 minutes, a half an hour, or even longer.

When it comes to sex there are certain “levels” within the a persons Sexual Response Cycle that need to be reached in order to achieve an orgasm. You may want to watch my video on the subject in order to learn more about your body and the way it’s reacting, so that you can understand what’s happening and hopefully figure out what you specifically need to do.

Finally, stop trying. One of the main problems that people face when achieving an orgasm is that they forget to relax and enjoy it. They stress themselves out about and end up not being able to allow it to happen naturally. Remember, sex is supposed to be fun not stressful.

It may take more then one go at it, but with time if you are able to relax enough to let go and surrender to that primal part of yourself, you should be able to reach an orgasm.  Enjoy it!

hope that helped


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