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Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011

Silent Scream: When Orgasms Don't Make Any Noise, Part 2

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I have been dating my girlfriend for about 10 months. We are very much in love, and we have a very active sex life. We are both 22. She has had many, many relationships in the past, both serious and casual, and swears that she was able to orgasm from vaginal intercourse for almost all of them. With me, however, this has never happened. She says that it stopped when her second-to-last serious boyfriend cheated on her. (By the way, manual and oral stimulation still work.)

First question: Is such a thing possible? She seems to be very much over him, so I don't know why that emotional response would still be an issue. The second question is more complicated. She tells me that she in fact *has* orgasmed from vaginal intercourse since then, first with some rebound, and then doing bondage play. Then there was her most recent boyfriend before me, with whom nothing happened, and me, with whom nothing is happening. Is it possible that the reason that I and the last boyfriend couldn't get her off is something to do with us? Perhaps I simply don't turn her on? Or am I simply not that good in bed? Or she's not actually comfortable with me? She denies these propositions. Is there any other possible explanation? And can this be fixed?


Last week, I answered a similar question from a man with female partners that was, in essence, the same as this one—the primary issue being that a partner's orgasms, for some reason, did not match up to their expectations. As I noted in last week's column, this type of confusion and/or concern is not uncommon at all for men of all ages and experience levels.

Female orgasms are elusive creatures sometimes. Women's capacity to respond to different types of sexual stimulation does change over time, and is often linked closely to their emotional and mental states. In addition, the majority of women (about three-quarters) do not have orgasms from vaginal penetration alone; they need some kind of clitoral stimulation in order to have an orgasm.

Some people believe that orgasms that occur through vaginal penetration are actually caused by clitoral stimulation, such as the penis/dildo/other penetrating object rubbing against the external clitoral glans (head) or indirectly tugging on the hood or the crura (“legs”) of the clitoris, which are internal and run along either side of the vagina, following the path of the outer labia or vaginal lips. Others think that “vaginal orgasms” are caused by stimulation of the G-spot, which you can read more about in this previous column [http://www.expressmilwaukee.com/article-11282-do-all-women-have-a-g-spot-.html]. G-spot stimulation or indirect clitoral stimulation varies greatly depending on individual people's bodies and the positions used during sex. If you want to consciously try to stimulate the clitoris or the G-spot during vaginal penetration, being aware of the placement and position of your bodies in relation to these organs might help with achieving orgasm.

That said, I don't think that there's anything "wrong" with you or that your partner is not attracted to you. I suggest that instead of focusing on what's *not* working, you instead turn your attention to what you both like and enjoy. There's a myth in our culture that orgasm through vaginal intercourse is the only "right" way to have an orgasm. This is not true, and this myth has caused a lot of unnecessary anxiety, such as what you're experiencing now. If your partner is happy with the orgasms she's having with you through oral and manual stimulation, then an absence of vaginal orgasms need not be a concern.

For many women, the quickest way to chase an orgasm away is to worry about whether or not it's going to happen or feel pressure from a partner to have an orgasm a certain way. Paradoxically, if you stop focusing on this issue, it's more likely that she may experience an orgasm through vaginal intercourse sometime in the future. Have fun experimenting (maybe bondage is something you want to try, since that seemed related to vaginal orgasm in the past?), but don't be too goal-oriented.

Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXpress? Send them to laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.


Laura Anne Stuart has a master's degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than a decade. She owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee's East Side.

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