Hi, my name is Forrest and I have anorgasmia.
I had a boyfriend for years during high school and like many horny teenagers with not enough to do we had sex pretty much constantly. It was summer time and we were spending almost every day together and he couldn’t keep his hands off me. I have to give him credit. He knew, after the hundreds of times we had sex, that I had never had an orgasm. For me, at the time at least, it was my version of normal. You can’t miss what you’ve never had right? I honestly can’t imagine how he must have felt though as my partner. He was having multiple orgasms a day and I hadn’t had a single one. At one point we were lying in his bed one afternoon, his parents weren’t home and we had just finished having sex.
“You’ve probably been cumming this entire time and you just don’t realize it.”
“You’re probably right.”
I didn’t even think about saying it. I just knew that my lack of orgasms had become a point of contention in our relationship. I knew that as a man, a huge part of his identity and sense of masculinity was tied up in pleasing me, his woman, and he was obviously measuring my enjoyment in orgasms. I think we both knew that it was bullshit, but it was easier for both of us to just allow him to believe that the problem wasn’t his capabilities as a lover, the problem was that I just didn’t know myself, or maybe I just couldn’t have them. Like if I could, how had it not happened yet?
I loved him, I was having fun, and although looking back I think our sex life could have drastically been improved had we used a lubricant, I don’t harbor any resentment over the fact that I never had an orgasm with him. I really didn’t know my body at the time; I had not spent any amount of time on self-exploration. He had never been with anyone else and all he had to go off of was porn – and guess what – porn isn’t real. If you are feeling bad or your partner is making you feel like something is wrong with you because you don’t start shuddering and gasping for air 5 seconds after they start touching you, you are having wildly unrealistic expectations.
I masturbated for the first time when I was 19. The high school bf and I had broken up and I had hooked up with a few other people. Those experiences were really fun, and I don’t want to take away from that at all. At that point though I was really starting to think something was wrong with me. Sex was fun and it felt good so where was this mind-blowing climax that everyone else was talking about? Anyway. My roommate was asleep like 8 feet away from me. I couldn’t sleep and I just decided to do it. I shoved my hand down my panties and went to work. To say I had no freaking clue what I was doing would be an understatement, but I’ve never been a quitter. It happened. The best way I can describe it is that I didn’t move my hands around my clitoris. I pressed down, pretty hard, on my clitoris and wiggled it around. It was a completely underwhelming and fleeting feeling, but that shit actually happened. After years of thinking I just couldn’t have an orgasm and that I would never had one, it freaking happened. It wasn’t sexy or romantic, but it happened and now I knew that there wasn’t anything wrong with me. I could have an orgasm; I just had to work for it, like really work, like 20 minutes of work hitting just the right spot. To be totally clear here, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with you if you have masturbated and still haven’t had an orgasm. My problem was that I was under the impression that I think a lot of people are in that I expected to be able to get there from penetrative sex, and my partners and I had basically completely been ignoring my clitoris.
I’ve had a lot of sex with a lot of partners since I was 19. I’ve also masturbated A LOT both manually, and over the last couple years with vibrators. I’ve still never had an orgasm with a partner, and I’d say my success rate with masturbation is probably like 9 out of 10. Sometimes my hand cramps up or I just start to go numb and I give up. It turns out I have situational anorgasmia. There are actually three other types as defined by the Mayo Clinic and if you think you or your partner may be suffering from anorgasmia I would encourage you to check out what they have to say and I’ll include the link along with a few others I have found helpful below. I am not ignoring the fact that there are many types and many reasons that one may have difficulty reaching orgasms, but for the time being I can only speak from my personal experiences.
I don’t think that my problem is that I can’t physically have an orgasm with a partner. I had one situation where my partner was stimulating my clitoris digitally and I was getting extremely close. I told him,
“Just like that, I’m getting close.”
He of course immediately started doing something completely different and the sensation of build up completely disappeared. I’ve also been in situations where I was using a toy or having my partner use a toy on me during sex and I was definitely on my way, but didn’t get there because they finished first and then everything just stopped. In these situations I think learning how to communicate with your partner properly is essential. They need to listen to you and know that when you say just like that it means just like that, it doesn’t mean go harder or faster. I’ve also learned that you can’t keep doing the same thing and then be upset when it never or rarely leads to a climax. Most women cannot have an orgasm from penetration alone and not enough people talk about that.
Not having orgasms with my previous partners has become so normal to me that in in many cases I don’t even want them to try to get me off. Why would you let someone spend the time and effort mixing up the ingredients for a cake if no one has been able to get the oven to work for the last 10 years? In some aspects it has made things really difficult for me. It has made me feel embarrassed when I’ve told partners in the past that I’ve never had an orgasm with a partner. I’ve felt inadequate because my partner isn’t going to get to feel that rush of adrenaline and satisfaction that I get to feel every time I’m the reason they had an orgasm. I have had partners ask me why I even have any interest in sex if I’m “not getting anything out of it” as if having an orgasm has to be the only goal or purpose behind having sex. I think the absolute worst feeling that I’ve had is when I share this with a potential partner, and they immediately interpret getting me off as some kind of challenge or trophy to be obtained. It’s weird how many men in their 20s and 30s think that your problem is that you just haven’t had sex with them yet. Speaking from experience, if you have a history of difficulty reaching an orgasm with all of your previous partners and potential partner hears you say that and immediately starts acting like they must be the answer to your prayers, because they are definitely going to make you cum, run away.
I think the biggest thing I have learned as someone who has above average difficulty reaching orgasms is that not only are you allowed to ask for what you want, it’s your responsibility to. If you need your partner to go down on you, tell them. If you need to digitally stimulate your clitoris or want them to do it during or before sex in order for you to have an orgasm, you need to say it. You aren’t helping anyone by staying silent and you have to empower yourself to take responsibility of your own orgasms. Sex doesn’t have to stop when your partner orgasms and it doesn’t have to start with them penetrating you. You are allowed to ask for your partner to do what works for you first, before you start having sex, or for him to work on delaying his own orgasm until after you’ve had yours.
At the end of the day I’m not here to give you advice that you’ve already heard a million times. I’m not going to tell you to masturbate more or drink a glass of wine before you plan on being intimate. I’m just here to tell you that anorgasmia is multifactorial, and if you aren’t having orgasms there is nothing wrong with you and you definitely aren’t alone. My only advice is to reflect on your situation. If you haven’t already you absolutely do need to spend time by yourself getting to know your own body, and I can definitely recommend a toy or eight that could help you out. If you’re like me and can’t have orgasms with your partner or partners, communicating with your partner is huge and you have to start asking for what you know works. Whatever your situation might be, you have a friend who cares about you and is happy to listen.
Let’s talk about anorgasmia.
Your Aspiring Sex Therapist,