Why can't my partner have an orgasm? Questions and answers in relationships
In a relationship, there can be many unsaid questions when it comes to sex and the body. Maybe it feels shameful to talk about, maybe you feel like you're doing something wrong? In this guide, you can read some typical questions and concerns you may have in relationships and get advice on how you can improve communication with your partner(s).
Whether you or your partner(s) initiate a conversation about your relationship, sex, the body, or the like, the most important thing you can do is put your own ego aside. Many find that talking about sex, even with their partner(s), can be uncomfortable and difficult. If you react negatively or start getting defensive, it can be even harder to start the conversation again. Instead of taking the conversation as a sign that your sex life is in a crisis or that the relationship is over, you must see it as a starting point to learn more about your sexuality and theirs.
"I have a hard time getting wet"
When you get wet, the vagina creates natural lubrication. It typically happens when you are turned on, but not necessarily. Most people with a vulva find that at some point when having sex, they don't get wet or don't get "wet enough". There can be many reasons for this, and if your partner doesn't get wet, it's does not necessarily mean that you're doing something that doesn't turn the other one on. When you are stressed, nervous or tired, it can affect how wet you get. Some people stress about getting wet, and for that very reason don't get wet.
When taking certain medications, such as SSRIs for depression or birth control containing hormones, it can also affect your body's production of natural lubrication.
Whether it's due to medication, stress, menopause, or something else entirely, it's normal to not get wet during sex. But it can still be difficult to talk about, especially because so many people associate being wet with being turned on, and if you're not wet, you're not turned on. If your partner doesn't get wet when you have sex, you can try to emphasize that even though you know that being wet is not necessarily related to being turned on, maybe you can do something different? Meeting them with an understanding attitude and not accusations can make communication easier and more pleasant for both of you. Be ready to listen and learn new things, and feel free to ask questions for clarification.
The same advice for starting the conversation also applies to the other questions, which will be reviewed shortly.
If you experience not getting with your partner(s), you can try to explain that it's not related to what they are doing (unless of course what they're doing is not nice, that's another conversation). Maybe you're taking birth control pills, maybe you're stressed, there can be many explanations, but you can emphasize that the explanation is not that they are doing something wrong. Also, remember that the "solution" to not getting completely wet is extremely simple: lube! Lube reduces friction and makes penetration more comfortable for both of you if there isn't enough natural fluid - there's nothing wrong with using lube, and you should never see it as a problem if a little extra fluid is needed.
"I have trouble getting an erection"
Just as many people associate being wet with being turned on, for people with a penis we associate an erection with being turned on - but again, there is not necessarily a connection. The explanations for why you may have difficulty getting an erection can also be the same as for why people with a vulva don't get wet; stress, nervousness, certain medications, etc.
If you experience problems getting or maintaining an erection, you can try a penis ring. Penis rings work by inhibiting the blood circulation, which means that blood is retained in the penis. The means that the penis stays erect, and at the same time it can also intensify an orgasm. Penis rings are typically made of elastic silicone, and can be vibrating or non-vibrating. This adjustable penis ring is perfect for beginners who just want to try it out and get used to the feeling of a penis ring.
Also, remember that sex doesn't have to include penetration. If you or your partner(s) experience difficulty getting an erection, you could also use the opportunity to slow down and focus on the sensual. In our guide to partner massage, you can get good advice to get started exploring each other's bodies. You can also focus more on the sensual, for which you can get more advice and tips in our guide here.
"I'm coming too fast"
While some people with a penis have trouble maintaining or getting an erection, others have trouble with climaxing before they are ready. Coming quickly isn't a problem in itself, but if you climax before you want to or feel like you have no control over it, it can be a source of insecurity. Remember that there is nothing shameful or wrong about coming fast. It can be a little frustrating, but there are several things you can try:
Again, penis rings can be a solution, as they can help strengthen stamina. Although it sounds impractical, you can also try taking a break if the person with the penis feels like they are about to come. You can take a break from penetration and try other things, like maybe use the Pawny vibrator on each other. You can also completely take a break from sex and do something else; drink a glass of water, eat a little snack, watch a movie. It can feel a bit strange if you're not used to it, and even as if you are doing something wrong. But it's not wrong to take a break and start again when and if you feel ready.
Pelvic floor exercises can also help strengthen the ability to control climax. Many people associate pelvic floor exercises with something only people with a vulva can do, but actually, it's something anyone can do (and benefit greatly from). You can train the pelvic floor by lying on your back and squeezing the area around the anus for 5-10 seconds out with 10-20 reps. There are several ways you can tell if you are squeezing correctly:
- When you squeeze, avoid tensing your stomach, buttocks or thighs. You should also not hold your breath when squeezing.
- Place a few fingers on the perineum (the area between the scrotum and the anus), press the fingers slightly upwards and simultaneously squeeze; if the area gets hard and flexed, you're pinching correctly.
- If the root of the penis tilts when you pinch, you are pinching correctly.
Also, remember that sex doesn't have to end just because one partner has climaxed! Sex is what you make it, can look and be however you want and ends when you decide it.
"I have difficulty getting an orgasm // I can't have an orgasm"
If you or your partner(s) can't or have difficulty getting an orgasm during sex, there are several different things you can consider and keep in mind: First of all, an orgasm does not have to be the goal of sex! It can create performance anxiety if the orgasm is the focal point of sex, and it can also be the reason why the orgasm does not occur at all.
If you still want to climax with your partner, that is also totally understandable - orgasms can, amongst other things, improve your physical and mental state.
If at the beginning of the relationship you or they could climax when you're together, but now can't, you can consider; was there a certain experience, an argument or something else that could have affected your intimacy and relationship with sex? If there is, it can help to talk about it, even if it's uncomfortable. If it's unmanageable alone or you lack the language to talk about it, it can be helpful to seek a therapist or the like who can help you get started.
Also remember that your partner(s) lack of orgasm is not necessarily an expression that you are doing something wrong. Many people with vulvas need more than penetration to have an orgasm, and sometimes the solution can be to bring sex toys into your sex life. Sex toys are not a replacement of you as a partner, or an expression that you're having bad sex - it is a tool that can bring you closer. There are many sex toys made especially for partner sex, for example the Double Love vibrator from Satisfyer.
Experiment with what you like and talk honestly about it - maybe you'll discover something new about yourself or your partner(s). A little fun fact is that you are more likely to have an orgasm if you keep your socks on. A study from the University of Groningen showed that 80% had an orgasm with socks on, compared to 50% without socks. It's not a miracle solution, and you shouldn't count on suddenly having an orgasm - but you can always try keeping your socks on next time, if you aren't already.