Style Sex & Relationships

Wednesday 17 September 2014

My girlfriend loves sex, but she has never had an orgasm

Dear Mary

Published 20/07/2014 | 00:00

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Illustration: Tom Halliday

My girlfriend of four years has never come during sex with me, or with anyone else. She loves sex and gets really turned on, but there is no end point for her. She
 says that she doesn't mind because she has never in her life had an orgasm.

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Is it normal for some girls, or could it be something physical or even psychological? It is not my ego speaking - I just want her to experience this. We have had lots of fun sexually over the years and I would love if she could have this as well.

Mary replies: There is no physical reason why a woman cannot have an orgasm, although some women have far greater difficulty than others in reaching a climax. Traditionally, the emphasis was on the male achieving orgasm during sex, for the simple reason that the very basic aim of intercourse is the procreation of children, and this cannot happen without an ejaculation. Your email is a really good example of how things have changed and particularly how many Irish men have changed. They used to get a bad press and the perception was that all they wanted was to have sex and it didn't matter about the woman's needs or desires. This is certainly not the case nowadays.

Reaching orgasm is all about letting go of control, and this concept can be a little frightening. Because of this, it is usually better if the woman can learn about her own body and responses without a partner to begin with, so that she can know what it is that gives her pleasure and ultimately brings her to orgasm.

For many women, this happens without even trying, as in adolescence they begin to experiment and find that a particular touch or movement will bring about very satisfying results. This is natural and good, and also takes away any element of having to get it right when they are with a partner - they already know what they like and are able to pass this on to their partner.

This has not happened with your girlfriend and it doesn't seem to bother her, but you would like her to have the icing on the cake, sexually speaking. If she were to go to a sex therapist, she would be encouraged to start on a programme of self-exploration, gradually adding a sexual component through fantasy or the written word when doing this. Some women need the added stimulation of a vibrator, and this may also be suggested by the therapist. I hasten to add that all these exercises are done in the privacy of her own home! The thinking is that when she has learned on her own what contributes to her orgasm it will be much easier for her to get there with a partner. However, therapy may not be to her liking, especially as she is happy enough with how things are.

You are very considerate of her, and she might appreciate a book On Becoming Orgasmic, by Heiman and LoPiccolo which will take her through the various stages on the way to orgasm. Then you will have done all that you can and after that I would advise not bringing the subject up again for quite some time. If you keep asking about it this may bring about a certain amount of performance anxiety and she will certainly not be able to let go. 'A watched pot never boils' comes to mind!

And well done again on being so solicitous of your girlfriend's pleasure.

Men run the other way when I show I am interested in them

I am in my late 30s and never had a long-term relationship. The longest was a couple of months and ended because he had a lot of issues, including intimacy
    ones. Unfortunately, I fell head over heels for a man whom I later found out was married, which left me devastated and I am still recovering from that.

I didn't recognize myself when I was with either of them. I felt so much for them that when I look back I know that I let them away with so much, be it their behaviour or words. I have had counselling, but I know it is up to me to help myself to live in the present, and not the past. The thing is, I have made so many attempts, trying to meet new friends or a man, but every time something happens to ruin it and my efforts are then in vain.

Overall I keep having the same problem again and again! I seem to have no problem attracting men - boy, do I hear how they are attracted to me! I have met men through friends, study programmes and only recently went speed dating.

The thing is, when I let them know I'm interested (I know the right balance) I get blanked. Even my flirty messages are dismissed! They turn icy cold and I never hear from them again.

What's ironic is the fact they seem so into me at the start, even before I am sure if I like them or not. I seem to fall into the same pattern again and again, attracting and being attracted to men that have this mind-set.

I have heard a lot of men like a confident woman who knows what she wants, so please tell me where I am going wrong. I would love it if a man even made an effort for God's sake! Shouldn't a man be happy even if a woman that they are attracted to shows them interest?

I know I deserve to be happy and I have so much to give someone if they just took that chance with me.

Mary replies: Of course you deserve to be happy, and I admire you for continuing on your search for the right man. You have had quite a few setbacks, particularly when you trusted a man enough to fall madly in love with him and then discovered he was married. This must have caused you to doubt your own judgment, and will certainly make you less likely to trust somebody in future. Overall, your problem seems to be that as soon as men realise that you are interested in them they run in the other direction.

You say that you are aware how to get the balance right, but I'm not so sure that you do. There is a very fine line between letting a man know that you are interested in him and coming on too strongly, particularly at the early stages of a relationship. I know that what you are trying to do is to have a fairly equal partnership, but yet men in general still like to be the pursuer and if the woman is too available there is not then any semblance of a chase. Somebody once said that they had chased their man until he caught them, and this explains the subtlety of it all very well.

Of course a man likes to know that you are attracted to him and that you are interested but perhaps this is all happening too early in your case. You are sometimes not even sure if you are attracted to them at the beginning - when they are paying you all the compliments and telling you how much they fancy you - so go with your gut and don't make any comment on how you feel, or send any flirty texts until you are sure of those feelings. Being less available than perhaps you have been in the past is not a bad thing, and then when you do go on the date you can let them see that you really enjoy their company if and when you do.

This all probably sounds like a game to you and indeed it is - the dating game. Don't be disheartened. You have had some bad experiences but if you change your approach a little and let the men do the running for a little longer, I am sure you'll find a partner who will appreciate the many things you can bring to a relationship.

Sunday Independent

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