I Can't Get Off, So How Can I Cool Down?
August 26, 2008 5:49 AM   Subscribe

A problem with female masturbation.

I'm a 26 year old woman and I can't masturbate to orgasm. Doesn't happen. With a partner, there's no problem at all. But on my own? There's no release. Let's just take it as given that I can't come from masturbation. Maybe some other day I'll try to fix that but for now it's just a limitation.

I still like to masturbate, though. The problem is that, without any release, I can't find any comfortable way to stop masturbating. After some time, I just want to stop but my body wants me to keep going and going until I'm sore, stiff, sticky, and sweaty in all the bad ways. It's like an itch I can't scratch.

I want to masturbate, even though I can't orgasm. I also want to be able to stop masturbating comfortably when I get tired with it. So what can get me to calm down, physically, after I've done it as much as I want?

The cliche for guys is to take a cold shower. What could help me get my body to stop itching for more?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Have you tried taking a cold shower? Or try sublimating that energy into something else, probably something creative.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:59 AM on August 26, 2008

Perhaps you could try a few different "toys" to help you take it 1 step further? Maybe with the help of one of the toys you could reach climax?
posted by Hellafiles at 6:08 AM on August 26, 2008

Masturbating without climax is as unsatisfying as leaving a movie halfway through, so I imagine what you're after is physical (neurochemical, as it were) closure. I guess your "itch" should take care of itself precisely after orgasm--I mean, you don't hanker for more after sex, probably.

So with that in mind, there are only two possible issues that I can think of: technique or psychology. Since you can get orgasm with a partner, it may not be the latter, but who knows? There are plenty of methods you can find online, so have you tried any of those? I suppose some women get off on using toys as well.

If you just want to plain stop, well, discover a distraction that's stronger than the itch, I suppose. (But not eating. Eating as a cover-up habit is very bad.)
posted by Ky at 6:11 AM on August 26, 2008

Hitachi Magic Wand. Sure, it's big, loud, and plugs in. But I've never ever seen it not work.
posted by LucretiusJones at 6:17 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

She's stipulated that how to get off isn't what she's asking peeps...

That said I have no idea, maybe phase out from the actual action to moving into self massage of the rest of your body? Could be nice and relaxing and take the edge off?
posted by Iteki at 7:01 AM on August 26, 2008

Seconding LucretiusJones.

The Hitachi Magic Wand is such a life-changer for many women, that the employees of our company have chosen to make a living distributing/supporting that one product. (for more info, see the web site in our profile)
posted by MagicWandShop at 7:14 AM on August 26, 2008

Alarm clock or timer. Give yourself a specific amount of time for self-love. When the timer goes off, get up and take a shower. Move on to some other activity.
posted by hworth at 7:15 AM on August 26, 2008

Since you're capable of getting off with a partner, it's likely that you can do it on your own and just haven't found the right stuff to do it with. I recommend trying out lots and lots and lots of different toys. (Also your showerhead, if it's compatible for batin', because it's free.) This is best if you have a bit of disposable income and a quality female-friendly sex store nearby.

Sex toys are the ultimate in YMMV, but generally the more speeds you can find in a vibrator, the better chance you have that it'll work. The Hitachi Magic Wand, the Rabbit Habit, the Pocket Missile, and some of those cheaper bullet-style vibes are all different but all good. Having something stationary inside you might give you the additional push over the edge you need; Tantus and Vixen Creations (I think... but I'm not in a safe place to go googling for 'em right now) make great silicone toys.

You're more interested in "cooling down" though... it might help if you mentioned what you typically do afterwards. A relax-then-distract approach could work. Laying still and clearing your mind, meditating, taking a warm bath, or reading a book might help. Alternately, you could try going slower with a lighter touch and see if that's less physically taxing or easier to come down from.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:35 AM on August 26, 2008

Please do not go the route of the Hitachi, unless you'd like to change the fact that with a partner you CAN get off.
posted by eas98 at 7:41 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Simple question: are you fantasizing? Don't make it a straight physical activity, imagine your hand is someone else, think about what turns you on, etc.
posted by lubujackson at 7:44 AM on August 26, 2008

Ah, since this is a "how to deal with not getting off" question-- violent exercise can work pretty well. It's not a wind-down, though, so much as a siphon-off-of energy.

Distraction, exercise, or physical shock (the cold shower approach) is the only thing that's worked for me (male, your mileage will definitely vary).
posted by LucretiusJones at 8:04 AM on August 26, 2008

Please do not go the route of the Hitachi, unless you'd like to change the fact that with a partner you CAN get off.

I've only heard of problems with this for women who started off having orgasms through artificial masturbatory methods, and even then it's not guaranteed. I got through puberty with a detachable showerhead (which I would highly recommend to the OP) and now use a rabbit vibe, and have absolutely no problems getting off with a partner. I don't masturbate manually because it takes forever and I don't have the time for that. I'd really, really recommend that the OP tries artificial means if she's not already--because I sort of doubt that anything's--exercise, showers, whatever--going to satisfy her like an orgasm will.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:30 AM on August 26, 2008

Distraction? Try masturbating while reading something not generally erotic?
posted by QIbHom at 9:05 AM on August 26, 2008

Incorporate deep, full breath into your self-pleasuring, and end by taking three deep breaths.

With the last inhale, clench all the muscles in your body and hold your breath. Especially clench your PC muscle, your abs, your leg muscles to the point that you lift your pelvis up off the bed.

Hold this for at least 30 seconds. When you release your breath, relax all the muscles in your body.

This technique (called the "Big Draw" and popularized by the Body Electric School) can result in a mind-blowing full-body rush that many folks find way more intense and satisfying than genital-only orgasms.
posted by ottereroticist at 9:22 AM on August 26, 2008 [5 favorites]

One of the consequences of arousal in both women and men is called Vasocongestion. It's the cause of blueballs and probably your lingering "itch". The cold shower may be a good remedy but maybe not the best. Since the increase in blood flow is localized perhaps applying ice or a cold pack to the region would help as a cool down for your session and help remove the blood that has pooled, avoiding the itch.

I think you would be best served by solving your masturbation problem instead of finding a stopgap. It's not clear from your question but if you can masturbate to orgasm with a partner present then there is clearly a mental roadblock. If you can only orgasm through penetration with a partner then you should try to recreate the sensations when alone through the use of toys. In the end it may be that you just can't relax and a hands off technique and a healthy dose of imagination might pull you through.
posted by robofunk at 9:42 AM on August 26, 2008

I hate the idea of a girl (or a guy, for that matter) wanting to quash her sex drive. It's a wonderful part of you; I hope you can find a way to work with it, rather than against it. Sorry I can't answer the question posed, but here are some possible "work-arounds":

- Ideally, find yourself a boy and abuse the privilege.
- Are you taking any SSRIs? (e.g., Lexapro, Paxil, etc.) They can make it harder to come. (Apparantly, Wellbutrin can help!)
- Trying reading erotic literature or watching porn to heighten the fantasy.
- Try various toys. "Rabbit" vibrators have gotten great reviews in my personal circle.

Oh, and FWIW, cold showers don't work worth a shit.
posted by LordSludge at 10:38 AM on August 26, 2008

I don't think you should give up on reaching orgasm through masturbation.


I say this as someone who can't get off unless I'm with my partner or using a toy. I still have the same problem as you from time to time, but I dunno, I'm able to shake off the blue clit by simply getting up and walking around. It might ache a bit but it goes away.

It took me a long time to realize that fingers alone cannot make me come. Using toys can.

This discovery hasn't changed the sex life I share with my partner--at least not negatively. What it has done is allow me to find new ways to orgasm, which my partner can now help me with when we're under the sheets. That's a plus in my books.

I'm at work so I can't look into it, but if I remember correctly from my human sexuality class, it is possible for you to become so accustomed to getting off a certain way (in your case, sex with a partner) that it becomes seemingly next to impossible to reach orgasm any other way. As a personal example, girl-on-top was the only method that worked for me for the longest time. But you can "re-train" yourself. I was able to do so. There's plenty of helpful female sexuality books out there that can help. If I find any useful resources at home I'll post them here.

Another thought is to see a sex therapist. They'll definitely have more resources and options for you, and they can help you guidance with the "re-training" process. If females are capable of orgasm through mental thought alone, then I say it's not your sex parts that are the problem, it's some sort of mental block that you'll have to fight through. Therapy can do wonders for mental blocks of any kind, including sexual.
posted by Menomena at 1:31 PM on August 26, 2008

You're not alone here and it's only a problem if it's a problem for you, despite some comments here urging you to "fix" yourself. Seconding "Big Draw" or ice pack. Alternatively, try mental exercises/thoughts of anything very distracting or annoying (political figures, maybe? irritating boss?) to thoroughly redirect your attention away from sensual pleasure. Personally, I just eventually get annoyed with the process and then I'm done.
posted by notashroom at 1:33 PM on August 26, 2008

Vigorous exercise of another sort usually works wonders as distraction and to get the blood flow headed away from the genitals: weightlifting, walking, running.
posted by tejolote at 3:36 PM on August 26, 2008

Definitely heavy exercise. That energy's gotta go somewhere.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:41 PM on August 26, 2008

Actually, there's an answer right in my own non-response -- albeit a bad one: Start taking SSRIs.
posted by LordSludge at 7:14 PM on August 26, 2008

There is more than one issue, right?

- Can't make myself reach orgasm singlehandedly
- What to do when I keep trying and I need to find a get-off-the-getting-off point

If you have regular access to a partner, you could try incorporating masturbatory play into what you two do together. Worst case scenario, if you get worn out you have the partner join in to relieve you, and because you already know that things work fine when your partner is involved, you'll get an orgasm. But thinking optimistically, you and your partner may discover that watching one another masturbate is a mutual turn-on and the more you stimulate yourself in your partner's presence you'll get more practiced at knowing exactly where to put this thing to get that oh-god-yes effect. Same for partner too.

If you're masturbating and just can't get to a climax state, it's okay (I mean, as okay as two hours you're never getting back are going to be). Slow it down a little, stroke your arms, legs, butt, and whatever other body parts that tend to be neglected, find a visual image that makes you feel soft calm woozy happy centered. Thank your body for giving you the opportunity to have some quality one-on-one time with it. Try not to get pissed off at yourself because that will only further perpetuate the can't-make-myself-climax cycle. What do you usually do for self comfort? For me it'd be taking a hot shower or eating some fruit, or curling up in my jammies with a good book. Or call your partner and tell her/him about some part of your solo session that did turn you on, even if only briefly.

BTW, I have mixed results with the Magic Wand. Some days, ow. Some days, wow.
posted by mcbeth at 11:32 PM on August 26, 2008

I'm in the camp of "Yes We Can Get Off Solo." I struggle sometimes. Have you tried....

GIANT DILDO + vibrator?

Try it, sweetie, please?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:10 AM on August 30, 2008

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