"How to get an orgasm to work in my pants?"
October 27, 2009 7:56 AM   Subscribe

I'm a mid-20s male, I'm having orgasm problems and I desperately need to do something about it. Any advice would be gratefully received!

Thanks for clicking through!

I have a long-standing problem of finding it extremely difficult to orgasm during any sort of sexual play. I've recently (and improbably!) started dating The Most Beautiful Girl In The World, and I'm terrified that it'll ruin our relationship.

I'm a mid-20s male, very skinny but not unhealthily so, with plenty of energy, who eats well and takes absolutely no medication. I'm certainly sensitive down there. I have purposefully been avoiding masturbation for several weeks. At this point I'm confused, and think there might been some psychological issues, and would really appreciate some advice.

What's that? You want way too much background info? Sure thing!:
I was in a 6 year long relationship that was the first time for anything sexual for both my ex-girlfriend and me. We had both masturbated frequently and then found that it took an immense amount of effort for either of us to reach orgasm when together. It was, however, possible, especially if we involved sex toys for her and were willing to be very patient for me. Due to this, our sex life was infrequent, though we remained very comfortable with each other's bodies. She then went through a period of change in her personal life and became unwilling to have sex for a period of about 2 years. During this I waited patiently, fulfilling myself through masturbation. Even past this point, sex was incredibly infrequent and often unsatisfying. I found myself finding her unattractive and considering ending the relationship. I still tried to initiate sex, but was usually rebuffed, though she usually showered me with apologies and confusion at lack of libido. During the last three years of the relationship, I frequently tried to seek couples therapy, but she wouldn't acquiesce. Finally, she ended up cheating on me with a random stranger that she met at a bar, citing that "she was frustrated at our lack of a sex life." The mind boggles. That was the end of our relationship.

Several months later, I have started dating the aforementioned Most Beautiful Girl In The World (seriously, she's loveliness personified, in every aspect) and am overcome with glee. I anticipated that I might have orgasm problems, and intentionally have gone completely cold turkey on masturbation for several weeks. Our sex life is, so far, fantastic. She's (bizarrely) very attracted to me, I'm obviously attracted to her, we both have well-matched libidos, I push her buttons with joyful, joyful ease and... I still can't reach an orgasm.

We've tried penetrative sex in a variety of positions, she has given me some absolutely mind-blowing oral sex, and there's still nothing. I remain hard, and even feel like I'm approaching orgasm. When I'm on the cusp (which takes a while itself), instead of going over the edge and ejaculating, I find myself almost pushing through it, after which the feeling dies down somewhat. There's no loss of erection, and I'm able to comfortably continue having sex.

It's obviously extremely beneficial to her, but she has expressed anxiety at not being able to please me. That's not true, as it's been feeling amazing, and I have told her the above, though not the gory details of my previous relationship. She's been very supportive and loving, but I fear that at this early stage in our relationship, it could ruin our chances of staying together.

I did once have trouble achieve an erection, but I was rather drunk, and it did come, though slowly. I presume I'm still able to achieve orgasm through masturbation, though I'm unwilling to try for fear of numbing myself in any way.

Unfortunately, I'm living hand-to-mouth at the moment, so I have no possibility of seeing a therapist. I do, however, wonder if the problem is psychological in nature, or if there are lesser known physical roots. I should note that I'm in London, in the UK, just in case that's of any help.

I set up a throwaway email account: athrowawayaccountformefi@gmail.com

Thank you for reading this!
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

goodness -- it sounds to me like you are putting A HUGE amount of pressure on yourself to have an orgasm. I have a feeling that that is giving you "performance anxiety," and that that may have an awful lot to do with your difficulty. The fact that you and your former girlfriend also had a difficult time of things may not be helping either.

So often, people fall into the trap of thinking that if you don't have an orgasm, that you're "doing it wrong", as if that is the only point to sex. And sometimes people worry and fret so much about this that it makes them too nervous TO have an orgasm. It's as if they're afraid that there's a Sex Police that are going to come in and arrest them if they don't have an orgasm.

So take a deep breath -- and take a Zen approach to this. The point of sex is not to have an orgasm - the point is to have fun. If you're having fun, even if you don't have an orgasm, you're doing it right!

I know that it sounds easy to say and that you'd certainly LIKE to have an orgasm -- but right now you're trying too hard. It's kind of like chasing a butterfly sometimes -- if you actively go in pursuit of it it will elude you, but the second you sit down and stop trying so hard, it often just happens anyway. Try that -- take the focus OFF everyone in the room having an orgasm, or having an orgasm in one specific way (you didn't say whether you've been able to have an orgasm through masturbation -- have you tried masturbating while she watches? Or letting her take things into HER own hands?), and concentrate on just having fun. Even if no one has an orgasm, if you had fun trying to get there, you're still good. Where you are now, putting this much pressure on yourself, is probably hampering you.

Good luck.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:05 AM on October 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

I've had a very, very similar problem in some past relationships and have been able to work through it. I attribute it to issues with my ADHD.

It sounds like masturbation is not an issue, correct? In the cusp where you just wind up pushing through, try externalizing the entire situation - turn it into a masturbatory fantasy, just on that you happen to be actively involved in. Close your eyes, do whatever you need to do to remove yourself from the moment to make it a third person experience. It gathers my focus and lets me orgasm, which brings me right back to the moment.

In short, fantasize in realtime about what you are actively doing.

I hope what I am saying makes sense. It works like a charm for me.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:06 AM on October 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

There are several possible causes for this issue, which sometimes bears the unfortunate name "retarded ejaculation," which means the common, good-intentioned response from people is to assume that any one of these causes is THE cause. I did a lot of "work" on this area in my own life in the past, and fortunately, unlike you, could afford a sex therapist. Most of what I learned, however, came from a book called "Undressing the American Male" by Eva Margolies. She reissued the book later as "Men With Sexual Problems," but it's the same book, I think. The broad, general causes as I recall them are: your head gets in the way of your body having "normal" bodily reactions to stimuli, you've trained your penis to respond to a certain stimulus and partner sex doesn't provide it, you've got a physical problem (unlikely), you've got issues with intimacy generally, you've got issues with women, or you've got issues with sexual preference. Margolies goes through a checklist of things to look for for each possibility as a way of self-diagnosis.
posted by missouri_lawyer at 8:26 AM on October 27, 2009

It sounds as though you have some body-image issues. Culturally we don't hear much about male negative body image, but you made several disparaging remarks about your own appearance in this one post. I'm certain a cheating girlfriend didn't help you love yourself much, either.

It is okay and normal for anyone--even a male!--to feel unattractive at times. What is not okay is when that fleeting feeling becomes as persistent companion and drives other companions away. You don't want to be overcome by a subjective emotion that it seems someone who cares about you does not share!

If this young lady is truly loveliness personified, perhaps you might open up and share with her about your difficulties? Sometimes feeling loved can overcome feeling ugly. In fact, sometimes feeling loved can make us feel beautiful.
posted by jefficator at 8:26 AM on October 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

EmpressCallipygos said pretty much what I would have said. Just to reinforce her message: the orgasm isn't always the terminus of a good sexual encounter. They're nice, when you have them, but you can have completely fulfilling experiences without them as well. Don't put so much pressure on yourself. Enjoy yourself, enjoy the The Most Beautiful Girl In The World, and don't worry so much about, as the pros would put it, the money shot. (Besides, many...many....MANY women, would kill to have a partner who can erm...go the distance, as it were.)
posted by dejah420 at 8:36 AM on October 27, 2009

Everybody has given really good advice, and I'd take it to heart as you feel it matches your situation.

But my simple take is that, even though you mention not masturbating as to not numb yourself, you may be doing some harm by not. Based on my own experience, even though its counter-intuitive, if you have that pent up energy, it may actually make it harder for you to orgasm. I can't tell you why, but it has worked that way for me. Also, if you get to know your own body more familiarly that way, it will help you learn more about what it takes to get you to orgasm. "Saving it" in this instance may be doing more harm than good.

And let me agree with everybody who says focusing on the orgasm, while awesome, shouldn't be the point of sex. This is certainly one of those situations where the journey is the fun part. That said, not being able to get to the end can be incredibly frustrating, and you should be able to enjoy everything to its fullest, especially since you're still young so young. So good luck and try not to psyche yourself out.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:19 AM on October 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have this problem sometimes. From a purely practical standpoint, make sure you pee right before you have sex. Even a partially full bladder can distract you at a crucial point in the buildup to orgasm (by "you" I of course mean me, but it's possible it does have the same effect on you and you haven't consciously noticed). Also try to avoid drinking much beforehand; alcohol generally has a numbing effect on your tactile senses, while at the same time causes an increased awareness of what's in the aforementioned bladder (and possibly just straight up going through you faster).

Finally, I've found that smoking pot can have the opposite effect of alcohol consumption and increases my tactile sensitivity, so if both you and she are okay with such a solution, that might be worth a try. Even if it doesn't increase your sensitivity, it should help your nervousness without the numbness that alcohol brings. Unless you're one of those people who get anxious when you're high, I guess.
posted by Caduceus at 9:20 AM on October 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Vibrator? Prostate/anal massage? Porno if agreeable?
posted by Freedomboy at 9:49 AM on October 27, 2009

I'm dealing with this a bit right now. Similar situation. I didn't touch myself for a couple of weeks because I was having trouble having an orgasm. I've had the problem with other girls, and I'm not sure if it's the love thing this time (never really slept with someone that I really loved before). There's other stuff going on.

Anyway, I let it rip on myself the other day. Then ended up with her that night. And I was like...you know, if I have to finish myself off at the end, that's ok. I just wanted to be in touch with how good everything felt with her, and it did really feel good. In the end I had to finish myself off, and that was a bummer but she was into it and it means a lot that the emotional connection is there. I enjoyed everything and I think it may come around (no pun intended).

So just accept it. You love the girl, that's the important part. It will probably get better but what if it doesn't? You are still having great sex. Who gives a crap?
posted by sully75 at 9:57 AM on October 27, 2009

Finally, I've found that smoking pot can have the opposite effect of alcohol consumption and increases my tactile sensitivity, so if both you and she are okay with such a solution, that might be worth a try.

This is good advice actually.

Also, and not to be the resident hippy on this thread, but try taking some gingko, either as a supplement, tea or tincture. Gingko is known to be good for memory and mental clarity - and that's because it increases blood flow to the brain. It also, however, increases blood flow to your genitals and can make it easier to cum (I know, it sounds like the witch doctor solution, but give it a try, you may be surprised).

And lastly, it sounds as though you may have some sexual baggage/psychological issues to work through. I know when I went through the first major break-up of my life - with the girl I had lost my virginity too and had been with for years - it was hard for me to cum with other people. Not because I wished I were having sex with the ex or anything, but for other, lesser conscious issues.

Oh, and don't pressure yourself too much dude. Try to just enjoy it and not think too much. The semen will flow.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:15 AM on October 27, 2009

So take a deep breath -- and take a Zen approach to this. The point of sex is not to have an orgasm - the point is to have fun. If you're having fun, even if you don't have an orgasm, you're doing it right!

posted by davejay at 10:23 AM on October 27, 2009

Yes the point of sex is not just orgasm. But wouldn't it be nice if things just worked correctly? It caused my girl and myself a ton of anxiety.

Do a search for Traumatic Masturbatory Syndrome. I've been exactly in your boat and when I stumbled upon it, things clicked for me. It's basically where you masturbate face-down or with a grip that's too hard. It still takes work to fix.

For me, I stopped masturbating for 2 weeks. Then I started training myself to respond to the lightest of light touches. This took another two weeks before I orgasmed. I almost did a victory dance when it worked. It helped that the girlfriend was out of town that month. There was no pressure.

It still took months to consistently orgasm in her but at least there was progress. Additionally, if you're circumcised, you might want to consider foreskin restoration.

PM if you have questions.
posted by just.good.enough at 10:36 AM on October 27, 2009

I also want to add that I went to two urologists, one of which said all he could offer me was yohimbine and/or viagra. All the plumbing was fine and there was no nerve damage.

The human brain is mutable and trainable (particularly with sexual matters). Good luck.
posted by just.good.enough at 11:03 AM on October 27, 2009

Jefficator: I didn't read in his statements the body-image issues you detected. He refers to himself as "very skinny, but not unhealthily so," which doesn't seem to contain a negative value judgment to me. And who can't relate to wondering why the "Most Beautiful Girl (or Guy) in the World" is attracted to us? Most of us are, after all, quite average...

But on to the question:

When masturbating, do you fondle your balls? Rub your perineum? Finger your asshole? Do you rub, pinch or otherwise stimulate your nipples? In short, does your self-stimulation include things missing from your vaginal or oral intercourse with your girl? I've slept with guys whose nipples were hard-wired to their cocks--they could practically cum only stimulating them--and could barely cum without it.

If certain forms of stimulation present in your masturbation are missing from intercourse, maybe your girl would enjoy helping out?

I also second the suggestion of your masturbating in front of her. Many women (and men) enjoy watching a guy jerkoff--it's totally hot--and it's illustrative of what makes him feel good. Treat it like a performance designed to turn HER on (not just get you off). And it'll be confidence building for you to finally ejaculate in her presence--to prove you are capable of it. She might just enjoy the show.
posted by ViolaGrinder at 11:07 AM on October 27, 2009

I strongly suggest seeing a doctor, just to rule things out.

I began having trouble climaxing when I was seventeen. Seventeen year old boys should not have trouble popping their cookies, especially at two hours of sex. Oral never helped. Even doing it myself was ... laborious. Erection was not an issue, just finishing up. I ended up faking things by the time I was twenty or so.

Turns out I have very, very low testosterone. That could be you. It's a pretty easy test to get done, and cheap, too. I don't know how the UK does its public health, but it might be worth looking into to see if your public health system will pay for it. I'm told that there are a variety of ways to remedy the situation.
posted by adipocere at 11:53 AM on October 27, 2009

Taking any prescriptions? Anorgasmia is one of the big "sexual side effects" you always hear about at the end of commercials.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:42 PM on October 27, 2009

Chiming in with a different approach - this stood out for me: instead of going over the edge and ejaculating, I find myself almost pushing through it, after which the feeling dies down somewhat. There's no loss of erection, and I'm able to comfortably continue having sex.

Have you looked into Tantric sex? Among other things, it can teach men how to have an orgasm without ejaculation. You may be a prime candidate for this approach as it appears you already have the head mental involvement required. Plus, it is a hell of a lot of fun to practise and the emphasis is not on achieving orgasm, but on intimacy, self awareness and opening up the self.
posted by Kerasia at 3:02 PM on October 27, 2009

Unfortunately, I'm living hand-to-mouth at the moment, so I have no possibility of seeing a therapist...I should note that I'm in London, in the UK, just in case that's of any help.

Not necessarily so. As this page of relevant resources points out there are psychosexual units at some London Hospitals, and though you should expect a wait your GP should be able to refer you.Relate also have specialist counselors, who are not free, but may be more affordable.
posted by tallus at 3:09 PM on October 27, 2009

All I noted was 'I'm afraid it might ruin relationship'.....

My view is that it's sex dude, don't let dark thoughts about not being able to do something loom over you, it will only stand to make it even more impossible to get what you want.

If you've satisfied her & you're still not done, she will probably note that & pull something out the bag to finish you off.
posted by Hinny at 9:24 PM on April 5, 2010

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