So... did you?
February 11, 2010 10:10 AM   Subscribe

What exactly is the right answer for "did you come?"

So, due to (I think) some sexual abuse stuff from when I was in college, I've always had a difficult time orgasming. It's very very rare. I have plenty of vibrators, and I enjoy sexual activity just fine, and I really do think it's something I'll just grow out of (I'm 28), or that I'll find the right person for.

However, in the meantime, I've encountered an issue. Without fail after performing various sexual acts on me, men will ask if I had an orgasm. It is always an awkward question. I could a) lie, and say yes, or I could b) say no, and sometimes the men take it personally and want to keep trying and can't understand that it's really ok or finally i could c) go into the explanation. It's not a fun story, especially not when I'm post-sexual activity happy and don't feel like getting into it, which is why I often lie.

With casual sex partners, ones that I only see very infrequently, or only once, I don't mind lying. I don't need to get into it with them, and it's just easier for everybody if i lie. But with men I'm actually interested in, it becomes an issue, because I don't want to lie to them. But men have a tendency to take the "no" answer very personally.

I know one logical solution would be to discuss this prior to sexual activity, but sometimes I don't know if that's where things are headed and I don't want to sound presumptuous.

How do I explain this? How do I make it clear that it's about me, not them, without going into a whole big thing?
posted by dithmer to Health & Fitness (34 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

"No, but that was fun!" (If it was.)
And if anyone gives you crap about that (wtf?!), you can always blandly say, "oh, was it in?"
posted by phunniemee at 10:12 AM on February 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

"I had a GREAT time, thanks!"
posted by Billegible at 10:12 AM on February 11, 2010

How about "It was great!"? Vague enough so that he could take it to mean the "orgasm" and you could take to mean as the whole thing.
posted by Madamina at 10:17 AM on February 11, 2010

nthing Billegible and Madamina.

"I had a great time!" or "I enjoyed it!"

They take it personally because you just bruised their ego and some want to be "fair" to you and make sure you reached sexual bliss too.
posted by royalsong at 10:22 AM on February 11, 2010

Best answer: "No, but I don't always. That was fun/amazing/hot/wonderful/worthy of another try later."
posted by ersatzkat at 10:26 AM on February 11, 2010 [10 favorites]

I'm seconding phunniemee on this one. Be clear (and appropriately enthusiastic), not vague or misleading.

It's not helpful to lead someone to think that they've made you orgasm when they haven't, even if what they did was just fantastic.
posted by aabbbiee at 10:27 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's not easier for everybody if you lie, it really isn't. Not all women come when having sex with a partner, not all women come every time they have sex with a partner, not all women come from oral, not all women come from vaginal intercourse, and so on and so forth. Don't even buy into that narrative.

Lying and saying that you had an orgasm is disrespectful to your partner, but most of all it's disrespectful to yourself. If you're enjoying yourself, it's good sex. No explanations needed.

If they ask flat out whether you had an orgasm, say "no, but that Thing You Did was awesome. Wow." If they sound apologetic, reassure them that they were fine, it was great, orgasms are not the end goal for you, sex is plenty fun as is.

My boyfriend doesn't always come during sex. I don't always come during sex. It's about being together with no expectations of performance on either of our parts. Don't lie, that just makes it sound - and feel to you - like a bigger deal than it actually is.
posted by lydhre at 10:32 AM on February 11, 2010 [15 favorites]

I don't think you need to go into the long story. Just say something like, "I don't usually orgasm during sex and I don't expect to. But that was really great and I'm plenty satisfied." If they press as to why you "don't usually" you can just tell them it's just a personal quirk you've learned to live with.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:41 AM on February 11, 2010

Do NOT lie. What purpose does it serve?

You can still say, "I enjoyed that SO much, but I just didn't get there this time," if you want to give positive feedback, or talk about how much you enjoy the intimacy of making love but can't always come in certain positions, and you are okay with that, so he should be, too.

Just basically let him know that, as far as you are concerned, you don't have to have a marathon session culminating in orgasm every time for you both to enjoy yourselves.

Or you can be very direct, "When I do, I'll shout it from the rooftops so you'll know, okay?"
posted by misha at 10:42 AM on February 11, 2010

Seconding lydhre.
posted by davejay at 10:43 AM on February 11, 2010

I like to cover this sort of thing with my partners before I have sex with them, if at all possible. That way they're not likely to ask afterward or have any doubts in their own ability. I'm 'special' and I know it, so it's my responsibility to tell them what's up with me, and hope they believe me when I say I love sex all the same without the climax.

Honestly if anyone would actually ask me though, I would be tempted to say "If you don't know, it didn't happen!". Any [previously briefed] partner I have come with absolutely knows when it happens, and I think it's better that they just feel it than hear me say so (unless of course I'm screaming "Omg I'm coming, keep doing that!")
posted by sunshinesky at 10:45 AM on February 11, 2010 [3 favorites]

This may be off-topic, but I really wish people would learn to ask "Do you want to keep going?" instead of "Did you come?"
posted by muddgirl at 10:51 AM on February 11, 2010 [22 favorites]

Response by poster: Yeah, I know it's sort of unfair to lie. Going back and reading that it made it seem like I lie about it way more than I do.

When, on occasion, I do lie, it's typically with men who really are treating it like it's their problem. Their ego, their sexuality, their manliness, or whatever, is now on thin ice. And then it doesn't become about me anymore, as much as it is about them proving themselves. I know these are not men I should be wasting my time on - it's just typically I don't know until in the middle of it. But with those men even the "No, but it felt great" answers don't work.
posted by dithmer at 10:54 AM on February 11, 2010

Response by poster: Also, muddgirl - I'm with you. I think it's such a lame question, and since it's one I hate to answer, it slightly ruins the fun I just had. "Do you want to keep going" is way way better.
posted by dithmer at 10:57 AM on February 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Oh my god JUST LIE IF YOU FEEL LIKE LYING. The holier than thou stuff that gets tossed around about this issue drives me nuts. If saying "yes, I did" makes the sex end when you want it to end, than do it. It's your body so you can do/say whatever you want with it/about it.

Lying about orgasms is one of the few womanly perks that no one can take away from us. So indulge yourself without guilt from time to time. It's not your sole duty in the bedroom to improve the performance of your sexual partner every time you have sex if they're not getting you off.

Also, I think you hit it on the head with the ego thing, dithmer. It's sad when an orgasm has to be all about your partner, and not about you.
posted by jennyhead at 11:13 AM on February 11, 2010 [7 favorites]

I agree with most of the above, the only fair and logical way to deal with this problem is to tell the truth. Lots of women are built the same way (myself included) and too many of them lie about it. This establishes false expectations among men in general. Find someone you're sexually compatible with who won't make you feel guilty for not needing to cum every time. Because when he does that, he's making it all about HIM and his needs and expectations. It's selfish. If a guy genuinely wants to be a decent lover, he'll find it in himself to let go of that insecurity.
posted by maggymay at 11:24 AM on February 11, 2010

jennyhead, in my opinion, women lying about orgasms is what has made men so insecure and uncertain in the first place. They wouldn't ask if there weren't such a stigma around NOT coming to orgasm.

For me, not lying isn't a moral decision so much as a battle against a larger problem--people who don't know the difference between an orgasm and no orgasm. People need to know it's not [necessarily] a failure on their part if if their partner can't climax. Lying is counter-productive.
posted by sunshinesky at 11:28 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

And if anyone gives you crap about that (wtf?!), you can always blandly say, "oh, was it in?"

This is terrible advice. I didn't get the sense that by saying "sometimes the men take it personally", the OP was implying she was getting "crap" about it. But even if she was, why would you think exacerbating a lover's insecurity would be a good idea? If dithmer wants to "make it clear that it's about [her], not them" then insulting their penis size is exactly the wrong thing to do.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 11:38 AM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

"I don't feel comfortable answering that question but I like having sex with you, and will let you when I having a good time.
posted by Gor-ella at 11:55 AM on February 11, 2010

I don't feel comfortable answering that question but I like having sex with you, and will let you [know] when I [am] having a good time.

I can't imagine anyone actually saying something like this in a post-coital moment.

I don't see why it's a problem if you lie. If that's not something you want to do, and it's more comfortable for you to give an explanation, go for it, but it really depends on how close you are to the person you're sleeping with. Sometimes, it's a lot easier just to fib and not ruin an otherwise nice encounter with endless discussion and analysis.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 12:02 PM on February 11, 2010

If saying "yes, I did" makes the sex end when you want it to end, than do it.

.....but, Jennyhead, saying "I'd like to stop having sex now" tends to work even better, I've found. After all, it's my body, and I can say whatever I want about it.

To the OP: I concur with the "no, but this was great" others have said. I can be kind of a tough nut to crack as well (at least, in one way), but I also head that off at the pass by telling people early on in the proceedings that "just so you know, it's kinda hard for me to get off that way, but that doesn't mean I don't like trying." And then we just see what we'll just see. I don't even REMEMBER if anyone's asked me "did you?" ever, usually because I give them the heads-up. And I doubt you'd even have to get into the whole why of things -- just, that's the way you're wired, darn heck shoot, but it's still fun, so let's go!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:04 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Not a woman. Don't have sex with women. But I have had sex with anorgasmic guys, and the classiest way this subject has ever come up has been, "I don't always orgasm, so that's not my goal. There are a lot of ways to have fun."
posted by greekphilosophy at 12:12 PM on February 11, 2010 [6 favorites]

You're asking two questions

Should you lie?
--not unless you want to and probably not in an ongoing thing but hey, it's up to you and it's not your fault men have delicate egos(men are responsible for themselves, sunshinesky)

What should you do to keep men from stressing you out and being annoying when you don't come?
--answer truthfully, if they start making a fuss put on your serious face and tell them very, very firmly to get over it. Alternatives: Suck it up, buttercup. Deal with it. What's your point? Stop over reacting. Etc.

You really get the best response if you're super firm to the point of near-bitchiness, and do it the first time they start with all that.

Really, it's some whiny bullshit. "Oh, my partner didn't come, let's make this all about ME and MY FEELINGS". No, not appropriate.
posted by kathrineg at 12:20 PM on February 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

Once you lie, you can't go back. What if you want to have an orgasm with the same partner in the future? Partner will be hurt that you lied in the past, and confused that now they have to work harder or do something different to get you off.

Or what if whoops, you have one after lying about it, and woah, that's probably going to seem really different than what your partner thought was your orgasm. And you're caught out.

It's not clear to me, you say you have vibrators, and I accept that the use of same might be pleasurable without reaching orgasm, but if orgasm is something you can take care of yourself, an option would be to try that with a partner present.

lydhre speaks true.
posted by rainbaby at 12:23 PM on February 11, 2010

I feel like lying is a really terrible idea. 1) It sets a precedent, not just for you, but for all future partners of that person, which will perpetuate a vicious cycle of lying, 2) It conditions the person you're with to keep repeating what they're doing, because they think it's "working", 3) I can understand that this wouldn't come into play as much with casual flings, but it seems disrespectful to lie as an easy way out. If you're uncomfortable talking about your past (totally understandable) you can tell the truth in any number of the ways listed above without getting more personal than you want to. And, honestly, the kind of guy who gets all insulted and has hurt feelings over YOUR sexual experience SHOULD be put in situations where he has to understand that a woman's experience when with him has nothing to do with his prowess.
posted by DeusExMegana at 12:41 PM on February 11, 2010

Sorry, I wasn't implying that you necessarily should lie about having an orgasm, just that if that's what's easiest for you, I wouldn't let all the naysaying get you down. It's all about context, to me. If someone you plan on being involved with for a while asks (even though it's a dippy question), maybe consider whether or not you want a web of lies and deceit tainting your future encounters. If it's something casual, I'd see an easy lie as less of an investment than a realistic explanation.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 1:06 PM on February 11, 2010

Lying about orgasms is one of the few womanly perks that no one can take away from us.

The obvious problem with lying is that if you're still with this person in 5 years, you've probably just spent 5 years without an orgasm, while your partner spent the past 5 years thinking everything's great.

Yeah, if it's "I usually come but didn't this time so I'll tell a little white lie", that's fine. But if you're often asked and you always lie, you're setting yourself up for a lifetime of failure and have no one to blame but yourself.

(OTOH, if someone asks such a ridiculous question, you shouldn't bother sleeping with him again and should probably reevaluate your choice in men.)
posted by coolguymichael at 1:14 PM on February 11, 2010

Not a woman. Don't have sex with women. But I have had sex with anorgasmic guys, and the classiest way this subject has ever come up has been, "I don't always orgasm, so that's not my goal. There are a lot of ways to have fun."

Not a woman. Have sex with women. I am an anorgasmic guy, and I can second that this response is always well-received in both directions.
posted by davejay at 1:20 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Lying when a guys ego is on the verge of collapse is not a good thing--believe it or not if a guy is already suspicious, that might just make him wonder whether you are telling the truth or not (yes, he probably has some deeper issues if he does that but w/e).

I think some pre-coital education on the matter can go a long way. You can even slip it in casually (no pun intended) by maybe mentioning something you read in a magazine about some bs percentage of women that don't get off from sex and then discussing it from there. If his expectations are set initially that you may not have an orgasm and that is ok, that will help avoid him making the entire purpose of any sexual encounter to get you off.

If he goes into things thinking its just about having a fun time and not necessarily getting you off--I think everybody wins and hell, it might even help his performance which may actually increase the chance of getting you off.

As a guy though, I'll just share that if he does have properly set expectations, then it helps us immensely if you can provide some guidance as to when enough is enough. When the girl gets off, for guys that's generally a sign that they can finish at their leisure, whereas if she doesn't, we're kind of left there going at it wondering if she's ready for you to finish or not. But whatever you do don't make it sound like "are you done yet?" or "ok hurry up and finish" because that can be very off-putting.
posted by Elminster24 at 1:20 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

+1 to greekphilosophy and davejay (although the latter is more my situation): once you get over the hurdle of saying that phrase to your partner, I found it to relieve a fair amount of stress. YMMV but when i accepted the nuances of my situation and started being open with my partners, intercourse became more fulfilling— and it was easier to come.
posted by a halcyon day at 1:46 PM on February 11, 2010

I would pre-empt the whole problem by keeping going til you want to stop, then using body language to end it and saying, "Mmm, that was amazing." It kind of implies without lying. Aaaand... scene.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 2:16 PM on February 11, 2010

Once you lie, you can't go back.

Disagree. I was going to suggest: lie at the time, and then perhaps a couple days later, over coffee or a date, discuss your issues and "confess." That way, you're not further damaging the post-coital moment, and you get to carefully couch your "confession" in a prepared way that can spare his ego as much as possible, in a non-sexual environment.
posted by mreleganza at 4:08 PM on February 11, 2010

Well, it depends. Is the guy a keeper or someone who's being annoying and you just want to get him out of the house? Yeah, you could be surprised and turn out to like him later, but if the guy insists on asking if you did...

Okay, I vote with case-by-case judgment call. If you plan on dealing with him again, edge towards honesty, if you just want to get rid of the guy, do what you feel comfortable with.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:39 PM on February 11, 2010

hmmm. i'm responding because i've struggled with this issue myself. i love my boyfriend very much, but i made the mistake in the beginning of the relationship to lie about having an orgasm when i actually hadn't. i did this because he is very sensitive and i didn't want to hurt his feelings.... soon it became an issue, as i never was able to come and got frustrated when i asked him to go down on me or do as i asked (like dirty talk or faux-choking, whatever) and he would sort of comply, but in a halfassed manner. and i could tell he wasn't into it or was uncomfortable and it was a major turnoff for me, so i would just feign excitement and fake an orgasm. sigh.
it was hard, but about a year and a half into our relationship i got mad becasue he called me abnormal for having such a high sex drive for a female. he's got a pretty low libido & was feeling defensive when i kept pressuring him for sex and he wasn't "in the mood," and accused me of being the "weird one." i ended up telling him that the reason i was never satisfied with the sex (not always, i can enjoy sex without having an orgasm just as well as i can if it ends with me getting off too) becasue he's never tried to give me an orgasm. he exploded with anger and hurt and honestly, it's killed our sex life. i'm afraid to initate it becasue i don't want to get turned down or worse, have him do it just to shut me up, grudgingly and joylessly (i can totally tell when he's not into it and i want to start bawling), and he never initiates it either becasue he knows he sucks in bed.
its hard, we've talked about it later but the situation remains the same. his feelings (and possibly manhood?) are hurt and so are mine, but i love him enough to work this out.
i don't really know where this is going or if i have a point, i just wanted to share my experience with lying about it... it was a white lie so he wouldn't get hurt, but it ended up hurting both of us. lesson learned: be honest, but positive. like: oh babe it feels soooo good but i'm not gonna come right now... some variation on that if it's the truth, and keep it like a team goal that the two of you can work on.
-my two cents
posted by excitableintrovert at 6:45 PM on January 26, 2011

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