Set my sexpectations
May 25, 2017 8:43 AM   Subscribe

What are realistic expectations for a woman to have of a man in the bedroom? Is it reasonable to expect him to multitask? And what's the limit of "Just tell him what you want him to do"? NSFW details inside.

Late 20's woman. I'm new to sexuality with a partner (never had PIV sex, touched a man's bare penis, or given or received oral). I'm getting involved with a guy and have some questions.

We've messed around 5-6 times with shirts and sometimes pants off, a little bit of below-the-waist touching, lots of kissing, and then grinding on each other until we each have an orgasm. I've made out intensely with a couple other men and found that more satisfying in some ways--one past partner made me have an orgasm with fantastic kissing.

With this guy, it's coming down to just... his inability?... to physically do the things that will help me finish. The problem is that he hasn't seemed to know how to keep a rhythm going and he struggles to multitask. One night he used his hand to touch through my underwear. He struggled to find the clitoris but once he did, he set up a rhythm. For a while. And then... just... stopped? His finger moved away from the critical location, he didn't keep up the rhythm, I totally lost the clit-boner, he started sucking my breasts way too hard and I just lost sensation and turned away with great sadness. I've never felt that physical sensation of my body being turned on, not reaching orgasm, but just giving up out of frustration. I had moved his hand back to the spot multiple times, tried to set up the rhythm, and told him that I needed it to continue. My mind sort of boggles that someone wouldn't be able to stick with a task like that.

Another night, I let him know how good it felt for him to do something with my nipples and a spot near my neck. He's been enthusiastic about the idea of me having orgasms, and I told him if he focuses on those three areas it's really likely I'll have one. But it's like someone struggling to pat their head and rub their tummy. He could stick to one of the three, maybe two, and when I started getting into it and changing my movements, he would switch what he was doing! Or stop! I said multiple times, "Keep going" and "Don't stop" but then I just got annoyed.

So far I've had an orgasm most of the times we get together, followed by him having an orgasm. I think it works better if I come first, because the one time he was first, I felt like he just deflated and wasn't as energetic. I felt like I was masturbating ON someone. It was so weird.

I want him to experiment, to be present to the signals of my body and follow them, to have the ability to do three things at once so that I can have an orgasm that's satisfying...

Is this too much? Can most guys do multiple things at once? Does this all clear up over time? Do people who have sex often feel like they're just, like, telling someone else how to do the same things they'd do for themselves if they were alone? Would moving to oral or PIV change all of this? At the moment I don't want to move to oral because I don't trust he'll have the sensitivity or delicacy to make it great.

What do you do when you've asked someone to do something and they seem willing but unable?

I'm aware we should talk and I need to just push myself to make that happen. But I don't know how to tell him about this. I want to honor his willingness but also to move toward a more satisfying sexual life. He has been receptive about the few things I have brought up. I have a conservative religious upbringing which can make it hard to talk about stuff, but I have read Come As You Are and work to have a sex-positive point of view.

I've read a lot of Ask MeFi and read Come As You Are. I know to be direct in what will help. I always thought that would solve the problem and didn't consider what to do if the not-so-helpful activity continues. So I wanted to get some input on this, since I don't really know what's normal in this realm.

He's very sexy overall and I enjoy being with him.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (28 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

I just want to address this question:

Do people who have sex often feel like they're just, like, telling someone else how to do the same things they'd do for themselves if they were alone?

In the past I would answer this as a yes but I feel like I was not seeing clearly when I looked at it that way. I have anxiety and it shows up in that context. In my opinion based on nothing but my own thoughts, the benefit of sex is playful connection with another person not simply someone helping me masturbate. Although that can be fun too, I can also be task oriented about sex in a way that just isn't fun. I can also be irritated about rhythms getting messed up, etc. It is easy to "lose the thread of desire" if things don't happen a certain way and I get frustrated with that. Some of that is a mindset that is focused on the destination more than the journey. Yes the destination feels good, but we miss out on a lot of intimacy by rushing for it. I'm scared of intimacy, so I rush.

But no, I don't think personally that sex is for doing things you can do for yourself (although doing it that way is perfectly fine and can be incredibly fun) but rather my own best practices mindset is to see sex as doing things you can't do with/for yourself.
posted by crunchy potato at 9:22 AM on May 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's certainly reasonable to ask your partner for something specific in bed and to expect them to respond to that request enthusiastically and follow through. It's also reasonable to ask them to handle a few coordinated tasks that result in orgasm for you. It seems like your partner has affirmatively responded to your requests - that's great! It also sounds like it's pretty easy for you to reach orgasm with him, and that's great too! Seriously, that is a tough nut to crack for many women.

What strikes me about your question is that you seem to be very focused on the orgasm part of sex. That makes a lot of sense - it's one of the ways that delineates "sex" from just like "hanging out and cuddling," and if it's easy for you to reach orgasm you might not have had to consider the other ways sex can be meaningful and satisfying. It's also super common for people early in their sexual lives to focus on this "goal." But there's a lot more to sex and physical intimacy than orgasm. (I'm using "sex" here to refer to the myriad activities of partnered physical intimacy.) There's physical pleasure and satisfaction, as well as emotional connection, that exceeds that singular moment. I don't know what's going on in your guy's head (and do think you should ask him, non-combatively, outside of bed), but if I had to guess I'd say he's moving on from the specific movements you've requested because he's looking for a broader sexual conversation than just "do task until one/both of us reach orgasm."

You asked, "Do people who have sex often feel like they're just, like, telling someone else how to do the same things they'd do for themselves if they were alone?" As a person who has sex, my answer to this is mostly no. I have a specific way of going about things on my own, and I know that works for me reliably. But with every partner I've had, I've developed a new sexual language specific to me and that partner. Through open-minded exploration, I've found new and different things that turn me on or get me to orgasm. There is some instructional element, but it's more along the lines of "don't touch too hard there, it's a sensitive area for me" or "hey, I only really get off with this kind of pressure" - but then, I'm not going into every sexual encounter with the expectation of orgasm, and neither is my partner.

Of course, there's plenty of caveats to this. If he's having trouble finding your clitoris, touching you in ways that are "way too hard," or losing energy to attend to you after orgasm, that definitely needs to be addressed. But since you seem to have the orgasm box ticked, it might be helpful to just relax a bit and enjoy touching/being touched, exploring and experimenting with different sensations without an end goal in mind.
posted by rabbitbookworm at 9:29 AM on May 25, 2017 [14 favorites]

Shop for and buy a couple vibrators and get used to the success that should deliver and build off that into more areas you both crave and enjoy the time as you learn the path best for you both.
posted by Freedomboy at 9:32 AM on May 25, 2017

Have you talked to him about it outside the moment? An “FYI these are the things I really need to make it work and once you start keep doing it until I explicitly tell you to stop” conversation?

Most men I’m with are good at doing two things at once, but I’m not myself, so it’s not unheard of that people aren’t. Especially if he is as inexperienced as you are.

Some of my partners have automatically done what I like, either because someone else with similar tastes trained them or because they’re particularly intuitive. Others don’t but with a little redirection, get me off. Others’ styles are so different from my preferences that I don’t know how to instruct them (not to say they can’t be taught, I just can’t myself!)

It could be that he’s used to having different kinds of sex than you’re having right now so that can take some adjustment. If it feels unnatural for him to be having clothed sex that can make it more difficult to stay on task. (And maybe I’m saying too much about my own sexual inadequacies here, but while I could immediately find the right GENERAL area through underwear, I wouldn’t be able to reliably go straight to the clit without some fumbling.)

If he has experience with other people, have you asked him what he thinks he’s good at and had him give that a try?
posted by metasarah at 9:41 AM on May 25, 2017

to have the ability to do three things at once

IMO, yes, this is...a lot to ask. I'm very generous in bed, with a diverse and satisfying sex life, and it'd be hard for me personally to simultaneously do 3 different things that bring my partner pleasure. It'd be REALLY hard to do them well (especially if those 3 things involved 3 different body parts). Of course it's great to know what gets you off and to communicate that to your partner, but know that what you need might not be particularly easy for him to provide. I would say, as others have said above, treat your time with him as something different than masturbation, continue to communicate, but be open to new experiences. Prior to my current partner, I could only orgasm one of two ways; now, with him, I can orgasm in additional (awesome) ways. You may find this happens with you as well.

Also, this:

I think it works better if I come first, because the one time he was first, I felt like he just deflated and wasn't as energetic.

Yes, a lot of hetero couples operate this way because orgasm in (most) men causes an immediate sharp decline in arousal. It's a biological response. Some men have a longer refractory period than others; some are good to continue right after; but most need some recovery time and this is not something you should take personally. As you've already discovered, having you orgasm first is the most practical way to deal with this.
posted by yawper at 10:09 AM on May 25, 2017 [13 favorites]

Normally I would never tell a woman this as we usually have the opposite problem-- but you seem maybe too focused on him giving you an orgasm, and not as focused on getting lost in something that is pleasurable for both of you.

That said, if there is something specific you want him to do (or need him to do in order to have an orgasm, and he hopefully shares the goal of you having an orgasm) then of course speak up. As you have tried being direct in the moment, try being direct in a more neutral setting. Or try being indirect, make it a red-light/green-light game where you each have code words to encourage good moves and discourage not so good moves.

I want to add that it sounds like he maybe just doesn't do it for you, chemically, which happens. If intense-kisser ex lost the rhythm, would that thwart you the way current partner's loss of rhythm does? Or is perfect rhythm a requirement regardless of who you're with?

What I do for myself and what I do with a partner are totally different experiences. I could (and have) asked partners to duplicate what I do but even that is totally distinct from my favorite partner activity, getting lost in each other in a mutually pleasurable way.

Artless too-hard touching and checking out of the proceedings first with no consideration or recourse for your partner are pretty bad but typical of more inexperienced partners. If you feel like he doesn't really care, though, that's not really fixable.
posted by kapers at 10:12 AM on May 25, 2017

Seconding the point made by others about good partner sex being less goal oriented than masturbation. You wrote: "I've never felt that physical sensation of my body being turned on, not reaching orgasm, but just giving up out of frustration." I find it really hard to be in the moment, experiencing my body and my partner's body, if I'm focused on whether I'll have an orgasm within the next x minutes. That focus actually makes it harder for me to stay turned on or to come (something I'd been conditioned, as a cisgender hetero man, to believe I needed to do every "time" so that my partners would know I liked them). Masturbation is a sure thing--we receive continuous sensory feedback about what's working that a partner can't match--and not coming from mastubating when we want to is rare. Moving away from that same goal orientation in partner sex has been an amazing change for me.

Unlike clittoral stimulation, oral sex it isn't something you can do for yourself, so there won't be that natural comparison with something you already can do better for yourself. You absolutely should wait till you're comfortable trying oral, but I don't think you need to avoid it out of fear that your partner won't be good at it. For one thing, if you don't like it, saying "Hey, come back up here; that's not working for me (right now)" seems like it would be in line with the kind of open communication you seem to have with your partner. And if you do like it, that'll be fun. Try to let it be what it is--a strange, possibly really good, new feeling--rather than going into prediction mode about whether it will "work" or not.

You mention turning away with "great sadness" after a frustrating time when your partner didn't bring you to orgasm. Not coming can be a bummer, but great sadness to me sounds like you're putting a lot of pressure on yourself, and reading a lot of heavy meaning into the totally natural process of learning to be sexual with a partner. I hope you find the space to be gentle and patient with yourself in that process.
posted by mabelstreet at 10:27 AM on May 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

Three things at once feels a little challenging to me. Would it be possible for you to do one of those things yourself, while he does the other two?

From my experience, sometimes repetitive motions in sex can get somewhat boring (depending on how long they go on for) or, maybe more relevantly, mildly uncomfortable or painful (e.g. hand cramps). When that happens with a partner, I'd probably switch things up or take a break before revisiting whatever act, if it was important to them.

I'm queer and have sex with men, so obviously ymmv, but did want to throw that out anecdotally.
posted by kylej at 10:35 AM on May 25, 2017

It's really hard to tell from your post whether your expectations are out of whack or not, to be honest.

Like, you don't want to move to oral because you don't think he "can make it great," but you mean ever? Or just the first time? Because expecting someone to give you perfect oral the first time is...not super-realistic. Even someone who's great at oral won't instinctively know what's great oral FOR YOU. And if you've never received it before, even YOU don't know that yet.

Expecting a perfect PIV experience with on-point orgasm for your first time is WAY unrealistic.

What is NOT unrealistic would be expecting a first experience in which you feel pleasured, cared for, excited, and safe. Maybe you're sensing that this dude can't give you that, in which case absolutely do not feel pressured to have those kinds of sex with him! Maybe you just have the wrong chemistry with him, and again, in that case don't have those kinds of sex with him. But I can't tell that from your post.

Honestly it does sound like you're a little afraid of and uncomfortable with sexual encounters that aren't 100% satisfying, which is quite natural for someone who is new to sexuality and maybe didn't grow up with the most open attitudes towards it. Real-live sex between real-live people is weird sometimes, it doesn't always click, and it certainly doesn't always kaboom - even when two people have been together a million years and had sex a million times. A good partner for you will be someone who is totally comfortable with all of the gross, squishy, meh, oops-that's-my-elbow aspects of sex.

Talking to your partner about your concerns will help show you whether he's that guy or not. If he gets AT ALL defensive, or shuts you down, then no, bail on that nonsense.

And I never want to discourage women from having good, orgasmic sex, but you do sound very "checked out" from your partner in your descriptions - it's not only dudes who can get overly focused on the specifics of their orgasms to the detriment of their experience and their partner's experience. How's your partner feeling after you "turn away with great sadness"? If you are assuming he isn't paying attention/doesn't care, that may be really unfair of you. If you are correctly observing that he isn't paying attention, then he sucks and you should dump him and that's a whole separate problem.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:40 AM on May 25, 2017 [21 favorites]

You've said that on multiple occasions, he was doing exactly what you needed him to, and you asked him to continue, but he just ignored you and stopped. What's his reason for that?

It sounds like he knows and is typically able to do what works for you, but sometimes he's just passively but deliberately refusing at the critical moment? That would turn me off in a big way, too.

I think it's a good idea to figure out exactly why this is happening. There are a lot of possibilities that are pretty benign, and knowing what it is will help you work around it.

I agree that expecting someone to be able to do three things at once or expecting two person sex to flow like flying solo is unfair, but I don't think asking someone to continue something they've already started doing and shown they're capable of is at all unreasonable.
posted by windykites at 10:49 AM on May 25, 2017 [4 favorites]

Is your partner is sexually inexperienced with partners as your say you are? If so, it might explain his confusion. Even if you are telling him to keep doing something, often the inexperienced think that they somehow know better than what is being told to them and go off on their own.

Also, it sounds like the two of you have only been intimate a handful of times. I've been sleeping with the same person for almost three years now, and I still make "mistakes" in the bedroom. Learning a partner's likes and dislikes can take a ton of time, even if one person is being pretty explicit about what they want.

It might also help to be a bit more open-minded about how he gets you off; you mention a couple of times shutting down when things aren't going well, which isn't beneficial for either one of you. You don't want sex to devolve into an A-B-C proposition, especially so early in a relationship.

It sounds like he's pretty into getting you off, which is great, so enthusiasm isn't a problem. Just give yourselves some time to get to know each other physically, keep an open mind about what you're doing with each other, and hopefully in time things will iron themselves out.

And yeah, if you want oral sex in your relationship, it's good to get that on the table, even if his technique isn't refined at first.
posted by Fister Roboto at 11:10 AM on May 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

I think you need to up your communication game. At a time when it's not the heat of the moment, tell him you think it's really hot when he does X, Y, and Z, but that you'd like him to keep it up until you come, and you noticed he's having trouble with that - then ask why that is. I'm guessing it could be hurting him/uncomfortable, or he's just been told that women like other things and he's confused. You need to have a clear conversation about what you want.

Do people who have sex often feel like they're just, like, telling someone else how to do the same things they'd do for themselves if they were alone?

Absolutely not. Having sex is way more fun because it's a turn on to do pleasurable things for your partner, which is something that's impossible to do when you're alone. If you're just having your partner do things TO you, that's quite a different story than have them do things WITH you. Yes, you have to tell your partner what you specifically like, but there are a lot of other elements.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:21 AM on May 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

So, oh yeah, do I feel you. I have struggled with this on and off for a long time, with a variety of different partners, some more experienced than others.

The short story is this: yes, it can be difficult to do multiple things at once, and it can be hard to do even one of those things the exact same way for a given time period, let alone multiple things the exact same way.

I think a lot of this can come down to having masturbated the same way for a while; you get used to your own touch, and obviously since you can feel the difference in what physical movements result in an orgasm for you, you've gotten real good at that one type of movement. (Just theorizing here, but this is the case for a lot of people.) Your partner isn't you and doesn't know exactly how you like it. They also can't feel what you feel- you know if you need to adjust your hand a tiny bit to the left, but they won't.

Things that may help:
1. Time. Your partner may become more able, over time, to do what you need to orgasm, based on practice and trial and error. They may get more used to the type of movement and pressure you like and may also build up stamina. It can be really exhausting to do certain sexual things!

2. You may want to try switching up the way you masturbate. Try a different angle, different pressure, speed, whatever. Try and get your body and brain to find multiple kinds of touch acceptable as orgasm fodder.

3. If you're comfortable with it, you may want to try mutual masturbation or simply letting them watch. Seeing it can clue people in to what exactly you like and how you do it.

Best wishes for fun/awesome sex.
posted by rachaelfaith at 12:04 PM on May 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Hmm. Three things at once is a bit much, yes - I have quite a bit of experience and I've had sex with both women and men, and most people I've been with (including myself) can't really do more than two things simultaneously. It takes concentration to do even one thing well, especially if it requires precision movements or manual dexterity or verbal ability. So, holding a vibrator doesn't take much attention, I could do that and talk dirty or do that and kiss at the same time. But to do a delicate thing with my fingers while also thinking or kissing is a bit more challenging in terms of attentional resources. And it can also become quite physically uncomfortable to do the same motions for an extended period of time - a switch is necessary.

Sometimes some negotiation is needed, such as redirecting someone's hands or asking them to shift position. That's normal and fine. But when you say he "deflated" I wonder if he became discouraged. In my experience, some people become very sensitive to criticism while having sex, because they feel insecure and vulnerable. That doesn't mean you shouldn't give feedback, but it can mean being more playful and gentle with your feedback. People can also become discouraged doing the same motions for a long time if they're not sure it's "working" for you, so providing explicit verbal and nonverbal feedback can help keep your partner engaged if you're the sort that needs a lot of the same thing.

I do think you should talk to him about this, outside sexytimes, and find out what's going through his mind then. Maybe he's daydreaming or it's just his hand is cramping up or he can't figure out what pressure you like. When you talk, try the compliment-critique-compliment technique: "I love when you do X. But with A I think it's not working...I also love B and Z ...". I have had good success with this. I've also sometimes demonstrated to explain something that's hard to describe: "pressure like this not like this see?" (but poking your arm not your clit).
posted by epanalepsis at 12:14 PM on May 25, 2017

IMO you're not that into him / having sex with him. You're not super compatible partners. This scenario is what people mean when they say that sex wasn't that great.

I am basing this off the fact that I've never been actively turned off and annoyed by the sexual behavior of a partner who I then went on to have great sex with. It's a really bad sign.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 12:22 PM on May 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

I am basing this off the fact that I've never been actively turned off and annoyed by the sexual behavior of a partner who I then went on to have great sex with.

That's not true for me, I have found that with some partners there's a learning curve and then we figure it out and all is good from then on. It's not magic and chemistry isn't everything.

But, in general, yeah. Bad sex ranges from awkward to mildly irritating but if you feel yourself tipping strongly to annoyed every time, then you're not very compatible. It happens. But 5-6 times doesn't seem like a large enough sample size to decide that, especially if you haven't talked (unless the sex was abysmally bad, but then you'd be asking a different question I think).
posted by epanalepsis at 12:38 PM on May 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

this is either an unskilled man, a man unconcerned with your pleasure, or a man with whom you don't have sufficient chemistry to enjoy sex with in spite of some problems. not really possible to discern which of the three without reading his mind, and not all that important either.

The one problem with gaining more experience is that if you started off pleasantly, the more experience you have, the more likely that some of your experiences will be bad ones, your estimation of the average partner will descend, and your standards will sink down with it. Fight it as best you can. Fight anybody who tells you to stop wanting what you want and just get lost in a pleasure you already explained you're not feeling.

Not everybody likes to be directed in detail -- spontaneity, et cetera -- and that's just fine as long as he can direct himself to your satisfaction. but when he can't, he can't. It may not be his fault but it definitely isn't yours.
posted by queenofbithynia at 12:44 PM on May 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

It does sound from your description that this is somewhere between "fooling around" and "using him as your vibrator". Do you consider that you've "had sex" yet? Does he?

I would say that making judgement calls from this is a bit tricky. It's not a race to see how quickly you can orgasm, nor is it his job to concentrate on getting you there as quickly and as closely to the way you do it alone as he can.
posted by tillsbury at 1:12 PM on May 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's worth noting, in category of possible explanations, that some people find it hard to keep doing the same thing when your arousal starts to turn them on - that is, they may be Losing Track of Things, not losing interest in pushing your buttons. Some people just get lost in their own pleasure to distracting levels, while others can learn to multitask or stay focused a bit longer when needed...
posted by acm at 2:50 PM on May 25, 2017

It sounds like this person just isn't compatible with you.

When you're sexually compatible with someone they will "listen" to things like your breathing, body tension, and um ACTUAL WORDS, and do what it takes to keep heightening your pleasure.

Some people are so intuitive about how they respond to your body's communication that fooling around with them feels better than masturbating ever could. And other people just kind of don't get it, and maybe don't know they don't get it, so sex with them feels like trying to masturbate with a reluctant and clumsy instrument. You can still get off, but it's not gonna be transcendent.

Are you being too hard on him? Not by my standards. Sure, maybe some people can't multitask 3 body areas at the same time, so I'd give him a pass for that specific instance... and once in a while, a body part cramps up, so something fun has to stop- but it sounds like even with physically simple actions, this guy is missing your signals and ignoring your clear requests, and just... wandering off mid-activity, causing your sensation to plummet and your mood to wane. He should be trying harder, listening better, and improving each time. I'd be frustrated too!

This isn't really related to experience levels, either. One of the best lovers I've ever had was a virgin, and they were incredible from their very first time, because their whole body just... LISTENED to mine- we barely had to say anything to lose our minds with how good it felt (and when we did speak about it, things got even better). Some people are kind of insulted by verbal direction during sex. You are obviously a clear verbal communicator about sex so you should probably avoid those kinds of people.

You sound pretty in touch with your body and pretty clued-in to your own sexuality, especially since you're overcoming sex-negative programming. My sense is that it's not you, it's him. He's probably just not a compatible lover for you.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 5:10 PM on May 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

Is this too much? Can most guys do multiple things at once? Does this all clear up over time?

Nope, your hopes are not too high.
Yes, a large plurality if not a strict majority. Perhaps depends on your circles.
Sometimes, if you both have the right outlook, willingness to learn, and enthusiasm.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:55 PM on May 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm going to second cramping/pain as a possible reason the guy stops before you're ready. Maybe try a few different positions to see if there is a position that will allow him to sustain a rhythm with you for a longer period. Also, if you aren't already, play up the pleasure sounds so he knows that what he's doing is working and not getting boring for you. It might also be interesting to try masturbating in front of him. That might show him more of what works for you while allow you to explore your exhibitionist side. As I understand it, most women find it hard to get off from PIV sex, so moving onto that while pleasurable in its own right may not get you to the specific goal you've set here.
posted by willnot at 7:19 PM on May 25, 2017

Honestly, sex is something that gets easier and easier the more you have it, especially when you're really excited about your partner. I know in your description you're really focused on the negative stuff, because you're at an advice site! Of course you don't need us to help you with the good stuff!

Look, there's a learning curve with any new partner, and half of the fun is learning what gets each other off. While it's totally okay to come in with expectations of pleasure/him getting you off, I think you're not letting yourself enjoy it and are really focused on the negative. If that's inaccurate, ignore me! Please! But yeah. This is par for the course with any new partner - very rarely is there someone who just immediately knows all the buttons to push, and, even then, it's not necessarily repeatable.
posted by superlibby at 7:30 PM on May 25, 2017

I deeply hate the advice that you should stop focusing on orgasm, not expect to have an orgasm, or not expect him to want you to have an orgasm. If you are capable of having orgasms during sex, and you want orgasms during sex, you should have orgasms during sex. The "but orgasm is just the icing on the cake" advice is given almost exclusively to women, and I understand why, but if you're totally in tune with your body and how to have an orgasm and you want to then it doesn't apply to you.

I don't think you are too focused on having an orgasm, either. For many people that is a very important part of sex. It's not like you can "do something mutually pleasurable" when he's... not pleasuring you. If you're not experiencing pleasurable sensations in bed, then "mutual pleasure" just means male pleasure and female playacting. Noooooooooo.

It's possible he's just cramping up/getting uncomfortable, in which case a vibrator could help.

It's also possible you're not "reacting" enough to his whatever he's doing, which could be due to naïveté or too much porn where women fly off the handle when someone touches their elbow. So he stops because you're not hamming it up. But he is definitely the one who needs to adjust, then-- nothing is worse than trying to perform and trying to have an orgasm at the same time because the dude is ignorant.
posted by stoneandstar at 9:55 PM on May 25, 2017 [7 favorites]

A note on this part:

"and when I started getting into it and changing my movements, he would switch what he was doing! Or stop! I said multiple times, "Keep going" and "Don't stop" but then I just got annoyed."

I've found that saying "don't stop" or similar when you're obviously getting into it/about to orgasm can make a partner more inclined to speed up, use more pressure, etc. and throw off your rhythm. So instead, I've used "don't change anything" with quite a bit of success. It's not the most sexy phrasing but my partner knows not to speed up or touch somewhere else when I'm about to finish! Along those lines, "Just like that" would probably be better wording.
posted by cp311 at 10:35 PM on May 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

Communication and being clear about what you want and need are good things (and should be going in both directions so that everyone ends up happy). But there is also a balance point (the specifics of which are different for everyone) where being given too many or too specific instructions can make it feel like work instead of fun. It kind of sounds like right now you (or both of you?) are imposing a lot of restrictions -- these clothes on, these clothes off, touch here but not there, no oral, and so on -- that in retrospect might seem like complications more than opportunities.

Personally I doubt I could manage three things at once with any degree of coordination, but even if someone can't hit the mark they should be giving it a solid try and working with you to find solutions (like, maybe you help with one of the tasks or a vibrator gets added to the mix, something like that).

And I agree with everyone who says that sometimes two people just don't have great chemistry, especially at first. It happens and doesn't make either of them bad people or wrong -- just not easily right for each other.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:08 AM on May 26, 2017

I should also add that I've done quite a lot of-- not pleasurable, sometimes painful!-- yeoman's work in my many years of sex with men, and the idea that things should always be mutually pleasurable and nothing like work is for most imaginary, often a more popular idea with men because they assume male orgasm is necessary and fun, female orgasm is optional and difficult. Women do occasionally fake it or call it quits to get out of the awkward situation of asking a man to do something he clearly doesn't want to do.

I've often been in the situation of having PIV sex and doing whatever movements I need to do to come from that, only to be constantly readjusted or urged by the dude to do something differently... I'm not sure what men think "mutually pleasurable" means but it usually does not mean lying back and enjoying your lady friend appreciating your body, but quite the opposite.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:19 PM on May 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

One caveat to some of the advice in this thread- if you can already orgasm easily without a vibrator, starting to use one might change your sensitivity and permanently make it a little more difficult for you to orgasm without one.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 10:40 PM on May 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

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