No "O" sexy times
July 10, 2018 5:29 AM   Subscribe

My partner (male) is unable to reach orgasm during sex (including fellatio). Other than general “don’t make a big deal out of it”, any suggestions for what I can do to help him know this isn’t a huge deal for me and that I think he is awesome. I'd also love any suggestions for me to make sure I am giving him the absolute most I can during our "interludes".

Backstory: This is the rekindling of a long-ago relationship. Things ended last time mostly due to timing, everything was amicable and we remained friendly. Recently we reconnected, and after reestablishing friendship things slowly have become romantic. It is going really really well and I am very happy with everything. We're taking things slow for various reasons (mostly for me), but we are starting to get more intimate.

He is unable to reach orgasm with another person, it has been with all his partners over the years, and he agrees it is likely psychological since he can reach orgasm on his own. I don't want to make a big deal of it, since honestly it isn't a big deal (at least for me). Other than not bringing it up all the time (or at all), anyone have any ideas on how to reassure him that I'm not upset by this and that I am a happy woman. He was always a very attentive lover, very reciprocal, very skilled, etc. and I have no reason to think any of that has changed.

My other and primary concern is that I do everything I can do ensure he is getting as much out of our sexy times as possible. I may not be able to give him the big "O" but I am looking for suggestions for making our private times together as awesome for him as it is for me. Obviously this is something I should ask him about, and I am going to (gently, carefully, sensitively...), but I thought maybe the green might have some ideas for upping the ante and maxing out his sans-climax pleasure that he may not have thought of.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (11 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

To phrase this delicately as I can, could this be an issue where he has a habit of applying too much pressure during masturbation and thus has rendered himself too insensitive to regular sexual activity? The general cure for that is to go without masturbation or any other sexual activity for a few weeks or a month in order to regain sensitivity.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:48 AM on July 10, 2018 [12 favorites]

Is it possible he has some unexpressed preferences? There are a number of sites that let you two privately take a quiz so that if you're both a match for some kink or tweak, and you're both honest and generous, you can come up with fun stuff to try.

From Reddit: - Made by a redditor, inactive for 3 years. Questionnaire. - A fun map version. - Over 400 questions! - Yes, there's an app for this! :) - Improved questionnaire from MojoUpgrade.
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:21 AM on July 10, 2018 [9 favorites]

My feuend’s boyfriend has the same issue. In his case it stems from trauma and needing to control his orgasms. They just do what they do and he finishes himself off.
posted by mermaidcafe at 6:25 AM on July 10, 2018 [5 favorites]

Hey! I'm also a man who frequently doesn't climax with a partner. It's not a "never happens" situation, but it's frequently enough that it's better for both me and my partner if we don't assume it will be part of any given encounter.

It's great that this isn't a big deal for you. I mean that very sincerely. The number one thing that makes this difficult is pressure to perform a certain way, and to the extent that you can make it clear through your words and actions that you love sex with him no matter the particulars of who comes when, it will make things better for him.

In terms of what he will want to do—you're just going to have to ask him. Caveat: He may not tell you, or tell you entirely, right away.

Disclosing his sexual preferences, especially when they may be tied up in his inability to orgasm with a partner, puts him in a position of profound vulnerability. It will take time—maybe a considerable amount of time—before he will feel able to tell you what he really likes or wants.

Touch him lovingly, adoringly, and everywhere. Do it for the sheer enjoyment of the intimacy of doing so. If he's okay with it, get some lube or massage oil on your hands; it can feel amazing no matter what you're doing with them. Explore how good it feels to just roll around naked with another person. Just really, like, revel in it.

Ultimately it's going to be useful to know what he's thinking about when he masturbates, but that's the holy-of-holies of personal disclosure. In the meantime, to the extent you're able to, make your own fantasy life part of how you talk about sex with him. If you can, demonstrate that it's okay to have an internal sex life by sharing yours. Talk about what you think about when you fantasize; when you masturbate. As much as you can while maintaining your own boundaries, try to cultivate an environment of sexual acceptance and openness without leaning on him to disclose anything he's not ready to.

For all kinds of fraught and complicated reasons, this kind of thing isn't an option for many couples, but: It has been absolutely transformative for me to have a partner I can share porn with. It sounds ridiculous, but trading dirty comics recommendations with the person I'm actually sleeping with has no-shit transformed my understanding of myself as a sexual being. You'll have to be the one to go out on that limb first, and you'll have to use your best judgement, but again: The more you share the weird shit that turns you on, the more you make it implicitly okay for him to do the same thing.
posted by Sock "Danger" Puppet at 6:29 AM on July 10, 2018 [15 favorites]

Folks, I'm not sure any of you are answering the poster's question. They are not asking what might make their partner orgasm. They're asking what will make him feel great when they're together with orgasm off the list of options.

Two things: ask him what he likes physically. Massage? Touching? Does he like the sensation of fellatio even if he knows he's not going to come? Some anal play?

Second, make sure he knows how marvellous you find the sex. This personally turns me on more than anything - a receptive partner who is having a fantastic time. I would be (am, when it has occurred) not orgasming as long as my partner is thoroughly enjoying themselves.
posted by humuhumu at 6:41 AM on July 10, 2018 [18 favorites]

After a liftetime of being socialized that sex was PIV (and generally fumbling around with my sexytimes with women when it did happen), I married another woman, and had to reprogram pretty quickly from sex=PIV (not that we don't do some of that too, but). Decoupling sex from PIV has been enlightening. Everything is sex! :) Oral is sex, heavy petting that may or may not result in anyone having an orgasm is sexy times, fingering is sex, mutual masturbation is sex (and hot as hell).

Paradoxically, this makes it hard to answer your question, since when the focus is off of PIV and/or orgasm as the goal... what makes everyone's clocks tick are very very different. I will make out all night when given the chance. My wife loves boobs. I like sucking on ears and being hickeyed (below the neck, I don't need crap from my students). But your boo's list is going to be different. Honestly, it's hard to even generate a good list, because half the time, it's super in the moment ("oh, hey, I didn't know I liked nails there...")

I totally understand the desire to gather data - I'm data driven too. :) But it sounds like you're already doing the right things - taking the pressure off, planning on asking him what he likes, etc.
posted by joycehealy at 7:02 AM on July 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

Bring it up. Sweetness, the sexyfuntimes are very sexy and fun for me. I just want to check in from time to time to make sure you are also having the sexy fun. If you ever want to do therapy for the no orgasm, I'm down for that. Having discussed it, don't let it be a focus, let him decide if he's satisfied. With one issue: how are you feeling about having a partner not having an orgasm with you? You might at some point be unhappy with that. Just something to pay attention to.
posted by theora55 at 7:12 AM on July 10, 2018

Is he able to get himself off with you present or is just being there enough to keep him from coming? If it's the former, you can find out if there's things you can do while he's finishing himself - things like sucking his nipples, letting him play with you, dirty talk, touching yourself while he watches, letting him come on you, etc. that might heighten his experience. You might also experiment with edging, where you get him as close as you can for an extended period of time before letting him finish himself, which can boost the potency of his orgasm.

But in general, really good sex is really good sex, regardless of whether there's an orgasm as a result, so he probably mostly just wants you to be a good and attentive lover (which it sounds like you are).
posted by Candleman at 8:23 AM on July 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

Are you sure he needs reassurance? Does he view this as a problem?

I'm another male who only occasionally reaches orgasm during sex. I assume this is at least partly age-related, but it's also likely from years of deliberately deferring orgasm because I'm still enjoying the having of the sex and am not ready to stop.

Which is fine. For me the pleasurable part of sexytimes is the sexytimes; orgasm is nice and all, but not significantly more so than everything else... it mainly means that (at least the erect-penis-involving portion of) sexytimes are coming to an end. All else being equal, I'd rather keep going with the sexytimes.

Everyone's different, and I'm working from a sample size of 1 as far as male orgasm goes, so maybe other men experience them as intensely as women generally seem to (sample size > 1 :), so missing out on them would be a bigger deal to those guys. Maybe your partner is more like me, though.

By all means, show willing to make him feel awesome during sex, ask him what he likes or if he has any unexpressed fantasies etc, and then do those things (if you're comfortable with them of course), let him know that you're satisfied and enjoying yourself and that you'd like to maximize his enjoyment too -- but maybe not the best idea to approach his lack of orgasm as necessarily being a Problem that needs Solving, which is what many of the answers, and the question itself, seem to be predicated on. (For the love of all things please do not suggest therapy for the no orgasm thing.) You've already discussed this with him at least once; I'm not sure the lack of orgasm specifically needs to be brought up again.
posted by ook at 8:57 AM on July 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

[This is an answer from an anonymous commenter.]
I'm a guy in his mid-thirties who can only orgasm from manual stimulation, only with difficulty, and not at all with my current partner. Some of this is probably from not having sex regularly until my late 20s. Some is a lower-than-average sex drive. And side-effects of SSRIs make it more difficult. Erections are no problem.

It's frustrating, but I've made my peace with it. With a previous partner, I knew she wished that I could come inside her, and I felt a little insufficient that I couldn't. What helps with my current partner is that she doesn't see sex as being a specific series of steps. There's a whole range of activies that are equally valid as "having sex", and we stop when one of us feels done.

Most of the advice about female orgasms applies. Don't bring it up, at all. Don't try to fix him. Just take it for granted that it won't happen (but perhaps you'll be pleasantly surprised someday). If he can get himself off, maybe he'd like to do along with you. Perhaps you could get him off with your hands (use silicone lube). But mostly remember that all the same things still feel good, and often get to feel good for longer. Also, orgasming alone is not as fun as non-orgasmic sex with a partner. If got to have both I bet that'd feel great, but masturbating to climax on my own isn't *better*; it's a totally different experience.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:14 PM on July 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

I don't have an orgasm every time, and neither does my partner. We don't view orgasms as the reason for sexy times, and having or not having one isn't really relevant at all. That would be like saying the cymbal crash is the reason for the symphony. It's the whole thing that's lovely, and if everyone is onboard with sexy times taking whatever path they take, that's all mutual lovely goodness. So I think making sure that he knows that you like him and being with him and touching him and having all that go whichever way is exactly your idea of perfect, and if he has any specific yummy wishes that you haven't explored together that he'd like to talk about then you'll be super happy to listen. And then give lots of hugs and smooches because it's all good.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:40 PM on July 10, 2018

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