coitus interruptus blues?
March 30, 2007 3:56 PM   Subscribe

Okay, we've established that there's postsex blues...what about interrupted-sex blues?

This doesn't happen enough to be a regular problem, but more than once or twice - enough to cause some concern and hurt feelings for both my boyfriend and myself. Sex is great and I have a generally easy time reaching orgasm. However, there are times when I get very close to coming and Just.Can't.Get.Over.The.Edge. (This is entirely different from having sex that's pleasurable and satisfying, even if I don't happen to get in the orgasm zone to begin with.)

The problem is, the almost-but-not-quite pretty much ruins the mood for me physically and emotionally. I just shut down without warning, even though I'd like to be able to carry on - I have even tried to do just that. But I just can't; my body and feelings send out a very intense, involuntary DON'T TOUCH ME AT ALL vibe (and which I never get during or after sex otherwise). My boyfriend says I just exude silent rage, but I don't know that I really feel angry - just empty and ugh.

The closest analogy I can draw is that it's like driving down the highway, and you're just about to take the exit to paradise, but a truck cuts you off at the very last minute from the exit, and you wind up being forced to exit in the middle of nowhere - and then your car breaks down and you can't even get back on the highway to drive back to paradise, and you're stuck and miserable in the bad part of town in the middle of the night.

So my question is: WTF? Is it some sort of brain reaction to getting worked up to expect the flood of orgasm endorphins, and then when the chemicals don't get released I get temporarily depressed? Like I said, it doesn't happen all the time...but when it does, we both feel sad and confused. Help?
posted by fizzyliftingdrink to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

How is the "Just.Can't..." version very different from the "pleasurable and satisfying" one? I think this is important to suss out, since likely people will be suggesting you attempt to get "pleasurable and satisfying" out of sex even if you don't orgasm.
posted by rhizome at 4:36 PM on March 30, 2007

Stop thinking and expecting. The easiest way is probably to get drunk. Don't use alcohol as a crutch, but you can learn from how you react when less inhibited and try and integrate it.
posted by fire&wings at 5:03 PM on March 30, 2007

I don't think this is something you need to worry about as much as you are at the moment. As you've said it is not a regular thing. Every human knows moments when their bodies do not behave as they expect them to - this can cause stress and confusion and worry which gets worse the more we think about it and try to make sense of it. And, our bodies tend not to behave as we expect when they are under stress, are we worry too much. Over thinking these things can sometimes make them worse.

Your relationship sounds healthy, you know how this makes him feel, so you've talked about it. I assume you've told him what you've said here and explained how this makes you feel. I fully understand what he considers to be 'silent rage', and that he is wrong about it. His idea of what's going on with you might be quite different than what you think. Talking helps.

Don't over think things, don't expect the worst. If it does happen again, change the pace. Take advantage of the intimacy of lying naked together and talk to each other. There's nothing like intimacy to get rid sadness and confusion.
posted by Elmore at 5:05 PM on March 30, 2007

Response by poster: How is the "Just.Can't..." version very different from the "pleasurable and satisfying" one?

Pleasurable and satisfying without an orgasm happens when the sex generally feels good (great even!) and yet I just don't happen to get into the orgasm zone at all (and don't worry about getting there, either). "Just.Cant." is when I've gotten squarely into the middle of the zone - or almost to the top of the hill, really - and CAN'T get over, which is frustrating and even physically painful. They are very, very, very different experiences to me. Surely I'm not the only woman who makes this distinction...?

Stop thinking and expecting. The easiest way is probably to get drunk.

*sigh* I've been having good (and even great) sex for many years, both with and without alcohol. I assure you that I don't just need a drink to "loosen up" to be able to come.

Are these the times when your entire aim for having sex IS to orgasm, and that's why you feel let down?

That's a good question. Sometimes I do specifically want to come during sex (while other times it's not a specific goal), so that may be part of it. But there really is an extreme physical/psychological reaction that seems to happen beyond just feeling "let down," which I think I can bounce back from pretty quickly. What I'm describing above, though, is more an involuntary and physical/mental shutdown: my body just STOPS responding very suddenly - either it hurts or I feel nothing, while emotionally I just go blank. It's like becoming clinically depressed in about 30 seconds flat.
posted by fizzyliftingdrink at 5:29 PM on March 30, 2007

I think this is totally normal, this happens to me sometimes, I usually just call it "ragingly horny and can't come". I'm not sure if you're male or female (I'm female, btw), but I know for males it can have a lot to do with dehydration--especially dehydration caused by beer, which of course makes some of them horny, which is a vicious, vicious path to go down. I haven't pinned down any of the causes for females since, like you say, I'm usually too irate during/after to sit around thinking logically about it.
posted by anaelith at 6:07 PM on March 30, 2007

I relate to this. There's the pressure of someone wanting so much to please you & you wanting to so much be pleased but it's... just... not... working... and you're so... close... any minute now... almost... OH GODDAMN IT. GRRRR! Fuckity fuck fuck fuck I give up.
Looks like I need to read the answers on this post too.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:36 PM on March 30, 2007

"This doesn't happen enough to be a regular problem, but more than once or twice..."

The first thing that seems likely here is that, if I understand you correctly, you have orgasms very regularly and predictably. If so, then these rare occasions are aberrations to you. You'll naturally feel that something is wrong. Possibly, these occasions might be vicious cycles where you first feel the orgasm retreating from you and then you obsess about it and it goes away entirely. Then you're angry and upset.

The second thing that is only a small possibility is how you think and feel about orgasms and sex. Notice that miss lynster uses the language of "someone wanting so much to please you & you wanting to so much be pleased" which makes explicit the idea that an orgasm is something someone else does to you. Lots of people think about orgasms this way. I think that's not a good way to think about sex and orgasms, but that's partly beside the point. If you share that perspective, then it's possible you're angry with your partner. That's only a possibility and you're just as likely are not. But if you are, you might also not realize it. And if you are, then I strongly suggest that you change how you feel about sex and orgasm.

As a male, and like most males, I normally will always have an orgasm. However, on certain antidepressants I used to take for a number of years, I had a great difficulty achieving an orgasm. This was very confusing. As it happened, I didn't think of it in terms of a failing of my partner in a specific sense. But it was very frustrating. However, like many women who aren't regularly orgasmic, I learned to enjoy sex independently of orgasm, rather than seeing it as the whole point (which I had previous to this). My sense is that independent of your specific problem here it might be helpful for you to experiment with enjoying sex without orgasm. This is a technique used often in sex therapy for a variety of situations, such as male impotence. It teaches people to think of sex as less goal-oriented which, in turn, relieves a lot of problems that arise from performance anxieties or, as is possible in your case, some negative psychology that arises when orgasm doesn't happen.

Again, I'm just putting on the table some possibilities and they may not apply to your situation. Part of the reason I think they do, though, is because of the typical psychology of sex and intimacy. Certain things can get "under your skin" during sex and the resulting psychology tips a balance against the intimacy. Suddenly you (generic "you") don't want the physical intimacy at all. So my thinking here is that you expect an orgasm and when it doesn't happen it makes you angry. Being angry, and possibly being angry with your partner, destroys your desire to be physically intimate. And if this is the case, my guess is that most of you is aware that it's not really fair to be angry with your partner and so you are in a sort of denial about that part. Leaving you with an anger you're alienated from and which is a mystery to you.

Or it's something else entirely. Please take my thoughts only as possibilities to be considered.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:00 AM on March 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

Oh, a variation on the theme of my idea comes to mind. It turns part of it on its head. Perhaps you have some degree of performance anxiety and you're not angry with your boyfriend, but angry with yourself for not being orgasmic. In that case, too, such anger might completely undermine your entire motivation to continue to be physically intimate. This could be compounded by your feeling that your partner expects you to have an orgasm and so you're also angry at his expectation. This could be a vicious cycle where both you and he become aware that you're having difficulty orgasming and you both shift into "performance, goal-oriented mode" where sex becomes work and expectations, a sense of reciprocal obligations, and resentments come to the fore. That's no fun and orgasms don't happen that way.

A lot of this is the unfortunate dynamic that a lot of women who are irregularly orgasmic find themselves stuck in with their partners. That you almost always have an orgasm doesn't necessarily mean that this doesn't apply to you. In fact, in that case, some of the psychological dynamics may be stronger.

But, again, none of this may apply to you.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:08 AM on March 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

Getting angry is just the result of really wanting something and not getting it.
When you just can't seem to get there the only thing that will help you is not thinking too much and really good technique.
posted by jouke at 3:55 AM on March 31, 2007

Having experienced both sides of this (my prescription was some allergy medicine, if I recall correctly, but it has also happened on painkillers), EB is really dead on. Read his answers twice.
posted by klangklangston at 8:37 AM on March 31, 2007

I don't think of an orgasm as something someone else does to you, but when someone is trying to give you one & your body isn't cooperating it can be frustrating, I'm just saying that I get that.

And yeah, EB nailed it.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:07 AM on March 31, 2007

Sometimes your body just goes from almost to "afterward" without the, er, "happy ending."

I think it's just a biological glitch.
posted by konolia at 11:04 AM on March 31, 2007

I understand completely. My partner's occasional inability to get there (and her resulting DON'T TOUCH ME vibe) has often been a problem for us. She gets angry at herself, I feel inadequate, and the night usually ends in tears. It sucks. EB got it perfectly.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:30 PM on April 4, 2007

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