Am I a lousy lover?
January 29, 2008 8:31 PM   Subscribe

Am I a lousy lover?

I'm a straight guy in his mid-30's. I think I'm pretty well experienced sexually -- at least, I'm statistically normal.

Descriptions of female orgasm typically include reference to "rhythmic contractions" of the muscles in the genital area. I've only ever seen this happen once. But these descriptions make it sound like this is the standard occurrence, and that only "some" women "sometimes" experience orgasm without them.

So how common is this type of orgasm really? Have I not been delivering the goods to my partners all these years?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (31 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

They're not always perceptible.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:46 PM on January 29, 2008

So how common is this type of orgasm really? Have I not been delivering the goods to my partners all these years?

I don't know any other kind, personally. You wouldn't necessarily see it, you'd be more likely to feel it depending on what you were up to. To me it seems a little odd that you haven't talked to your partners about this if you weren't sure. With some women, you're sure. With others, you're not. If you're with the second sort of woman, asking is usually a good idea.
posted by jessamyn at 8:48 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Are you afraid your partners have been mostly faking it? If so, that's a communication issue, and may or may not be indicative of your skill in bed.

I've felt this some times, with some girls. I don't remember ever read anything that suggested you should feel this. Girls and guys vary in their sensitivity.
posted by bluejayk at 8:54 PM on January 29, 2008

This is one of those internal monologues that could get you in a lot of trouble. You've immediately moved from statistics to assumptions (with a healthy negative twist) which is simply a recipe for disaster.

Everyone is different. The commonality between women and sexual likes or norms is as varied as personalities and looks. If this is really something you're worried about, read She Comes First.

Also, having open and honest discussions with your current or future partners is highly recommended. They'll obviously offer the best advice, kudos, or criticism. Listen, take heed, then put into practice.
posted by purephase at 8:55 PM on January 29, 2008

"healthy negative twist" == sarcasm
posted by purephase at 8:56 PM on January 29, 2008

I've had lovers whose contractions were quite noticeable, and I've had lovers who made no indication that they had any orgasms, but for the fact that they told me they had multiple.

As to whether you're a good lover or not, well, you'd do best to talk to someone who has slept with you to get an answer to that.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:00 PM on January 29, 2008

Using wikipedia as the end all be all reference of the female orgasm may be the first misstep. Every woman will experience and demonstrate an orgasm differently, and this question can only validly be answered by your partners. Also, one can be a great lover without granting an orgasm to a woman, and there are those that are still lousy even though they can confer the event.
posted by Asherah at 9:01 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

You're psyching yourself over something that's not worth that much worry. If a woman fakes her orgasms instead of explaining/demonstrating what she wants, she's depriving herself. My suggestion, if you're in doubt about the intensity of a given partner's orgasm, is that you ask her what feels good while you're in bed together. Hopefully that will encourage her to start you doing something that she really likes and any lingering doubts you have will be erased.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:05 PM on January 29, 2008

It's a fool's errand to think about this in aggregate. It's something you need to figure out per partner. My experience has been that pretty much every girl responds differently to different things that you're doing.

So you need to ask them if they like it, and if you trust their answer, either 1) work on it or b) feel happy and proud that you're satisfying them.

If you don't trust their answer, that's a different question entirely.
posted by kpmcguire at 9:22 PM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

Try talking about sex more with your partner(s). It's liberating, fun, funny, sexy, and can improve things greatly for both of you! (Hint: it's easiest to do this just after you've had sex...ex. commenting on how when she did such and such it felt awesome, or saying "you seemed to be more excited when I did such and such. Do you like that?", or offering to try something, or do something, or asking about her favorite way to orgasm.)
posted by iamkimiam at 9:29 PM on January 29, 2008

In my experience the strength and noticeability of the contractions varies a lot. But this is not the only feedback you get obviously. Noticing the whole gestalt of feedback is much more reliable I think than reducing the feedback to this one variable if you will.
And most women are pretty upfront about what they need. What's the chance of them all just giving a theatrical performance all the time? That sound very unlikely.

So, yeah, talk to her and for the rest trust you intuition.
posted by jouke at 9:41 PM on January 29, 2008

I'm a woman and I've had a lot of orgasms (thankfully) and never once have the words, "rhythmic contractions" been uttered between me and my numerous partners. In fact, I would never use those words myself to describe an orgasm -- it's beyond that.

Bottom line, don't worry about it. Or, don't worry about it beyond what a normal nice guy would worry about it. If you've got a steady partner and you can communicate at all about it, you'll figure it out.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 10:02 PM on January 29, 2008

Or, what jouke said.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 10:02 PM on January 29, 2008

>Descriptions of female orgasm typically include reference to "rhythmic contractions" of the muscles in the genital area. I've only ever seen this happen once.

I'm interested in that word "seen". It's not the first word which would come to mind.

This kind of thing is a more obvious with oral sex, is kind of my point. Is that what anonymous meant by "seeing" it?
posted by AmbroseChapel at 10:02 PM on January 29, 2008

Sometimes, we have contractions, and other times, we don't.

Like fitness and beauty articles, sexuality articles in magazines exist mainly to give freelance writers something to do. Sex advice articles in women's magazines such as Cosmo have rehashed the same material every month since the early eighties, and seem always to culminate in "Stick your thumb up his bum! He'll love you for it!"

I suspect that bored freelance writers for mens magazines are doing the same thing. "Two hundred words. . . Three hundred words. . . Four hundred words. . . Four hundred and ninety-eight words. . . 'rhythmic contractions. . . ' Bingo! Article done. Let's get lunch."

The freelance writers get little checks in the mail, and the rest of us are left with boyfriends who walk funny and fret about their sexual prowess. It's a hard world out there.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 10:40 PM on January 29, 2008 [18 favorites]

Um firstly you don't 'deliver' shit!
Yes there is a physical side but for a lot of women that plays an almost minor role and it's an extremely mental thing.
(Think of it like a room full of plastic dicks:( or a bullet and some acceptable porn:) .)

Just have fun. I can't stress this enough! It seriously 'interferes with my instruments' when someone is trying not to come. Wtf! I can 'hear' you... and it's working.
I'm not going to even pretend to imagine I'm the only one that picks up on that (consciously or otherwise).
(Think of it as someone chanting "don't come, don't come, don't come" in your ear... not helpful.)

And everybody is responsible for their own orgasms, if they pretended to then hey, it's not your place to comment.

But honestly I'm very curious as to what has prompted this question? All of a sudden?? That's probably your answer right there.
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 11:39 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

talk to her
posted by matteo at 1:42 AM on January 30, 2008

People are picking up on various aspects of your question, but as to what you're asking on the face of it, I can confirm (with reasonable authority, being a girl and having brought a goodly number of other girls to orgasm) that there's a MASSIVE range of possibilities, from a few strong contractions or one single clench to the more "ocean-like" things that might described as like a "sudden full-body wave of intense pleasure," which the dick/fingers in question wouldn't necessarily even feel, especially if there's thrusting going on.

The most important thing is that type of orgasm varies not just person-to-person but also, for many people, encounter-to-encounter within the same person. My orgasm in one situation will be (and will feel to the other person) different from my orgasm in another situation. It depends on so many factors. One prime factor for me and many females (again, not all females) is length of buildup. Longer slower buildup = more intense orgasm.
posted by sparrows at 2:06 AM on January 30, 2008

Have I not been delivering the goods to my partners all these years?

If you're asking random strangers on the internet instead of your partner, then yes, you have been a lousy lover.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:59 AM on January 30, 2008 [5 favorites]

I came in to post what sparrows said (except she said it better). There's more on this in the Guide To Getting it On, specifically chapter 7: Orgasms, Sunsets & Hand Grenades.
posted by amarynth at 5:46 AM on January 30, 2008

Even if every lover you've been with either lied to you or faked every orgasm they supposedly had, I still say they're the lousy lovers for not communicating with you about what makes them feel good. They're the ones to blame for missing out on orgasms.

No one is born with innate sexual talent and know-how. You get better by doin' it and talking to your partner.

Although, in your partners' potential defense, maybe they were not very well tuned in with their own bodies and didn't themselves know what makes them tick. Which is why I'll be voting in favor of Mandatory Masturbation in the next election.
posted by Squee at 7:55 AM on January 30, 2008

Ditto jessamyn. Your partners should tell you if they aren't getting what they want, it's only fair. And yeah, you should ask and pay attention. I have come to realize that communication is the most important skill for good sex...all the other skills are improved by it.
posted by kenzi23 at 9:25 AM on January 30, 2008

Technique and prowess are secondary to communication when it comes to "delivering the goods."

You should try to determine whether she's o-ing by her body language (some typical symptoms are shuddering, tensed up legs, and a peak in her heavy breathing), not by the "rythmic contractions" you read about on Wikipedia.

And if that fails, attempt communication, again, this time by just talking to her. Have you ever tried asking, "Did you come that time?" Pretty straightforward question.
posted by crunch buttsteak at 10:00 AM on January 30, 2008

There are two types - clitoral and deep vaginal. The latter being the "earthshaker".

And no one has bothered to ask the question: how big are you?

Yes, size matters.
posted by Jay Reimenschneider at 10:25 AM on January 30, 2008

Two types? Nope. Higher.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:44 AM on January 30, 2008

I think Jay Reimenschneider has been reading too much Doris Lessing.

I have had "clitoral" orgasms after only having vaginal stimulation, and vice versa. But mostly, when it's done right, I can't even tell too much about my orgasm's placement so to speak. The feeling is bigger than that.
posted by RobotHeart at 2:42 PM on January 30, 2008

You should probably examine why you are so concerned with this subject in the first place.

If you're honestly trying your best and keeping an open line of communication to your partners, your obligation ends there. A "good lover" (which by the way is an extremely subjective term) just creates an open environment and does what their partners wants. It really shouldn't be your concern if they have been "faking it" or not; it is their responsibility to tell you what they want done to them or, God forbid, actually take initiative and do it themselves.
posted by Willie0248 at 2:48 PM on January 30, 2008

Um... I've always been able to feel the contraptions with my fingers so you might try switching appendages if the only thing you care about is determinibng whether or not contractions are occurring. On the hand, or whatever, as previously mentioned talking might work too.
posted by rdr at 4:01 AM on January 31, 2008

Well it's different with different women. Some have pulsing contractions, some vibrate, some flutter and tremble uncontrollably like a pretty little bird has been set loose inside of them, some have involuntary arm and leg movements, some get very quiet and loving, some scream very loudly and some will just slap you outright across the face for being such a goddamn incredible lover. But, that's just me.
posted by Skygazer at 12:43 PM on January 31, 2008

Nope, I think Jay Reimenschneider has just been paying too much attention to other guys talking shit (and too little attention to what actually happens with the female bodies he encounters). :)
posted by sparrows at 2:08 AM on February 1, 2008

Yeah, you got me. It's true. Guys are full of it when it comes to this stuff (see above fro illustration). (This is mostly just silliness.)

There are so many variables, really. It helps if there's an emotional connection as well as if you're in good shape and have good strength and endurance, because when it comes to sex: while men play checkers --fun, basic and quick-- Women play chess --depth, complexity and sustained focus.

Believe me. Their way is MUCH better.

Also, I don't think it helps to be too anxious while you're having sex. Relax try and enjoy yourself. Be emotionally and sexually generous, the rest usually takes care of itself.

And, as others have mentioned communication is key. Talking, and listening, might be the best aphrodisiac of all.
posted by Skygazer at 10:48 AM on February 1, 2008

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