How To Orgasm With A Partner, Because Sex Can Be Complicated

For a lot of women, the question of whether they’ll be able to have an orgasm during sex is fraught with anxiety. We’re taught from a young age — both on TV and movies and in porn — that our pleasure will come from a male partner who will put his magic penis inside of us, and we’ll be able to come without any foreplay or clitoral stimulation at all. Talk about total crap, am I right? But why would think any differently about our orgasms? We don’t talk about masturbation with our friends, and we really don’t get any guidance around getting off from adults either. Is it any wonder that only a third of women regularly experience an orgasm during intercourse, and that as many as 10 percent might not even orgasm at all?

However, more and more women are discovering how to orgasm on their own. Our culture is shifting in a positive direction, so that adult women, at least, are feeling empowered to take their orgasms into their own hands. We’ve got sex-positive, female-run sex shops like Babeland, where women can not only buy toys but also take classes about pleasure. A million different types of toys exist to help us get there, many of which are designed by and for women (like the Vesper from Crave). And we have sites that are yelling to the mountaintops about sex-positivity and pleasure. We still have a long way to go, but it’s hard to deny that we’re entering a golden age of female pleasure.

But how do you translate that solo orgasm into a partnered orgasm? This is the spot where a lot of women get stuck. Suddenly there’s another person involved in the getting off process, and things get a whole lot more complicated than when it was just you and your vibe at home. Maybe you’re shy about speaking up for yourself or you’re not sure if they’ll be down to do what you need done. Whatever the reason, here are nine tips to help you make sure you come, too.

1. Don’t Be Scared To Fantasize

When you’re masturbating, you’re probably watching porn, reading erotica, or at least thinking about something sexy. There’s no reason you can’t do that with a partner as well. The key to this one is to masturbate a lot, to different stimuli. You’ll stumble onto something that consistently gets you off and that’s the fantasy you should turn to when you’re having trouble getting into it or you just can’t come.

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2. Be Willing To Focus On Your Own Pleasure

Women are conditioned to be more concerned about the needs of others — especially men — than our own needs. (Thanks, patriarchy!) But a lot of us need some very specific touch, thoughts, words, or whatever to get off. Dan Savage is fond of saying that if a man needed a canoe and a nun in the room in order to have an orgasm, you can bet they would be there even during a one-night stand. Figure out what your nun and canoe are, and insist on them! If you need direct clitoral stimulation (as most of do), then ask your partner to stimulate it or stimulate it yourself! Your pleasure is as important as the pleasure of the person you’re with and you’re the only one who is in charge of it. Do you.

Mystic Wand, $69, Babeland

3. Make Your Partner Watch

If your partner just isn’t hitting the right spots, make them watch while you get yourself off. They can masturbate too while you’re doing it, because, well, who wouldn’t find that hot? They’ll learn exactly what kind of touch works for you and what doesn’t because they’ll actually see it.

4. Masturbate

On a similar note, don’t be scared to masturbate during partnered sex. As I mentioned above, most women need direct clitoral stimulation in order to get off — penis in the vagina alone (for those of you doing it with dudes) just doesn’t cut it for most of us. Reach down there and give yourself a little boost!

Je Joue Mimi Soft Vibrator, $95, Babeland

5. Do It Sober

Having drunk sex can dull your nerves and your connection with your body. If you find you’re always banging under the influence, consider switching it up and going at it sober sometime. This is a double-edged sword, of course, because one of the reasons we drink is to get rid of inhibitions, and fewer inhibitions often translates to being more willing to have sex. However, if your goal is orgasming, and drunk sex is not ending in orgasm, then sobering up could seriously be your solution.

6. Do It Tipsy

On the other hand, if you’re having trouble letting go of your inhibitions, and that’s keeping you from orgasm, have a couple glasses of wine! Don’t get blotto drunk (because: see above), but a drink or two will get your blood flowing, and might help lower your inhibitions to the point where you’re able to let go enough to get there.

7. Do What Works

A lot of women have one position that works for them. Don’t be scared to do it, even if it means you always end in that position! If it works, it works, and your partner should be down with a little repetition if it means you end with big O.

8. Turn Off The Lights

Some women are self-conscious about their bodies, and find that their worries about how they look are keeping them from being in the moment. (Thanks again, patriarchy!) A great solution for this problem in the short term is to turn off the lights! It also heightens your other senses, so even if you’re totally cool with how your naked body looks, it can be great way to up sensation.

In the long term, though, it’s time to get body-positive. Check out this post by Marie Southard Ospina, which straight-up changed my life, as a good place to start.

9. Let Go

Sometimes it takes a mantra in your head: Let go, let go, let go. Give yourself permission, and you’ll get there.

Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new video on sex with small penises.

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