When I was offered a session with a sex coach so that I could write about the experience, I wasn't about to turn it down. Sure, he was going to watch me and my boyfriend have sex over Skype without ever meeting us in person. But hey — I'm down to try (almost) anything, and I was eager to address the fact that I haven't been able to reach orgasm by someone else's hand or mouth in three years.
Eric Amaranth is a sex life coach who I found through Spafinder Wellness’s "Sexual Wellbeing: Taboo No More" report, part of their 2016 Global Spa & Wellness Trends Forecast. He's a protege of the pioneering sex coach Betty Dodson, and works with clients from all over the world via Skype, Google Hangouts, the phone, and even in-person — often, by watching you have sex and coaching you. In our 20-minute consultation over the phone before our session, I told Eric that, while I was pretty satisfied by my sex life — I come pretty much every time we have sex, often multiple times — I have been frustrated by the fact that I haven't been able to come from my boyfriend, Ian, going down on me or touching me alone. Somewhere along the way, I seem to have gotten habituated to using either my hand or a toy, plus penetration, to orgasm. If I'm not in control, I can definitely get very turned on, but it seems like I can't come. My boyfriend and I have tried lots of things — him going down on me for an hour, taking orgasm off the table, making everything about orgasm — but my pussy has become resistant to coming by anything other than my own hand. "We can work on that," Eric told me confidently.
When he welcomed me and Ian on Skype a few weeks later for the official session, I was a little surprised to see that he was actually much cuter than his professional headshot had suggested. With a southern drawl and a handsome face with dark hair, I felt OK with the idea that this dude was about to see me naked.
Eric welcomed us and started talking about what I had mentioned in our consultation — along with my theory that my relatively new orgasmic block might be partially due to the fact that my ex-boyfriend didn't like going down on me.
"You just need to tell those thoughts 'fuck off!' when you get them," Eric said adamantly. He then suggested that I do everything I can to just focus on my clit in the moment, and on "my hot man" going down on me. "I want you to channel your inner perv girl — not slut, that's what the bad guys say — and think to yourself, yeah, I'm going to come all over his face."
I had a hard time not giggling as he told me these tips matter-of-factly, and I was highly skeptical that any of this advice would work differently than anything else we'd tried. I know these tips — I've read the sex advice articles about this, and I've tried to focus on the present moment, the sensations in my clit. It's always helped me enjoy receiving more, but it's never made me come.
And with that, Eric said it was time to practice. Only I disrobed, and Ian got on his knees as I laid down on my stomach, the position Eric suggested.
Eric then introduced us to the concept of the A-Spot, something he's an expert in, and has made me promise not to discuss in too much detail here, lest his secret technique get out. Suffice it to say, the "anterior fornix erogenous zone" (also known as the "deep spot" or "second G-spot") is supposed to be a female erogenous zone that is not orgasmic for most women, but is supposed to provide a steady "background," as he put it, when you're getting clitoral stimulation. It's meant to feel like a wall you're hitting, and as we were about to find out, it is not the easiest thing to find. It's definitely not a part of the G-spot, either — it is a different concept attributed to Malaysian sex scientist Dr. Chua Chee Ann, who, in his research with women who had vaginal dryness, found that stimulation of this area deep in the vagina on the anterior wall resulted in rapid lubrication and arousal.
Before we got started, Eric directed my boyfriend on how to move the toy he'd sent me to access my A-spot, a hard yellow plastic stem that was long and thin, with a bulb on the tip narrower than most penis heads. There is only so much you can get through explaining verbally when it comes to these things, and I felt for my dude as he received Eric's instructions, because I certainly couldn't picture where this spot was myself.
And with that, Eric said it was time to practice. Only I disrobed, and Ian got on his knees as I laid down on my stomach, the position Eric suggested. I honestly didn't feel weird about Eric seeing me naked. He wasn't even in the room, and because I'm a little bit of an exhibitionist and found him kind of cute, it only helped to get me more in the mood to know he was watching. Ian was supposed to leap right into finding my A-spot, as I laid on my stomach and touched myself. Without any foreplay before Ian stuck the toy in me and started digging, I was not amused. It was a weird sensation, and it made me feel like I needed to pee.
Eric kept saying that if it felt like I needed to pee, that meant Ian was hitting my G-spot, not the A. I felt bad for Ian, because he seemed to be trying mighty hard, and it certainly felt like he was hitting something — but I didn't like it. I tried to push through the feeling, since Eric said it was meant to be a very intense sensation that had helped many-a-woman have an orgasmic breakthrough. But it just kept feeling uncomfortable, like it was pressing on my bladder. If it hadn't been the whole purpose of the exercise, I would have told Ian to stop right away.
Does that feel good? they both kept asking me hopefully. "Um, not really," I said, already starting to feel broken somehow, like I'd just found a new thing to fail at. This was definitely not sexy. Now I felt performance anxiety for two men instead of one; a heightening of the normal insecurity I've been feeling when I receive for the last few years, due in part to my negative experiences with my ex.
The whole thing still felt silly and frustrating — like having hetero sex doomed me to an eternity of men reducing my complex anatomy and psychology to some special button they could push, or formula they could decode. And yet, as all these thoughts and anger and insecurities were passing through my mind, I was also starting to get seriously turned on. Like, much more than I had expected.
We decided to try it on my back, but first, I got up to the bathroom to pee. "Sounds like she did have to pee," Ian said to Eric. Yeah no shit, I thought, annoyed with myself that I hadn't listened and trusted what my body was telling me before, assuming it was just a false sensation because Eric had told me it was "probably the G-spot feeling".
I laid on my back, and though I got the same needing-to-pee-feeling in moments, I began to assert when it didn't feel right, and to feel generally more turned on. Ian was on his knees, moving the toy to hit my A-spot, and turned it on to vibrate, which also obviously helped. "I like it right there," I said, looking at him as I touched myself.
"Yeah, she likes it there in general," Ian said to Eric. "Almost just the tip, rubbing up against her walls, like she's pushing my dick out, then sucking it back in." I felt turned on by these two guys discussing my pussy's preferences, but also annoyed with myself that Ian was telling me information about my preferences that I myself wouldn't have been able to articulate.
"That sounds like the G-spot,' Eric replied, still trying to get Ian to make sure he was "hitting the A". The whole thing still felt silly and frustrating — like having hetero sex doomed me to an eternity of men reducing my complex anatomy and psychology to some special button they could push, or formula they could decode. And yet, as all these thoughts and anger and insecurities were passing through my mind, I was also starting to get seriously turned on. Like, much more than I had expected.
Whatever Ian was hitting was becoming nice background noise, and I stated to touch myself faster. "Move your hips just a little," Eric told me. "Focus on your clit. Focus on that clit," he kept repeating, periodically. I reached for some lube for my hand, but that seemed to signal a pause to Eric. It was time to have Ian go down on me. Eric told me to stimulate my breasts with one hand, and to pull back my mons pubis with the other while he licked me and stimulated my A-spot. Ian began to move his tongue faster than usual, and Eric told him to speed up the A-spot stim, and though it felt really good, the inner voice began to pop up. It seemed like a furious speed he had to keep up, like rubbing your tummy and patting your head at warp speed … with your tongue and wrist. I enjoyed it for a minute, but as those guilty feelings continued, I decided to say them out loud.
"Aren't you tired? I feel bad."
"No," Ian said, looking up adorably from my pussy that way guys do.
"It's his job as the fucking man to lick your pussy till you come," Eric said, bluntly, firmly. Is it though? When it comes to sex, I wasn't sure it was anyone's job to do anything. But I was getting turned on. Much more than I expected, or usually do. It was fun to have both these men focusing on me and my vagina. The A-spot stim was beginning to feel good, and I liked pulling back my mons pubis to expose my clit, a trick I often forget makes a huge difference during oral.
Would I actually come? As soon as the thought popped into my head, so did the pressure. How great would that be, if I could do this for them? Yes, for myself too; but I couldn't deny, the first thought was still for them. (Hell, even for you. What a great ending that would be for the audience!) There is always an audience in sex, but here I was, multiplying it again and again.
"Focus on your clit," Ian said firmly but kindly, rubbing my thigh. I tried to, and on my hot man eating it. It helped a bit, like redirecting your attention to focus on your breath during meditation. Though I'd tried this before, I'd never attempted it in this context, where the only explicit purpose of the sex was to work on technique. The confines of it — the two men reminding me to focus, the only possible activity at hand cunnilingus — was liberating and hot.
I also liked being told what to do when I receive. I liked knowing that giving directions was not only permitted but required, and that intercourse was not on the table, penetration the main event. Just as fast as I acknowledged that thought, I had another: why do I feel like I need the permission not to make penetration the main event in the first place?
Time was up. I was a little annoyed — I felt like I actually had a chance of coming, and we were stopping now? (Granted, the entire session had been over an hour.) Eric said the session was encouraging, and that the fact that I had begun to like the A-spot stim was "promising". "That was only about 10, 15 minutes. That's totally normal, he said. Just keep working on that A." I was normal. The word echoed in my ears reassuringly, despite how problematic I know the concept of normal is.
Eric suggested we have regular sexy time to work explicitly on technique — guilt-free sessions where I was supposed to give clear directions. He also noted that it was possible I just wasn't able to come through oral anymore, and that even in his own sex life, all the tricks in the book hadn't always worked for certain women who just need more intense stimulation than a tongue can provide.
"Sometimes, your neurology changes, and you just can't come the way you used to," Eric told me. "A tongue is not the same as a finger. And if your neurology's changed, that's OK. But if you want to try to come again with a tongue, you need to pull out all the toppings. Don't leave anything out." That meant making sure I pulled back on my mons pubis to expose my clit more, and always fondling my nipples. It meant watching Ian as he went down on me, and it meant maybe even pulling up some porn, or using a hand mirror so that I could literally see his mouth on me. It meant focusing on my clit, and channeling my "inner perv girl" and believing it was his job to make me come, no matter how exhausting it appeared to me, to let him go "until his tongue couldn't move anymore".
And yet, that little voice. It was still there, telling me that even though I'd come, I'd somehow failed. Failed myself, failed the sex coach, failed my partner by not being able to just lay back and take what is supposedly my goddess-given birthright to come all over his face.
We said our goodbyes, and then, our session was over. We shut the computer and I laughed, but Ian just smiled mischievously. "Time to fuck you now," he said. What had we been doing before? Penetration, once again, became the main event. But first, somewhat unbelievably, Ian wanted to keep going down on me. When we did start having intercourse, I focused on his dick in me and my hand on my clit, and tried to be in the moment. "I want to see you come," he told me, which was my cue to get on top. I came easily there, as usual, a couple times, using a little toy. I felt relieved after all that foreplay to have an easy release; grateful that I am able to orgasm at all.
And yet, that little voice. It was still there, telling me that even though I'd come, I'd somehow failed. Failed myself, failed the sex coach, failed my partner by not being able to just lay back and take what is supposedly my goddess-given birthright to come all over his face. Oh, and on the first try, no less.
Maybe I have lost my ability to orgasm by anyone's hand but my own. But I will keep trying to test otherwise, so long as I want to. Perhaps we will even carve out time for technique sessions every week or two; confined containers where the explicit purpose is to improve communication and technique. I will try to get it through my head that I deserve receiving what Ian seems to genuinely love to give, and to keep relinquishing control.
Learning and verbalizing more clearly what I want will help, but I think whether I come or not again from oral sex will largely be an emotional matter. I imagine it happening when I've forgotten to think about anything but how nice it is to be with a man who will always want to lick me, whether I come or not; when I focus on my clit, but am somehow still able to forget about the idea of orgasming at all.
Easier said than done, that's for damn sure — it's like focusing on the breath during meditation and not letting your mind wander. The mind will always wander. Sometimes, I wish I could switch bodies with the men I'm with, if only so that they could fully understand the catch 22 — think too much and you won't come, but tell yourself not to think, and you're already thinking. It is as difficult and self-defeating as meditating with the idea that you will achieve nirvana. When the mind wanders, all you can do is refocus on the breath — or in this case, the clit — and return to the present moment.
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Images: Bustle; Eric Amaranth; Giphy