We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we hear the nitty-gritty of how we can actually better understand our deepest desires and most embarrassing questions? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist, to help us out with the details. No gender, sexual orientation, or question is off limits, and all questions remain anonymous. Now, onto this week’s topic: why men can't come sometimes — and how to talk about it.
Q: I’ve never seen this issue addressed before, so I’m a little embarrassed to be asking. My problem is that my boyfriend very rarely orgasms during sex. At first, I thought he was just trying to last longer to impress me, but we’ve been together six months and I think he’s orgasmed maybe three times? We have never talked about it either. He’ll just go limp at some point and will awkwardly pull out. I can’t help but feel like I must be doing something wrong. I’ve never been with a guy who couldn’t come. Sometimes I can tell that he’s trying to fake an orgasm, which makes me feel even worse.
Q: Thank you for being brave and submitting your question! What you’re describing sounds like delayed orgasm. It’s an issue that doesn’t get a lot of press, but it’s far more widespread than most people think. I have a program for men called The Modern Man's Guide To Conquering Performance Pressure; delayed orgasm is actually the most common reason men sign up for it.
It probably won’t surprise you that my number one piece of advice is to talk to him about it. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but you’re already feeling uncomfortable! Before approaching him, it might help to have a sense of some of why delayed orgasm typically occurs. I can’t know what’s going on with your boyfriend with any certainty, but here are some possibilities:
1. He might not be getting enough stimulation.
If he’s not feeling a lot of sensation during sex, he may find it hard to reach orgasm. People experience pleasure in different intensities, and he might be on the lower end of the spectrum.
You can each make an effort to engage more of your senses when you’re being intimate with each other. You can add more stimulation to your sex life by talking dirty to each other, moaning loudly, watching yourselves in the mirror, using lube, lighting aromatherapy candles, listening to sexy music, using a vibrating cock ring, or watching porn.
One of the most effective ways to get men to orgasm faster is to incorporate a little anal play into your sex life. Although the anus is still taboo in our culture, it’s a huge source of pleasure. Often just pressing a finger against a man’s anus can help him ejaculate much quicker. You’ll have to discuss your comfort levels with each other, but knowing how effective anal stimulation can be might motivate you to give it a try!
2. He might have a medical issue.
Delayed ejaculation can be caused a whole host of medical factors, including medications, injuries, heart disease, prostate issues, urinary tract infections, hormonal problems, or neurological conditions.
Since there are so many potential causes, I would encourage him to have a check-up. Show him this article, or tell him you’ve done some research on your own, and ask him if he would be willing to see his doctor.
3. He might need more time to warm up.
Sometimes guys need foreplay too! It’s possible that your guy needs more stimulation before the two of you move on to intercourse. If you don’t typically engage in a lot of foreplay before sex, try giving him a hand job or a blow job for 10-15 minutes, then start having sex after he says he’s ready.
4. He may be feeling a lot of pressure.
Most men these days feel a tremendous amount of pressure to “perform” in the bedroom. He might be focusing so hard on being a good lover that he’s not paying enough attention to his own pleasure.
Say something like, “I don’t want to put you on the spot, but I’ve noticed that you don’t usually orgasm during sex. I don’t need you to orgasm, but I just want to make sure you’re having a good time.” He might feel embarrassed or defensive at first, but it will go a long way to know that you want him to enjoy himself.
5. He might be afraid to ask for what he wants.
Most people struggle with vocalizing what they need in bed, which means there are an awful lot of people out there having sex that isn’t really doing it for them. There are a lot of possibilities here — your boyfriend might be interested in exploring fantasies or power dynamics that he feels embarrassed bringing up, he might want you to stimulate him in a different way, or he might simply feel too uncomfortable to ask you to change positions.
You can introduce the idea of being more vocal about your wants by bringing up some of your own. Tell him, “I’ve been too shy to tell you this before, but I’d really like you to tie me up.” Then ask, “Is there anything you’d like to try?” Or after you’ve had sex, tell him what you really liked about that particular time, and ask him for his feedback. Don’t ask him, “what do you want?” in the middle of sex; that question creates too much pressure in the moment.
6. He might not want to be having sex.
Our society tends to think that men are relentless horndogs who will have sex at any opportunity. He might be pushing himself to have sex in moments where he’s not actually feeling any desire to. Or he might have gone against his religious beliefs or moral code by having sex. Another possibility is that he’s struggling with his sexual identity. This is very rarely the cause of delayed orgasm, but it is a remote possibility.
Try asking your boyfriend questions like, “how do you feel about our sex life?”, “what feels like a good sexual frequency to you?”, and “do you ever feel pressured to have sex when you’re not in the mood?” I would not recommend asking him if he’s gay; you’re going to have to trust him to come to terms with his identity on his own.
7. He might not need to orgasm.
Everybody’s different when it comes to sex. It’s possible that he feels satisfied and fulfilled without an orgasm. Try asking him, “how do you know when you feel finished with sex?”
The men who experience delayed orgasm often feel like they’re the only guy on earth who has this problem, so try to be as sensitive as you can in starting to have these conversations with him. Good luck!
Images: Giphy; Simon/Flickr