What To Do If You Can Only Orgasm When You Masturbate And Not With Your Partner

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We're officially in International Masturbation Month. Although masturbation gets a month out of the year to be recognized and celebrated, that doesn't mean it's not getting the same amount of love the rest of the year, day in and day out, by the majority of the population. And, as with anything that's sex-related, it doesn't come without plenty of shame and stigma attached. As a taboo topic, people still have tons of misconceptions, questions, concerns. It's with these inquiries that people turn to reliable sex experts, like Dr. Laura Deitsch, aka Dr. Shameless, Vibrant's Licensed Clinical Counselor & Resident Sexologist.

One of the most common questions Dr. Deitsch gets is: "I can only come when I masturbate and not with my partner. How can I fix this problem?" For starters, no one should be thinking this is a problem, per se. Women, for the most part, can't climax from penetrative sex alone, so that's something worth noting. If it's happening to you, you're definitely not alone. But while that's true, there can be other factors standing in the way of you getting off during sex with a partner. Here are seven tips for trying to orgasm with a partner, according to Dr. Shameless.

1Figure Out If There Are Any Underlying Issues That You're Not Addressing

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"First and foremost, examine whether there are any underlying issues of attraction, taste, fears, shame, and so on," Dr. Shameless tells Bustle. "That's a huge bundle of potential issues so let's suppose for simplicity sake, none of those things are going on."

Reasons why someone might not be able to climax with their partner can really run the gamut. So, as Dr. Shameless suggests, you want to check off what you know for sure isn't the problem. If you're not genuinely attracted to your partner, are nervous about sex, or are stressed out in general, these things can definitely stand in the way of an orgasm. If you can check off these things as not being the issue, you can proceed.

2Realize How The Body Works

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Not only should you have a decent grasp on how the human body works, especially in regards to arousal and orgasms, but understanding how the brain and body are connected is also going to be a huge help. Human beings are creatures of habit. Because of this we prefer our habits and like to stick to them as much as possible. "Our bodies and brains create pathways through repetition," says Dr. Shameless. "If you have orgasmed repeatedly through masturbation, your brain is primed and ready to do so again. If you haven’t typically orgasmed with a partner, your brain will naturally have a harder time getting there."

3You May Need To Rewire Your Brain

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If your body and mind only know climax through masturbation then, as Dr. Shameless tells Bustle, you need to rewire your brain and create a new pathway that will, ideally, result in a different outcome — aka an orgasm with your partner.

"To do that, pay attention when you are masturbating to exactly what is going on that brings you to orgasm," says Dr. Shameless. "Is it a fantasy or a certain physical stimulation? Is it a lube amount or visual cues? Once you have figured that out, find a way to involve your partner in this method. Perhaps you share the fantasy and ask them to join you in storytelling. Think of it like live sexting."

4Give Your Partner A Hands-On Lesson

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"If it's a certain physical stimulation, teach your partner," says Dr. Shameless. "Show them, tell them, literally hold their hand (or whatever you need), and have them join in the physical act."

The reason masturbation is a sure thing is because we know exactly what we want and how to get ourselves there. Our partners, no matter how in-tune they might be with our bodies, don't always know exactly what to do. This is where mutual masturbation comes in handy. Through mutual masturbation, you can teach each other exactly how you like to be touched, ask questions, and really clear up any grey areas. It's also really hot and makes for wonderful foreplay.

5Do The Majority Of Work Yourself

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"Another technique is to get yourself about 90 percent of the way there and then show your partner how to take you home," says Dr. Shameless. "It might not work immediately and there could be some frustration, but intense stimulation and excitement are precursors to orgasm, so chances are good it will eventually work."

Because only you really know what you want, doing most of the work yourself is a great idea. Granted, it may not seem much different from masturbation at first, but it is a good way to rewire your brain and allows for creativity. Just because you're doing the work, doesn't mean your partner has to sit idly by, twiddling their thumbs. Things like talking dirty and giving yourself a hand — literally — can spice things up.

6Get Input From Your Partner

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According to Dr. Shameless, these methods should definitely help in the rewiring process, which will ultimately get that pathway started and moving in the right direction. But, as Dr. Shameless also points out, you need to make sure your partner is really included every step of the way. So whatever additions or ideas they have should be acknowledged and tossed into the mix. This is a group effort, after all.

7Have A 1:1 Chat With Yourself

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Perhaps you'll find that there's no quick fix for you, and even a creating a pathway isn't possible. If that's the case, it's time for a convo with yourself. It also means facing stuff you might not want to face.

"If nothing seems to work after an honest effort, you should have a frank conversation with yourself," says Dr. Shameless. "Maybe you're not communicating clearly or with enough detail. Maybe there's something going on in your head that you're having a hard time facing and need to solve first. It can be tough to rewire these pathways but don’t give up too quickly. The payoff is worth it!"

Although it can be frustrating being unable to climax with your partner, it isn't the end of the world. As Dr. Shameless points out, there are definitely techniques that you can use to help you out. If the techniques don't work, then it's time to examine what else might be messing with things. Because the brain and body are so intricately intertwined, it doesn't matter if your body is in "yes" mode, if your brain isn't feeling it. You need to get them both on the same page.