What To Do If You Can't Make Your Partner Orgasm

Ashley Batz/ Bustle

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 will remain anonymous. Please send your sex and relationship inquiries to tips@bustle.com. Now, on to today’s topic: what to do if your partner can't seem to orgasm with you.

Q: “I’ve been with my boyfriend for about six months now. He loves pleasuring me, and he does a great job of it. The problem is, I can’t seem to do the same for him — I’ve never been able to get him off. Whenever I try to touch him or go down on him, he seems to enjoy himself for a few minutes, but then he wants to take over, and he’ll masturbate until he has an orgasm.The same thing happens during intercourse. We’ll go for a little while, but then he’ll pull out and want to finish himself.

He seems really embarrassed about the whole thing, so I try to tell him it’s OK. He always makes sure that I have an orgasm first, so I feel bad complaining about this. But I want to be able to pleasure him the same way he pleasures me! It makes me feel like I can’t do anything right, like I’m bad at sex. Should he continue to be the only one to get himself off?”

A: I completely understand the desire to want to pleasure your partner, especially since he’s so great at making sure you always get yours. The great news here is that you both sound like wonderful sexual partners! Here are seven things to know if your partner can only orgasm on their own.

Know That This Is Normal


First of all, I wanted to give you some reassurance that this situation is normal and common. It happens all the time with the genders reversed, but unfortunately, most people aren’t as familiar with the fact that sometimes men are also only able to orgasm on their own.

The truth is that orgasm is pretty personal. If you’ve been masturbating for years, you know exactly what your body needs to get off — in fact, you’re an expert at it! But it can be difficult to transition from orgasming from your own touch to orgasming from another person’s touch. Some people get too embarrassed to even try.

I hope knowing that this is common helps you feel a little more comfortable. Don’t worry — it doesn’t mean that you’re bad at sex!

Don’t Shame Him

Next, I wanted to say kudos to you for not making your boyfriend feel bad about the fact that you’ve been unable to make him orgasm. A lot of people take these kinds of situations personally and get upset when their partners experience “performance” issues. In my sex therapy practice, I work with a lot of guys with performance issues, and one of the hardest parts of their experience is how their partners react. Taking it personally misses the point entirely and makes it so much harder for the guy to relax.

I always encourage trying to put yourself in the other person’s shoes when it comes to sexual challenges. Imagine what it must be like to not be able to have an orgasm from your partner's touch. (Almost every woman out there has experienced this personally!) It’s important to treat our partners with the same kindness and respect that we would like to be treated with. It’s awesome that you’re keeping the focus on wanting to give him the same gifts he gives you.

Talk To Him


I know that your goal is to be able to make your boyfriend orgasm, but what are his goals? Have the two of you ever talked about the situation? Maybe he doesn't want to figure out how you could make him orgasm — it could very well be that he’s happy with the way things are. The approach that you take will be different based on your joint goals, so it’s important to have a conversation.

Say something like, “I know we usually let you finish things off, but I realized I don’t really know if you enjoy that or not. Do you like things the way they are? Or do you want to see if we can figure out how I can help you orgasm? You’re such an amazing partner to me, and I just want to make sure I’m at least offering the same to you.”

Ask Him To Teach You

If you both want to learn how you can help him orgasm, I highly recommend asking him to teach you his specific technique. Start off by watching him more closely. What hand is he predominantly using? What’s the other hand doing? Where is he touching himself? How’s he moving? What kind of pressure is he using? What about speed? Tell him, “I want to learn what you like. Can you show me?” Ask him to describe his techniques in more detail. Try putting your hand over his and feeling how he moves and what he does. When you take over, ask him for feedback. Ask questions like, “faster or slower?” “more or less pressure?” and “what part should I focus on?”

Find Other Ways To Be Involved


If he’s happy to get himself off, you can always find ways to make the process feel more intimate and connected. You don’t have to just sit there and stare at the ceiling while he finishes! Here are some ideas of ways you can be involved while he finishes himself off:

  • Talk dirty to him
  • Wear sexy outfits for him
  • Dance for him
  • Hold your hand over his
  • Kiss him
  • Touch other parts of his body
  • Make eye contact with him
  • Ask if he wants to come in your mouth or on your body

Take Your Time

You mentioned that your boyfriend will let you focus on him for just a few minutes, then hurries to take over. I found myself wondering if he feels rushed. Maybe he feels like you’re getting bored or tired. One way you could set him at ease is to tell him, “Hey, I’m in no rush. I’m really enjoying what I’m doing. Do you want to just relax and let me take care of you?”

Time may also be factor in the sense of how long you’ve been together. Six months isn’t a ton of time, and I’m not sure how long the two of you have been intimate. It’s very possible that he just needs more time to relax and get comfortable with you.

Talk To Him About His Masturbation Habits


Finally, let’s address one particularly tricky situation — what happens if you both agree that it would be great for you to learn how you can get him off, but you’re having a hard time actually getting him there? One thing that can make it difficult to orgasm from another person’s touch is always using one very specific routine when you masturbate. Your body simply gets accustomed to that type of touch, and can sometimes have a hard time responding to other types of touch.

After trying out the other suggestions I mentioned above, you may want to gently bring up to your boyfriend the idea of altering his masturbation routine. This is a sensitive subject, so tread carefully. Say something like, “I noticed that you do the same thing every time you finish. Maybe your body has gotten used to that? Do you think you could try masturbating in different ways for a while, and see if that makes a difference?” I only recommend this to couples who have been together for a while and have good communication habits — but if you both want you to be more involved in his orgasm, it’s definitely worth a try.