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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Now, onto today’s topic: what to do if your partner can't come because of their meds.
Q: “My boyfriend and I have been together for about six months, and just started having sex in the last few months. At first, it seemed like it took him a really long time to come during sex, but then I started wondering if he was coming at all. It sorta seemed like he was faking it, but he wasn’t even trying that hard to make it seem convincing. I finally asked him about it, and he said that he can’t come from sex. I’ve never heard of this before. He told me he takes medications that stop him from orgasming. He’s a veteran, and he’s on medication for PTSD. He also has ADHD and diabetes from his pre-military days, so he’s on medication for those too. What can I do sexually to help him? I feel really bad that he can’t get his, and I want to make sure he climaxes.”
A: Thanks for the question! I know you mentioned you’d never experienced this before, but difficulty orgasming because of meds is actually an incredibly common frustration that lots of people have to deal with. Orgasmic challenges are never fun, but knowing that they’re happening solely because of medications can be even more frustrating. Here’s how you guys can deal.
This Is Common
Like I just said, lots of people have the same experience as your boyfriend. All of the following medications can make it difficult to orgasm:
- Anti-anxiety medications
- Blood pressure medications
- High-cholesterol medications
- Pain relievers
If your boyfriend has PTSD, he’s probably being treated with an anti-depressant. These medications are among the worst when it comes to sexual side effects. Even if your boyfriend had never had any issues with his orgasm in the past, his medications could be profoundly impacting his ability to orgasm. It’s so frustrating and unfair that a medication that is necessary for mental health has such a bad impact on sexual functioning, but that’s the unfortunate reality.
Thank Them For Sharing
It took a lot of trust for your boyfriend to confide in you about his orgasmic challenges. A lot of men have a hard time talking about it because difficulty orgasming is typically — and unfairly — seen as a female problem. It’s important that you let your boyfriend know you appreciate him telling you in the first place.
Tell Them They Don’t Need To Fake
You can also support your boyfriend by letting him know he doesn’t need to fake an orgasm for your benefit. Let him know that you want to work together to create a sex life that feels satisfying to you both, but that you don’t need him to perform in a certain way.
Encourage Them To Talk To Their Doctor
If he hasn’t already, your boyfriend should talk to his doctor about the sexual side effects he’s experiencing. Together with his doctor, he may be able to find other medications, dosages, or combinations of medications that can minimize sexual side effects. (Please note that you should never mess with your medications without a doctor’s supervision!) His doctor may also have other tips about combatting the sexual side effects, like changing your boyfriend's diet, exercising, or taking supplements. Finding the right combination of interventions can take a while, but it’s definitely worth the effort. I know it can be embarrassing to talk to your doctor about sex, but remind yourself that that’s a part of their job.
Ask Them What They Like
It sounds like you’re putting some pressure on yourself to make sure your boyfriend orgasms. For the moment, his orgasm is not entirely in your control. I always say that pressure is the antithesis of pleasure. In other words, it’s impossible to feel good when you’re feeling pressured. This applies to both of you! Instead, you can make both of you feel more relaxed by trying to focus simply on what feels good to your boyfriend. After you’ve told him that you don’t need him to fake an orgasm for your benefit, ask him what genuinely does feel good to him. What would he like you to do when you’re being intimate?
Focus On More Sensation
A lot of medications dull the sensation, so one way to combat sexual side effects is to try to create even more sensation. Intercourse in and of itself may not feel super intense to your boyfriend, but you can play around with other ways to create more stimulation. Try more intense positions (this article has some good ideas). Try having him wear a vibrating cock ring. Or try adding some anal stimulation with your finger or a toy.
And Longer Duration
You may also need to go for a longer amount of time than your boyfriend is used to. For example, he may have been able to orgasm in less than five minutes in the past, but now need 20 minutes or more. A lot of people get self-conscious about the amount of time they take to orgasm, so make sure he knows you’re happy to keep going, for as long as it feels pleasurable to him. You can switch between activities to keep things interesting. If you’re going to have intercourse for a long time, a few dabs of a silicone-based lubricant will keep things comfortable for both of you.
Get Him Off Other Ways
Your boyfriend said that he said he can’t come from sex, but you didn’t mention masturbation, hand jobs, or blow jobs. Ask him if there are other activities that feel better for him or make it easier for him to come. If he can orgasm in other ways, you guys can absolutely work those activities into your sex life. Even if you both want to keep having intercourse, you can switch to a blow job or hand job when he’s ready to come.
Remember — Orgasm Isn’t Everything
I know it’s frustrating to deal with orgasmic challenges, especially if you know they’re medication-induced. But keep reminding yourselves that you can still have a great sex life without orgasms.