What To Do (And Not Do) When Your Partner Can't Finish

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Difficulty orgasming is one of the most commonly reported sexual problems. About 21 percent of women and eight percent of men ages 16-21 experience it, according to a study by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UCL, and NatCen Social Research. So, what do you do when your partner can't finish? It can be a sensitive issue and requires an appropriately sensitive response.

First, remember that while orgasming is pretty fun, it's not necessary in order to have a great sex life. Some people may feel pressure to orgasm for the purpose of turning on their partners or stroking their egos, but our orgasms — or lack thereof — should be about us.

In addition, people can get so worried about whether or not they'll come that they're not attuned to their sensations, which can ultimately hurt their chances of coming. So, it's extra important to make sure your partner feels no pressure coming from you. Let them know you're there to help them if that's what they want, but acknowledge that sometimes, it's just ain't gonna happen, and that's OK, too.

Here are some things you should and should not do when your partner has trouble finishing.

1DON'T Assume It's A Problem

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Like a lot of sexual things, not being able to orgasm isn't a problem unless it bothers you. So, don't make your partner feel like something's wrong with them. Not being able to orgasm with a partner is extremely common, and there are a lot of ways to enjoy sex without it. That said, if your partner does want to change the situation, be supportive.

2DON'T Take It Personally

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There are a ton of possible reasons someone can't orgasm that have nothing to do with their partner. They may be extremely attracted to you, and you may be doing all the right things (though definitely find out if there's something you can do better), but sometimes, our bodies just don't cooperate.

The causes of inability to orgasm range from anxiety to lack of self-exploration, sex therapist Vanessa Marin, founder of Finishing School, an online course all about orgasms, tells Bustle. And yes, these issues can be due to a partner's technique, but that's OK! There's always a learning curve when we're figuring out how to please our partners. The important thing is just to be receptive to feedback.

3DON'T Act Upset

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If your ego can't help but be wounded, make sure not to take that out on your partner. "Some women clam up, roll over and ignore their partner, start crying, get out of bed, start interrogating their partner about what went wrong, or even get angry. Unfortunately, those responses are only going to ensure that your partner has a hard time finishing the next time too," says Marin. "It's OK to feel hurt, scared, or worried. Take a second to privately acknowledge your feelings to yourself, and try to gently talk yourself out of it. Remind yourself that bodies aren't always cooperative."

4DON'T Rush Them

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Asking "are you close?" or "are you there yet?" will only make them feel pressured, Astroglide's resident sexologist Dr. Jess O'Reilly tells Bustle. "It’s annoying, distracting, and will do nothing to enhance your partner’s pleasure."

5DO Put Yourself In Their Position

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A good way to figure out what to do in this situation is to understand what your partner's going through, says Marin. Chances are, there's been a time when you couldn't orgasm as easily as you would've liked. Ask yourself what kind of response you would have wanted from your partner then.

6DO Suggest A Different Activity

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If what you're doing isn't working for your partner, ask if they'd like to try something else. "For example, oral sex or hand jobs might feel a lot less intimidating that intercourse," Marin suggests.

Dr. Jess agrees: "Instead of focusing solely on the penis and/or vagina, look for ways you can engage other body parts like your fingers, tongue, hands, and even toys," she suggests. "Research shows that sexual variety is positively correlated with orgasm, so consider trying two or three positions in each sexual encounter." Remember, there's no right or wrong way to come, so figure out what works for them.

7DO Tell Them To Let You Know When To Stop

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To take away the pressure to orgasm, let your partner know you're not waiting on it and are cool with stopping whenever. Marin recommends saying, "just let me know when you're ready for me to stop." This removes focus from orgasm and brings it back to pleasure.

8DO Ask What They Like

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Instead of asking what will make them come, ask what'll help them enjoy the moment, says Dr. Jess. "There?" "More?" "Faster?" and "Harder?" are all good questions to ask.

As with anything, it's always a good idea to talk to your partner about what they're experiencing and what they want, rather than make assumptions. Together, you can come up with the best ways to make sure both of your needs are met. You just have to first understand what those needs are.