Why can't I orgasm with a partner?
Vibrator dependence: the buzz could be killing your buzz
How to have the orgasms you want, when you want them...
‘Why can’t I orgasm with my partner?’ This is a big question that I get asked by female clients. It was also a personal issue for me until about 10 years ago: I could reach orgasm when I was masturbating, but when I was with a partner I just didn’t…get there. So, firstly, I want to stress that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Your individual physical, emotional, psychological and erotic experience of your body, and of sex and arousal, is just that: it’s individual. It’s really unique to you. What I’m sharing here are simply some of the most common things that I have observed and experienced through working with intimate touch and working with people’s bodies, genitals and their sexual experience over the past 7 years. It’s also based on my own exploration of this issue, in my own body and with my partner(s), that has brought me to a new orgasmic abundance. I can confidently say that, in the past 10 years, I have changed my sexual experience and now have the orgasms I want, when I want them. So take what you need from this series of blogs, use it as inspiration, be curious and give yourself time to experiment. I hope that some of the following resonates, and maybe supports you in changing your experience. If you want to dive deeper into the question in private coaching sessions please get in touch on email@example.com
Many of my female clients come for intimate bodywork sessions, or masturbation coaching sessions, because they want to understand what is preventing them from enjoying orgasms with their partner when they can reach orgasm during masturbation. So, I am not a psychologist, psychotherapist or counsellor. I do not focus on the thought processes, or intellectual beliefs that clients have in relation to sex, intimacy and their bodies. I focus on helping you to FEEL more. That often begins with bringing more intentional awareness to what you can currently feel, and what physical and emotional patterns might be restricting or limiting that experience. From that place of body awareness you can create change through use of embodied tools such as breath, sound, movement and touch. Changing the ‘mechanics’ will often change the limiting or restricting thoughts and beliefs. You can try and ‘think’ your way into a new orgasmic experience, but ultimately if you don’t address the situation at a body level, it will not be an integrated and sustainable change.
Are you overly reliant on your vibrator?
The first contributing factor we’ll look at with this questions is something that I feel quite strongly about. It was a huge change in my erotic life, and made a really big difference to my ‘orgasm block’ in partnered sex when I implemented it. Until about 10 years ago I only masturbated using a vibrator. Many of my female clients also admit during masturbation coaching sessions, or intimate massage sessions, that they rarely use their hands for self-pleasuring and rely solely on their Hitachi wand, Lelo vibrator or ‘Womanizer’ toy. Let me just clarify straight away – I am not ‘anti vibrator’ per se. All power (no pun intended) to you, your vibrator and your solo orgasms – I’ll happily admit that I love the guarantee and efficiency of these electrical devices! But, when you are dependent on the vibrator as the only stimulation that you’re exploring in your solo sex and masturbation, you’re basically training your body and the nerve endings in your genitals (and therefore the neural pathways to the pleasure centre of your brain) to only be responsive to that extremely high frequency of stimulation. Using a vibrator is basically like being electrocuted. The speed and intensity is so far beyond what we can actually generate with our own hands, or what your partner can stimulate or generate with their tongue or hands, that you train your body to not be able to tune into anything below that frequency. You’re frying your pleasure circuitry.
If you’re doubtful that your vibrator is leading to numb genitals let’s look at it from the perspective of power tool usage. There is well documented research into the fact that over exposure to high vibration power tools can have adverse effects on the blood vessels, nerves, muscles and joints of the hands and arms of the users. This leads to feelings of numbness and/or tingling and issues such as Raynaud’s Syndrome (which, coincidentally, I also suffered from). Think of the impact your highly vibrating device is therefore having on the highly vasculated and densely nerve-innervated area of the head of your clitoris. It’s not so much the RPM of the device that’s the issue, I’d venture that it’s the frequency of use, and the exclusivity with which you use it to stimulate yourself (rather than having a varied palette of sensory inputs) that creates the ‘numbing out’ of different levels of sensory receptors. If, like me, you had always used the vibrator (I’m talking every, single orgasm), and never bothered to explore anything else, how do you expect to be able to respond to your own or a partner’s manual stimulation?
Take a vibrator holiday...
So, here’s an invitation to you: take a vibrator holiday. Set yourself a challenge to experiment for 10 days, 21 days, 30 days whatever works for you. Realistically, to allow for any kind of significant shift in physical sensations it needs to be around 21+ days. Within that time don’t just ditch the vibrator and stop masturbating, self-pleasuring or touching yourself altogether – this is not about abstinence! Use that time to re-train your body, to help your clitoris and the rest of your genitals to learn to respond to, and be receptive to, a subtler layer of intensity and stimulation. The intention within this ’vibrator holiday’ should be to really explore and play. It’s an opportunity to lay down new sensations and new experiences in your genitals. Use your masturbation sessions to explore different textures, speeds and techniques of touch for your labia, your perineum, your mons pubis, your g-spot, your cervix. It is a project to increase the ‘map’ of sensation in your genitals.
To begin with you will find that you cannot orgasm, or it will take much longer than it does with your vibrator. That’s very normal and I encourage you to not give in to the frustration and give up. You might find that you simply don’t know what to do with your hands, or that the experience does not match your expectation of how an orgasm ‘should’ feel. In these moments I encourage you to focus on the sensations that are actually there: the warmth of your hand or your fingertips, the smoothness of oil or lube on your skin, the subtle feeling of your pulse in your pelvis, where there is tension or relaxation in your pelvis and vagina, the rise and fall of your belly with each breath. It will take time for your body to re-sensitise and lay down new neural pathways from the different areas of your genitals (not just your clitoris) and for the nerve endings to learn how to respond to different types of sensation.
My experience was that when I learned how to gently, softly stimulate my genitals with my own touch, and my body had a chance to ‘detox’ from the high vibration intensity, it became possible to me to relax and actually FEEL the slower, wider wavelength of stimulation that was my lover’s body brushing against my genitals, or his tongue licking and sweeping over my clitoris, or his hands caressing and massaging my vulva. My ‘vibrator detox’ was like emerging from a loud rock concert with a constant ringing in my ears that muffled a huge chunk of sound frequencies, and gradually over a period of time (and no more exposure to extreme decibels) getting my hearing back!
If you want guidance in how to replace vibrator stimulation with self-touch and massage during your vibrator detox, a series of 3 x 1 hour virtual coaching sessions would be a great gift to yourself. Please feel free to get in touch with any questions, or to book an intake call, firstname.lastname@example.org