Why can't I orgasm with a partner?
What you're receiving isn't what you really want...
Helping your partner to navigate your body
‘Why can’t I orgasm with a partner’ – a question that holds a complex and nuanced answer, different for every woman. I recommend that you take a read through Parts 1 and 2 of this series, if you haven’t done so already. In my experience as an intimacy coach, working with individuals and couples, I’ve seen that quite a big contributing factor in this issue is the fact that what you’re receiving from your partner might not be what you really want. That breaks down into two different parts.
The first is: do you know what you really want? Do you know what your body responds to? Do you have a really clear map of your own erotic landscape, and your own sensations and arousal?
Part two is: how do you communicate what it is that you want in an effective and loving way to your partner, which can be a really emotionally loaded and challenging experience for a lot of people.
Do you know what you want?
So let’s look at the first part – knowing what it is that you want. I often ask my clients ‘How would you like me to touch you?’, and their answer is often ‘I don’t know…’ or ‘Just whatever YOU think is best…’ This sexual passivity (particularly in women) is an unconscious conditioning bred from the myth that we must be meek and malleable and wait for some magical Prince to come along and ‘discover us’…as if we are some outcrop of land in the middle of the ocean. Well my darlings, I invite you to discover yourself. This is where mindful masturbation becomes really important. Learning about your own body, exploring and experimenting, needs to be a fundamental part of your solo practice. It’s your time to investigate, to be curious, to try things out, to explore different areas of your body, different types of stimulation, different types of touch, different speeds and pressures of touch. This is an invitation to approach masturbation as an opportunity to build your pleasure repertoire, rather than just an activity gets you to the end point or orgasm as quickly and efficiently as possible.
If you can see masturbation as something that educates, informs and expands your own understanding of your body, you will be equipping yourself with a clear and playful confidence to take into partnered experiences. Mindful masturbation supports you in taking responsibility for your pleasure and orgasm, rather than being dependent on the ‘other’ to do all the work. Please feel free to check out my 30-day ‘masturbation minis’ series on Instagram, or the accompanying videos on YouTube, for some ideas on how you can approach masturbation with more mindfulness, and different ways that you can explore, play and learn about your own arousal and pleasure.
Talking about what you want...
So through your regular mindful masturbation practice you’ve discovered your own body, and a variety of types of stimulation you enjoy, but how do you go about communicating that with your partner? Now you know what it is that you want, and what feels good, how do you help them to navigate your body? I’ll be honest – the idea of giving my partner ‘feedback’ or direction, or stating my own sexual and intimate desires, used to be a really challenging concept for me. I had a tendency to be a people pleaser, and was just overly grateful for anything that I was receiving! I believed that being on the ‘receiving end’ meant that I should just shut up and be grateful, because God forbid I might offend or upset someone! Unfortunately that often meant that I wasn’t really receiving something that I was truly enjoying, or what my partner was doing wasn’t quite on the right track. I know now that my partners would have really benefited, and been grateful for, knowing what I needed and having guidance on what would make my body feel even more happy. To communicate your desires, do you need to first reframe the idea and know that your guidance, and your input, and your direction is something that will be appreciated? Talk to your partner about it, explain to him/her that you want to practice being a bit more vocal and guiding the touch/stimulation/pressure/depth etc that you’re receiving. Is that something they can support you with? What do you need from them to encourage you i.e. moving a bit slower so you get time to feel what your body needs, a loving response like ‘great babe, I hear you’ or maybe it would be horny for them to repeat back to you what you’ve asked for. What do they need from you to allow that guidance and feedback to be heard and integrated i.e. frame it in the positive – ‘I love it when you move slowly there, I can feel so much sensation’ rather than ‘don’t move so fast!’
How to talk to your partner about sex
The ‘top tip’ that I give to couples is to talk about what it is that you want during your intimate experiences, outside of your intimate experiences. If you’re already in that intimate space, having sex with your partner, naked and vulnerable, it can be pretty emotionally and energetically charged. It’s quite a vulnerable place to start having more challenging conversations about your needs and your desires. So do it in the kitchen, do it in the living room, do it outside of the bedroom at a time when when you’re both feeling a little bit more grounded and not in that super charged or horny, emotional and vulnerable space. In my experience, if you can’t talk about or say these things outside of the bedroom, then they’re not things that you are necessarily emotionally ready to experience. So I always encourage this practice of talking about arousal, about sex, and the specific details of the the sexual experience that you’re having, outside of that intimate space.
For me, one of the most liberating aspects of my journey with my sexuality and pleasure has been finding my voice and confidence to describe my pleasure, discuss my arousal, ask questions about mine and my partner’s experience and make suggestions and requests for how we can both expand our intimacy. Many of these conversations have taken place at the kitchen table, or on a plane, or whilst out walking together. The conversations I’ve had have fed back into the bedroom and allowed me to explore and experiment further.
If you want to learn more about establishing a mindful masturbation practice please email for private sessions or pre-enrol on my upcoming 8 week course. If you are a couple who want to explore communication and desires, as well as practical ways to touch, massage and pleasure each other, please get in touch to arrange a private session on email@example.com