I find orgasms easy all by myself but next to impossible with a partner. Help?
Tulani B: Kudos to you! You’re already far ahead of many women. You know how to reach a satisfying climax. That means your body is working just great.
The dilemma seems to fall to either chemistry, communication, emotional or psychological.
Chemistry is the easiest. Either your partner “does it for you” or doesn’t. Chemistry can’t be faked or manifested. If you’ve been with the same partner and never had an orgasm, there’s a mismatch. If you previously could, but now can’t, something has gone awry in the relationship.
This brings us to the remaining options: communication and emotional/psychological.
You have to be able to express your needs and wants plainly. If it’s over coffee, cocktails, the morning paper…however you feel most comfortable. It’s not a text or email. This is an in-person convo. If you’re with someone new and in the “thick” of it, throw in helpful guidance however your most comfortable. An “oh yes, like that” or “softer,” etc., can go a long way. Just don’t make your partner feel like you’re flagging a Boeing on the tarmac or running the tower at JFK. Most partners want to please, so give them the tools to do so.
Then there’s the whopper emotional/psychological. If you aren’t able to be comfortable with another person in bed, then there’s a deeper issue at play. You need to have a sit down with yourself and determine if you’ve got a hurdle you can jump alone or if you need some focused, professional assistance. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. In fact, it’s a sign of great strength. There’s no need to go through life without enjoying the bond of sexual satisfaction and mutual enjoyment with someone else. That’s a connection you deserve and your partner, unless they’re an odious, narcissistic fool, wants for you.
This can be overcome. Wishing you the very best of luck and don’t be shy!
Jenny D: Oh, poster, who of us haven’t been where you are, at one point or another? A partner—any partner—can easily take us “out of the moment” of our own erotic momentum if we’re feeling in any way shy or self-conscious.
Based on the way you’ve framed your question, I’m guessing you’re not in a long-term relationship. And because you’re a Woolfer, we know you’re no spring chicken. These are promising pieces of news! They mean a) you get to take whatever old script might be knocking around in your head and shake it up a little, and b) you likely know yourself and your body far better than when you were young.
My suggestion? Use these advantages to make yourself the boss of your next sexual encounter. *You* decide, and direct, how fast, how slow, which accoutrement, which body part, what direction. Try thinking only of yourself and your own pleasure. Use your partner to masturbate YOU.
(I bet you’ll find yourself surprised and delighted by what you discover. And your partner-of-the-moment may well be thrilled for the opportunity to junk his/her own internal script.) Life is a playground. xo
Everyone says your 40s are great, but thus far, I’ve found them to be harder than any other decade. I just turned 43. My brother died of a heroin overdose 20 days ago. I just had ankle surgery and am housebound. My daughter, 10, struggles mightily with anxiety and OCD, along with the typical friendship drama and confusion of pre-adolescence. (Several therapists have called her one of the most anxious kids they’ve ever treated.) Getting her to do “typical kid” activities is almost impossible. I’m just happy that she goes to school every day. I got divorced in my late 30s and initially felt free, but have been increasingly mourning the loss of that relationship, which wasn’t “that bad.” My ex, with whom I have a great relationship, is now happily remarried with a new baby. He didn’t want to have more kids when we were married, which was very difficult for me, even more so now. My long-term boyfriend is a good, attentive, kind man, but is bipolar, a recovering alcoholic, and has other long-term health problems. (He’s proactive about all of this, but it feels very heavy sometimes.) I am financially stable, but work in the public sector and can’t see my income increasing dramatically in the coming years. I don’t have much left over for many “extras” at the end of each month. I live in a tiny New York City apartment, which I love (and own), but am itching to spread out just a bit more, but can’t afford bigger in this insane housing market. I have a lot of friends, but they are all very occupied with their own lives and families. We see one another as often as possible, but it never feels like enough. More than anything, the 40s have felt like a time to come to terms with how damned hard life can be. Maybe I’m just in a funk (for obvious reasons). I meditate, practice gratitude, and have a terrific therapist, but I can’t shake this feeling of dread about the years to come. Wondering if Woolfers have words of wisdom (or commiseration).
Monday M: First of all, you are you, and living your life with all its ups and downs that are unique to you. So no one should be giving you a time map of “the 40s are great” for you to feel that you’re doing it wrong and wondering what you’re missing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people say how their high school or college years were the best, or their 20s were the best, or…whatever! My high school years were tumultuous and awkward! My 20s were grueling, and I was suffering from serious identity issues! Your time map is yours to travel, and you are the one who draws its future roads every day.
Right now you are grieving the death of your brother (serious condolences…), which in itself is enough to compromise perspectives on everything; on top of that, you’re injured and unable to be active. All of that is no doubt a massive burden, making you feel like everything in your life is amiss. At a time like this, you need your friends and a support system more than ever, which explains why you’re feeling that everyone’s too busy in their lives for you. Be gentle on yourself and others, and let yourself grieve, let yourself physically and emotionally heal.
I remember turning 40, and realizing that life’s responsibilities are something I need to take seriously, that I’d better “grow up.” It can be a lot of pressure. You’re not only responsible for yourself, but you’re responsible for your daughter, and you don’t want to mess it up. Guess what? You won’t. Your post shows that you care, that you want to make things right, for you, for your daughter, for your lives and futures. And you will. Your doubts are you reassessing what can be tweaked. Life offers an ever-changing scenery with all its ups and downs; sometimes you just need to step back to marvel at the view before it’s a distant memory.
You’ve got this.
Nina C: I think it’s refreshing that you’re being so honest about it all, and I’m really so sorry about your brother’s death, which I would imagine has got to be taking a heavy toll on your sense of well-being right now. I feel like every woman I know is like you — dealing with a huge amount of stuff at all times. It can be liberating to feel more capable now than perhaps we did when we were younger, and more in control, but with age also come enormous loss and regret. It’s definitely never just one thing. I try and remind myself that equanimity is my goal these days…
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