Why Can’t My Girlfriend Orgasm With Me?

Hey James — so my girlfriend can’t orgasm during intercourse, which isn’t a huge deal because it’s still fun, but she feels really bad about it and then I feel bad that I can’t make her come. Do you have any advice for what we can do to give her an orgasm during sex?

Dear New-Comer–

Pay attention, because later on in this column I’m going to teach you a trick you can do with your tongue and mouth that’s the best trick yet for making your girl come. But first, you should know a few facts on orgasm and women.

Nearly every man capable of having sex is capable of having an orgasm during it. Women, however, vary widely in their ability to have an orgasm with a lover. Some studies say that as many as two fifths of all women have not been able to have an orgasm with a partner.

So why are so many women not coming during sex? Part of it depends on what you call sex. For a lot of people, sex and intercourse are interchangeable terms. This doesn’t mean they don’t believe in giving and getting head, heavy petting, or getting tied up spread-eagled and slathered with whipped cream and strawberry jello. But these are all considered “foreplay,” a means to an end: get Object X in Slot Y and move it ’til it goes off.

Problem is, only about a third of women can come from regular fucking. Most women orgasm from direct stimulation to the clitoris or the bundle of nerves near the front of the vaginal canal, AKA the G-spot. “But I do play with her clit!” you protest. “I just went down on her last night.” Yes, and for how long? Two minutes? Five? According to the Hite report, most women asked about this say that men usually stimulate them long enough so that they are lubricated enough for him to get inside. And once a man comes, rarely does he go back to finish the job for her.

That doesn’t mean that only the guys are to blame though. The same report states that many women are as reluctant to get stimulated to intercourse as a man is to do it for them. Whereas for men a combination of impatience, horniness and laziness may be the prime culprits, for women the motives are more complex. Some of it is cultural; many girls are taught it is wrong to want it. Other women feel guilty to see their man working so hard, since stimulating a woman to orgasm can take much longer than for a man. Some women feel turned off when they see a man doing something mechanical and technical as if she were a machine whose button must be pushed, while a lot of women just don’t know how to tell the guy that he’s not doing it right.

An even more nebulous but deeper fear is the loss of power. Women, more than men, lose control of their bodies and thinking during the height of orgasm. On top of that, popular culture teaches many of us that the man who can make a woman come has some sort of magical power over her. So it’s not surprising that a woman would feel reluctant to weaken herself that way. “I feel more naked than he does,” says a woman about coming when a man isn’t.

Unfortunately the way men react when their lover can’t orgasm doesn’t usually help. In movies and on TV, there is only one reason a woman can’t come: she just hasn’t met the right hot stud yet. All it takes is a “real man” and she’ll be breaking the headboard and squealing to break pitched glass. He never has to work at it or find out what she needs. Of course a woman is more likely to get off with someone she’s hot for, the same as a man would be. But odds are she does find you sexy or she wouldn’t be with you. Nevertheless when a woman can’t orgasm, a man’s likely to take it as a judgment on himself. Then he wants her to come not because she’ll enjoy it, but rather because it will prove that he is a real lover. And often enough a woman will start to feel the same way, wanting to come for him rather than for herself. You shouldn’t be surprised this rarely works out well.

So there’s at least ten reasons a woman can’t come, and that’s not even scratching the surface. She may also be dealing with traumas in her past, have a medical condition that interferes with orgasm, be stressed out about work or depressed because the house is a damn pig sty. So why can’t your woman come?

The hell if I know. But that’s where that magic tongue trick I was mentioning at the beginning of this column comes in. Here’s how it works:

Make the room nice and romantic, maybe candles and wine if you’re into that kind of thing. Have her get into something comfortable and lay back on a pillow. You get in front of her. Lean forward. Open your mouth.

And start asking questions.

How does she feel about having an orgasm, especially in front of someone else? How does she feel about not being able to orgasm? Did her ability to orgasm change at some point? (This is a good sign of a medical condition.) Does she have bad experiences associated with sex or orgasm? (This may call for therapy beyond what communication between the two of you can do.) Has she come before with other lovers? (You may not want to know this, but it’s better if you find out.) If so, what did they do? Is she able to make herself orgasm? If so, how does she stimulate herself? Can she show you how to do it? How does that feel? What if I do it that way? (This will work especially well if you make it clear you’re _not_ planning to have intercourse or an orgasm of your own this time. You’ll be surprised how fun it can be for you.)

I probably exaggerated a little. A single Q&A session is probably not going to be enough to make your girlfriend orgasmic overnight. But relaxing, communicating and experimenting are the only way to get on the road there. Whether or not you make her come right away, you can definitely show her a good time. And the more you get her off, the more she’ll want to do the same for you.

Got a burning question for James Nelson? Send it to eden(at)early2bed(dot)com and he’ll answer it for you!

  • chelsea

    If a guy lit a bunch of candles, broke out the wine, had me spread out on a bed, opened his mouth, and . . . asked me if I'd ever had a traumatic sexual experience, I would not want to get sexual with him again. Perhaps the illusion of impending oral sex isn't the best means of getting someone to open up about severe emotional trauma. Just sayin.

    Otherwise, I thought this article was great. (although, the idea that women lose control of their bodies more so than men during orgasm was a little strange; that it just doesn't happen to be true in my experience.) It's true that women may not orgasm for multiple reasons, but from what I've experienced and heard from other women, the #1 cause is men assuming penetration leads to orgasm, rather than clitoral stimulation. In fact, I think some guys would rather believe there is something wrong with their gf than admit that his penis alone isn't going to get the job done. I had a bf who could get me off easily through oral or manual sex, but when we started having vaginal intercourse (and he stopped doing the stuff that worked!) he was Just So Confused as to why I wasn't getting off. He even went so far as to hypothesize that I was just “one of those women who gets off rarely.” Uh, hello buddy, you were getting me off fine with the other stuff. Is this really a huge mystery?

    Unfortunately, both men and women are taught that penetration leads to orgasm (through limited sex education, and those movies featuring the hot stud you mentioned. When, in the movies, do we ever see the stud doing something pleasurable with his hands during sex? Uh, never.) So while it isn't specifically the fault of either sex for believing this bs, it's great to have articles like this to help set the record straight.

  • chelsea

    If a guy lit a bunch of candles, broke out the wine, had me spread out on a bed, opened his mouth, and . . . asked me if I'd ever had a traumatic sexual experience, I would not want to get sexual with him again. Perhaps the illusion of impending oral sex isn't the best means of getting someone to open up about severe emotional trauma. Just sayin.

    Otherwise, I thought this article was great. (although, the idea that women lose control of their bodies more so than men during orgasm was a little strange; that it just doesn't happen to be true in my experience.) It's true that women may not orgasm for multiple reasons, but from what I've experienced and heard from other women, the #1 cause is men assuming penetration leads to orgasm, rather than clitoral stimulation. In fact, I think some guys would rather believe there is something wrong with their gf than admit that his penis alone isn't going to get the job done. I had a bf who could get me off easily through oral or manual sex, but when we started having vaginal intercourse (and he stopped doing the stuff that worked!) he was Just So Confused as to why I wasn't getting off. He even went so far as to hypothesize that I was just “one of those women who gets off rarely.” Uh, hello buddy, you were getting me off fine with the other stuff. Is this really a huge mystery?

    Unfortunately, both men and women are taught that penetration leads to orgasm (through limited sex education, and those movies featuring the hot stud you mentioned. When, in the movies, do we ever see the stud doing something pleasurable with his hands during sex? Uh, never.) So while it isn't specifically the fault of either sex for believing this bs, it's great to have articles like this to help set the record straight.