Do you really have to orgasm every time you have sex? For the record, while sexual culture overwhelming focuses on penis-in-vagina (PIV) intercourse, there’s a whole world of pleasure that doesn’t involve penetration.
The reality is that men come quicker than women. Still, both sexes have been sold this bill of goods that good sex — solo or partnered — means having a so-good-your-neighbors-hate-you orgasm.
After penetration, most men climax within four minutes, less if masturbating. The female orgasm requires more work, taking up to 30 minutes of clitoral stimulation unless she's got one helluva toy arsenal, a lot of experience, or a very skilled partner. Generally speaking, the difference between how long it takes people to come is referred to as an "orgasm gap." And that's still assuming both people are eventually going to be able to have an orgasm, which we all know is no guarantee.
I’m not saying you should actively forego the Big O. No way! Advocate for your orgasm, always, but consider other paths of pleasure, like dirty talk, masturbation, breast orgasms or good ‘ole dry humping. (Trust me, in a non-high school context, it can be super-hot.) Ditto for not coming at all. Sex is all about creating boundaries and what turns me on, may turn you off. We all have the power to create whatever model of sexual pleasure works for us.
As much as I like to orgasm, sometimes the ride can be just as thrilling as racing past the finish line. Especially with new and casual partners, my orgasm bar is set pretty low. There isn’t the same comfort level or familiarity I have with steady partners and it takes some time to figure out what makes a partner tick sexually in any new dynamic. Even with my more consistent, long-term partners, I don’t expect to come every single time. If I communicate what I want, I’ll most likely get my needs met (barring any distractions or disturbances), but it’s by no means a given.
If I’m not so focused on the end goal, it’s much easier to reach that almighty euphoric state. I may be aroused, but my mind can wander to 101 other things and I lose momentum. I’m a Type A, get stuff done kind of gal — I can’t help it. I find that if I focus on a specific sensation in my body, it keeps me present. Sometimes, a partner’s body doesn’t always want to work. It’s okay if occasionally libidos don’t align to get off. It happens to the best of us, and that’s okay.
Please, for the love of pleasure everywhere, stop faking orgasms to spare a partners’ feelings. If you’re having bad sex, do everyone a favor and speak up. Like stop right there in the moment and do it. I’ve felt far more sexual regret in faking orgasms than I ever had in not having one. Sure, you may find what your partner is doing pleasurable, but if orgasm is your endgame, unless you ask for what you need to salvage intimacy in the moment, it’s a total waste of time for all involved. There’s no upside in tolerating mediocre sex and faking only creates a negative feedback loop. If your partner thinks what they’re doing is working, they’ll continue to do it and vice versa.
Here’s what works for me in avoiding orgasm shame. I don’t tie my worth to my or my partner’s orgasm. I’m responsible for my own pleasure, but I’m simply a facilitator in my partner’s pleasure and I’m not responsible for their orgasm. If a partner or I have specific desires or wants to come, it’s on us to communicate that. Sure, we are all worthy of love and pleasure, but none of us are mind readers, plain and simple.
Sex — whatever it looks like for you — can be a mind-blowingly awesome release of energy. It just doesn’t always have to involve an orgasm to be good.
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