Your Call: My Route to Orgasm Is Too Complicated for Husband

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We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. You can leave your advice in the comments section below — for this question in particular, we thought that a group answer might help. We figured, the more suggestions, the better, especially as she’s tried so much already! 

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Dear Em & Lo,

Here’s another “I can’t orgasm with my partner” question, but if I hear one more suggestion about relaxing, more foreplay, show him how you do it, experiment… I’m going to scream!

I’ve been with my now husband for over 8 years, and despite being EXTREMELY close to orgasm countless times, I am just unable to get over the edge. I started masturbating at a young age — before I even know what it was. During my teens I was a pretty habitual masturbator. I used to only masturbate on my stomach with both hands over my underwear, and often with even more material for added friction. Now I am able to masturbate on my back or in a reclined position, and even with one hand directly touching myself (though this is harder). But I always have to either watch pornography or fantasize in order to orgasm.

My husband and I have always been very open sexually and I’ve tried so many times to guide his hand in all kinds of positions to try and help me orgasm. In the end he has never been able to execute the exact sequence of moves/pressure/location that I need in order to reach orgasm.

I feel like I’m some kind of freak that needs such a specific sequence of stimulation (that changes each time, mind you), that there’s no way I will ever be able to experience an orgasm that isn’t my own doing. I’m so sick of reading advice that suggests showing him what to do or having him stimulate my clitoris during sex or whatever other generic uselessness there is out there on the internet.

Is there some way that I can train my body to orgasm with a different form of stimulation than I’m used to? I currently need clitoral stimulation, but not direct, then clitoral and G-spot stimulation but from outside, not inside the vagina, then just G-spot pressure from outside… it’s ridiculous. It’s completely impossible during intercourse, so forget that idea, but is there any way I can learn to orgasm from his manual stimulation at least?! Help!

— Searching for Orgasm 2.0

What should Orgasm 2.0 do? Leave your advice for her in the comments section below.



  1. Take it into your own hands, so to speak. I almost never have an orgasm except when masturbating myself during penetration. My clit is well-hooded, and I an’t ever seem get enough stimulation during sex. That’s OK, it’s a quirk of my body, and not anyone’s fault. I have never had any lover be taken aback by that – it’s just what I have to do to get where I want to go.

    I also think you have to have some successes together to rewire your brain to relax during sex. Just having relaxed pleasure together – without any expectation of orgasm – is a good start. Then you can work up to masturbating together, and maybe then masturbating each other. A favorite thing of mine and my parter’s is that I stimulate him, then I masturbate with a toy, then when I’m on the verge or orgasm, he enters me and we have sex until we both orgasm. If you only ever orgasm using your hand/a vibe, that’s OK. Everyone is unique, sex between two people should not have to conform to anyone else’s idea of what sex is like – as long as you are both satisfied with what’s happening.

  2. It is true for me that orgasm is something I do with my brain. And I won’t be doing it if I’m too stressed. In fact, the more tired my body is, the better. Foreplay, experimentation and total arousal are repeated in every advice column because they are all kind of key for many women. But when you can’t come, reading all that will make you frustrated. By the sounds of your letter, ‘having sex just for fun’ is long gone. When I found myself in a locked situation where I could no longer orgasm since it was all I could think about, it escalated and every time I was about to have sex I would get more and more tense. The only reason I finally did an orgasm come back is because I gave up on the idea of ever having another one. Just a tip in case you haven’t tried it;The CAT position done lightly and fast , in intervals, works for me. Best of luck!

  3. To tell you the truth, I think that is kind of normal for women, or for anyone because it’s difficult for another person to use the exact right pressure at the exact right time since they can’t feel what you feel and they don’t know your body the way you do. What if you give up the idea that your husband should “give” you an orgasm and instead share your orgasm with him. Maybe he could kiss you and hold you while you touch yourself?

  4. I’m similar, to the extent that I can’t get my husband to get me off with his hands. Part of it is having a very sensitive clitoris. I found Girl With A One Track Mind’s ancient blog comment about orgasming very helpful – can’t find it via Google I’m afraid, but she basically said that when you orgasm you are doing something with your brain. Once you have worked out what that letting-go feels like, you can replicate that in different physical situations, and you can learn to make yourself do it at will.

    For me, that’s true once I’m aroused. So my husband’s job is to get me aroused – whether through touch, words, a look… and then I’m in charge of making myself come. It’s not down to a particular physical sensation or action.

    However, it’s one of those things where if you haven’t experienced it, it probably just sounds irritating. But is there a way of focusing on your arousal during masturbation, rather than on what is physically going on? Such as trying to get off through a fantasy without any touching?

    Emily Nagoski’s blog posts about how arousal is stimulated or dampened could also be helpful – what may be putting the ‘brakes’ on when you’re with your husband?

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