Dear Andre,

I’m a twenty eight year old heterosexual guy and have never managed to make a girl cum. I’ve had several different girlfriends and they all say they like what we do, but most often I cum and then they give up and we go to sleep or do something else. What am I doing wrong?

Or is it not me?

First of all, reader, the fact that all of the women you’ve slept with have felt comfortable being honest about their difficulty achieving orgasm with you is a pretty solid testament to your character. Because our society has never historically prioritized women’s pleasure – after all, conception requires the man’s orgasm, not the woman’s – many heterosexual men are socialized to believe that our orgasms are somehow less important than theirs. At the very least, our culture’s predisposal towards abstinence-only sex education (as opposed to sex-positive, pleasure-based education) ensures that both young men and women spend their sexual awakenings distracted by their insecurities, mitigating internalized shame, or concerned with their perceived social status more than being present with their partners.

As such, many girls mature into women who find themselves performing sexuality rather than authentically experiencing it. The practice of faking orgasms is still rampant, particularly because women have internal genitalia and can “get away” with it in a way that folks with external genitalia typically can’t. Yet another societal consequence of our humiliatingly lackluster approach to sex education is that young people rarely learn how to communicate about sex and sexuality. Many don’t even feel as though they have permission to do so. That leaves us with a bunch of people who, even as adults, find themselves feeling disconnected from their own bodies, mystified by their partners’ bodies, and unable to bridge the communication gap for fear of their vulnerability being rewarded with rejection.

Back to you, reader. As evidenced by your past girlfriends’ forthcomingness, you obviously create an atmosphere of positivity, safety and acceptance. That’s Step I – congratulations! You’ve also conquered Step II, which is a genuine investment in your partners’ pleasure and a commitment to getting your partners off (if that’s a priority of theirs, of course). So, let’s prepare you for what comes next.

When I first embark on a sexual relationship with a new person (regardless of gender), there are a series of questions I’m sure to ask at the outset:

  • Tell me about your sex drive. How frequently do you desire sex? Does that ever fluctuate? If so, what are the factors that can impact it? (e.g. certain medications, traumatic life events, body insecurity, etc)
  • How important is orgasm to you during sexual encounters?
  • Do you have a healthy masturbation practice? If so, can you get yourself off?
  • How do you typically like to cum, both during solo sex and partnered sex?
  • What are some factors that may make orgasm difficult for you? (e.g. alcohol consumption, brain distractedness, lack of privacy, etc)
  • What is your definition of “sex”? Does it always have to be penetrative? Do you enjoy oral sex? Hand sex? Toys? Have you experimented with alternative kinds of physical intimacy, such as mutual masturbation, masturbatory assists, or kink/BDSM play?
  • What do you enjoy or need post-orgasm? Do you like cuddling? Do you need to hop in the shower immediately? Do you want me to roll off of you and give you space while I fetch you some water? etc.

The biggest secret to good sex is simple: The more you talk about it, the better it will be. So next time you pursue a new sexual connection, try integrating these questions into your pre-intimacy negotiation period (and be sure to share your own answers with your partner as well!). Emphasize to your partner that you care much more about exploring their body and giving them pleasure than you do achieving the “goal” of orgasm, and encourage them to give you feedback about what’s working or not working for them in real time.

If your partner has difficulty communicating verbally about sexuality, you can encourage them to write their thoughts out for you and/or request they masturbate in front of you (blindfold optional) so you can see firsthand how they get themselves off. Trust that your partner will tell you if you could be doing something better or different, and in the meantime do your best not to internalize a lack of orgasm as being indicative of some kind of personal deficiency.

Best of luck to you!


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