My partner and I have been together almost 10 years now, which may as well be a century in lesbian terms. We have a great relationship. Don’t get me wrong we have our ups and down like everyone else; even had some really big downs, but we’ve always managed to work it out. There is only one issue that keeps rearing its ugly head. I don’t like sex.
Don’t get me wrong, sex feels wonderful when I have it. I don’t have any long-standing issues with sex. I’ve always been very open-minded and experimental, but it seems the older I get, the less I want to do it. My partner is the first person I’ve ever been with where I didn’t have to fake an orgasm. I think she is sexy and fun and when I do finally give in and “just do it” I have a great time.
My only complaint is that it takes SO LONG for me to reach orgasm. My orgasms are fantabulous! But it takes a long time (like 1 hour +) and a lot of hard work on both our parts to make it happen. Because of this, no matter how great it is, I just don’t feel like doing it! It’s gotten to the point where if she even mentions it, I groan to myself (not out loud) and want to roll my eyes and huff and puff. I just don’t want to. It has created a very large wall between us, like the white elephant in the room. It’s always there hanging over our heads. She always wants it, I always don’t. She doesn’t understand how someone could dislike doing something so great and to be honest, I have to agree with her. It is great, so why don’t I like to do it? Am I just that lazy? It bothers me badly and makes me depressed and defensive, but I just haven’t found a solution.
We’ve tried staying apart for months at a time on purpose just to take the pressure off. We’ve tried new and interesting and sometimes “kinky” things to try and get the momentum going. We’ve talked and cried and every time I think it’s going to change, and it does for a week or two, but then I just get tired of it again. Is this totally unheard of? What’s wrong with me? I am hoping that you or someone out there has heard of this before and might have some tips.
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This situation of yours is not unheard of by any means. In fact, it is a common complaint among couples that one partner wants more sexual activity than the other. There are many different variations on why this occurs. Many variables play into why this can be the case, including temperamental differences with regard to sexual drive and desire, cultural and other beliefs regarding the acceptability of sex at different stages of the life cycle, differences in the need for sexual variety, boredom, etc. Some couples start out wanting different amounts of sex, while other couples see their desire for sex diverge over time. It’s complex as to what causes the divergence in interest, but however it occurs, it is a common complaint that one partner wants more sex than the other partner does.
In your case, it does not seem to be the case that you are fundamentally bored with your partner, or have a high need for sexual variety. Instead, you locate your lack of desire in your own frustration with the large amount of effort you require to orgasm. I wonder if that is the whole story, but let’s just take you at your word for now. If this is the case, I wonder if the problem is being caused more by your expectations and less by your biology.
You seem to be quite fixated on the destination of orgasm and worried about the difficulty you have achieving orgasm. I wonder if this doesn’t amount to a form of performance anxiety that you may have. Performance anxiety produces worry, and worry and sex don’t mix well. When you worry during sex, it takes you away from the physical sensations and makes you distant from the experience. Which makes it harder for you to arrive at orgasm, because you become less present and less sensation-focused. Worrying about not being able to orgasm quickly is likely to make you much less likely to orgasm quickly. So, part of what you might work on is learning how to worry about orgasming less. Easier said than done, I know.
In order to adjust your worry and anxiety, it is important for you to know what is normal and what is less normal, and to develop some proper understandings about how to think about what is less normal. It is normal for women to take a while to orgasm. Where men seem to be designed to orgasm quickly, most women do take some time and do require non-trivial foreplay before they can orgasm. Granted, usually less than an hour is required for this to occur, but it is normal for many minutes of foreplay to need to pass before the average woman will orgasm.
You are likely taking longer than normal to orgasm, but not so much longer than normal that there is anything truly abnormal about your experience. Keeping in mind that part of your issue may be due to anxiety and worry, it may be fully possible for you to orgasm sooner if you were less worried. So, what I’m saying is that it is quite possible that there is nothing particularly wrong with you except for the fact that you are worried about failing at orgasm and that worry, in the best self-fulfilling prophesy fashion, is contributing to exactly what you are trying to avoid.
For whatever reasons, you’ve become very orgasm-focused, at the expense of the rest of the sexual experience. Sex is a larger thing than simple orgasm. Perhaps one way to help yourself deal with this issue is to go into sex without expectation of orgasm for a while; to just treat it as a way to feel relaxed and pleasured and happy and not simply as a run-up to orgasm. Sex therapists sometimes prescribe an exercise called Sensate Focus" to couples experiencing sexual and other marital difficulties. In sensate focus exercise, the couple is encouraged to simply touch one another sensually without the goal of orgasm as a distraction. This sort of thing can be a useful way to re-connect with your partner, and to help yourself take a different approach to sex.
If you simply must have your orgasm (and that is an understandable position to take), why not use a mechanical aid to help achieve this goal? Many couples use a vibrator to help the female partner(s) achieve orgasm. A variety of situations occur where this is desirable. For instance, when a man comes too early and thereafter is not able (or particularly motivated) to continue with the foreplay necessary for his female partner to orgasm, a vibrator can be a useful shortcut to orgasm. That scenario doesn’t apply to a lesbian couple, but still, if you feel yourself getting frustrated with how long things are taking, you and your partner can simply use a vibrator and cut to the chase.
Incorporating a vibrator into your sex play will be better if you are able to not feel that you are cheating or doing something unnatural through the use of that tool. In other words, if you start thinking to yourself that you are a failure because you are using the vibrator, that is not a very sexy thought. You’ll still probably have an orgasm (because vibrators are really good at producing them), but you won’t feel so good about it. So do what you can do to not worry about where the orgasm comes from if you go this route. Just be glad that you can have them.
Assuming that there is a performance anxiety component to your sexual avoidance, I think it could be a good idea for you (and potentially for your partner as well) to seek out counseling about this issue. A therapist can help you work on the anxiety, and can provide further reassurance that your issue is normalish.
Delayed orgasm can be caused by a variety of factors as well as by worry. For example, you don’t mention if you are using any medications, but if you are, it would be important for you to research whether there are sexual side-effects of any of those medications. If there are, then it would be useful to consult with your doctor to see if there are better dosing regimes or alternative medications that could be taken to address the situation.