We asked the sex experts, so you don’t have to.
Welcome to the new BuzzFeed Sex Q&A where you can ask us your awkward, confusing, gross, embarrassing, or just heavy thought-provoking questions, and we’ll provide answers from leading sexual health experts. Have a question about sex or sexual health? Send it to sexQs@buzzfeed.com.
This week’s question: What it means when your boyfriend doesn’t orgasm during sex.
Q: Hi! I am a cisgender hetero woman dating a great cisgender hetero man. We get along super well and have great sex. But the problem is he can’t orgasm during sex. Also can’t orgasm during oral. He has no problem getting hard, and he can go forever (which was awesome at the beginning, believe me)… but he just keeps going and going until I decide we’re done. Then he’ll either finish himself off, or roll over and say he’s satisfied and that’s that. He’s gotten off once during sex, but it took literally two hours and it was awful and not worth it.
He swears he loves sex with me and it doesn’t bother him and it shouldn’t bother me (again: He can go for hours if I wanted him to). I just don’t understand what’s going on. He can obviously have orgasms on his own, so it’s not some physical thing. I know I shouldn’t feel like this is about me… but I can’t help but feel like I’m doing something wrong, or that he’s not that attracted to me. Or something.
Have you ever heard of this before? I’m so embarrassed, I don’t really know what to do, and it’s making me feel worse and worse every time we have sex. I’m getting resentful, and that makes me feel awful. Any explanation or advice would be really great and much appreciated. — Anonymous
Hey Anonymous! Thanks for asking. And definitely no need to feel embarrassed.
To help answer your question, we asked Dr. Harry Fisch, board certified urologist and author of The New Naked: The Ultimate Sex Education for Grown-Ups, and sex therapist Brandy Engler, Ph.D., author of The Men On My Couch.
Here’s what they had to say:
First, definitely don’t assume it’s about you. There is actually a legit condition called delayed ejaculation.
This is when a person has no issue getting or keeping an erection, but they do have trouble ejaculating. They either take a really long time to come, or they don’t orgasm at all with their partner. The thing is, they can orgasm solo — they might even finish themselves off after not being able to come during sex, says Fisch. All of that sounds pretty classically Your Boyfriend.
Now here are a few reasons why this might be happening:
He might be masturbating too much.
NBC / Via fallontonight.tumblr.com
This is usually the issue, says Fisch. Especially if the way your boyfriend gets off by himself is hard to replicate with you — like tons of pressure from a super-clenched fist, or at hyper-speed. “He becomes conditioned to a certain sort of manipulation that allows him to ejaculate and that sensation is lost when he’s with a partner,” says Fisch. Basically, his body is used to one thing, and without that, it’s harder for him to orgasm.
Worth noting here: This doesn’t mean that there is a single damn thing wrong with your vagina; it just means that he’s possibly accidentally trained his dick to respond better to his own fist. That’s on him, not you. Your vagina is fucking awesome, and you should not feel embarrassed or bad about this.
Another possibility could be that he’s just whacking off too frequently: If he’s already ejaculated twice today, it’s going to take a lot longer to come the third time — even if it’s with you instead of his hand.
He could also be watching a bit too much porn.
Voltage Pictures / Via donjonmovie.tumblr.com
This goes hand-in-hand with the masturbation issue we just mentioned, but this time we’re talking about a mental conditioning, rather than a physical one. And it isn’t about the porn stars setting unrealistic expectations about what a woman’s body should look like; what’s more likely is that his habit of switching between 10 or 20 or 30 (or more) browser tabs of increasingly extreme and hardcore sex acts in a short period of time might just rewire his sexual response a bit. Because… of course.
Tons of porn can have a desensitizing effect when it overstimulates your dopamine levels and causes you to want more and more to get aroused, Engler says. “It makes it harder to experience pleasure with a lower level of stimulation,” she says. Like a human person in the flesh.
Look: Plenty of people can and do enjoy porn without any negative side effects, and this absolutely isn’t the case for everyone. BUT it also can, without a doubt, play a role in some peoples’ sexual dysfunctions. And if your boyfriend really really enjoys his XTube, it might be worth a conversation with him about how it’s impacting your intimacy.
He might be taking certain medications that can play a role here.
Comedy Central / reactiongifs.com
Comedy Central / reactiongifs.com
Like antidepressants, antipsychotics, high blood pressure meds, narcotics, and some diuretics. Many of these drugs can have sexual side effects, and it might be worth asking him to talk to his doctor about it. The doc may be able to prescribe an alternative with fewer side effects.
He’s been drinking.
AMC / Via reddit.com
Based on your letter it doesn’t sound like this is your issue, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless. Booze isn’t just a boner killer, it can also make it harder to orgasm, says Fisch. So if this is something that actually, now that you think about it, only happens after a night out, alcohol may be to blame.
It might be related to an infection or health condition.
Twentieth Century Fox / replygif.net
Twentieth Century Fox / replygif.net
Realtalk: It could be a possible symptom of a prostate infection or urinary tract infection, though this specific and particular issue probably wouldn’t be the only symptom he’s noticing. Inability to orgasm during intercourse could also occur in men with nerve damage, neurological disorders, heart disease, or certain hormonal conditions (like hypothyroidism or low testosterone). If this is a relatively newer issue for him and if he’s concerned at all, you might talk to him about getting a general checkup to make sure everything is still ticking along as it should be.
Or there might be something else going on.
The Lonely Island / Via wifflegif.com
OK, so, yes: It’s possible that some kind of anxiety or relationship issue is at the root of his inability to orgasm with you. “What I think is the most common thing I see is that the guy can’t abandon himself into the pleasure,” says Engler. “To have an orgasm is to let go in some way, to surrender to the experience you’re having. But there’s some involuntary thing that’s holding them back. The reflex is being inhibited in that moment.”
It could be a matter of trust, performance anxiety, or uncertainty about the relationship, or it could be an individual issue that he’s working through. Or some people are just more comfortable giving pleasure than receiving it, and this holds them back from finishing with a partner, says Engler.
So, now you know. What can you actually do about it?
FOX / glee.wikia.com
Whatever’s going on, you don’t want to blurt out “Why are you taking so long?!” Because, rude. If you suspect his masturbation or porn habit is getting in the way of your intimacy, talk to him about that and see if it’s something you’d both be willing to work through. He might have to cut back on masturbating or switch up his technique (like jerking off with his non-dominant hand) to undo his dependence on specific sensations, says Fisch. If you’re afraid to bring it up outright, just ask how the sex is for him and if there’s anything you can do together to make it even better.
If it’s psychological, you might need to read the situation to see what’s at the root of the issue and what you can do to help him let go, says Engler. Does he not feel secure enough in the relationship? Is there some sort of emotional disconnect? Addressing these things could help pinpoint the issue.
Of course, there’s always the chance that he doesn’t find this to be a problem and you do, which would make it a matter of sexual incompatibility. Maybe he thinks his sex life is fine as is and has no desire to change it. That’s a perfectly fine way to feel, but then it puts the onus on you to decide if you’re satisfied (physically and emotionally) with this type of intimacy, or not.
Do you have a question you want answered by our sex experts? Email us at sexQs@buzzfeed.com.
ALSO, the more details you give, the better answers you’ll get. Judgment-free zone!