Reader Question: Why Can’t I Achieve Orgasm through Intercourse?

Dear Dr. Jennifer,

I want to thank you so much for having the courage to do a podcast about sex. I listened to your Midday Connection podcast from No More Christian Nice Girl Part 9 (www.middayconnection.org) . It really spoke to me. I was raised in the South and it truly is a subject that is never talked about. It is something that goes on behind closed doors and is something too personal to talk about even with other women. I consistently feel the need to talk to others about this subject. I have so many questions as a young bride. I am 27 yrs old and have been married for 3.5 yrs. I hate that the church seems to never speak on this subject. Why can’t we have a Christian sex therapist on church staff? I wish my husband and I had someone at our church that we could speak to about such personal issues. Anyway, your podcast really spoke to me and got me to thinking about several things. I shouldn’t feel embarrassed or silly talking about this with other women and I should definitely include this part of my life in my prayer life.

I think the main thing my husband and I struggle with is that he seems to enjoy sex more than me. I wish I could feel how he feels. I wish it was easier for us women. I constantly feel like I am at a disadvantage that it takes so much more for me to become aroused and reach orgasm. Many times after sex I feel that something is wrong with me or that I am less of a woman if I can’t feel these things. I’m disappointed. I thought sex would be better and more fun. I truly want to reach orgasm with my husband during intercourse. I hate that the only way I can finish is through oral or hand stimulation. Is this normal? Is there something wrong with me? Am I holding back in some way?

Sincerely,
A Young Bride

Dear Young Bride,

Thank you for your honesty. I wish churches would have Christian sex therapists available for couples as well.

Your questions about the orgasm differences between you and your husband illustrate how a little education can go a long way towards clearing up misunderstandings and unrealistic sexual expectations. So, welcome to Orgasms 101. (This should be a required course for all engaged couples, and I bet no one would skip class!)

Orgasms in women are most commonly induced by clitoral or vaginal stimulation. For most women, it is much easier to achieve an orgasm through clitoral stimulation than sexual intercourse. Research suggests that only around 60% of orgasmic women can even have an orgasm through intercourse alone. That means 40% of women who are having orgasms can only have them through hand/oral stimulation of their clitoris.

Some women can achieve orgasm through breast stimulation, mental imagery, or during dreams, but they are not the norm and should consider themselves blessed to be able to have an orgasm without any genital contact.

The younger a wife is, the more time and stimulation she will need to reach orgasm. The opposite is true for husbands: the younger a husband is, the less time and stimulation he will need to reach orgasm. This can cause misunderstandings and hurt feelings in the bedroom when a husband ejaculates after two minutes of intercourse and his wife is just beginning to get warmed up. The good news is that as women enter their 30’s, they usually find that they can reach orgasm more quickly and more easily. Meanwhile, men’s sexual response begins to slow down, and they need more time and stimulation to reach orgasm. A wife in her late 30’s or early 40’s might even find that she is now the one who can climax in a matter of minutes—and even have multiple orgasms–while her husband is still trying to achieve orgasm (ah, sweet revenge…).

For a young couple, lots of foreplay is crucial. Depending on the wife’s level of arousal when they get started, she may need anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes of kissing, caressing, manual/oral stimulation, intercourse, etc. to achieve orgasm. The average young husband is going to ejaculate after just a few minutes of intercourse, so things go better if they focus on her pleasure first and save intercourse for later.

Blessings,
Jennifer Degler, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist and CWIVES Founder

Comments 3

  1. klas
    December 16, 2010

    My personal thought is God in His Infinite Wisdom designed it this way so that a husband would learn to think sacrificially. Men for the most part do not instinctively think sacrificially well as women do naturally. This teaches a man to take time to help his wife find pleasure. This also teaches him self-control sexually something young men just don’t have a handle on. As we age our husbands become much more concerned with us and our level of pleasure than their own, atleast that is what I’ve seen in 25 years of marriage. Be patient it gets so much better when we are older but sometimes we have to get through the rough patches first so when we are older we can see the tapestry on the finished side.

    1. December 16, 2010

      Interesting insights from a seasoned wife! Thanks for posting.

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