I have many questions for you, but here’s my first: I am... sexually inexperienced. I’m assuming you didn’t grow up in an Irish Catholic family, but I did, and, boy! We don’t talk about sex. I’m really just starting to understand (and accept) my own sexuality, and it’s hard work. I often feel overwhelmed by how much I don’t know, and I’m amazed at how many emotions are brought to the surface by simply touching myself.
I don’t think I’ve brought myself to orgasm yet. A lot of times I feel like I’m almost there, and then I feel afraid or stressed or nervous, and I don’t quite understand why. You’re not a therapist. But do you have any suggestions as to how I brave this borderline and make myself come? I want to so bad!
What’s up, Newbie, is that you need to have an orgasm!
Your charmingly vulnerable question has created a clear image of you in my mind: a curious co-ed frantically masturbating herself to a torturous near-orgasm but never getting there. But because you came out of a sexless Irish Catholic upbringing whole enough to at least desire sexual pleasure for yourself, you’re a fighter. So even if you fail to achieve what you came here for (well, didn’t come here for), each time you find yourself determinedly squirming around in your tiny college dorm room bed, you remain hopeful enough to think that maybe that was an orgasm? I mean, I felt like a shudder or something? The optimism!
You’ve accurately deduced some things about me—I’m not a product of sex-negative organized religion (how ever could you tell?), nor am I a therapist. I’ve got my theories about repressive Irish Catholic guilt popping up to transform your pleasurable feelings into fearful ones at the exact moment you’re about to let go of that haunting guilt and fall into a yummy sacrilegious orgasm, but psychology’s not my forte.
Now, let me be as straight with you as a gay married sex columnist can be about what I’ve deduced about you—you have not had an orgasm. “I don’t think I’ve brought myself to orgasm yet,” you say. You would most definitely know if you did. But, let’s recognize the “yet” in that sentence, steadfast Newbie! The fact that you can tell me that trying to understand your sexuality is hard work means that you know your sexual self a lot more than you think you do. That you’ve turned to masturbation instead of sex with other people as an exploring “sexually inexperienced” person also shows great insight. Though you can’t come, Newbie, you are equipped to conquer!
But how? I’ve got plenty of physical recommendations. However, given the emotional reactions you describe from touching yourself, I don’t think your inorgasmia is a physical issue (it rarely is). Step one, take the mental pressure off. You’re certainly not the only woman unable to masturbate to orgasm, nor do you have to be Irish Catholic to feel pangs of negative emotion if/when you do. Women’s denying themselves self-induced pleasure is popularly perpetuated and nothing new, so don’t castigate yourself!
Go to Oh My! and buy a bunch of lube samples and a few cheap-o vibrators with different settings, rent whatever porn you’re instinctively drawn to, and go play. And I mean play. Sex toys are exactly that—they are adult toys. Get out of your head. Try things not because they’re what you’re “supposed” to do but because they send undeniable shivers down your... spine. If sticking that vibrator in your ear feels best, hell—do that.
Then indulge that inquisitive, psychological part of you and study your sexuality. I recommend the masturbation manual Sex for One by Betty Dodson and The Elusive Orgasm by Vivenne Cass, which focuses specifically on orgasm “difficulties.” The Expert Guide to Female Orgasm, directed by Tristan Taormino, is an explicit educational porno that normalizes all different orgasm experiences—and it’s hot to watch.
Then give me the best V-Spot Birthday present of all—keep us posted. We, too, want you to come so bad!