Why You Can’t Orgasm During Sex

Are you able to orgasm on your own but not during intercourse? You're not alone. Cheryl Fraser, a sex and relationships therapist, shares what to do.

Having a fulfilling and healthy sex life doesn’t necessarily mean you reach orgasm every time you have sex. But, if you’re having a hard time reaching climax in general, you’re not alone. Research in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy found that only 18% of women orgasm from vaginal penetration alone. That means more than 80% of women can’t climax through thrusting, whether your partner has a penis or is using a strap-on.

One little-known sex fact is that the clitoris, not the vagina, is the female sex organ. It’s where the majority of nerve endings that lead to orgasm are found. When you touch yourself, you know how hard or soft, and how slow or fast, to do it to reach orgasm. In most sexual positions, however, penetration doesn’t provide enough direct or indirect stimulation on the clitoris to lead to orgasm.

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Does that mean a woman cannot be turned on by intercourse alone?

Of course not. You may love having sex and find it very pleasurable. The sexual sensations probably feel more diffused and less intense than those that build to a full climax. And some women do have orgasms through vaginal intercourse, often because the clitoris is getting indirect pressure.

Unfortunately, it is common for women to report that they fake orgasms.

I often see straight couples in therapy and the man is astounded to hear that she is not orgasming when they have sex. No wonder he’s not learning how to please her; the media also fakes it. We see Sex and the City‘s Samantha, played by Kim Cattrall, howl in ecstasy basically as soon as a man penetrates. Don’t feel bad; in the book Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm, Cattrall wrote that, unlike her sexually vociferous character, she experienced sexual frustration until she was in her early 40s.

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So, what can you do to increase sexual pleasure for both you and your partner?

It is important that there be clitoral stimulation before, during or after intercourse. Discuss fingers, toys and tongue with your partner, and choose positions where their hands are free to touch your clitoris to help heat things up.

For many women, there are two positions that often work best; your partner can spoon you from behind and penetrate, reaching around to stroke you at the same time. Or, you can lie on your back while they face you on their knees, allowing easy access for their fingers to touch your clitoris. If you need some extra help, you can always add a vibrating toy to the mix to bring you to orgasm while they are penetrating you.

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Sources

Miranda Manier
Miranda is the Associate Editor for TheHealthy.com and The Healthy section of Reader's Digest magazine. Previously, Miranda was a producer at WNIT, the PBS affiliate in South Bend, Indiana; and the producer in residence for Minneapolis TV news KARE 11, where she won an Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Award for producing gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Derek Chauvin trial. Miranda also interned at Chicago’s PBS station, WTTW, and worked as the managing editor at the Columbia Chronicle at Columbia College. Outside of work, Miranda enjoys acting, board games, and trying her hand at a good vegan dessert recipe. She also loves talking about TV—so tell her what you’re watching!