SL Letter of the Day: Clitoral Indirection


Have you tried Grey Poupon?

It goes great with canned ham.
Re: Dr. Herbenick's response: The same thing happens when the LW masturbates, though.
@1 - Oh come ON. I hated that comment about women's genitalia as much as anyone, but wasn't that almost 20 years ago? Even though did he put it, never had to get over the "gross" feelings that little boys/girls have about each other, 'cause he was a little *gay* boy, he's *always* told men & women who are into women, that they should be all the way into their partner's pleasure. Deeeeeep into it. ;)

People can evolve. It's nice to read advice from Dan about ladyparts which sounds calm & clinical, not with any "ewwww" undertones. Let go of the ham. It was a long time ago.

To CLIT / LW: Since we know, now, that the clitoris' internal structure goes way beyond the little button of flesh on the outside - in fact, what had been referring to as vaginal orgasms are actually the internal parts of the clitoral organ system interacting around & with the vagina - it's helpful to think of everything down there as connected. Be patient with yourself while you explore different sensations - theres's no "right" way to do it, everyone is different. There's nothing that is an orgasm-killer like trying to force yourself to have one. Almost as much of a killjoy: being compared to a previous partner.

The external nub of the clitoris itself is craaazy sensitive. Like Dan said, some women require direct stimulation, but others, it needs to be more..snuck up on; massaged through the hood or even just the mons pubis. & some women get off primarily from penetration. Some women, before they've come for the first time, compare the sensation that's building up down there kinda like having to pee. They get anxious about letting go & all turned-on feelings shut down. Getting off feels different to different women, too. Some of them come with a definitive peaking - kinda like most guys - where they're wiped out after; others, it's gentler but intense; lots of contractions, but not as sharp of a "peaking" sensation.

You & your boyfriend need to focus less on the destination, & more on the journey, right now. If it happens, it happens. But you're new to sex. Give yourself time. Hopefully your guy can be patient & not pressure you about getting off. Just play with the different sensations & do more of what feels good. & relax! It's great to have an amazing boyfriend & to be 18. In the grand scheme of time 2 months is not that long. If you guys are together for a couple more months & you still feel like there's something missing, talk to a trusted OBGYN.

Most people I've talked to about it didn't get off with their first partner, or even the first few people they hooked up with. I was dating a man who I couldn't get to climax for over 7 months of fooling around. He was just too used to his own touch. But we got there. We decided to enjoy the journey, haha.

For thought: here's a rendering of the clitoris. The blue parts are the rest of your reproductive system; the yellow bits are the clitoral system. Isn't it cool how it wraps around down there? Bodies are nifty.……
@2: And it's equally plausible that she has no idea what she's doing, either. It seems like her first mistake is to do what she thinks "should" work.
I was thinking the same Debby. Cool answer Dan.
Sweet Man.
CLIT's letter didn't read to me as a problem with mechanics at all. Feeling "uncomfortable" and "completely shut down" when she reaches a state where letting go is necessary is, to me, indicative of some kind of anxiety. Of course it's possible there's also too much direct clitoral stimulation, but getting too intense on the clit doesn't generally make people feel like shutting down. Her description that stimulation makes her "completely dry up and just feel kind of awful" has emotional tones that overshadow the physical in my opinion.

I would encourage CLIT to look deeper into her feelings surrounding letting go, being vulnerable, and perhaps any shame she might be carrying about expressing her sexuality. I would also encourage her to practice masturbation and sex for a period of time that is explicitly not orgasm-centered - just exploratory touching by herself and with her boyfriend with absolutely no pressure to orgasm.
Any time I get depressed about the state my life is in, I remind myself that hey, at least I haven't wasted the last 15 years repeatedly posting on some dude's blog, reminding him of the stupid shit he said over a decade ago. And then I feel better.

CLIT, you might also try playing with your clit through a layer of fabric (i.e., while still wearing underwear) to reduce sensitivity a bit. Plus then you get to play around with cute lingerie...
Do less of what doesn't feel good or doesn't get you there and more of what does. Ask your boyfriend to do the same. Repeat and vary throughout your life. See also, Key and Peele's skit on cunnilingus class.


A Woman who has never liked dudes sandblasting away at her clit
I didn't like direct stimulation for a long time, and I still often don't. What If he rubs your labia without parting them to touch the clit directly? What about vibrators that are large enough to provide broader sensation, rather than a bullet or something else that has to be thisclose to your clit to work?

For me, even now, direct clit stimulation is like the last stage of foreplay before actual fucking. I have to be very, very turned on for it to be good. Up until that point, touching it directly feels kind of like someone rubbing my eye - not like I'm going to die or anything, but it sure makes my thighs clench up fast. I still don't like receiving oral, and I doubt I ever will.

Stay with the stuff that feels good. Don't do the stuff that doesn't, and don't worry too much about it. Maybe you'll never be into it, and that's ok. We're lucky enough to have lots and lots of nerve endings to play with.
I typically don’t like a partner anywhere near my clit until *after* we’ve been fucking. So for me, compliments and kissing and fucking are foreplay, and cunnilingus is sex.

My last partner just pressed gently down on my mons with the palm of his hand. That was nice, I got into that.

Really, learning how to enjoy sex can take years — and then it’s great. I learned a lot by reading porn in bed until I was aroused and achy and then touching places that felt like they really needed to be touched.
What worked for me when I was the lw age:I would sit on my bf facing him both with all our clothes on. Amidst all the hugging and kissing I would start rubbing through all the layers of clothes. I would be in control of the pressure and tempo and it felt great. After a few months of this we were ready to have sex. I still don't like direct touching or oral.
USE LUBE!!!!!!!!!
USE LUBE!!!!!!!!!
USE LUBE!!!!!!!!!

With toys, and with your bf. Seriously, if it goes dry, it's going to feel AWFUL - so don't let it go dry. Get a good quality lube like Sliquid and make sure no finger or toy touches your clit unless it's very wet.

Common misconception: If you're turned on enough, you'll be wet enough. (I actually had a bf who made me feel GUILTY for needing lube, as if vaginal dryness meant I had failed in some way.) But lots of things - diet, medication, hormonal contraception - can affect your vagina's ability to produce lubrication on demand, and if you're using condoms, well, they just increase the lube demand.
A guy can be with 100 women and not work at all for the next. Experience has nothing to do with it. A sex move no matter how lame or crazy, is never wrong, but it can be very wrong for someone who dislikes it.

I think she should look around for a better match if this guy isn't working for her.

If she weren't nervous and trying so hard to have fun with what he does even though it's not fun for her, I'd advise her to top while he's completely passive and experiment with what she likes. But I have a feeling she just can't relax and do it with this guy, it doesn't sound like a good match.
And I thought Dan's advice was awesome.
Think that's a good suggestion, Philo.. Re climbing onto his phallus , though not sure re the young man staying passive bit. A bit of underthust is good, as this young woman finds stimulation for her clit.
Dans advice spot on. Relax LW. It can take a while to find the right pressure etc.
Your young man could resist bringing his old girlfriend into the mix. Guess he wants to deflect from anything wrong in his court.
It's not a competition though.
@13: I don't think this is a dumpable offense, Philophile. They're very young and both need to learn--sometimes by being told explicitly--that different bodies require different types of stimulation; that just because you were able to help your last partner (or your last 3 partners) feel good in one way, that technique might not work on your next partner (or your next 3); that there's nothing wrong or broken with you if what your partner is doing isn't working.
These are big important concepts and they don't necessarily occur to people naturally.

Plus, she's 18; I'm assuming he's 18 or close to it. They'll likely be able to work through this and they're unlikely to stay together for the rest of their lives no matter what. But rather than just break up with him, they both need to learn from this.

CLIT should try having her bf press down on her mons (the handspan below her belly button and up to the top of her vulva). Her grinding on top of him is also a great idea, perhaps through some clothes so the direct stimulation isn't overwhelming at first. And Turtle's right: use lube, if she's getting dry.

Right now, it sounds like there's so much pressure and anxiety that there's no way she can relax. I would focus less on trying to orgasm and more on just enjoying the sensations and the intimacy and the joy of helping her bf to his pleasure. She needs to break the associations of sexual touch and sexual situations with anxiousness and pressure before she can do anything else.

But she's 18, so there's lots of reasons to be hopeful for great success.
Try using lube all over your vulva even if you don’t think you’re dry. It’s great stuff.

Well, you've got that at least.

So, can one catch Ebola from licking a doorknob?

How about from a licked doorknob?

Someone needs to get to the bottom of it.......
and btw, the LW's issues are mental, not physical.
Dear LW;

Sex is an awesome thing. And a super powerful drive in humans. Used wisely, channelled in beneficial directions, your sex drive and sexual activities will enrich your life. Used unwisely, it will cause you immense heartache and loss.

Lets compare the awesome force of sexual drive to some other powerful forces.

Fire, for instance; used wisely and carefully can be used to heat the home- think of a cozy evening around the fireplace; used unwisely it can burn the house down and leave your family out in the cold.

Nuclear power, for instance; used wisely it can power the city and make happy productive lives possible for hundreds of thousands of people; put it in a bomb and the same city in vaporized.

The question you have to answer for yourself is will you use this awesome power of sex to make your life fuller and more enriched or will you use it foolishly for short-term gratification that inevitably brings in its wake destruction.

In our species sexual activity is best engaged in within a 'longterm committed relationship'. AKA Marriage.

Promiscuous sexual activity leads to disease. Not because 'god' doesn't want you to have a jolly time. But because, biologically, promiscuous sexual activity leads to disease. We suspect you cook your meat and eggs thoroughly and wash your hands after you wipe your ass and don't smoke and don't lick doorknobs because you don't want to get sick. Good girl. Just add responsible healthy sexual behavior to the list of things you are doing right to keep your body healthy.

Even more important than your physical health, however, is your emotional health. Promiscuous sexual activity is damaging to your emotional well being. For example, the more sexual partners you have had the less likely you will be to find satisfaction when you settle down in a 'longterm committed relationship'. AKA Marriage.

So what should you do?

You have a long full life ahead of you, and decades in which to enjoy awesome sex with a special guy. You don't have to rush things. Take a break from sex with your BF. Get to know yourself. Get to know him as a person. Develop a relationship with him (or whoever Your Guy turns out to be) based on shared values and interests and respect. Develop a bond with him that is not based on sex. Sex is awesome, but it is not the basis upon which a lifelong relationship is based. There will come a time in the relationship when sex will be appropriate. And together you will spend a lifetime finding out what works for you (both). That powerful force of Sex will be a glue that makes your relationship even better and fuller and richer and stronger. Sex is awesome. Sex with someone you love, and with whom you are sharing your life, with whom you have a trusting secure relationship, is awesome to the Nth degree.

Or, you could Skip Toward Gommorah. Have sex now. With whomever you want. I feels great, after all. Do It! Forget emotional connections. (be warned, however, your little voice inside you will want to emotionally bond with the guys you fuck, because that is the way you are biologically wired. and emotionally it will hurt like hell for awhile. Don't Listen! just have fun! soon you will smother and stifle that little voice. life will be much less complicated when you don't form emotional connections, after all....) One day you will settle down. You'll find a guy who pushes your buttons the way you like. And for awhile it will work for you. A few months? A few years? You read Danny's column, you know the drill. But at some point the button pushing won't be working as well for you. but, unfortunately, button pushing was mostly all you crazy kids had. So you'll look for someone else to push your buttons. The Next High. After all, it Feels great! Do It! And then the next one after that. At some point you'll see your 'Special Guy' as baggage. or he'll get wind of your extracurriculars and dump you. or, more likely, he'll have his own extracurriculars. However it plays out it will be messy. And Hell on the kids. Sex wasn't a powerful force that made your family stronger and happier. It was a whirlwind that ripped your family apart, and hurt people. But It Feels Great! so wtf....

You seem like a smart kid. Make good choices and have a happy life.
Surprised neither Dan nor Debby mentioned oral. For some (many) women a tongue is far better than a finger or cock for "touching" the clit. Less pointy, no fingernails, self-lubricating (saliva).

LW -- are you using your words? While you're having sex? Talk about your needs and find words / sounds / gestures that feel sexy that communicate "keep going" "harder" "take a breather and touch me elsewhere".

When you're with a partner for years you kinda get good at figuring out what she/he likes, but with a new partner evening someone experienced has no clue what works. We are all snowflakes, right?*

*Plunk us in boiling oil and we cease to exist, just like snowflakes. :-)
Most 18 YO guys come really fast so it's hard to back them off long enough for the girl to relax. Maybe just work him over first, til he comes then she can relax and enjoy just touching and oral. My first orgasm came when I was on top, after he had come, and I was just grinding gently. What a surprise!
@15 "Think that's a good suggestion, Philo.. Re climbing onto his phallus , though not sure re the young man staying passive bit."
Thank you. But re thrusting, I think it doesn't help to have to work with what another likes when you are trying to figure out what you like. If she already knew what made her come, then she might like the challenge of trying to do it while he's thrusting. But she doesn't.

@16 I don't see any offense in the letter. Just a mismatch, not a mistake. Not everyone can work happily together. Sucks but that's reality.

@22 I can empathize. A partner who will simply pay attention to what you like and accommodate it at least sometimes is pretty necessary for that first O I think. Also why I didn't think oral would work here, unless a tongue was stuck out passively so she could figure out what she likes about it.
@16 Actually, it may be useful to talk a bit about fault here. In that the main problem is this idea that her body should be able to orgasm from what he does.

It's unclear where she's getting this idea from, whether he's encouraged it with the information that his previous partner could do it, or if she's convinced herself of it and he hasn't realized the problem. So I'm not sure who's fault it is. But someone did make a mistake.
Oh dear, Smart Sex @20. For someone who thinks of themselves as smart you seem to dispense with an evidence base awfully quickly. (And what’s with the infantile analogies? Are you reading from a christian homeschoolers Sex Ed for Ten Year Olds text?)

Well, Allison.

Please set us straight.

Where do we (and the CDC) have it wrong?
To the unregistered target practice:
Go live in a monastery if you want a nice safe existence.

Some people want to have a different sort of life. Not everyone can be happy with gruel and water.

If you can't wear condoms when you have sex or look both ways before you cross the road, well, shit happens. And if you get married while you're utterly naive about sex you're most likely better off in a monastery too.
Yep, agree with so many of the suggestions here. The first time I ever climaxed as a teenager was by dry humping - through pants & underwear. I still rarely want vigorous direct clitoral stimulation and then only at a certain peak. Lots of guys (bless their hearts) are so proud that they can FIND the clitoris that they think they're supposed to zone right in & manhandle it like they're rubbing a penis. Ouch. For me it's all about getting the right (slightly indirect, favouring one side) angle instead of direct pressure. Everybody's different and you'll find your angle.
I'm the same way, and I feel the best is touching over the underwear until you're reaching your peak, then you're probably going to feel a burning/tingle/palpitation feeling right in the spot where you need to be touched in order to finish. You need to work around getting aroused first. Once you've got that figured out and after that point, your body is going to point loud and clear where you need to touch and how, like a manual instruction. Trust me.
Dear Smart Sex,

There isn't necessarily anything wrong with your advice for a general audience, but darn if I know why you think it's responsive to the letter writer or her issue in particular. It looks like one of those rants a person sits on and copy pastas regardless of contextual relevance.
If the geography of your bathtub permits it: a stream of running water is quite gentle as well as quite persistent. As a teenager, I learned a lot about myself using that method.

I'm one of those ladies that doesn't like it straight on. I can't even imagine someone peeling me open and rubbing my clit directly--just the thought of that makes me cringe. (ESPECIALLY if there's no spit or lube on their finger.) Vibrators don't work at all on me, either; it just kinda feels like someone's trying to use my pussy as dry kindling to make a fire.
For me, it's more pressure than friction. I can come just by pressing rhythmically on my whole vulva. But most of the time I get off on rubbing against things (a pillow, a lover's leg or genitals, etc.) or through oral sex. When I was a teenager and everything was so sensitive, I used to love grinding against my boyfriend in my underwear or jeans until I came (I see in this comment thread I'm not the only one). It took about a decade of masturbation to come just by rubbing with my bare hand--although I use my whole hand and sort of cup it over my clit and the other little naughty bits surrounding it. And there have only been a handful of times (after many years of marriage) my husband has gotten me off just with his hand. So do not despair, LW: your orgasm will come!

And, for what it's worth, have you tried oral sex? That was my first orgasm, and it was quite a good way to get the party started.
Nina whatsername used to have a girl handjob instructional video up for free on youporn. Pretty interesting nondirect contact methods. Direct clit contact is for very late in the foreplay if at all. Usually it would make me want to punch soneone in the damn throat for trying somwthing so stupid.
@2 Yeah, of course it does, she's masturbating using the same crappy info the bf is, but probably with more desperation and despair. Porn frigging isn't exactly what gets anyone off, and teen boys are notoriously incompetent at sex. No one, including herself, has ever handled her bits with any amount of experience or expertise. It's not like being a guy, where you handle your cock from birth. Girls are stopped from doing that, and there is a huge time gap before they rediscover their clit, and when they do so they generally do so from as much ignorance as a teen boy trying the same thing, with the added hindrance of being unable to even see. She's probably trying what supposedly worked for his ex. Which is complete bullshit. Idiot boyfriend needs to lay off the "but my ex orgasmed perfectly fine every time, what's wrong with your broken and inadequate clitoris?" narrative. As if his experience with one measly girl counts for anything. That kind of crap is the mark of someone who is incompetent in bed.

Also, the pressure of having to cum is crap too. That'll shut anyone's orgasm down. Gotta stop that. Especially if that pressure is coming from him - just slap him across the face if he tries to pressure you or make you feel bad. You are much more able to figure it out than he is, he's definitely not going to have a clue (he already clearly has no idea how women's genitals work), and it may take you years. It often takes women years to figure out. Be gentle in the meantime, and keep that idiot boy off your clit, unless it's gentle gentle oral, which he should be doing at least as often as you go down on him, and for much longer. Maybe it takes you 45 minutes of foreplay. It does for plenty of people. If he's not into that, dump him.

@34 "Porn frigging isn't exactly what gets anyone off"
Well, it's fine for learning what a penis likes. But not at all for what a clit likes. The mistake being the sad excuse for porn in our culture had occurred to me as well.

@34 I don't think it often takes women years. I think the only ingredients are mental stimulation and the freedom to do what you like. The problem is that so many stimulating partners won't restrain themselves so that you have the freedom to do what you like as a teen girl; teen boys are often caught up with doing what they like. Or invested in learning some fictitious perfect move or routine like it's track, when it's more like dancing; learning good rhythm and how to communicate your intentions and which moves you like and what genuine enjoyment looks like on a partner.
Happens to me, too, sometimes - builds, builds, builds, then "hey, where'd it go?" Don't worry about it, enjoy the buildup, and keep masturbating. Eventually you'll try something that works, and will have some success to show you the direction to move in. And if you are never all that reliable at climaxing, so what? It's not the only reason to have sex.
@36 do you really think the average 14 or 16 year old girl is routinely and easily orgasmic?
It's interesting that the LW also can't get herself off, but Philophile is still somehow certain that it's magically the fault of her boyfriend.
If they really care about each other and she wants to stay with him.. Bf doesn't know what she likes. So chill on sex with him and learn how to come alone and show him:…
You might want to get more familiar with how bodies and sex generally work:…
I'm not sure about advising someone to keep having orgasmless sex. I don't think that's good for a person. If they are not trying out her new ideas every time, I'm not sure why she keeps having orgasmless sex. There's nothing else attractive available and she needs sex of some kind? Maybe she should move to a city.

Eud- I'm sorry you had trouble reading post 24. You often don't seem to understand my words well. I know that it's just a mistake and you're not intentionally lying and making up stories, but perhaps you could read more carefully.

@36 I'm not sure if taking the lead badly is a real trend in teenage boys or I'm bitter about the problems it caused me. I think it happens when they think sex "should be" specific things they do, or they have this persistent idea that what feels good for them must feel good for her too maybe, or they're just not ready to have sex. Anyway, when a girl wants to have sex, especially when she needs to experiment at first, it causes problems, so it's good to talk about. I don't think that teen boys want to have sex that isn't good for her.
@35: "it's fine for learning what a penis likes."

Not even, really. The stuff that "looks good" for some also doesn't feel as great for guys.

'gruel and water'?.....


sorry your past partners have such a low opinion of you.

no doubt its hard to evaluate monogamy when no one will fuck you more than once.

a word to the wise;

if you aren't aware that lots of shit happens even when condoms are used you are a really dangerous flavor of utterly naive.
Philophile @40, there's a lot more to sex than orgasms. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having ok sex (she says it’s pleasant) and experimenting and developing comfort until it becomes good sex and eventually great. It doesn’t have to be good right off the bat as long as it’s ok and the relationship is good.

I understand the formal aspects of sex resonate most with you (careful and explicit negotiation followed by orgasms) but it’s not the same for everyone. A very good way of discovering what you want and don’t want and how you respond physically and emotionally to various physical and emotional gestures is to have sex with someone you like, who respects and desires you. Not having an orgasm the first and every time is not a failure as long as you’re getting something out of it and learning.

It’s not uncommon for people taking SSRIs to have trouble having orgasms. They don’t always stop having sex, it’s just different. (Personal note: I really enjoy having sex with a guy when we both know in advance he’s not likely to come. We just play until we’re done. The exchange is not dominated by his sexual response cycle.)

And yes, it took me years — and I even had a head start because I had solo orgasms fairly early. I'm still learning.

Thank you for your support.

She is new to sex, nothing is working for her and she is stressing (and blaming herself)

Slowing down and taking some pressure off herself seems like a good idea....
I also wouldn't advise a young man to stay with a young woman who would often dry hump him to O and wished he could get off that way too. Especially if he'd never orgasmed. She'd have to be demonstrating the desire to discover and accommodate what he liked as well to expect him to stay.

@41 I see your point. I should have known better; I'm pretty sure most guys don't enjoy pulling out as much but creampie porn is rare in mainstream. But. If a couple were to copy a straight porn at home, the man may not have the greatest experience but the woman would be likely to suffer physical damage & pain as well as self esteem loss from the comparative lack of attention to her genitals. Cause they don't show the part where the female porn star gets herself aroused enough to come beforehand, so that vigorous sex doesn't hurt.

@42 I can see how it would be beneficial to have a high opinion of monogamy if only one person will fuck you.

@43 The common point in our posts is "Not having an orgasm the first and every time is not a failure as long as you’re getting something out of it and learning." I agree people should be satisfied with the sex that they're having or something's wrong. And sometimes just trying something new is satisfying. I know that people can have satisfying sex without orgasm, I've been explicit about this before. I don't think that's so likely if one has never orgasmed. Usually people start having sex because they start getting horny and finding certain genitals and people sexually stimulating which means their body wants to take that to the natural conclusion to satisfy those impulses rather than stay frustrated by them. And the LW said, "We’ve had sex a few times without any stimulation of that kind and it feels kind of pleasant, which is a shit descriptor for sex with your amazing boyfriend." Which doesn't sound satisfied. I don't think it's an unreasonable goal to have awesome sex with your awesome boyfriend, I've heard lots of stories like that and have lots of my own stories. That's what shaped my advice. Again I see nothing wrong with having sex when you're not really horny and don't desire to orgasm as well, it can be satisfying too, it's just not the case here. And I can also see how this could mess up a woman from connecting sex with physical pleasure and tying it more to duty if she has no idea how it can be orgasmic for her.


Quantity over Quality, eh?

don't despair.

some day you'll find someone with really low expectations
I didn't have my first orgasm til I was 20 for similar reasons, CLIT, but it did eventually happen. Not being able to get off yourself or with a bf is very frustrating, but keep trying, and try to stay patient, and it will eventually happen. We were having sex for like 6 months before it finally happened for me, and even though it can still be difficult for me to get there to this day, I've pretty much mastered (heh) the technique. Practice makes perfect!

Like Dan recommends, try more indirect stimulation. For me a vibrator closer to the hood than the clit was better than right on.
Dan, just thought you and your female (and their So's) would enjoy this new bit of technology!…

- Pat aka sweetnnekked
If direct clitoral stimulation is uncomfortable, maybe try gentle kisses through a barrier of soft cotton underwear? For masturbating, a gently running bath tap, maybe even through a thin washcloth?
Imagine this scenario: a man can't achieve an erection, so he pressures himself and his partner pressures him a lot to get it up, repeatedly over a period of months. That sounds awful! You need to take the pressure off! It took me nine months to learn to come and I tried almost every night. This was after my first boyfriend sent me home because "I can't get you off of you can't get you off." I was nineteen. Keep trying with the toys and lube lube lube! All you need is lube, lube the one you're with!

Also, in the spirit of the it gets better project, sex also gets better! I am thirty three and I now have these most intense multiple orgasms just over and over and I'm the happiest woman. This is usually without clitoral stimulation, I'm a big time penetration lover. I often stop my boyfriend from touching my clit and beg him to stop the foreplay and fuck me, believe it or not. You have ohsomuch to look forward to sexually! Good luck :-)
Oh geesh, my hormones are acting up again. I just teared up at the last line in Dr. Debby's response to Dan. :/
@Philophile: If I had had to wait to have sex until I was orgasmic . . . well, it would have been a loooooong wait.
I got a lot out of my non-orgasmic sex, including pleasurable-if-not-culminating-experience sensations, emotional intimacy, and my two beloved children.
@52 I'm glad you enjoyed your nonorgasmic sex. Sex should be satisfying or you're doing something wrong. Did you find it preferable to making out and other physical intimacy? Or did you just do it to maintain a relationship with a guy that in hindsight you were grateful you stayed with? And do you feel comfortable with those who advised you to continue nonorgasmic sex with your partner? I'm not sure why you're writing this story to this letter except to encourage her to stay.

I stopped having sex with those I couldn't orgasm with, including my first sex partner who I had dated 6 months, after at most a few attempts in which I felt something important was missing for me. I had a pretty awesome second partner and have never wished I had stayed with someone who didn't work well with me. And I'm still in touch and friendly with most of my exes, including the couple I didn't come with at first.

I think for most people, orgasm denial is a kink best left for a time when you know what you are denying yourself.

@43 The description of your experience confuses me: Do you mean that it took you years of masturbation to learn to come? Or years of sex with a partner to come with a partner? And if you knew how to come, why didn't you take care of yourself before or after? Or are you only talking about coming during piv? I agree that can be difficult with a partner who doesn't match your style well, or doesn't physically match, or who finds it difficult to do what gets you off. But I also think that continuing to do something that isn't working for you is not quite sane or realistic or healthy.

I think this chick just wants to come, not in any special way particularly. For some reason she can't let her hands do what they want when she's excited. I think someone else guessed that this was from her parents being strict about never touching herself, which sounds reasonable. Or if she thinks that mainstream porn shows how to get a clit to orgasm, she should be told that's unrealistic. I just don't see how it benefits her to keep consenting to the kind of sex he gets off to and she doesn't. Unless she's doing it to keep him, which has long term problems. Getting used to being unsatisfied is only really good advice if it's impossible to achieve satisfaction in my opinion.
I feel particularly bad for the poor kids shooting themselves in the face with a squirt gun during their alone time. I wish Scarleteen was a household name.
My lady is pretty sensitive, one thing she likes especially when warming up is holding both outer lips between thumb and forefinger and rubbing all the (wet) layers over the clitoris. Depending on anatomy it can be like delicately jacking a tiny little cock in there.
I was a little inaccurate about my history but mostly I should add. I've been dating (99% monogamishly) my first sex partner for the last 4 years. I don't regret breaking up with him as teens though. Since my experiences conflicts with Nocute's, I guess LW should do what she wants!

Like it was ever any other way...
Took me a long time to figure it out for myself:

1. Don't worry about what your bf does. Nothing he does will matter until you figure out how to get yourself off.

2. Just because he was with a chick and she made some noise doesn't mean that he was able to get her off. Maybe she got off, and it was all her doing. Or maybe she faked. No matter what, it's none of your concern, and you'll never know the whole truth.

3. Masturbatr by putting a finger to either side of your clit with even pressure. Move your hand in a circular motion without ever moving your fingers from their spot.

4. Stop thinking about having orgasm. And for gods' sakes, don't think about "letting go of insecurity or anxiety" or whatever. Think about sexy things. Only. You will feel tempted to let your mind stray. Don't give into that impulse. Think of sexy dudes and dirty, dirty acts that make you excited (but of course you would never do...)

You'll get off eventually. Sooner rather than later, I bet.
@53: Philophile, I don't know how to respond to your questions/comments. I think you are genuinely curious and I assume you mean well, but the way you write makes me doubt that we will come to an understanding.
Maybe it's a generational thing.
I have the same problem. Pull the hood of your clit down and penetrate through the hood to reduce the intensity of stimulation. Move slowly!
LW, if you're still reading--I was 17 when I started having sex, but I had my first orgasm at 19, from oral. I started masturbating at 24. Then I had my first orgasm during PIV at 26.

I don't think my partners and I were doing anything wrong. I just think I wasn't developmentally ready, and that's completely OK. I was en route to my sexual peak in my 40s, like many women.
@58 Notcute. Something is very different between us. I had some nonorgasmic sex with a guy who liked to talk about marriage as a teen, but it felt wrong. I spent a month trying on the 'quality of sex shouldn't really matter' mindset and hoped it would get better until I admitted it was a big problem for me that I didn't orgasm, although I think my bigger problem was that sex didn't feel great but frustrating. I found someone I could talk well with about sex and felt nice to make out with and was focused on learning what I liked and letting me explore. I stated up front that I didn't think sex was great but I wanted to. It was the difference between purgatory and heaven to orgasm with my sex for the next 6 months.

I would feel very hostile if anyone had advised me to stay with him and settle. When I was in very similar shoes to CLIT, I was more frustrated and he was more insecure, it was less about working with my body and more the idea of 'making me come'. The posters who say to keep doing it for 6 or 9 months or years and it will happen sound wrong. To keep doing something that isn't working and expect a different result next time. But maybe that happens, I've never had the patience to try and there's no guarantee. They can stay together and not have sex until she can get herself off too, then she can take care of herself before/after. And it's easier to work with what she has than moving if there's very limited attractive partners in sight. But if there's an alternative, I think she should also feel free to pursue the goal of having awesome sex with an awesome partner by focusing on the awesome sex more right now and a partner who feels physically great from the get go until hot and heavy and beyond without guilt. Lifelong monogamy, FWB and serial monogamy all have their benefits and dangers.

I'm sorry if I was hostile Nocute. Thanks for the note. I hope I explained.
@Philophile: No, I don't think you sound hostile; rather you sound . . . I don't know confident maybe or entitled (I don't mean that in the negative way that word gets used). I think you have a healthy self-esteem and have handled your own affairs admirably.

But not everyone is like you; not everyone responds the way you do (or I do). In my case, I was non-orgasmic until I was 38. Not just with a partner, but even when I tried to masturbate. Although I hope that it takes most people a lot less time to become orgasmic, I know from personal experience that sometimes it's not an issue of "this guy isn't doing the right things; dump him and find someone who will bring it."

I was extremely promiscuous when I was a late teen and into my very early 20s, and I was also in a couple of deeply loving, committed relationships, including a marriage, all without being able to orgasm; I still enjoyed many aspects of sex.

I'm not advocating that the lw stay in a situation that is unfulfilling for her, or that she just suck it up and take it for the sake of the partner. But I speak from the perspective of someone for whom it wouldn't have been a simple case of dump him and find someone who cares about your pleasure. The fact that she's thus far anorgasmic even when masturbating and that she's 18 leads me to the response I had.
Philophile, people aren’t interchangeable orgasm-machines to me. I loved the boy I’d been with since I was twelve and kissed for the first time when I was fifteen. It was years before I came with him. I had no interest whatever in turning him in for a more sexually attuned model. I wanted to figure out how to have sex *with him.* Which I did — which we did together.

I think you’re describing a situation where you were very aroused, very close to coming, but unable to do what you needed to do to get you over the edge. I agree, that is very painful. I’ve been in those situations and they make me angry. (In my thirties I was in a situation where I decided to tolerate the bad sex in hopes of teaching my lover how it could be better because despite the badness it was still important for intimacy and connection, and I valued the connection with that particular man that much that it was worth it to me even if it never got better. Even then, when it got worse instead of better I became angry,)

Yes, if that’s what the LW is experiencing, if she is close to coming and knows what she wants to do about it but something about sex with that particular man is preventing her, then she shouldn’t settle. She should either assert herself and her own needs or seek a relationship with someone else where asserting her own needs is easy.

For many of us, beginning sex didn’t get us to the point of becoming painfully aroused. In my case I was self-conscious about displaying my body. I like to feel in control and at fifteen and sixteen wasn’t ready to let go enough to get close to coming. I’m clumsy and awkward and the technical aspects of being that physically close to someone else were already a challenge. I didn’t know that eating pussy could be enjoyable for the eater. I didn’t know how to identify all the sensations of arousal. It took me twenty years to discover that I have vaginal orgasms — I was probably having them from my late teens (with the same young man) but didn’t know how to recognize them. I was self-conscious being on top. I was self-conscious talking about sex. Still, I was aroused enough to enjoy sex, I loved being fucked, I loved feeling loved and wanted, I loved being close to that particular boy and I loved learning to please both him and myself. I don’t think a different boy would have made any difference to the steps I needed to go through. Maybe it would have but it doesn’t feel that way. Learning to have sex with this boy did not make me feel angry in the least.

For me, being told that not coming right away meant that my boyfriend was wrong for me and that I should audition different sexual partners would not have helped. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, it would probably have been bad advice and it would have made me feel criticized, not supported.

When I tell the LW to relax and enjoy the journey, I’m thinking she’s like me and has a journey ahead of her no matter what. When you tell the LW to dump his ass, it seems to me that you’re thinking she’s like you and knows where she wants to go and that he’s in her way.

Does this help?
I get all the advice for LW about different forms of/ ways to do clitoral stimulation, always worth trying..... but what if that just isn't her thing? What if she needs penetration specifically without clitoral stimulation? Why hasn't anyone really mentioned that?.

She should try out lots of things, including staying the heck away from her clit.
@62 Nocute: Glad I didn't offend. And thanks for explaining.
"sometimes it's not an issue of "this guy isn't doing the right things; dump him and find someone who will bring it."
I agree. If sex with him isn't right for her it's not about her or him or what he does but how they interact.
Lots could be happening: I think bf might be taking the lead badly and not giving it up when something isn't working. Or might be incapable of relaxing and letting her figure out what she likes. Or she could feel so serious about him she can't relax. Or she's too embarrassed about what feels good or what she wants to ask for it with him. Etc.

My thesis is it's better to try someone new than stay stuck in a rut if she can't find ways to get what she needs. Maybe it is a great journey for her but that's not how it reads to me. I hope she got a few new ideas from this column if she decides to stay or not. Thought for the TSARY idea box: Send a return email when you publish letters.

@63 Alison: I can empathize with most of what you say. But people are not interchangeable to me. Please stop hypothesizing about my feelings. If you have a question about them please ask. Just because a relationship ends doesn't mean it wasn't great. I also feel that people should work to recognize dead horses and stop beating them.

I think we may have very different ideas of love and sex. I don't think you have to be monogamous to someone to be in real true love. And I don't think a sexually committed relationship necessarily has anything at all to do with love. They are in different categories in my mind, although interlinked. The more you're friendly with someone attractive (friendly to their brain body and esp genitals) the more romance and time together seems to result.

And I wasn't in pain frustrated in my teens, I was sad. I wish we had been able to communicate better but we were on different pages sexually. We were both more focused on finding out what we liked and wanted to do with our lives and we couldn't compromise well. We both avoided problems and the result was bad or no sex since we weren't a great natural match. And it was hard to talk about sex. I thought sex should feel great for me, at least better than making out. Cause there's lots of women doing it and kids running around and meeting basic needs generally feels good...

I understand that other kinds of satisfaction in sex may be more important to other people. Doing as many or as much as you can for the novelty or having sex to keep a guy's attention or if it feels pleasant and you have no desire to orgasm. But it seems pretty common that sexual satisfaction is strongly linked to particular stimulating sensations/touches/twists/strikes esp rhythmically in the genital area. It's unrealistic to physically "try to get into" things that don't feel stimulating to you. You can just get into a partner's satisfaction enough that they become mentally stimulating.

I knew that women came too when I was a kid. Sexless dating was physically great, actual sex just wasn't as connected to making out when I started. And I had expected it to be along the same lines of physical fun. I needed the freedom to explore what I liked and couldn't negotiate it with my first. I'm sure you could point out mistakes by both sides in my story; that's often how it is. It was a great decision for me to find a guy who easily spoke of sex and letting me explore and felt great to be with, even if I didn't want to marry him. I even had orgasmic sex with my first in the next year, if that's what CLIT is ultimately looking for, it's easier once you have an idea of what orgasmic sex is for you. I'm not sure why we didn't get back together at that point, I think either of us would have said yes if the other had asked directly but neither did. That's what we say to each other now at least. Maybe by that time we both felt more comfortable exploring with others. I think if I had the chance to tell my younger self what to do to stay with him happily, it would have been to stop having sex after the first or second time until we perfected hand sex with each other and I took a few months of daily self exploration with penetration. After it started to sour it took a long time for me to trust that he cared about what I liked and for him to trust that I could be satisfied by him.

As far as sexual peak, I'll brag. I found a great porn in my late teens/early 20s and got off 10 times in under 10 minutes. I don't really multiple anymore in 30s. From my experience, I think sexual peak is more about when you start finding things very stimulating. Maybe it's a few years after you've gotten comfortable orgasming. I don't think there's some biological sexual peak in 30s and 40s.

I don't want to post anything else ever.
@64 You orgasm from clitoral stimulation, even if you're only stimulating the clit around the vaginal opening and through the walls. You might be thinking the part that pokes out is the clit but it's just the clit head
Philophile, you’re right, I should have deleted that first paragraph after I’d developed my thoughts a little further in the following paragraphs. I’m sorry.

I’m going to hypothesize. I try to be careful to state when it’s a hypothesis because for most things I can’t know. If I’m hypothesizing about your experience and I’m wrong, the hypothesis still stands as a possible narrative of someone else’s process — neither yours nor mine, but perhaps instructive to think about anyway. Would it be ok if going forward I framed my hypotheses as hypotheses (as I carefully did downthread) and then asked you for any feedback you felt comfortable sharing? We don’t seem to share much of a frame of reference so I think carefully about your comments trying to understand them. Your story is not just about you, it’s about other people who’ve gone through similar experiences and talk about them in similar ways, so it’s important to me to go through the work of expanding my frame of reference to include more people.

Someone was talking about a project of institution-building the other day, and the meetings he was going to and people he was recruiting in aid of the project. I kept asking him what institution-building was and he kept explaining (with increasing frustration) about meetings and recruiting. Finally I said, “Marriage is an institution. Is that what you mean?” Until we’d established a shared frame of reference (the institution in question turned out to be a school) my questions made no sense to him and his answers were unhelpful to me. When I respond to your posts I try to construct a story so it’s easier for you to see where the misunderstandings lie.

In my case I had solo orgasms, was comfortable with penetration and had very little experience of kissing or making out (with anyone) before introducing sexual intercourse into my three-year relationship with my boyfriend, one of my best friends. In no way did he get in my way. I was pushier than he was; he’d have preferred to take things a bit slower and explore more. He was a better listener and more open to negotiation than I was. It took me years to have a partnered orgasm but it wasn’t his fault.

I have never been particularly monogamous. From the beginning I have had sex with people who are not partners and partners I don’t have sex with. At that time I wanted to have sex with *him,* though. Both because he was him and because I was horny as fuck and needed the contact. Physical fun was something I could arrange on my own with a good book and a cucumber.

Does my hypothesis stand that you knew where you wanted to go — physical fun with a partner, of a kind you’d already experienced while making out — and that particular boyfriend was erecting communication barriers that prevented you getting there?
still at it?!?

well, you folks have certainly wrung all the joy out of sex......
Alison -
"Would it be ok if going forward I framed my hypotheses as hypotheses (as I carefully did downthread) and then asked you for any feedback you felt comfortable sharing?"
Thanks! Your story, courtesy, and accurate language made me smile. :)

To answer your questions,
"you knew where you wanted to go "
I knew where I wanted to go (awesome sex) and had a feeling it would be like making out only better as life seemed to work that way. I was maybe self aware enough to know that sexual frustration was causing me problems and I wanted it satisfied.

"that particular boyfriend was erecting communication barriers that prevented you getting there"
I said we couldn't communicate well but I don't blame him. It was hard for me to talk about sex too. Maybe we were erecting barriers.. It felt more like you were describing about not having enough common language to converse, though. On different pages. I think we were both embarrassed and insecure too. Not a great natural match with teenage communication skills. He was (is) just so hot..
If CLIT is like me, then the comments about needing to find what works for herself before she can communicate that to a partner won't be helpful. At 28 I still haven't found what works - that is, I haven't found a kind of touch or pressure that makes me think "yes, more of that" - and it's not for lack of trying. Trust me. I really hope that's not the case with CLIT. But if it is, I'd want her to know that I've still managed to develop a pretty great sex life, and I do that by using my head. If people say sex is 50% mental, maybe it's 80% or 90% for me.

So while the advice continue experimenting physically is great, it's at least as important to experiment mentally - find out what turns you on, what kind of kinks you may have, what kind of scenarios or ideas turn you on. Read erotica, watch porn, sext copiously. Fantasize constantly. Really believe that sex happens in your brain, and it will be mind-blowing.
If CLIT is like me, then the comments about needing to find what works for herself before she can communicate that to a partner won't be helpful. At 28 I still haven't found what works - that is, I haven't found a kind of touch or pressure that makes me think "yes, more of that" - and it's not for lack of trying. Trust me. I really hope that's not the case with CLIT. But if it is, I'd want her to know that I've still managed to develop a pretty great sex life, and I do that by using my head. If people say sex is 50% mental, maybe it's 80% or 90% for me.

So while the advice continue experimenting physically is great, it's at least as important to experiment mentally - find out what turns you on, what kind of kinks you may have, what kind of scenarios or ideas turn you on. Read erotica, watch porn, sext copiously. Fantasize constantly. Really believe that sex happens in your brain, and it will be mind-blowing.
People say that most women won't orgasm without clitoral stimulation, and that's true, but I think we're about 3 steps ahead of ourselves with that advice.

First, anxiety and pressure are major turn-offs. I have been building a great relationship with my body for many years but if I'm worried about my partner, my body, how long I'm taking, I just can't get turned on, let alone get off. It's totally normal for a young woman to have sex before you've figured out what really feels good and what turns you on. Our bodies are more varied and complex, and while that may be a challenge at first, it can mean an abundance of orgasms down the road. Tell your partner you're taking orgasm off the table for now. If you enjoy and want sex with your partner, keep doing it, with the goal of feeling good and happy after. Tell him your body is different than anyone else's and you'll get there when your ready. For now, ask to spend time kissing and grinding and enjoying the caressing before sex - he should be touching you all over your body, your breasts, your hair, your lips, your thighs, not zooming in on your genitals like a homing beacon. It's supposed to be fun and exciting, and if you're not having fun, you're going to have trouble having an orgasm, not matter what either of you do. If he gets whiny or doesn't want to do this with you your way, DTMFA. Your pleasure, what it actually takes, should be important to him, and you're not a video game - it's not Left left, right right, down down and then bing! orgasm happens.

Second, you're likely not going to get off without stimulating your brain. I didn't hear much of anything in that letter about CLIT's level of arousal. Do you ever see something on tv, or read something, or have a dream that makes you feel warm and somewhat achy in your lower stomach, or pelvis, or thighs? If not, that's where to begin. Seek out books, maybe start light with romance novels and then erotica and just - see how you feel. If those things are exciting for you, great. If not, keep looking. For all of us it's different. You'll likely find your thing on your own.

When you do, you can start with the physical aspect. When you're feeling aroused, touch your own body - gently, everywhere. Avoid your genitals until you really want to touch them. Don't start there. And when you do get there, use lube. You can get it from planned parenthood. Vaginas don't always provide enough lube for really sensitive women. For me, I need enough to cushion everything to even be able to touch my clit. But don't start there either. Touch all around it, your whole vulva. And if you do want to touch it, do not peel back your hood. Guys see this in porn and it makes me cringe. Use your whole hand to kind of rub over it gently. You'll know when you want more pressure, and if it gets too much, go back to other things for awhile. There's no hurry when you're on your own.

And eventually, you'll have developed a great relationship with your own body, and it will start to interpret sensual touch as pleasurable and not anxiety provoking, and your boyfriend or the next man can be shown what you like. If he's not totally excited to hear and see what works for you, DTMFA. Don't spend your youth with anyone who doesn't prioritize your pleasure or who makes you feel like you're doing it wrong. It's your body, you're learning what it likes, and you are the only person who can tell anyone what you need. Each of us find orgasm at a different place and a different pace - you learn the roadmap and then you teach it to them. In the meantime, don't feel bad! You have a wealth of advice available to you here and there is nothing wrong with you!