Lovehacker: Why Can't I Make My Girlfriend Come Anymore?

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Dear Lovehacker, My girlfriend and I have been together for a few years and we're really happy. But for the past six months or so she hasn't been orgasming very often during sex and only when I'm rubbing her clitoris. I know that changing up routines can be helpful for long term couples, but she's sexually very shy and only really interested in the missionary position. What should I do? Thanks, B.

Hey B,

This is a great question, and something that more couples go through than you would think. There's possibly a few things going on here.

You're right in regards to mixing things up. It's absolutely possible to get bored of the same routine, even in a loving relationship. This doesn't mean that anyone is doing a bad job or that feelings have depreciated, it's just that you've gotten used to each other. That initial excitement and spark that comes with a new relationship and sexual experience fades eventually.

If your partner feels comfortable talking about it, consider exploring why she is only interested in missionary. There may be an underlying reason, such as performance anxiety or self-esteem issues.

Speaking from personal experience, I can become incredibly insecure about doing anything that doesn't involve hiding between the sheets. It tends to coincide with periods where I'm feeling negative about my body image. Even gaining a little winter weight can turn me completely off experimentation, or even just going on top. I don't feel sexy so I don't want to be seen.

As for performance anxiety, this can be common with women. Some of us are so preoccupied by how we look, if we're doing the right thing and if we can make our partner come that our own pleasure gets sidelined. We're not truly present in the moment.

It may be worth chatting to your girlfriend about why she isn't interested in trying new things, in a respectful and loving way.

You may find that there are things she wants to do but feels embarrassed about asking for them. Even in a committed relationship it can be difficult to be open about what are fantasies and desires are. It's scary to reveal that much of yourself to someone.

It also doesn't help that in the modern world we're exposed to institutionalised shame when it comes to sex. We're socialised to believe that it's is immoral, especially if you're a woman who enjoys it. We're taught to be ashamed of those desires from a young age, which can have a negative and lasting impact on our adult sex lives.

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In regards to clitoral orgasms, you may have heard statistics citing that 75 per cent of women can't reach orgasm from penetration alone and 50 per cent of women can't orgasm at all. Sadly, it's tough to find the actual research behind these stats.

This tells me that there needs to be more importance placed on this topic so men and women alike aren't left in the dark. Female orgasms aren't the big cosmic mystery that they're made out to be.

Cosmopolitans 2015 Orgasm Survey revealed that only 15 per cent of participants had the majority of their orgasms via vaginal intercourse with no clitoral stimulation. 38 per cent also stated that not enough clitoral stimulation was a common obstacle in achieving orgasm with a partner.

And for the big one, only 57 per cent of participants orgasm most or every time that they're with their partner, versus 95 per cent who say that their partner orgasms every time.

What this and a handful of other studies tell us, is that it's simply more difficult for women to come then it is for men. And that clitoral-only orgasms are perfectly normal.

There can be a lack of balance when it comes to male and female pleasure during sex, and the fact that you know and care about what your partner likes is great.

Sexual compatibility is important. If variety and exploration is something you want, it's better to talk about it before it becomes an issue down the road.

No matter what she does or doesn't want to do, make sure you create a loving and safe environment for her to be honest about them with you, and vice versa. That may mean between the two of you, or even with a professional who can help provide the tools and discussion points so you can open up about sex and your relationship.


Lovehacker is a weekly relationship and sex column where our resident Agony Aunt answers your questions. Need help? Drop a comment below or email us.

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Comments

    It also doesn't help that in the modern world we're exposed to institutionalised shame when it comes to sex. We're socialised to believe that it's is immoral, especially if you're a woman who enjoys it. We're taught to be ashamed of those desires from a young age, which can have a negative and lasting impact on our adult sex lives.

    Sorry just had to check the calendar and confirm that the year is 2017 because this paragraph is straight out of 1967.

      @jaded

      Can't agree there. Society is still doing this to women. Sexual repression may not be as rampant but women are still made to feel ashamed for expressing themselves sexually, particularly in the mainstream.

      That's exactly why slut shaming is still a huge problem and even rape victims get blamed for how they were dressing or behaving before their assaults.

      To assume we are in a sexually equal society is incredibly naive. I wish it were different, or that it was changing faster, but it isn't. A lot more work still needs to be done.

        Okay then please list the institutions which have social measures in place to elicit shame in people for their sexual behaviour. Don't bother because, despite your claims, no such institutions exist.

        I'd also like to you to give me a single Australian court case where a rapist was acquitted because the victim was wearing a certain type of clothing. Again, don't bother because your claims are rubbish.

        I think it's certainly true that almost everybody feels some level of shame surrounding their sexuality. But it's a personal emotion which has nthong to do with society at large.

        Your claims are ignorant at best, deception at worst. If you or any other person feels shame over your thoughts and desires, there's only one direction for you look: inwards.

    I have to wonder if this is really a case of "suddenly it's not working anymore", or whether it's just that she's finally comfortable enough to admit when she's not getting off just from penetration. A lot of women feel obligated to fake orgasm from standard PiV penetration, even when (as the survey quoted shows), they'd prefer direct clitoral stimulation.

    It may not be that you're doing anything wrong, or that anything's changed, she might just be feeling comfortable enough to let you see it's not working for her, so you can help her get off in a different way. Don't stress about it, don't take it as a failure on your part (again, survey says, this is totally normal), and keep doing whatever works for you both.

    It's rarely a bad idea to have a good, honest, clear discussion about what IS working for you both, though, so if you're really worried, you could see if she's open to discussing it. If she's nervous, talking in bed with the lights out can help. Don't push her to "admit" it if you do think she might have been faking before, just explain that you want to be sure you're both having fun and her needs are being met.

    Protip - the best thing you can do to deal with almost any situation like this is TALK TO YOUR PARTNER. Whatever solution is going to be right for you guys, you're going to need to discuss it first (do NOT ever try to "surprise" your partner with something dramatic and new in bed, it will not go well), so you might as well start with talking to them. This lets you find out if there's really a problem, or if you're worried for no reason, and what the problem actually is, if there is one. Communicating carefully, clearly, and honestly with your partner will make them feel safer, trusted, and more comfortable. It's win-win!

    What Cath said. All this hand-wringing is avoidance. She was faking/convincing herself/going with the flow before and has grown out of it. Touch her clit. The cruel truth is that penises are not the orgasm trigger for women that vaginas are for men. Figure out what works using communication and anything other than your dick. Then you can bring your dick to the party.

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