Ask Professor Foxy: I Just Can’t Cum!

This weekly Saturday column “Ask Professor Foxy” will regularly contain sexually explicit material. This material is likely not safe for work viewing. The title of the column will include the major topic of the post, so please read the topic when deciding whether or not to read the entire column.

Dear Professor Foxy,
I have what is a common problem, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out why: I don’t orgasm. I never have. Not with my lovers (who have devoted considerable effort), not through masturbation (which I do nearly every day).
Thing is, all the reasons why women usually have problems achieving orgasm just don’t apply to me.
I’m pro-sex. I don’t have hang-ups about sex – I enjoy it, I have it when I want to (and I don’t when I don’t).
I don’t equate sex with love, and I’m not scared of intimacy.
I am confident and fun in bed. I’m playful, explorative and open.
I don’t have major insecurities about my body — I take pride in my curves and I’ve gotten tons of positive reinforcement from my lovers that they love my body, too.
I don’t sleep with selfish partners; most of the relationships I’ve been in have been with people who would go down on me for *hours* when I’ve wanted them to. I love it when we spend hours touching and teasing and savoring each other.
I’ve been masturbating (though not to climax, unfortunately) since at least junior high. Usually every day. And I’m 31, so why the hell wouldn’t I have figured this out yet?
Yet even though I’m confident, have a healthy attitude towards my own body and towards sex itself, and have lovers who take tons of time giving me pleasure – I just can’t come. Oh, I get close. I get to a point where I feel more and more intense sensations, my hips start thrashing around — but then I just get to a point where it just… stops. Like, I’m climbing up a ski slope and then instead of getting to the top and whooosing down the slope, I all of a sudden sort of stop right before the top of the slope. I never go over. I never experience anything other than the climb. Never experience the big release everyone talks about, where you feel a total loss of control, where you’re flooded with sensation and pleasure, where you can’t imagine stopping, where you can’t imagine anything feeling as good as that… I just don’t know what that feels like.
I can’t figure out what the hell is wrong. It feels like a physical block. I just can’t get over the hill. And I don’t know why. I don’t think it’s psychological, because I enjoy sex and everything about it, and none of the usual psychological causes I’ve read about apply. Honestly.
It just bugs the hell out of me that I’m not able to experience what should be my natural right. So, my question is: WTF? Why can’t I come? Could it be medical? When I was in college I asked the college health center’s doctor, but she brushed me off and said I was young and needed to spend more time exploring. What a crock — I’d been masturbating nearly every day for six or seven years by that point, and had a couple of lovers who were giving it more than the college try — what I wanted was medical advice. But without health care at my non-union job (thanks, union busters) I don’t have a trusted doc to ask. And whenever I’ve read up on female orgasm problems the answers are always about psychology (women with insecurities or hang-ups or fear of loss of control, none of which apply to me), or inexperience (also not my issue — I’ve been there, done that), and no one really talks about any medical issues that would impact a young woman’s ability to achieve orgasm (aside from menopause).
So, what can you tell me? Do you know any medical causes that would prevent a woman from EVER having an orgasm, even though she gets aroused, wet, and enjoys sex up until that point?
Frustrated in Chicago

Hi Frustrated –
Up until this point in this column, I have been wary of medicalizing women’s bodies. Too often our bodies have been reduced to parts and I firmly believe our largest sex organ remains not the one between our legs, but the one between our ears.
First, let me apologize for the people who have brushed you off in the past and put their assumptions of your sexuality (too young or inexperienced) over your actual experience. Let’s talk some medical possibilities and let’s talk some other options.
Since you eliminated many, many of the things I would have suggested as a problem and since you are concerned that it may be medical, I went to a doctor. Here is what she told me:
“I am a physician specializing in women’s health at Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago. Believe it or not, I have had many women have these concerns.
It is actually not too uncommon that young women do not have orgasms. You have mentioned several things in your detailed letter already that helps rule out many causes including some of the most common reasons being attitude towards body and sex. Another common cause of this is medications. I doubt this is the case with you since you have had this concern since your teens. If you are having a normal level of libido and excitability it is not a problem with your hormones (especially your testosterone level). Most women I see with an inability to orgasm do not have medical problems.
Having said that, many women orgasm differently. Some women orgasm with clitoral stimulation, some only orgasm with g-spot stimulation. Even the need for clitoral stimulation is different for every woman. Some will orgasm with light flickering touch, some will prefer deep slow grinding motion. Some will only come with vibrators, penetration, grinding, or nipple stimulation. Some women masturbate with water; some need anal stimulation to orgasm. I would encourage you to think about the times you have been able to come close to it and think about what it was that you enjoyed and go explore that some more. The other encouraging thing is that most women report that their sex is better as they get older! ”
Ahh. . . a sex positive healthcare provider is a wonderful thing. I would second everything she said. Try all the different things she suggested, including having your testerone level checked.
I would also suggest to stop thinking about how you cannot cum. Often times we set ourselves up for failure before we even start. I would also try doing Kegel’s, these exercises may give you an increased level of control over your vaginal muscles.
I hope that some part of this advice works for you. Best of luck,
Professor Foxy

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