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No One "Gives" Anyone an Orgasm

Orgasms emerge from deep inside us when conditions feel right.

Just about everyone can enjoy orgasms by themselves, but many people encounter difficulty having them with others. A great deal of research shows that only 25 percent of women are consistently orgasmic during intercourse, and an estimated 5 to 10 percent of men have trouble ejaculating and/or experiencing orgasm with partners. Meanwhile, many people consider it their responsibility to "give" their lovers fabulous orgasms--and wonder how to do that.

On the one hand, the wish to "give" great orgasms is laudable, especially for men who hope to give them to women. In the Western world, until well into the 20th century, sex was something for men to enjoy, and for women to endure. Men "took" sex from women, who were considered merely fleshy receptacles for male lust. Many people believed that women were unable to experience sexual pleasure, so men had no responsibility to provide it.

Today, we know that men and women are equally capable of sexual pleasure, and that satisfying lovemaking involves both lovers taking turns giving and receiving sensual caresses. Compared with how men felt a century ago, the wish to "give" women orgasms represents progress. But no one "gives" anyone else an orgasm.

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Orgasms Are Like Laughter

Orgasms emerge from deep inside us when conditions feel right. Comedians can tickle our funny bones, but they don't "make" us laugh. They allow us to. They create the conditions that encourage us to produce laughter from deep within ourselves.

Orgasms are similar. They, too, emerge from deep within when conditions are favorable. For most people, those conditions include: trust, comfort, relaxation, love, understanding, and whole-body massage that eventually focuses on tender genital caresses.

Lovers create the physical and emotional context the allow orgasms to happen. A lover can be trustworthy and help you deeply relax. A lover can caress you the way(s) you enjoy, the way(s) that allow you to dive deep enough into your own pleasure and sexual fantasies to produce your own orgasms.

A lover can also destroy the conditions that allow orgasm by being untrustworthy and causing grief instead of relaxation and comfort. But lovers don't "give" each other orgasms. Each of us is responsible for our own orgasms. We produce them ourselves.

That's why it's so important for lovers to tell one another what they enjoy, what turns them on. Of course, this can be a challenge. Here are some suggestions:

No one can read minds. Forget all the romantic Hollywood nonsense about knowing instinctively which erotic moves your lover wants. Being in love doesn't confer magical powers that allow the two of you to read each other's sensual minds. Unless you signal your likes and dislikes, your lover doesn't know what turns you on--and what turns you off.

No need to be didactic. You don't have to provide an instruction manual with detailed explanations of what you enjoy. Instead, when your lover does something you like (or close it), just say "yes" or "ahhh." When your lover's moves don't thrill you, remain silent. Most lovers quickly provide more of what elicits an "ahhh" and less of what greets them with silence. Over time--usually a month or two--you can get a lot more of what you want, and less of what you don't, simply by saying "yes" and "ahhh.

Review things afterwards. Even when you say, "yes" and "ahh," it still might be difficult to direct a lover's moves while you're in the middle of things. But afterwards, when you feel content and close, it's often easier to comment. Begin with compliments. Highlight what you enjoyed, and ask for more of it. For example: "Remember when you were giving me oral and you circled my clit with your tongue? That was great. I'd love that every time."

Be positive about negatives. If a lover does anything you really can't stand, feel free to say so, but give it a loving spin. List a few moves you enjoy, then criticize the one you don't. For example: "I really love the way you stroke my penis and suck me, but when you suck on my balls, it kinda hurts. Can we leave that out from now on?"

Cultivate experimentation. As marvelous as sex can be, after a while, the same old moves become boring. You might try new accouterments--candles, music, sex toys, lingerie, etc. Or a different time of day. Or a different room of the house or a romantic weekend getaway. Use your imagination.

Be patient. It takes some people--both men and women--quite a while to work up to orgasm. Sometimes, it's situational. If you're under the weather, it may take longer than usual. But some people always take quite a while. That's just who they are--and that's fine. If your lover takes what you consider a long time, or if you've ever received apologies for "taking so long," reassure the person that you're there for their pleasure, no matter how long it takes. Invite them to relax and focus on their own erotic feelings, not on how impatient they imagine you to be. The anxiety people feel about thinking that they take too long actually interferes with orgasm. So be patient, and tell your lover you're happy to be patient. That should help them relax enough to have orgasms. Or consider a vibrator. Vibrators often help women have orgasms more quickly, and vibrating penis sleeves often help men.

If you implement these suggestions, your lover should feel comfortable, relaxed, trusting, accepted, and loved enough to have orgasms. But remember, you don't "give" them. You're the catalyst. You help create the conditions that allow your lover to release them.

The question is not: How can lovers give each other wonderful orgasms? The question is: What can lovers do to help each other relax and feel accepted, trusting, and loved enough to reach deep inside themselves to release their own orgasms?

 

San Francisco journalist Michael Castleman, M.A., has written about sexuality for 36 years. more...

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