Sex Talk

Sexual Function/Problems

Q from a Female, Sophomore student at Tennessee State: Me and my boyfriend have been together for 4 months. When we have sex I can't come. I think I can do it but I'm not sure, this upsets my boyfriend as he thinks I don't get pleasure from sex with him but I do. Can you help me??

A: It is not uncommon for women to have problems reaching orgasm early on in a sexual relationship. It takes time to get to know what is possible when the two of you are together. It sounds like you need to spend some time finding out what is pleasurable for you.

Are you comfortable touching your own body? Once you know what feels good - you will be better able to point your partner in the right direction. It's also important to know that most women need direct stimulation of the clitoris for orgasm to occur.

As far as penis-in-vagina sex: this tends to be an ineffective method for many women to reach orgasm. The clitoris is located too far from the vaginal opening to receive adequate stimulation from thrusting alone. It is not surprising to hear you have not reached orgasm this way. Your boyfriend needs to know this and be educated as well.

I suggest you begin by familiarizing yourself with your own body. One book that has been helpful for many women in your situation is, For Each Other, by Lonnie Barbach (see suggested books on my website). Her book discusses female anatomy, pleasure, and touching, as well as how to communicate your needs and desires to your partner. I think your boyfriend would benefit from reading this with you.

Remember: Every woman is unique. The only way he will know how to please you is if you understand yourself. Best wishes!

Q from a Female, Senior student at Miami University: I am never able to fuly attain an orgasm. Whether with my boyfriend, or while masturbating, I always reach the point where I feel an orgasm coming, and then my body becomes completely numb for a few moments. After, I feel overly sensitive, as though I've just had an orgasm.

What can I do to stop "freezing" and start feeling the orgasm? I've had orgasms in the past, but not in a few years. I've never experienced anything sexually traumatic, and my relationship with my boyfriend is very fulfilling, so what could the problem be?

A: It is not uncommon for women to have problems reaching orgasm. It takes time to get to know your body and how it works - what feels good and what is a turn-on. You say you reach a point where things become numb. One suggestion is to move toward orgasm more slowly. Another is to stimulate the area around the clitoris ­ rather than directly. In fact, some women find that direct stimulation of the clitoris is way too sensitive, and they shut down. So try to begin by gently stimulating the area around the clitoris, and then "back off" every few minutes before returning to stroking your clitoris. Allow yourself to build toward the orgasm. The other suggestion is to purchase a vibrator (sold as body massager in most stores), and use that either alone or with your partner to explore what feels good. One book I would recommend is For Yourself, by Lonnie Barbach. It may offer you some valuable insight.

© 2010, Sandra L. Caron

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It is not sex that gives the pleasure, but the lover. - Marge Piercy

American teens have the worst of all worlds...Our children are bombarded and confronted with sexual messages, sexual exploitation, and all manner of sexual criticism. But our society is by and large sexually illiterate. Faye Westheimer

Dr. Sandra L. Caron is a professor of human sexuality at the University of Maine. To submit a question to Dr. Caron or chat with your peers visit Got a question for Dr. Caron? Visit and ask away! Get a guaranteed personal and confidential response to your question: or E-Mail

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