Sex + Love Advice

Ask Slutever: Why Can I Cum by Myself, but Not with a Dude in my Bed?

September 22, 2017

In the latest addition of non-professional and potentially triggering sex advice from Slutever, I try to solve the problem of why it can sometimes be so hard to cum with another human being in the room. (Sigh… we’ve all been there). By Karley Sciortino. 

Image by Mayan Toledano.

Dear Slutever

I wasn’t a girl who dated much in high school. For a while I thought that I was holding out for “the one,” but after I graduated I realized it was because I’m just not much of a relationship-type person. So I started dating around and hooking up with with charming strangers and friendly DTF acquaintances. For the most part, this has been a thrilling experience. Except for one thing: I’ve never orgasmed with a partner. I can get off pretty well by myself when imaging how these hook-ups may play out, or by scrolling through steamy submissive porn on Tumblr, but once I’m actually getting into it with a guy it’s like my body is almost completely shut off and unresponsive, even when my partner is more skilled in the bedroom than most. Usually when someone’s going down on me I get so bored that I fake an orgasm to get it over with. (Bad, I know.) The most turned on I’ve ever been is when I was being choked slightly, but even that was short lived. Do you have any tips/things I could try to fix this? I want to enjoy sex! Thank you, Horny and Helpless

So, Miss. Helpless, I think this is something that a lot of people can relate to. (Or, at least, it’s something that I can relate to, and for some reason I always assume that my personal life experience can be equated to everyone else’s, which is probably wrong, but oh well.)

Allow me to talk about myself: When I was in my mid twenties, I went through a period were I couldn’t get wet when I was having sex with my boyfriend, and I thought this meant that my vagina was broken, basically. I couldn’t understand why, when I was masturbating alone—slash with my surrogate partner, Pornhub—that I would have cum practically dripping down my legs, but when I was in bed with my boyfriend it would be a literal tundra situation. Similar to you, it was like my clit went on hiatus whenever a three dimension human was present. I became so insecure about it that, if it seemed like my boyfriend and I were about to have sex, I would sneak away to the bathroom to secretly pre-lube myself. (I made sure to always carry scentless, flavorless lube in my bag, and to shove it way back to my cervix, so as to seem au naturale.) That probably-slash-definitely sounds embarrassing, but it was desperate times.

I assumed the problem was physical, and could maybe be fixed with a pill. Or like, a bougie herbal tea or whatever. I extensively Googled things like “I can’t get wet during partner sex—does my vagina hate me?” Or “Is it possible to love someone with your heart but hate them with your vagina?” But the only answer I ever got was that I must be dehydrated, which made no sense, given the porn-induced waterworks.

And then one day, while interviewing a sex therapist for an article I was writing, I popped the question to her: “I can’t get wet when I’m with my boyfriend—what’s wrong with me?” And she looked at me with a slightly confused expression, and just said, “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you. I just think whatever type of sex you’re having isn’t turning you on.” In hindsight, this sounds stupidly obvious, but at the time it was a true lightbulb moment for me. I realized that, rather than scolding myself for not being turned on by something (or someone), I should refocus my attention on figuring out what I did like. (Turns out it’s being verbally abused while I touch myself, randomly.)

The point of that story is to say: it seems like you’re still figuring out what you like in bed. Since you’re new at this whole random-stranger-fucking thing, I think for now it might be helpful to be less focused on cumming during sex, and more focused on just exploring what sort of touch feels good to you—whether it’s your partner rubbing your head, or biting your arms, or being choked or whatever it is. Not every sexual encounter has to be laser-focused on the goal of an orgasm, ya know? (Leave it to us Americans to be goal oriented in ever aspect of our lives—even sex.) I think that often, we can be so focused on the goal of cumming during sex, or the goal of penetration, that we forget how fun and hot it can be to just lie naked with someone. Sex is about creating intimacy with another person; it’s not about cum (unless you’re randomly trying to have a baby).

Since you liked the low key choking moment, maybe you should explore kink and being submissive more. I’ve met a lot of people in the kink community who, after years of exploration, have given up “vanilla” sex all together, because it just doesn’t do it for them. (Who needs dick when you can just drink pee, I guess?) That’s extreme, and I’m not saying the future of your sex life will necessarily involve being beaten and locked in a cage or whatever, but the future might surprise you. And it might take meeting the right person—or dedicating a lot of time to fantasy and porn “research”—to be able to truly unlock what that could entail. Oh, and in the meantime, stop letting dudes go down on you if you hate it! Just smile and be like “that’s not my thing,” and move on to be consensually assaulted. I say this for you, but also say it with concern for the many tongues trying to resurrect your vagina from it’s temporary coma.

Final thoughts: I don’t think you should be so hard on yourself. Sometimes it takes years of practice to be able to cum during sex—especially if you’re a woman. Personally, I lost my virginity at 16, but the first time I came with a partner wasn’t until I was 21 (while getting head), and during penetrative sex was at 22. And, somewhat bizarrely, the first time I was able to cum with a partner was with a guy who would preface going down on me by saying “You’re not allowed to cum”—but like in a playful, “Daddy Dom” kinda way, not in a scary egomaniac way. Sometimes, feeling like you’re freed from the pressure to feel pleasure actually allows you to relax and enjoy what’s happening. Weird (and kind of annoying) but true.

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