Adventures in eroscillation


Dear Andrea:

I'm in my 20s, I've had a few partners, I masturbate fairly frequently (since childhood), and I have no hang-ups that I can identify. In fact, I enjoy having sex as often as possible (usually more often than my partners can keep up with). However, I don't think I can orgasm. I have no problems enjoying sex, and I can feel myself building up to an orgasm, but just at the point where it feels like I may reach the peak and crest over, suddenly everything just ebbs away and fizzles out. What gives?


Going Nowhere

Dear Going:

You too? I had a bunch of these questions this year, but I don't think there's any sort of trendy "no orgasms are the new orgasms" thing going on here. I think the orgasmless female sexual experience is with us always. And due to the cosmic joke part wherein our most sensitive bits ended up outside while most of our partners are driven to lodge themselves inside, I don't expect this phenomenon to go away anytime soon.

You, though — are you saying you don't come from masturbation either, even though you diligently practice like a good girl? That is frustrating! And it tells me that despite a professed lack of hang-ups, you are likely just not comfortable — sorry for the dismal cliché but there is no better way to say this — "letting go." It's truly unlikely that you lack the capacity — that just doesn't happen much with young, healthy women. What does happen is fear, inhibition, and "spectatoring," or allowing oneself to be distracted from the moment by wondering what one looks like or what one's partner (even imaginary ones) is thinking of one's performance, and so on. As I mentioned the last time (see "Going solo," 02/20/2008), one of the best sources for exercises aimed at getting one's inner critic to STFU is Julia Heiman and Joseph LoPiccolo's Becoming Orgasmic (Prentice Hall, 2003), although there are tons of similar resources out there.

There are also tools available that simply didn't exist when pioneering works like Becoming Orgasmic's original 1980s version were being written — and by "tools" I don't mean coping skills and so on, as referenced by therapists and therapy geeks. I mean tools that use batteries or alternating current. Some of the stuff out there now is just mind-blowingly efficient, so much the right tools for the job that they practically dare you not to come. Try something in the way of the Rabbit Pearl or one of its many descendants, any of these things that rotate, undulate, buzz, flicker, dice, puree, and frappé. Then see if you're still having a problem.



Dear Andrea:

My ex-boyfriend was able to give me multiple orgasms, usually using his hands. I mean real, one-after-the-other, sometimes three or four in 60 seconds. I haven't been able to replicate this myself and I haven't found anyone else who has quite the same effect on me. I miss it. Do you have any advice? I'm sure there's no foolproof way to recreate this experience — step one, step two, presto! — but any tips from you or your readers would be welcome.


Miss the Multiple

Dear Miss:

Foolproof, no, but quite reliable, certainly. Just because you have not shared the above writer's frustrations does not mean you can't share her prescription: high-tech sex toys, the kind with something that goes in and something that stays out and various things that go 'round and 'round.

My favorite sex toy vendor, for no real reason other than that it is local to me and staffed with friendly nerdy chicks who can write a decent sentence and test everything before considering carrying it on the site, is And while you don't have to shop there, you should certainly give its Web site a look.

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