Orgasms are great. I love the thigh clenching, shuddering orgasms a toy like the We Vibe Tango can pull out of me. I love how my husband can make me orgasm in unexpected ways by touching me with feather light touches, leaving me a quivering mess. Every woman should be able to orgasm and I would urge every woman to masturbate in an effort to find out what makes you orgasm.
So when I say orgasms are not the only measure of great sex, I don’t mean to imply that you shouldn’t crave orgasms, or that it is not a problem if you never have an orgasm. I have argued for masturbation as a form of getting to know your body to see what makes you orgasm. Orgasms are definitely important either when you masturbate or when you have sex with a partner.
However, when achieving an orgasm becomes the sole goal of sex something is lost. My husband and I have been together for 20 years. We know what makes the other tick. We can probably get each other off in a quick 10 minutes and we certainly have done so. A quickie during my lunch break or in the morning while the kids are otherwise occupied can be very satisfying. But it’s the longer, drawn out sex sessions that really do it for me.
When we were younger and less experienced, my husband would always check in with me in the most obnoxious way possible. “Did you come?” was a much-asked question to the point that I started to feel performance anxiety. What if I didn’t come? Would he have failed? Likewise in the rare instance that he didn’t come, I felt like I had done something wrong, despite his reassurances.
The orgasm as the main aim of sex put a lot of unnecessary pressure on both partners. I have had fantastic sex sessions with my husband without me having an orgasm, but I still considered those pleasurable, satisfying and sometimes even amazing. I love being intimate with my husband, I love feeling him move inside of me and I love making him come. I can savour the intimacy of the moment without feeling pressured to have an orgasm myself. And if we are both too tired to have an orgasm and the session ends with us snuggling without having got “there” then that is fine too.
Sometimes having sex can be as much about exploring how you like to be touched by that particular person, or just enjoying being close to them. Sometimes you want to try out a different sex position, which may not completely work out and the effort of trying has worn you out so much that you just don’t even want to go on. Was that wasted time? No, now you know that next time you shouldn’t bother with that position, especially since it took you half an hour to figure it out and you already started late due to the kids not wanting to go to sleep…
My husband and I have had sex session which have ended in us falling down in heaps of laughter after we realised that our bodies are not as flexible anymore as they used to and we both pulled a muscle trying to do something complicated. I have even – once – fallen asleep during sex, which, admittedly, wasn’t very good. But we have both long ago given up on measuring our sex life by the amount of orgasms we have achieved and this has – paradoxically – resulted in more orgasms for both of us. When that pressure is off, you can focus on being in the moment, on whether you both are having fun and while you are relaxed like that, an orgasm tends to creep up and take you unawares.
Of course it is important to make sure that your partner is enjoying whatever it is you are doing. Of course you both want to experience pleasure. Of course orgasms make for great sex. But if you are both enjoying yourself and you end the session feeling good, but not having had that earth-shattering moment of bliss, that’s not necessarily a lost session.
If orgasms are very important to you and your partner can never make you come, then that is indeed a problem you may want to work on. But don’t put that pressure in yourself or your partner every time you have sex. Set as a goal that you will have fun and have pleasure and just see where it will lead. Not every sex session needs to end in an orgasm.