What does masturbation have to do with having orgasms with my partner?
posted: 09/26/2008 12:00 am
Dear Dr. Myrtle
I keep hearing that it’s important to masturbate, but I’m not sure why it’s so important. It is true that I don’t have orgasms during sexual intercourse - would masturbation help me?
First, before you read any further, realize that less than 10 percent of women have orgasms during penetrative vaginal intercourse without additional, direct stimulation to the clitoris by a hand or a vibrator. The anatomy just isn’t right for adequate stimulation of the clitoris by the penis (or a dildo) during penetration. Sometimes, yes, sometimes it happens, and if this describes you, consider yourself fortunate to be constructed in such a way that penetration stimulates enough of your clitoris to result in orgasms for you. Women often find penetrative vaginal intercourse very pleasurable, but not necessarily orgasmic.
So, what things can help a you (a woman) to have an orgasm during intercourse?
- Direct clitoral stimulation
- Focus on your arousal
- The time and the expectation that it might take 20-45 minutes of consistent stimulation to bring you to orgasm.
First, consider your answers to these questions:
- What have you tried?
- Are you able to have orgasms from hand and/or mouth stimulation?
- Do you currently masturbate? If not, can you give yourself permission to masturbate, and start doing so?
- Do you enjoy self-pleasuring? Are you able to bring yourself to orgasm when you’re pleasuring yourself?
- If you are not able to have an orgasm from hand or mouth stimulation, have you tried using a vibrator?
Some women, although they think it’s "okay" to masturbate, still can’t get over the idea that you have to be having orgasms in the context with making love, or being with someone else. Even if a woman feels that it’s okay to masturbate, some people never develop their own techniques for self-pleasure. Romance novels don’t exactly help - there are always those paragraphs about how everything happens "naturally". Movies are no better. Your mother (maybe, but it definitely depends on your mom)? Few people in our culture really talk about women as self-pleasuring beings. Rather, we are always there for someone else’s pleasure, and are rarely making time for ourselves.
Is this you in here somewhere? A couple of suggestions. First, you are not alone. This is a pretty usual state of affairs for women in this culture. Consider reading a couple of books (For Yourself, Sex for One, The Elusive Orgasm), or looking at the video Lover’s Guide to Self-Pleasuring or Orgasmic Women, and look at different perspectives and techniques for pleasuring yourself.
Second, consider playing (and I do mean this in the "fun" sense of the word) with a vibrator. You can try one that you already have at home, or you can buy one from an erotica store like ours or a local adult shop. The reason I suggest vibrators for play, is that often women can learn more about their orgasmic cycles - the whole process by which one becomes orgasmic - with the consistent stimulation of a vibrator, whereas it’s more difficult with a hand (hands get tired, etc.)
All of this play will get you much more familiar with how arousal and orgasm happen for you. Then you can use this knowledge during partner sex. You can show your partner how you like to be touched and stimulated, what kinds of stimulation bring you to orgasm, and you can share how long it takes you to have orgasms. If you find that it’s hard to have orgasms from hand or mouth stimulation, or your partner gets tired, you can show your partner how to use your vibrator with you so that you are able to have orgasms.
Masturbation is often the beginning of a new understanding of your sexuality and how pleasure works for you. That’s why we think it’s important, and healthy. Have fun!