Ask the Intimacy Advisor: Intimate Inquiries

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The IA is back with the answers to some of your toughest questions! When it comes to sex, love, and self-pleasure advice, it can be hard to know where to turn for the best information. When a question is about your partner, you probably don’t want to ask your partner. You could ask friends you’re REALLY close with, but they may not know which way to point you. And the internet is…well…the internet. When you submit a question to the IA blog, you can trust that I will do the legwork to get you the answers you need, without the awkward conversations or weird search history on your phone! Read on for the answers to some of the most private and brave questions submitted by readers like you…they are often applicable to others, too!

Question: I’m 32 and I’ve never had an orgasm! What can I do?? ~ Danielle

Oh, Danielle…I can only imagine how frustrating that feels for you. First of all, know that you are definitely not alone in having this issue. Studies have shown that 10-15% of women of all ages have never reached orgasm, and about 50% of women are unhappy with how often they reach climax because it’s just so. damn. hard. for them There’s even a name for this (very common) condition: Orgasmic Dysfunction.

When sex or even self-pleasure isn’t met with the reward of an amazing O, it can begin to feel like a chore instead of a satisfying intimate experience. If sex starts to feel like a boring task that just needs to be done, sexual desire will decrease, and sex or masturbation occur less often. Hence, fewer opportunities to climax, and quite frequently a lot of emotional friction between couples.

Response to sexual pleasure requires the mind and body working together in complex ways. It takes both, firing on all cylinders, for orgasms to happen. Many factors can affect a woman’s ability to orgasm, including:

  • Boredom with sexual activity or the relationship
  • Fatigue, stress, anxiety, or depression
  • Certain prescription medications, especially those meant to treat said depression
  • Lack of understanding of sexual function
  • Negative feelings or attitudes about sex (often learned in childhood or teen years)
  • A traumatic past sexual occurrence, such as sexual abuse or rape
  • Certain chronic illnesses
  • Shyness or embarrassment around asking for the type of touch needed for pleasure
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Partner issues

This list could go on, but that’s not why we’re here…you need to know what to do about it, STAT!

Most women, regardless of age, will have their first great orgasm during masturbation rather than partnered sex. The reasoning is simple…you know your body best. During a self-love session, you can take your time, try different things with zero pressure or embarrassment, and just begin to learn about your body and what brings you pleasure on your own terms. Take the time to get comfortable, do whatever you need to do to become aroused, then just take the time to explore.

My suggested order of erogenous zones to experiment with is as follows:

clitoris:

Typically, the clitoris is the most sensitive to pleasurable touch. Unlike much of the rest of our genitals, it has no reproductive function…it’s there JUST to feel good! It is loaded with nerve endings that can be stimulated with even a gentle touch. Position yourself in front of a mirror if you want to see what you’re doing, and begin to try different touches. Tapping, rubbing, circling, or gently pressing on your clit should hopefully arouse some feelings of sensual pleasure. Once you find something that feels good, stick with it. Alter your pressure or speed, and bear with it even if it becomes a bit uncomfortable…that sensation of needing to pee is often an indicator you’re about to reach the big O!

g-spot:

The g-spot is a mystery wrapped in an enigma, and some women just straight up feel no pleasure from it, but it’s worth a shot! To locate it, lie on your back or side and insert a finger most of the way inside the vagina. Curl your finger up toward the front of your body in a “come hither” motion, or like a pirate’s hook (Aaaarrrr!). You’re feeling for a patch of tissue that feels different from everything else…it should feel a bit squishier. Once you find it, try out different motions and stimulation patterns and just see if it feels good. If it’s pleasurable but not quite doing it for you, you may want to pick up a vibrating g-spot toy to stimulate it more intensely. Your orgasm is worth it!

vagina:

While less commonly a super sensitive area, the vagina is a way to access the internal parts of the clitoris and can still feel good for many women. Try stroking the vaginal walls or penetrating yourself with a finger or toy; glass toys can be particularly effective for creating a thrusting sensation.

Other erogenous zones:

If all else fails, begin to explore beyond your genitals. Breasts and nipples are a good place to start; there are some women who can cum from nipple stimulation alone! Gentle strokes on your inner thighs, back, neck, or ears may at least help heighten your sensations enough to feel other touches more powerfully (this is a good task to get your partner involved, if you have one!). Also, don’t forget the option of anal. While women don’t have a sensitive prostate gland up there, even just circling the rectum with a finger, or inserting a very small plug, may hit just the right buttons to put you over the edge!

Hopefully, you can experience some success with self-stimulation. Don’t get too frustrated if it doesn’t happen the first time, but stick with it and try new things until you get that big payoff! You can read some more specific suggestions about masturbation here or here (especially since self-isolation needs to be a thing again for many, sadly). Every body is different, and there is no one right way to reach orgasm, so it’s a bit of a guessing game. Once you are able to achieve orgasm on your own, you will be able to better articulate exactly what you want from a lover to help get you off. And if you are still having difficulty, don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor. Good luck!

Question: My gf wants to lock me in a chastity cage…and to be locked long term. This is new to me and I’m scared about it. I’m tasked with getting info about cages. She wants it to be a metal one. Are those better for long term wear? Should I start with one for short term wear, or go right to a long term one? ~ B

Good question, B! Hopefully I can provide some helpful information and suggestions here for you or any others in this predicament. First of all, you are completely normal and in your right to be scared or worried about what chastity is going to be like. It’s good of your partner to communicate with you about what SHE wants, but she needs to consider your needs and concerns as well. Having you do the research is a good place to start!

For the completely uninitiated, chastity play is when a person “locks up” their partner in a chastity device of some sort. Chastity devices for males usually take the form of metal cock cages or plastic dick-shaped boxes that go over the penis and lock into place, usually with a ring that goes behind the balls to hold it tightly in place. The device makes the penis point downward and makes it impossible to get an erection or touch yourself. Though less common, female chastity is a thing, too, and usually involves a belt with a strap between the legs that blocks access to all her pleasure portals (these are usually best for short-term wear because of restroom & hygiene needs…most male devices have a built in pee hole). Chastity devices are usually secured with locking zip ties or mini padlocks, to which their lover holds the key.

Chastity play is typically a turn-on for people who like the concept of controlling their partner’s pleasure so they have to save all that sexual energy just for them. While that may sound a bit like torture, it can have benefits for the wearer, too. Going for any length of time without having sex, getting full erections, or even being able to touch your own junk can be VERY freeing and make for some incredible orgasms when you finally do get to unleash the beast.

As for your specific question about short-term vs. long-term wear, there’s going to be an adjustment period no matter which one you go with, so it depends on how committed you are. Short-term may seem easier and less terrifying, but it also won’t necessarily give you the same benefits of the “full experience” of wearing it for a longer period. No matter what you choose, this play still needs to be consensual, so you must reserve the right to opt out if it gets to be too much, physically or emotionally.

As for materials, metal cages are often better for long term wear than plastic ones. The cages are more open than the enclosed plastic ones, so it avoids the problem of built up “dick sweat” as the author of this article (which is also just a good firsthand account of what it’s like) so pleasantly describes it. There are also silicone cages, which may be a good compromise for a beginner like yourself. Material choice is frequently driven by the aesthetic desired by your captor, but it also needs to be practical for you. At least, as practical as a prison for your penis can possibly be. Regardless of which style you choose, just make sure you use plenty of water-based lube when you’re stuffing your bits in there for the first time. Keep an open mind and experiment with what works for you, and you might just come to enjoy your sexless sentence. Happy lockdown!

Question: I don’t know why I have this problem, and I don’t know how to fix it naturally. When I’m with my bf, even when we use foreplay, I have a difficult time getting wet. But when I am watching or reading adult content I have no problem. I love my partner and I don’t want him to get the wrong idea. ~R

Thanks for the good question, R! This (or something similar) is probably a concern for MANY women, because truthfully, sometimes our levels of natural vaginal moisture has nothing to do with our levels of arousal. We can be really aroused and dry as a desert, wet and gushy while not even remotely aroused, or anywhere in between. It’s totally normal and based on hormones, mood, time in your cycle, and host of other things. Ideally, your partner isn’t judging you or his own performance based on how wet you get, so don’t get too hung up on that

Engaging in foreplay is a great place to start and is essential for emotional arousal, but it may not always spike your moisture level. That’s normal. If you do notice a change in how wet you get when watching or reading adult content, however, you may be able to use this to your advantage. The next time you have sex with your boyfriend, see if you are able to “hack your brain” to get you in the same mindset you feel when consuming sexy media. You can look at and focus your physical attention on him, but try to develop a pleasing pornographic image or narrative in your mind’s eye that you can silently “play” while you two get busy. Your body may pick up on this change in your thought patterns, and trigger the same lubrication response. While we usually recommend couples “stay in the moment” during sex, sometimes you may want to send your brain on its own little playdate to help you feel more in the mood. You might also want to encourage your boyfriend to talk dirty to you during foreplay and sex; you might just need that linguistic or auditory stimulation to really get you in the mood.

If you still have trouble with achieving natural vaginal lubrication even when aroused by your partner, store-bought is fine! Just a little dab of a natural, water-based lubricant will help get you off to a smooth start. Take away that friction with penetration, and you should notice that the juices start flowing once you two get into the groove. Remember – your partner isn’t dwelling on how wet you get or don’t get…and it truly does have nothing to do with him. If he does express a concern, reassure him that you are definitely turned on and into him, and tell him that you just might need occasional help from a tube of lube…and there’s nothing wrong with that!

Question: How do you know when your sexual appetite has gotten out of control? ~ Anthony

Great question, Anthony! Asking it shows that you have a level of self-awareness that will come in handy if you do need to reflect and make changes. Everyone, regardless of gender, has different levels of sexual desire, sex drive, and libido. These levels ebb and flow over time and even day to day, and we all have to engage in different activities to meet our sexual needs…we’re human, that’s normal. If you notice your sexual cravings creating genuine problems in your day to day life, however, you may be on a slippery slope to an “out of control” sexual appetite.

What kinds of problems are we talking about? Relationship troubles, like becoming quickly bored or unhappy with partners because they can’t fulfill your constant need for sex, are probably the most common. Doing ANYTHING sexual to anyone with anything less than complete consent is also a huge no-no and a major red flag that you may have a problem. Getting in trouble at work for things like sexual harassment, inappropriate comments, or even just being so focused on sexual thoughts that it distracts you from your work is very telling. An out-of-control sex drive may even cause financial problems if you start spending lots of money to get your fix through OnlyFans, porn subscriptions, strip clubs, or sex workers.

If you find yourself constantly thinking about sex, regardless of the setting, task at hand, or people around you, your sexual appetite may be a real problem. Basically, if your sex beast becomes so hungry that you’re willing to something illegal, immoral, inappropriate, or icky to feed it, it’s time to seek help. Sexual addiction is a very real condition, and is treatable just like an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Sex therapists or trained counselors can help you on this journey. It won’t be an easy fix, but if you admit you have a problem and are willing to embrace change, you can begin to replace those inappropriate sexual urges with healthier thoughts and habits.

the author

Kristin T.

A former teacher & trusted relationship expert, Kristin writes science & health-conscious advice that she hopes can help everyone enjoy sex & intimacy more.
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