Kink in exile

Notes from a kinky nomad

So about masturbation…

Someone did in fact ask why it might be hard for some people to orgasm with a partner if most of their orgasms have been through masturbation. I should first clarify that question to say “…if they can masturbate to orgasm successfully.” And while we are clarifying let me make two disclaimers:

1) I am not a medical professional. If sex is painful or if this is an ongoing problem which impacts your quality of life please seek medical advice.
2) Most human beings across all cultures masturbate during their lifetimes, and masturbation does not carry any particular health risks.

And now to answer the question…I don’t know if the person asking was male or female so I’ll make my answer kinda general.

The way people masturbate is often different from the mechanics of partnered sex. You may have learned to masturbate in an environment of secrecy and so you do it quickly, but find that partnered sex doesn’t allow you to reach that tempo. Or maybe you find an angle from which to approach your own genitals that feels soo good, but is harder to do with partnered sex. Your body gets used to the way you’ve been getting it off and expects that kind of contact; you change things up, don’t go fast enough, or don’t hit the right spots and suddenly it doesn’t work. Keep in mind also that many women can’t orgasm from vaginal penetration alone. So what do you do? Pay attention to how you masturbate, how your partnered sex looks and what physical differences exist there in. You can then try masturbating in a way that is more reflective of partnered sex or adding toys to partnered sex to make sure you’re hitting all the right spots.

Ok, maybe it’s all in your head. Are you aroused? Do you find your partner attractive? Are you confidant that your partner finds you attractive? Is the environment comfortable or is your roommate coming home any moment? Did you have a negative experience that you are afraid will happen again? Take stock of the reactions your having and what you’re thinking about during partnered sex and during masturbation and then find a way to talk to your partner as well as a relaxed, comfortable space to have sex in.

Feel free to comment with more questions or advice.

Written by kinkinexile

April 19, 2009 at 11:19 pm

Posted in advice, blogging, community

4 Responses

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  1. Thank you!


    April 20, 2009 at 12:43 am

  2. “Or maybe you find an angle from which to approach your own genitals that feels soo good, but is harder to do with partnered sex.”

    Excellent point. At least for women Shere Hite announced a strong correlation between learned masturbation position and, I think, orgasms during intercourse. (Darn it I’m probably going to have to look it up now.) Anyway, I distinctly remember reading about problems with face down, upper-legs crossed masturbation positions and thinking yeah, that could be a problem. Although that was so long ago now that rear-entry intercourse was still considered a kink.

    Thanks for digging into this subject, K. I had a little epiphany about sex and masturbation a couple of years ago, based on remarks from someone who said she never got off on intercourse and so she’d wait till her partner was asleep and then masturbate really surreptitiously. That experience was probably more unusual for men but since the advent of Prozac and other anti-depressants many men need a manual override to have orgasms during partner sex as well. There’s also, as you hint, a bit of a subculture among young men (at least) who might fantasize madly about whoever they’re oriented to… but in practice prefer the pace and, possibly, the auto-focus of masturbation. Oh, and finally, there are any number of people in kink who don’t care for or even actively dislike, say, being beaten black and blue *while it’s happening,* who nevertheless get off hard in anticipation, on recollection, or both.

    The key, though, that just because you develop one set of pathways to orgasm (through this position or that sensation) it doesn’t mean that’s the only way at all. The obstacle, at least physically, is that it can take almost as long to grow the nerve pathways as it did to learn the first way. That’s fine if you mix it up while learning (something Betty Dodson talked about at least in her workshops.) It’s harder if you learn on the sly, if you’re uncomfortable or in denial about doing it at all, or if you get the idea (from porn, say, or bible-study classes) that it’s supposed to be *this* way instead of one’s own way… or preferably ways.

    Anyway, given that masturbation is now effectively mainstream… as is conversation about sexual function and dysfunction… it’s a good time to talk about integrating solo and partner sex competency instead of imagining they have to be separate. Thanks for digging in to this.



    April 20, 2009 at 8:43 am

  3. I often find it to be performance anxiety.

    “OMG, we’re having SEX! You HAVE to come, or my FRAGILE EGO can’t handle it!”

    Who can have an orgasm with that kind of pressure?

    Then I started having sex with kinkier, slightly more enlightened guys, who knew that PIV sex might not work, so they started showing up with all sorts of other things to try and get me off. Its sweet that they want me to get off, but working at it makes me nervous too. Plus, for me anyway, my orgasm isn’t the be all and end all of sex. Yes, I want one, but there’s other stuff going on that I like too.

    Wendy Blackheart

    April 20, 2009 at 11:16 am

  4. Figleaf, thank you for your comment.

    Wendy, I completely agree that orgasms are not the be all and end all. And yes, the pressure makes it impossible. That said when people are asking these questions it is often because they want to orgasm with a partner…of course getting away from that as a goal will likely make sex more enjoyable all around.


    April 21, 2009 at 10:34 pm

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