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Savage Love

Five questions about orgasms and how far we go to get them.

By Dan Savage

I'm a twenty-one-year-old woman with bi-curious tendencies who's been in a committed relationship for four years. He's sweet and kind. We share a lot of interests and get along very well. Thing is, I don't know if I'm meant to be in a committed relationship. For the past year and a half, I've been thinking about what things would be like with another man. I also frequently imagine what it might be like to sleep with another girl. In fact, whenever I'm masturbating, I get more excited by lesbian scenarios than straight scenarios — although I've never been able to come. I've never experienced an orgasm. But that's another can of worms.

The main problem is this: I find myself steadily losing interest in my current partner. I find myself fantasizing about having sex with other men and other women. I'm open to the possibility of a threesome, but my boyfriend isn't. He's completely against the idea. From the start, I've never hidden the fact that I've never reached orgasm, and he's never created any macho drama about that.

I've slowly come to the realization that I'm no longer sexually attracted to my boyfriend. I don't have the motivation to improve our sex life anymore. I just go through the motions. At the same time, my boyfriend remains my best friend and I'm not willing to give up my best friend over sex. I want to keep him in my life, as he is my most important source of emotional support.

If you, as an "impartial" observer, could help me out, I'd really appreciate it.

Have My Cake

You can have your current boyfriend, HMC, at the price of a lousy and uninspired sex life with a guy who doesn't give a shit about your pleasure — excuse me, a partner who hasn't created a lot of "macho drama" about the fact that you've never had an orgasm and isn't interested in helping you realize your fantasies — or you can find a new boyfriend and/or girlfriend and perhaps discover that orgasms are easier to come by when you're with someone who (1) turns you on and (2) gives a shit about your pleasure and (3) hasn't come to symbolize the death of sexual possibility.

Giving up the current boyfriend means you'll have to find a new emotional tampon — excuse me, a new "source of emotional support" — but that's a price that you should be willing to pay, HMC, particularly at your age.

And if you don't want to find yourself boyfriend-less and best-friend-less ever again, HMC, in the future keep those roles separate.

I'm a twenty-six-year-old heterosexual male in a relationship with a twenty-five-year-old female. I'm her first boyfriend. She's never had an orgasm that wasn't self-induced. I've asked her multiple times what I can do to try to get her off, but she doesn't really have anything to tell me. There's a lot of trial and error going on. I feel like I'm kind of flying blind. Help please?

This Question Again

If she can get herself off, TQA, then she should be able to get herself off while you assist. Let her get herself off while you watch, while you hold her, while you suck on her tits, while she sits on your face. Gradually work your way up to her getting herself off while you're inside her.

Don't make the "macho drama" mistake of viewing the orgasms she self-induces while you're there as somehow deficient or dysfunctional. The more you can relax and enjoy the orgasms she's self-inducing now — the more you can both relax and enjoy them — the sooner she'll be able to relax, enjoy, and, perhaps, transition to orgasms induced by someone else/someone else's dick.

If you want that someone else/someone else's dick to you be you/yours, TQA, then don't be an impatient, insecure, macho drama queen about the way she's capable of having orgasms now.

I am a woman who is with the love of her life. I enjoy sex immensely but have begun to fake orgasms because it hurts him that he is not making me come. I believe the obstruction is psychological. I am self-conscious about my body and can only come using a vibrator while looking at pictures of women with nice boobs. I fantasize that I am both the woman in possession of these assets and the person lusting after her. I am certain of my sexual orientation: I did quite a bit of experimenting with beautiful women, but they did nothing for me. Any insights?

Breasts On Other Babes

Stop faking, BOOB, and start incorporating your vibrator and your fantasies into the sex you're having with the boyfriend. Your boyfriend needs to talk a boob-esteem-building blue streak while you fuck — he needs to tell you how hot your breasts are, how much they turn him on — and you need to use your vibrator on yourself and fantasize aloud about the assets you've got and the assets you lust after while you two are fucking.

You know what works for you, BOOB. You just have to risk sharing it with the love of your life.

I am an eighteen-year-old straight girl. I am also a virgin. After my eighteenth birthday, I bought a small vibrator. I love it — it's completely changed masturbation and I reached orgasm for the first time. However, I'm worried about developing a dependence on it. Should I hold off on using it until I get some real experience?

Teen With A Tech

Enjoy your vibrator, TWAT, and enjoy those orgasms — but mix it up. Masturbate with your vibrator and without; see how worked up you can get through fantasy alone; get yourself close to the edge and finish yourself off with your hand; experiment with nonvibrating, inanimate sex toys. And when you start having sexual experiences with non-vibrating, animate sex toys (boys), don't be shy about introducing them — or their genitals — to your vibrator. Dicks are just big clits, TWAT, and vibrators can work wonders on dicks, too.

I am in college and in a super-fantastic relationship. We have fun together and we have great sex. However, he doesn't orgasm when I blow him or give him a handjob. He says he's never been able to come from blowjobs or handjobs. I don't mind going straight to vaginal intercourse after blowing him for a bit, although I sometimes encourage him to finish himself off and ejaculate in my mouth. It's not like I'm offended; I'd just like to get him there.

I have a tiny mouth and tiny hands — could that be the problem? He says it doesn't have anything to do with me. He just plateaus. HOW DO I SOLVE THIS PROBLEM, DAN? Is our sex life condemned to, God forbid, just vaginal intercourse?

Barely Licking Over Wide Junk Of Boyfriend

What's the opposite of macho drama? Vulvo drama?

Look, BLOWJOB, if you're both giving and receiving oral, and giving and receiving handjobs, then you haven't been "condemned" to "just" vaginal intercourse. You're having all kinds of sex — it's just that he requires something very specific in order to get off. If there are times when you want to mess around without being fucked, or times when you're not up for vaginal intercourse, just get him as close as you can and let him finish himself off with his hand.

Your boyfriend is orgasmic, BLOWJOB — THERE'S NO PROBLEM HERE TO SOLVE.

Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at

Commentarium (22 Comments)

Dec 01 10 - 12:54am

Oh! Oh! BLOWJOB, it took me a long while to get there, but I finally learned just how to get my boyfriend off with blowjobs and handjobs. It wasn't that I was doing anything wrong or bad, it's just that he needs either specific kinds of friction (I suggest blowjobs with hands and very slippery handjobs with good quality lube) or really good turn-ons (like me simultaneously masturbating along with him) or he doesn't quite get there. After awhile I just got good at giving him exactly what he needed.

But yeah, keep trying!

Dec 01 10 - 9:50am

Yeah, I generally agree with Dan that there's no problem, BLOWJOB. My boyfriend is similar - he can get off with a hand- or blowjob, but it's much more difficult for him. As S said, lube for the hand job, and you can also try vaginal intercourse until he's near the point of no return, then blowing or handling him - then he'll get used to orgasming through different sensations, and if he doesn't come, just go back to vaginal sex. Also, have him give you a very specific lesson on how he masturbates. Sometimes, all that's missing from your handjob technique is one small detail, and guys often get themselves off so automatically that it's hard for them to give you specific tips unless they break down the process.

Dec 01 10 - 10:58am

HMC, lots of people are friends with their exes, so you might be able to have your cake and eat it, too. But there's no guarantee, so you just have to risk it. The alternative is dragging out the relationship, making yourself unhappy, thereby making him unhappy, and in short, eventually making everyone miserable - which can't last for the rest of your life, so eventually, one of you wil decide to break it off - but by then, the chances of you staying friends will be... not so hot. You'll blame him for the miserable sex life, he'll say that he was clear about his intentions and it was your choice to stay with him regardless, that you did it for yourself, not to do him some sorta favor - it can easily get ugly. So, break it off now nicely, and hope for the best. But don't push it. He probably won't want to talk to you for a while, maybe as long as a few months, so give him space. If you really are best friends, he'll get over it and you'll be friends again.

Dec 01 10 - 11:05am
Amber Lamps

I'm generally surprised by the age of the women who are generally giving up on orgasms with their partner. If I remember correctly, chicks don't really come into their own, sexually, until 25 or so. And even then it typically requires a supportive/encouraging partner to make them feel "safe". I was 27 ad she was 23 and never had an orgasm. One weekend, I put on the orgasm workshop. Within 45 minutes she had one. There was nothing special about me or about her. It was just comfort, support and desire.

Dec 01 10 - 11:05am

I was with a 30 yr old man who said that he liked blowjobs but just could never orgasm that way. He said that it just got sort of numb and plateaued. I found that going really softly worked. Like, I would still use my hand but instead of gripping his penis harder, I made a circle with my hand and jacked him off without the vice grip, but still gave him the sensation. I also told him that I really enjoyed doing it (true) and that I didn't want him to come (untrue), I just wanted him to enjoy it. I think once the pressure was off, literally and figuratively, it paved the way for him. He had an explosive orgasm and even though we're long broken up, we remain friends and he still jokes that I am the woman that changed everything for him. You can do it!

Dec 01 10 - 1:53pm

@Amber Lamps, I've been having orgasms on my own since age 12 and came within a couple minutes the first time I ever did anything with a partner. I am a 22 year old woman and am very much "in my own" sexually. I'm glad your generalizations and condescension work for some women, but I certainly hope you start to meet some for whom it doesn't. There are plenty of us.

Dec 01 10 - 3:06pm

It's hard for me to orgasm from a BJ; I enjoy it but it takes so long I start to get self conscious and worry about my poor, dedicated partner who is probably getting lockjaw....

Dec 01 10 - 7:52pm

I never came from a BJ until I was 35, and sadly, not in the 10 years since. She was special, she was hot, she was the only woman who ever said out loud, "I want you to come in my mouth."

Dec 02 10 - 12:21am

Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts or Contestant # 3? I've been staring at this picture way too long.

Dec 02 10 - 12:53am

No need to be so obnoxious about it. I'm smart and open-minded as they come, but I was raised in a more conservative part of the country with a culture that resulted in me being afraid to try masturbation until I was 18. A lot of men in my family very openly disrespect women they have sex with. Having a male partner who is patient, comforting, encouraging, all those things he mentioned above, absolutely means the world to me. I don't think it's condescension -for a lot of us its realism.

Dec 02 10 - 3:42pm

Perhaps that did come off as a bit defensive. Of course a supportive partner is important and everybody should have one. And I agree that the attitude towards women in many parts of the country or families, etc unfortunately results in more women than men requiring patience and encouragement to get over their discomfort with discovering their bodies' potential. But it happens for a cultural reason and its a cultural problem- It gets my hackles up when its made out to be a natural process where women just "come into their own" later.

Dec 02 10 - 8:56pm

S and GirlJ nailed it, the difference between happily riding the edge and having a full-on orgasm while receiving a blow job or hand job, is very, very subtle. Friction, tempo and collateral stimulation of his balls, ass or nipples can make the difference. Since most of us guys are conditioned by our own masturbation techniques it might take some time to figure out what works for him, so don't despair. Ask him to jack-off for you while you watch/join in, and I bet you will pick-up a few ideas as to what works.

Dec 02 10 - 11:06pm

Ugh -- why would Savage tell the first girl to never again have a boyfriend who's also a best friend? What a bizarre statement. Is he saying his boyfriend isn't HIS best friend? What a dick.

Dec 03 10 - 11:42pm
Mr. Man

Putting pressure on your partner to orgasm is the surest way to make them freeze up. Goal-oriented sex is not that much fun. Relax, be natural, make jokes if you're a joker. In other words be yourself. Works much better than pressured 'script.'

Dec 04 10 - 11:49am
@LM and amber lamps

I started having orgasms on my own at age 14 but couldn't have them with a partner until 25. I totally agree that it was patience, support and also nasty hot dirty talking that finally got me there. i don't think its biological but cultural---feeling less-than-porn-star attractive, fearing that having an orgasm was un-ladylike and being embarrassed about my sexuality all contributed to the stagnation. anyway, cheers to good guys like amber lamps willing to do the work for the insecure ladies out there.

Dec 08 10 - 5:31pm

That's Kristen Stewart in "Twilight!" :0D

Dec 10 10 - 10:53pm

This advice is CRAP-ON-A-STICK!

Dec 10 10 - 10:57pm

LM - lighten up. Amber Lamps wasn't offensive in the least.

Dec 10 10 - 11:11pm

I am a man who finds it difficult to climax inside a woman. I think it's to do with fear of getting them pregnant or something like that and that's making my partner a bit depressed because she can get multiple orgasms but she's upset that I can't "join in". It actually doesn't bother me as once or twice a month, it will work but I can never tell when. How can I make it happen more regularly?

Sep 07 11 - 6:20am
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E8Cex9 Stupid article!!!

Nov 21 11 - 12:50am

Whoa, tihgns just got a whole lot easier.

Nov 21 11 - 1:12pm

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