I have a question for you / your podcast.
So my husband and I have been married for about 8 months now. It seems like every time he gives me oral sex, I end up orgasming within just a few minutes. Now, as great as orgasming is, I feel like after I orgasm so quickly, I am not as stimulated by penetration. Also, I really enjoy oral sex and I wish the experience could last longer. My husband and I waited until marriage to have sex. But before I was following Christ and before I met my husband, I was sexually active, including oral sex, and this never happened. So my questions are: 1) is this normal? is “premature ejaculation” a thing in women? 2) are there any ways to fix this and/or last longer? and 3) in women, if you orgasm once, is there a “come down” period? How is it possible to have multiple orgasms in one “sex session”?
Sorry for all of the questions! I still feel like we are so new to having sex and we have a lot to learn. I appreciate any and all input. Thanks!
I’m thrilled you found a place to ask them. Too many never feel safe enough to ask anywhere and so just keep wondering.
So, first off, it’s 100% normal to experience more stimulation from oral sex than penetrative sex – let’s talk about penetrative sex for a moment first.
Orgasming from penetrative sex
The standard estimate is that about 30% of women orgasm from penetrative sex alone.
Some believe this is due to physiology – the most common rationale is that the clitoris is too far from the vaginal canal and so doesn’t get stimulated enough during penetration. This belief is attributed to Napolean’s niece, Marie Bonaparte who was obsessed with the idea of learning to orgasm from penetration. She actually measured the distance in 243 women and quizzed them on their orgasm ability and engaged in quite a few affairs to see if it was her husband’s fault. She published her study under a male pseudonym in 1924 which is how her study on female frigidity, as she called it, came to be known. She actually underwent surgery in 1927 to have her clitoris moved in an effort to learn to orgasm from sex. It didn’t work, and ultimately her work was dismissed by gynecologists who found many examples of women who could orgasm despite having a larger distance between their clitoris and vaginal opening, so it doesn’t seem to be a rule. But, there could be something physiological nevertheless, even if her specific theory was misplaced.
Others believe it’s pure psychology – that all women could learn to, but many don’t. Sigmund Freud (who Marie Bonaparte actually consulted with on the topic) believed that women who couldn’t orgasm from penetration were sexually psychologically immature. That sounds pretty condescending and it has been since largely dismissed, but in all honesty, I wonder if he was on to something. Unfortunately, the phrasing makes you want to reject the idea immediately, but what if we used a term like “penetratively pre-orgasmic” instead, implying that one could learn, but simply hadn’t yet.
I believe both these beliefs have some truth to them, but many people don’t leverage the fact that you can use both methods – physiology and psychology. The human body is capable of having orgasms through physical stimulation or mental stimulation, but it finds it much easier when you have both.
For example, people can orgasm while being sexually assaulted – certainly not a pleasant or mentally arousing experience for most, but if there’s enough physical stimulation, it can happen. One could argue that’s still a sexual context (even if it’s unwanted), and so there is some psychological aspect to it, however, some women also experience orgasms while working out (known as “coregasms”). In those cases, there is no sexual context whatsoever. So, physical stimulation can be enough to get someone to orgasm without any mental stimulation at all.
Similarly, people can orgasm from mental stimulation alone. Teenage boys orgasm in their sleep without any stimulation, and some women do as well, though it’s less talked about. As well, some men and women can have orgasms simply by thinking about it (known as a “think off”), or by being led to an aroused state by someone else simply through voice or text.
So, some women can orgasm from penetration alone and nothing else, but I hear quite a few women shocked to find they can orgasm from penetration after they’ve tried some new activity in the bedroom because the mental arousal in addition to the physical stimulation is enough to push them over the edge. Similarly, women who enter a new relationship are sometimes surprised to find they can orgasm from sex in that one, but not a prior one. Some then go on to be orgasmic during sex in later relationships, suggesting it can be learned, and some don’t, suggesting that it’s also contextual / psychological.
Now, can every woman learn to do that? I have a hypothesis that they could, but I don’t think everyone will for various reasons, such as beliefs they can’t, hangups about sex, problems in the relationship, lacking enough stimulation (physical and mental combined), medications, general health and who knows what else.
There are a bunch of other tricks to orgasming during sex as well, some of which I detail in the post How to make it easier to orgasm during sex and I have more tips in the ebook Making it easier to orgasm – A guide for Christian Wives and I just saw a study from back in 2017 saying that women who take an 8-week mindfulness course increased their orgasm ability by 30% which I think adds to my argument that mental arousal and focus can aid in learning to orgasm. I’ve had quite a few wives say they can’t believe the difference talking dirty in bed made to their ability to orgasm.
Orgasming from oral sex is often easier
Oral sex on the other hand is stereotypically considered the go-to method of having an orgasm for women (arguably men too, but that’s a different discussion). Of course, it’s a stereotype and people are individuals – many women can’t orgasm from oral sex, some don’t feel much of anything from it and some can’t stand it, either due to the sensations, or their own beliefs, hangups, fears and whatever else.
But for a lot of women (81% according to our oral sex survey) – yeah, it works really well. The tongue is softer than two pubic bones grinding against each other. It’s more also direct stimulation, and more targeted, you can direct the sensations, up, down, side to side, circles, licking, dragging, sucking, there are a lot of options with a mouth that you don’t get during penetrative sex. Sort of like if you want to move a car, it’s a lot easier to get in the driver’s seat and drive it exactly where you want than to try and ram it with another vehicle and hope it falls into place.
Plus, oral can be one-sided, you can just lie there and enjoy it and not have to worry about reciprocating. For a lot of women, this is a bonus because they can focus on the sensations rather than focus on trying to make their husbands feel good at the same time. On the other hand, for some that’s a problem because they get performance anxiety, body image anxiety, they worry about the taste, smell, texture, and a bunch of other things.
Sidenote for those women – most men love the taste, smell, texture, their wife’s body and all the other things.
Also, oral sex can easily be combined with other types of stimulation such as manual stimulation (using your fingers), nipple stimulation and anal play. Talking dirty is a bit harder though … at least for the one performing oral sex. If you’re the receiver, go for it.
And lastly, for some, oral sex is still a bit taboo, which makes it more exciting, which boosts your mental arousal.
In short, it’s not only normal to orgasm easier from oral sex than penetrative sex, it’s so normal that there is a false assumption that this holds true for all women.
Women experiencing premature orgasm
So, that handles why oral sex works better than penetrative sex. What about orgasming before you want to? That’s really the question here. It doesn’t matter if it takes you 20 seconds or 20 minutes – if you orgasm before you want to and can’t stop it, then that can be frustrating.
The University of Chicago’s 2005 National Health and Social Life Survey found that about 10% of women orgasm before they would like to. Another study showed that 40% have experienced this at some point in their lives yet we rarely if ever hear about this.
Now, this could be because women don’t have a refractory period like men. They don’t have an erection to lose. And for many women, sex after orgasm gets better. Some don’t even want foreplay to be done until they’ve had one or two or five. I mean, if you can have multiple orgasms why wouldn’t you want to have a quick one and then another and another, as many as you can, right?
But for some, after an orgasm, they’re too sensitive to keep going. For others, their desire for sex completely disappears after an orgasm, and for some, they just want to sleep afterwards.
For those women, having an orgasm too soon can be a bit of a letdown, and yeah, can feel very similar to premature ejaculation for men.
As well, most people, men and women, find that the longer you can delay an orgasm the more pleasurable and strong it is. So, when you have a quick one without much of a build-up, without being as aroused as you could be, it can feel like you got something mediocre and are missing out on what could have potentially been amazing.
In short, yeah, it happens to a lot of women – maybe not the majority, but 10% isn’t a small number. If you have 50 couples in your church, 5 of those wives might experience this.
Arousal ability can change
I also wanted to mention that it’s completely normal as well that you never experienced this with previous partners. Arousal is very context-dependent, so different times, places, partners, mindsets, moods, etc. can change things a lot. As can where you are in your cycle, where you are in your life, your hormone levels (which change both with your cycle and as you age), general health, stress, meds, water intake, exercise level and on and on can change how things feel.
In short, it’s not weird at all that this has only happened in this relationship. That can really mess with some people, which is one of the reasons I think sex was intended to be only experienced in marriage – it’s hard enough when things can shift with the same partner, but with different ones, that can lead to some hurt feelings. I don’t say this to admonish you for your past, but rather to hopefully warn others who are trying to make those types of decisions.
How can women delay their orgasm and last longer?
The advice for women who experience premature orgasm is pretty similar to men, except you have a few more options owing to the fact that you don’t have an erection (or rather lack thereof) to worry about.
The easiest is simply to take a break for a bit, focus on him (which is harder if you’re the pass out after an orgasm type), and then go for round 2 when you’re ready.
For some, simply putting their hand over their clitoris is enough to dampen the stimulation enough that penetrative sex still feels good and might eventually get you to orgasm again, or at least give you time to become less sensitive.
In cases that are really distressing, like if you orgasmed within seconds every time, there are some doctors who will prescribe SSRIs as they have a side effect of delaying orgasm, but for most people, that seems a bit like running a car in your living room to try and warm the house up. It might work, but it may have some unintended consequences.
Try edging to extend the pleasure and build to a bigger orgasm
What I’d probably try is edging. Now, this wife has only been married 8 months, so this might take some more practice, as I think this gets easier the longer you’re married. Get your husband to bring you to the brink of orgasm, then back off and do something that won’t push you over the edge for a bit and let your arousal drop a bit, but not disappear.
Then start up again and repeat as long as you want.
Some women actually use this method to learn how to orgasm from penetrative sex. So, you could do oral sex until you’re just about ready to orgasm – as close as you can manage, then switch to sex until you think you can handle more. Then back to oral. Just keep going back and forth until you’re ready to orgasm.
This practice of edging takes, well, practice. You have to be aware of how close to orgasm you are, and you can get more skilled at holding off orgasm for short periods, eventually working up to holding yourself on the brink for a while until you’re ready to go over. As well, communicating where you are to your spouse takes some practice. He in turn has to watch your body language, listen to the sounds you’re making, and hopefully eventually learn to keep you riding that edge without needing direct verbal feedback.
It might also help if your husband can change up his technique a bit – maybe find something that isn’t as intense for you, but is still pleasurable. Without knowing exactly what he’s doing, I’d generically suggest less pressure, speed and focus on the clitoris. That way he could slow the buildup more as well which can lead to a bigger orgasm that doesn’t happen as quickly.
Is there a comedown period for women?
In the vast majority of men, after ejaculation follows a refractory period. The current theory is that prolactin is released which causes a physiological inability to get an erection again. For some, that inability lasts minutes, for others it’s hours, and for some, it can even be days.
However, women have no such physiological system that causes a similar reaction, however, both men and women also can experience a sort of psychological refractory period wherein they’re not terribly interested in having sex again.
So, while it’s not physically impossible for you to experience another orgasm due to already having one, you may find yourself not really looking to have another.
Can you become multiorgasmic?
The data suggests that you probably can. I saw one small study that showed that 39% of female health professionals have multiple orgasms compared with the standard number of 15% of women in the general public. The hypothesis was that the extra knowledge of biology and anatomy aids in learning how to be multiorgasmic, but whatever the specific reason, the implication is clear – it’s definitely a learned skill for some.
Assuming you aren’t too sensitive, uncomfortable, passed out, or otherwise disinclined to continue, one option is to simply keep going. Even if you feel no desire to, you may find that you can get aroused again if you are willing to be. My regular readers and listeners may recognize this as similar to responsive desire.
Most women who learn to become multi-orgasmic do so simply by, well, not stopping. Some may need a few seconds, maybe 15 or 30, or even a minute or two, but then start up stimulation again.
The standard advice for learning to become multi-orgasmic for women is:
- Get aroused.
- Edge for a while – get close to orgasm, then back off and calm down for a few minutes, then start again. Do this a few times.
- Have an orgasm.
- Start stimulation again as soon as it feels good.
- Keep going.
That’s it. We’ve yet to try this method, so I can’t promise it works, I’m only relaying what is the standard protocol for learning.
You may have to make some adjustments to the stimulation that’s occurring between the first and subsequent orgasms. For example, many women find that while a buzzy vibrator might be great for the first orgasm, it can be really annoying to try and start up again with, but a toy that’s more rumbly works pretty well.
Sidenote – The best toy I know that has a “rumbly” type feel rather than a “buzzy” feel is the Limon by Minna and they just happen to have sent me a coupon code for $50 off. If you’re interested in checking it out, you can find the toy here, and use coupon code UIBLACKFRIDAY to get the discount.
If you achieve your first orgasm through oral sex, your husband might have to switch up his technique a bit for the second orgasm, at least to start, maybe less direct stimulation, not as hard, or fast, or whatever it is that he does that causes you to orgasm so quickly.
You’re not weird, and yes, it’s perfectly normal, even if it isn’t average. Many women orgasm before they wish to because they want to extend sex or to build to a bigger orgasm. So, change things up a bit, take some breaks, learn to build more control and find activities that will keep you in that aroused state longer without pushing you over the edge or better yet, ride the edge for as long as you can.
Or, you can try to learn to have multiple orgasms and then not worry about orgasming too fast, just enjoy all the ones you can. Just don’t make learning to be multiorgasmic a crusade that takes over sex, maybe set aside particular sessions to work towards that goal and other times just for enjoying the intimacy of sex. Because sex that feels like work has a tendency to become unsexy very quickly.