Have you ever had an orgasm in your life? Chances are that you have—and you might not even be married. One woman, Carla*, is 32 years old, married but has never climaxed before. Don’t get her wrong—she loves her husband and they have sex regularly, but she has never orgasmed—a problem that she says started long before she got married.
“I’m lucky to be with an amazing man who treats me well and goes out of his way to make me feel special. My girlfriends think I have the perfect marriage, and in many ways they’re not wrong. David* is very romantic and thoughtful. He gets along great with my family and supports me in my career. I really could not have asked for a better person to spend the rest of my life with.
But there is one thing that makes me feel inadequate in my marriage – despite having sex regularly with my husband I have never had an orgasm. In fact, I have never had an orgasm in my life and have no idea what one feels like. I feel like a sexual outcast, especially when my girlfriends and I get together and they start talking about sex. David doesn’t know that I’ve never had an orgasm, either. Even though I love him with all my heart, I find myself faking my pleasure whenever we have sex. I’m just too embarrassed to admit to him that I have trouble climaxing.
A conservative sexual outlook
As a teenager, I was never sexually curious. I suspect that stems from having been brought up in a conservative family, where the word ‘sex’ was never uttered and I was never told about the ‘birds and the bees’. In secondary school and junior college, while my girlfriends were experimenting with sex and getting to know their bodies, I was more concerned about doing well in my exams and getting a place in university. To me, sex was something I wouldn’t have to think or worry about until I was much older and married. Sure, I had crushes on guys growing up and did occasionally have sexual desires, but I never acted on those impulses.
At 21, I had my first serious relationship. We had sex but it was, pretty average. The night I lost my virginity I was disappointed because I was expecting there to be moaning and fireworks. Instead there was just a lot of fumbling and embarrassment. I did not experience any pleasure and that put me off sex for a long time. Needless to say the relationship didn’t last longer than a few months.
It was the same deal when I got together with another guy at 25. We waited some months before having sex but once again it was nothing spectacular. When he performed oral sex on me I felt so self-conscious that the entire time I kept praying for it to end. He never had trouble climaxing – in fact he was quite sexually experienced – so I always found myself lying about my own sexual pleasure just so we could get the sex over and done with.
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Happily married—but still no orgasm
David was a virgin when I met him but that didn’t bother me. He had also grown up in a conservative family and, like me, didn’t feel the need to experiment with sex when he was younger. He knew that I’d had sex with two other guys before but he didn’t care.
The first time we had sex was romantic and special. David lit candles in the bedroom and we spent a couple of hours kissing and exploring each other’s bodies. When we were ready to have sex David was beyond excited. It didn’t take him long to orgasm, and when he was finished he asked me if I had climaxed too. I lied that I had. I felt so horrible about not telling him the truth but I didn’t want to ruin the experience for him.
I don’t know why I find it so hard to experience sexual pleasure. I’m not sure if it has anything to do with not concentrating hard enough, not being relaxed enough or not experimenting enough. I do masturbate on occasion; it feels good but there is none of that mind-blowing satisfaction that everyone talks about. I know for sure that I’m missing something wonderful.
I have yet to experience an orgasm even with David. Our sex life is always the same and we stick to the same positions, but it’s usually over before I know it and I always feel compelled to say that it was good for me, too. Of course I enjoy being sexually intimate with my husband – don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of love between us – but I feel that my orgasm is my responsibility and I’m not sure how he could help me with it. Also, while I feel like I can tell him anything, I don’t think I could open up to him about this because I’m worried he might react the wrong way or feel hurt, like my inability to orgasm is all his fault. He’s quite an emotionally sensitive person and tends to take things personally.
Out of place in a hyper-sexualised world
I feel uncomfortable whenever I watch a movie and there’s a sex scene during which the actress has a wild orgasm. It does make me wonder if there’s something wrong with my anatomy or if my idea of an orgasm is just different from everyone else’s. Surely if I had an experienced an orgasm before, I would have been aware of it?
I also feel out of my element when my girlfriends talk about the orgasms they have had. I can’t relate to the sensations they describe. I do feel jealous when they share how they’ve experienced multi orgasms or screamed with pleasure when their partners drove them to orgasm. When it’s my turn to talk about my sex life, I always play it down because I’m too embarrassed to admit that I don’t know how it feels to climax. I’ve often considered experimenting with sex toys but then I think, if I can’t even derive pleasure from a real penis then what more a sex toy?
I’ve read about some women not being able to orgasm at all. If I have some kind of sexual dysfunction, I hope it can be treated. I have been considering engaging a therapist to help me with my problem but at the same time I’m a little embarrassed to admit that it’s been going for as long as it has.
I know that I’ll have to open up to David sooner or later. While I don’t feel like I’m missing out entirely because I do enjoy making love with him and I do believe our sex life is fulfilling, I know things could be even better if I actually managed to have an orgasm. I just hope he doesn’t get mad at me when he discovers that I’ve been lying to him all these years about my sexual satisfaction.”
*Names have been changed.
As told to Melissa Wong / Her World / December 2018.