So your partner can’t cum. Instead of letting it destroy your self-worth and interpreting it as an indicator that the relationship is over, flip the situation around and view it as an opportunity to explore sexuality in a new way.
Put Your Ego Aside
First things first, don’t make it about you. Removing your ego from the situation and humbling yourself is necessary to protect your and your partners mental health while tackling problems like this.
Do not measure your self-worth, your ‘manhood’, your ‘femininity’, or anything else by whether you can make your partner cum. You might just need a little help figuring out what works for them and how you are compatible sexually.
On the flip side, never assume anything is wrong with your partner. Even if you’ve made every person you’ve had sex with in the past cum instantly (or at least you think you did), that doesn’t mean your moves are going to work for everyone.
Trace The Source
If your partner was once able to cum, but has since developed issues, was there an experience, fight, or miscommunication that happened around the time your partner stopped being able to climax? Even if your partner hasn’t verbally suggested they are upset, their physical and subconscious responses can say otherwise. Invite your partner to communicate how they feel and revisit these sensitive issues. These conversations may not be easy, but they are vital to move past relationship bumps and upsets.
Is this an issue you’ve always had during your relationship? If so could it possibly be related to some past trauma or experience? Can you partner identify when the issue began? If this mental investigation becomes overwhelming, suggest visiting a mental health professional to seek appropriate support.
Is It a Medical Issue?
While this is not the case for everyone, there can be medical reasons preventing your partner from reaching their climax.
For people with penises, delayed ejaculation (sometimes called delayed orgasm) is a common yet misunderstood thing. Unlike erectile dysfunction that causes issues with gaining and maintaining an erection, delayed ejaculation is where someone finds it hard to orgasm. The causes of delayed ejaculation include: side effects from certain medications (mainly anti-depression, high blood pressure, and narcotic meds), consuming alcohol, excessive pressure or speed during masturbation (physical conditioning), and excessive porn use (mental conditioning).
Physical and mental conditioning can also play a role for people with vaginas too. Masturbating a certain way or with particular tools, toys, or visuals can create a habit. While this habit isn’t necessarily harmful, it can affect your ability to climax during partnered sex. Like any habit, slowly changing these learned behaviours over time can help you enjoy new experiences more.
If you are concerned about a medical issue being a source of the problem, seek out professional help or visit a free clinic or Planned Parenthood near you.
Learn About Your Partner’s Body
Educate yourself! The current public sex education offered in the United States is deeply flawed, inconsistent, and incomplete. Chances are you didn’t learn everything you need to know about sex, especially about pleasure. Therefore, it’s up to you to educate yourself about anatomy and sexual response. When searching the web, stick to established and reliable sites (think WebMD or our own Education Page) to gain some knowledge. Though it may seem a little clinical, try not to dwell on the complicated anatomical names, and instead focus on the function and layout of the body instead. The topography of your partner’s body will most likely look a little different, and this information is more of a guide than a roadmap.
Be Prepared to Unlearn Some Things
Rumors. Misinformation. Fake news. Whatever you want to call it, we’ve all fallen victim of learning something, usually in our youth, that turned out to be false. Sometimes it can be hard to identify exactly what information, assumptions, or attitudes need to be adjusted, so instead focus on being open when learning. Try to catch yourself skipping over sections and information that you ‘already know’ and be open to reviewing your knowledge. You may learn something new!
Have Them Masturbate In Front Of You
One of the best ways to learn what works for your partner is to watch them please themselves. Sometimes it can be hard to articulate verbally what works for you so showing what works can be much easier. When watching a partner masturbate, it’s best to observe and then ask questions afterwards. Sometimes a little Q&A during the action can be distracting.
If your partner isn’t accustomed to frequent self pleasure, encourage them to get it on with themselves and figure out what they like. Masturbation during a relationship is a very healthy thing.
It can’t hurt to ask! Asking questions is important to clarify what your partner is explaining to you and if the sensations you’re creating are working for them. There are no wrong questions and keeping the line of communication open and non-judgemental is ideal for taking on any relationship issue.
Make Exploration Part of The Fun
Tackling the issue of a missing orgasm doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Make the process of finding your partner’s orgasm a fun one. Search for some sexy aids (like a vibrator or cock ring) together and then plan a special evening to try your new toy. Share some of your fantasies or favorite porno scenes and expand off of them to create some sexy role-play scenarios.
Focus On The Journey, Not The Destination
Having the pressure of an orgasm looming over every sexual encounter can be enough to kill the mood all together. Even though the climax is usually the ultimate goal, throw out that rule and make your sex your own. Not being in the moment can actually cause more anxiety, making the problem worse.
Seek Support If Necessary
Support comes in many forms and there is no shame is seeking it out during a difficult time. Support that works for you could be in the form of a professional couples councillor that can help guide you and your partner as your navigate your issues. It could be a therapist that we see on your own or a support group. Support can even be a friend or two who you can talk open and honestly to about your sex life. They may even be able to offer some advice.
Rethink Your Definition Of Sex
At the end of the day, as long as you and your partner are happy and consenting to the sex your having, who says sex has to include an orgasm. As you work through your predicament or come to a conclusion other than a climax, maybe sex between you and your partner doesn’t have to be so climax-centric. Instead, focus on the intimacy, exploration, and creating wonderful sensations in one another’s bodies. The sex you have is up to you to define.
All images by Alex Kacha