Unsure About Orgasm

Alex Robboy, CAS, MSW, LCSW
Individual, Couples & Family Therapy
IMAGO Certified Marriage Counselor
AASECT Certified Sex Therapist Supervisor
Founder & Director of the Center for Growth Inc.

Posted by: Alex Robboy
CAS, MSW, LCSW Individual, Couples & Family Therapy IMAGO Certified Marriage Counselor AASECT Certified Sex Therapist Supervisor Founder & Director of the Center for Growth Inc.

Ask Alex

My wife doesn't think that she is having an orgasm through intercourse. I think she is having an orgasm. I'll give her reasons and mine. I have tried to be as specific as I can. She thinks she is not having an orgasm for 2 reasons: ___1st-When she has had an orgasm from hand stimulation, the hand stimulation orgasm feels different. She can't explain very well what different means. She did say that hand stimulation orgasm feels tingly from her feet to her head, whereas intercourse does not. ___2nd-When reading about, or talking to other women about orgasms, most do not have orgasm very frequently through intercourse. She thinks that it would be weird if she is having orgasms 75% of the time through intercourse.

I think that she is having orgasms, but that they are just different. I think this for varying reasons: ___1st - when I have an orgasm through hand stimulation it is different too. The hand stimulation is more physical and tingly from the feet to my head where as the orgasm during intercourse is more emotionally satisfying. ___2nd - when we have intercourse she will make uncontrollable loud noises, and contort her body in ways that she never does during hand stimulation. We tried to have intercourse after she brought up the issue and she said that she is not faking these reactions. ___3rd - I have asked her if she is satisfied after she "orgasms" through intercourse and she says that she is.  I will ask her if I can stimulate her the rest of the way with my hand and she doesn't want to. Times when it does not seem to me that she has orgasmed she acts very much different afterward than when I think she does, and if I offer to simulate her the rest of the way she is much more willing to let me do so.      Basically what I want to know is: for women are intercourse orgasms different than hand orgasms. If you could explain the differences I would greatly appreciate it. If from the information I have provided you think that there is something else that I am not just getting feel free to tell me. Mostly I just want my wife to be happy & to think that she is enjoying sex. I have been a member of your email newsletter for the 2 years that we have been married.

Just recently she has brought this to my attention, and I am having a hard time dealing with this because I have always tried to please her before I please myself.  Sorry If I have rambled on. Thank you so very much for any help.



Dear Ramble, First, your wife is right! She is not having an orgasm. Thus, to facilitate her ability to have an orgasm during coitus, my suggestion is that you encourage her to masturbate during coitus. This could look like you placing her hand on her genitals. For many women this is the permission that they need to touch themselves. Others might need you to tell them how much it turns you on to watch (even if it’s not true). Lastly, other women will enjoy your manually stimulating their genitals during coitus. To find out what your wife will like best, try all three options.

Second, regardless of whether or not your wife is right, your wife is communicating to you a very important message. She believes that something is missing from her sexual experience and she believes (has hopes) that sex will get better (even if it is already fantastic). Thus, I am wondering why you are bothering to focus on the issue of orgasm (that is her concern).  Your mission is to explore her body and discover all the different ways to make her sexually aroused / pleased. This means spicing things up with different positions / new ways to touch, and possibly exploring the finer points of sex, such as delving into the realm of fantasy, seduction and game playing. Instead of focusing on whether or not she had an orgasm, use this discussion that you are having as a wake-up call. For her to tell you this it a) took courage b) means she wants to work on it with you – eg. Wants to practice having more sex with you c) has hope and d) trusts you. What more could you ask for?

Lastly . . . according to Masters and Johnson there is only one type of orgasm... however more recent research suggests that there are multiple types. Again, this information is neither here nor there. It really does not matter. What counts is whether or not both people feel satisfied, feel free to let themselves go, are in tune with ones own likes and dislikes, and enjoy sex for sex sake and not as a way to ‘gain’ something else.

Alex Robboy, a sex therapist and couples counselor in Philadelphia responds.  If you have further questions, please feel free to call 267 - 324 - 9564.