Q&A: I Can’t Orgasm When I Masturbate In Front Of My Boyfriend

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QUESTION: My fiancé asked me to masturbate in front of him, but I can’t achieve orgasm when he’s present. I do enjoy this intimacy with him, but it bothers me that I can’t orgasm.

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Given that you find it pleasurable to watch while you’re alone, you may find that watching porn together can be exciting or give you new ideas about things you may want to try.

Performance Anxiety

Many women find it difficult to orgasm – either at all, or in particular situations, such as in front of a partner. Sometimes people feel self-conscious about touching themselves in front of a partner in the same way that they enjoy touching themselves while they are alone.

Other times, people don’t feel at ease doing the things in front of their partner that help them to feel most aroused when they are alone, such as watching porn, talking dirty or using a sex toy.

The Way You Make Me Feel

You might consider how your feelings about masturbation, sex and self-pleasuring are different when you are with your fiancé versus when you are alone. Are you worried about what he will think of your masturbation techniques? Do you have body image concerns? Do you worry about how he might feel about how you look or what sounds you might make while self-pleasuring?

Sex is full of a range of sights, sounds and scents. These characteristics can greatly enhance people’s experience of sexual arousal but they also sometimes influence people’s worries.

Learn More About Yourself

Even though you are already orgasmic on your own, you may find it helpful to read Becoming Orgasmic, which is a step-by-step program to help women learn to orgasm, alone or with a partner. Many of the exercises in the book include a woman’s partner. You and your fiancé may find it pleasurable to try these sex exercises together. Trying them may help you to learn more about each other’s bodies and what works or doesn’t.

You might also consider watching porn together. Given that you find it pleasurable to watch while you’re alone, you may find – like many couples do – that watching porn together can be exciting or give you new ideas about things you may want to try.

Finally, women’s experiences of pleasure and orgasm often change throughout life, in response to pregnancy, birth, health conditions, menopause, stress, and aging. Learning to talk about sexuality and how to make sex feel better for both of you will better situate you both for a lifetime of sexual enjoyment and exploration.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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