Q&A: I Orgasm With My Vibrator, Not When Someone Else Touches Me

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QUESTION: When I masturbate, I can orgasm easily using my vibrator, but I have never been able to orgasm or even experience pleasure when a man is stimulating me – either clitoral stimulation or vaginal penetration or both simultaneously. Why is this and what can I do to fix it?

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Hand with touch me written on the palm

Photo: Sara Jea (Flickr)

Taking the time to explore with a partner to find out if there are certain kinds of stimulation you could like might help, particularly if there is no immediate goal of having an orgasm.

There are many possible reasons for your very different experiences.

Getting To Know Yourself

Vibrator stimulation can be pretty intense and some women (and men) respond far more easily to it than hand, mouth, or intercourse stimulation. It may be that you have a higher threshold for stimulation, and vibration more easily brings you to orgasm.

However, that doesn’t mean that it is necessarily the only way to experience sexual pleasure or orgasm. If you find it difficult to relax or let go with a partner, that may be getting in the way of greater sexual pleasure or ease of orgasm.

It also may be that experimenting with a wider range of touch, licking or penetration would be helpful. Taking the time to explore with a partner to find out if there are certain kinds of stimulation you could like if only you tried them together might help, particularly if there is no immediate goal of having an orgasm.

But Do You Like Like Him?

I might also suggest that you consider who these “somebody else” are – in other words, who are you having sex with?

While some women and men can just as easily experience sexual pleasure and orgasm with a partner they don’t know well as someone they know very well and like a lot, other women and men find that sex is most pleasurable or orgasmic for them when they partner with someone they intensely like or even love. It’s not unusual for male college students to tell me they have difficulties with erections or orgasm when they hook up with women they don’t know well, and women can have similar experiences.

Given the varied possibilities, you might find it helpful to read the book Becoming Orgasmic, which walks women through a range of exercises that they can try alone and/or with a partner in order to learn to experience orgasm more easily and in a wider range of experiences.

Next Question: Blotches And Dead Skin On My Penis

“I haven’t had sex in about 6 months, but 2 days ago I noticed I have small, red blotches on the head of my penis. There are also places on which the skin is starting to peal away, and there seems to be a lot of dead skin toward the frenulum. Can you tell me what this is, how long it will last, and how it can be treated?”

Your best bet is to check in with a healthcare provider.

Many different health conditions can affect the genital skin. Sometimes red blotches are a result of sexually transmitted infections, or STIs. Other times they are a result of irritation from laundry detergent or bath wash or other scented or fragranced products.

If you masturbated for a very long time or without lubricant, it is also possible that the friction of masturbating rubbed the skin on your penis the wrong way. Giving it a few days to heal may be helpful, but if you have any questions or concerns about your penile health, we’d recommend that you check in with your healthcare provider.

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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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