Q&A: I Don’t Get Turned On When My Partner Orgasms

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QUESTION: My boyfriend thinks I should get turned on when he comes. I enjoy the fact that he came, and I feel happy and accomplished, but not turned on. Is this normal? Also, when we both get worked up then I start to focus on him, I start to get less turned on because I'm too focused on getting him to finish. He thinks I should be turned on by the fact that I'm performing the sexual acts—is it normal that I'm not?

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Some people feel turned on when their partner experiences orgasm and some people don’t. And of course some people may be turned on sometimes but not other times when their partner has an orgasm.

Your experience is completely normal.

Where Do His Expectations Come From?

Some people feel turned on when their partner experiences orgasm and some people don’t. And of course some people may be turned on sometimes but not other times when their partner has an orgasm.

I am not sure where your boyfriend got the idea that his partner should feel aroused or excited every time that he comes, but it may be worth asking him about it.

If he watches porn—as many men do—it may be that he got the idea from the porn that he watches, as many mainstream porn videos show women acting very excited when their partner comes.

In real life, orgasm isn’t always such a major event. People may feel happy for their partner or glad that sex is over and they can go to sleep or go home or watch their favorite television show and—yes—some people may feel turned when their partner has an orgasm.

However, people vary. And that’s part of the richness of sex and humanity.

It may also be that your boyfriend had a former partner who was turned on when he came—or who pretended to be turned on when he had an orgasm. Or maybe he is turned on when you have orgasms and just assumes that’s how everybody feels.

Normal To Lose Arousal

As for your second question, it’s also normal and common for people to lose some of their arousal when they are working very diligently to please their partner.

For example, when a person is performing oral sex on his or her partner, it’s not unusual to lose some arousal simply because one’s attention is focused more on what pleases their partner than what pleases them.

Some people feel very turned on doing things to arouse their partner, but there’s nothing wrong with you if you don’t often, or don’t ever, feel turned on while doing that.

Communicate

What’s important is that you and your boyfriend find a way to talk about your sex life.

Where did he get his ideas about sex from, and about what should turn a woman on? Is it important to him that you feel aroused in these specific situations—and if so, why is that so important to him?

Another way to approach sex would be for him to ask you what turns you on rather than to focus on what doesn’t turn you on.

You might take turns sharing ideas that you find sexy or interesting.

Try to be gentle with each other, and open to understanding how each of you experience sex.

Reading a book together like Sex Made Easy: Your Awkward Questions Answered-For Better, Smarter, Amazing Sex or For Each Other: Sharing Sexual Intimacy may help you find new ways to communicate with each other about sex.

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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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