Are You an Orgasm Virgin?

Book Cover Thanks for Coming: One Young Woman's Quest for an Orgasm by Mara AltmanMen, in general, don’t have much a problem with orgasms when they begin having sex. Hell, they have them in their sleep. In their teenage years, they have them within 20 seconds of entering a vagina. As they get older and and repetition and life and medications take their toll, perhaps achieving orgasm is more complicated for men. But, for some women, it’s nearly impossible.

In her new book, Thanks for Coming: One Young Woman’s Quest for an Orgasm (ugh), author Mara Altman tackles her own inability to reach climax — despite having lost her hymen virginity in her teens, Altman didn’t actually have an orgasm until she was 26, when she finally managed to pull it off with the aid of a vibrator. (A book reviewer over at the Daily Beast one-ups her by claiming she didn’t come until she was 30, and then proceeds to rip the book a new asshole. Zexy.)

I guess I’ve always felt a little different than other women in the orgasm category. I’ve never been able to orgasm with a vibrator, and I’ve never had an orgasm from oral sex. (“You just haven’t had anyone do it right!” claim my girlfriends, but I disagree.) I do, however, orgasm just about every single damn time there’s penetration. It’s just never been a problem for me. I lost my orgasm virginity just a couple weeks after I lost my actual virginity. I figured out pretty early on what works for me, and I’m always open with my partner about what his involvement will entail. I assume for most women who have trouble achieving orgasm, it’s more a mental block than a physical problem. We’re bombarded with shame about our sexuality, convinced that our orgasms are dirty and whorish. I had a guy friend once who told me his girlfriend cried every time she came — she was so filled with shame and guilt. I’m sure she’s not the only woman out there with that story.

What’s your story, ladies? Did the orgasm cherry get popped way after the hymen? Or have you always been an old hand (no pun intended) at the art of the orgasm?

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66 thoughts on “Are You an Orgasm Virgin?

  1. I’ve always been sexually curious, so I began masturbating at a pretty young age… 11 or 12? Well, young for me, at least! And I never had a problem getting off. Even when I started becoming sexually active, I was able to have an orgasm either by hand (theirs,) oral and sometimes (though really not often) through penetration. The penetration one is few and far between, but it still feels good, and that is pretty decent in my book.

  2. ditto to the early masturbation, although i started even earlier – so i “lost my orgasm virginity” literally years before i actually had sex. i agree that it’s largely a mental thing, especially since i think having a family with pretty open and healthy attitudes about sex meant i grew up feeling not ashamed but rather responsible for and accepting of my sexuality.

  3. I can have an orgasm from manual, mechanical, oral and cock stimulation. So, that said, I know I am very lucky. However, I can only have an orgasm from penetration when I am on the bottom doing the “cheese grater” or Coital Alignment Technique (CAT). Yet, I really feel like I am missing out from being able to orgasm while on top of a man.

    I don’t understand how a woman can orgasm from the old in-out motion; I need pressure and the right cadence. It will be interesting to hear what other women have to say.

  4. I guess I’m different from the previous posters above… I’m 22, lost my virginity at 15, then finally lost my orgasm virginity at 19 with a vibrator. I only came with a partner for the first time through oral and manual stimulation last year, and even then its a hit and miss thing, the guy really has to be dedicated to the task and patient!
    Penetration does absolutely nothing for me… Never has done. Sure, it kind of feels good, and I love seeing my partner get off, but never once have I felt close to orgasm as much as I wish it was different!

  5. I have the hardest time reaching orgasm without a vibrator or porn. My first actual orgasm was when I was in grade school climbing the rope in gym class-seriously. It took a loooong time to be able to help myself & I still have trouble climaxing with any kind of partner–with or without toys, porn, etc. Nothing works. Penetration itself is not enough for me, as much as I wish it was!

  6. Holy shit…I’d hate to be woman. Seriously.

    Not being able to orgasm from penetration?! I suppose I’m lucky I can get off looking at a wall and doing nothing but tickling myself. That’s an extreme example, but yeah…I hope y’all’s orgasms are worth all that trouble.

  7. I don’t think it’s just mental. There are definitely physical aspects as well, some women are just built to have them easier. At the risk of making everyone here hate me….I’m multi-orgasmic. Rarely have less than a dozen during penetrative sex, have had as many as 27 on at least one occasion. I can have clitoral ones or vaginal, every which way, takes hardly any effort at all. In fact, my first orgasm with a partner we weren’t even doing anything, just dry-humping and necking and his leg happened to rub me the right way. And thanks to an awkward conversation with my mom, I can tell you the tendency is genetic. I don’t think it’s “a mental thing” that women in my family (grandma and at least one cousin also have the multiples) tend to have way more than our share of orgasms. Not to say that comfort has nothing to do with it, but it isn’t everything. Unlike men, women just don’t all work the same way. The key is figuring out what does work for you, but judging other women by your own experiences is gonna lead to lots of wrong assumptions.

  8. Ive only had orgasms with myself& tommy (my vibrator)
    none with guys, and I dont fake, so sometimes they get nervous because they don’t know what happens to me
    Apart from the shame and insecurities we women have, I think its also a physicall condition, the clitoris is an external organ with internal ramifications, unless it is stimulated, these internal ramifications don’t grow so your G-spot in senseless, thats why most of us don’t get an orgasm by penetration

  9. there’s a VERY good book on the subject in spanish, ie my bible
    ISBN: 9788497594554

  10. I have been orgasming in my shower (the first time really by accident) for years now. I have gotten up to something close to six or seven clitorial orgasms at a time, but I don’t know if penetration or even vibrators, will do anything for me.
    (Ha, that’s right; I am a technical virgin, but I’m also just 16.)
    I certainly hope that it will, but I agree with the fact that a woman’s anatomy is a lot more complicated. I either wish that wasn’t true, or I wish all guys learned a little bit about what they were trying to do before they dive headfirst into it.

  11. I have G-spot orgasms easily. The only probelm is, I hate them! They don’t feel like anything special, and they make a mess! At first, I thought I was peeing on myself, but the scent and color is nothing like pee and matches the descriptions I’ve seen online. Every time I have one, I get a UTI. I will stop before I have one because they’re such a pain in the ass. My best friend on the other hand is desperate to have one, and can’t seem to have any kind of orgasm, unless she is with women or by herself, which makes all her boyfriends feel super inadequate when they find out. I don’t get the big deal about G-spot orgasms. I’f rather just have a good clitorol orgasm any day!

  12. Do you think this has to do with some sort of misunderstanding about how to please a woman? I know my faghag (I can use the word, you cannot!) complained to me about her last two boyfriends and their inability to do anything in bed that works for her. They seem to have some kind of fixation on what they’ve seen in porn and on TV. Like, the girl screams within seconds of entering her and orgasm constantly during sex (because you’re just that studly men!). I guess what I am trying to ask is — do you feel it is an uphill battle to help some of your partners understand what you need to get where you’re going? (I’m educated on the basics of sex involving females, so if you get into anything too fancy I will need diagrams and a dictionary.)

      • It’s part of this whole ‘take back the word’ movement. I dunno, faghag isn’t offensive I guess. I was just preempting BigDaddy and thatLisa fight!

      • Thank you. I thought I was in the minority around here. I’m sure if I said it the word police aka ThatLisa would jump all over me.

        • Well we’ve already established your lack of Sense and Sensibility HCF! No surprises. Okay sorry for the reference I’ve just been reading her lately…

          Honestly though. You can call me a honky if you want! Or a cracker! Some words are just off limits.

        • sweet, I’m mentioned twice in a post I haven’t even commented on? look ma! I’m famous! I’ve decided this means that orgasms remind people of me. Stop, stop, I’m blushing y’all!

  13. It’s pretty narrow-minded to say that those who can’t orgasm from penetration *must* be ashamed or hung-up. You say that your inability to orgasm from oral is just part of who you are; what makes orgasming from penetration any different?

    • Plus the vast majority of women who can’t orgasm through “penetration” (I hate that word, it really should be replaced by “envelopment” when the encounter is truly consensual) can orgasm pretty easily by playing with their own clits. It’s the minority who come through penis in vagina intercourse, most need their clitoris stimulated. Yeah, mother nature is a bitch, our locus of pleasure is located well outside the place where men’s cocks go. But that’s what makes orgasm through intercourse hard. It’s our clitoris that’s key.

  14. I have never had a problem having an orgasm on my own or from oral or manual stimulation. I also orgasm almost always during penetration. I think there are many factors affecting a woman’s ability to come…

    1st is how comfortable (and interested she is), sometimes even with my long term boyfriend im just feeling shy for one reason or another and i can almost guarantee its not gonna happen.

    2nd is the mans understanding that women and men need different things and he must be willing to accommodate the woman as well. I think the idea that if you dont like it a certain way then you shouldnt do it is just selfish. There are many things i like during sex that he doesnt and many things he likes that i dont care for much. As long as it isnt hurting me sometimes its important to allow him to do the things he wants and expect him to do the same when its something i like.

    3rd is fully understanding what it is you need. I know that the old in and out method isnt going to get me anywhere, during penetration i need a grinding rocking motion. My boyfriend and I each know our bodies well enough that we have been able to combine what makes both of us get there, and often can time our orgasms to occur at the exact same time…and thats the b.e.s.t.

    4th Lastly, i think a large part is biology. Some women take a lot more to orgasm and others can have multiples easily. Its just comes down to differences in bodies.

    I clearly think about orgasms too much…

  15. seriously, 25 years old and I’m still learning. def impossible for me to orgasm unless i do it myself. never even tried a vibrator… i know! the boyfriend’s very understandable and after he’s good, he “helps” me be good too. but, shit, i’d love to kill two birds w one stone!

  16. I know I only get “clitoral” orgasms and no “vaginal” orgasms. So popping my hymen cherry would be completely removed from popping my orgasmic cherry. I had my first orgasm at nineteen, aloneI had just finished a massive round of schoolwork, and I had a lot of tension to release, I suppose? So I massaged myself, then played with my clit until I came. I eventually bought a bullet vibrator, but honestly, I prefer my hands alone.

  17. I get pseudo-orgasms through peeing, like when I’m stuck in a long car ride and am forced to hold it, then I finally get access to a potty, and then it’s overwhelming. I heard someone call it a pee-gasm. I like that word.

  18. I’ve had manual and oral orgarsms, but it has been impossible to get orgasms trough penetration, it just.. doesnt do the trick, for all those girls who can, pelase tell me how! is it the position? is it just in and out and that’s it?
    other thing I have is that it kind of hurts everytime he gets in “the 1st time” so I sort of lose my excitment, I mean after a while it feels good again, but it’s not like I’d be able to come, it would be very difficult.
    does this happen to other women? is it like a problem? or does he just “slip in”??

    • Well okay, so my advice would be kind of detached from what a woman experiences with penetration, but I’m assuming the general points are still valid.

      One, are you just letting him go in with no preamble? Foreplay is key for several reasons. Foreplay is for both people really, but mostly for YOU. The person being penetrated. You need to tell him what you like, how you like it, and when you want it.

      Now, it may be that you’re kind of small and tight. Vaginal size and width varies between women just like penis size does among men. He may also be the jolly green giant, so just work it out. You may actually need some lube to help him in. That is perfectly acceptable. He probably gets really turned on by how tight you are, so don’t try to change that, just make it comfortable for you. You could try having him play with you first, fingers, tongue, toys etc. to get you used to it before he enters you, that might help that initial feeling of discomfort.

      Another thing is penis shape. How is your boyfriend hung? Is it thick? In what places? Does it curve? If so, in which direction? The position and angle of entry for maximum comfort and pleasure for both partners is dependent in part on the penis. If it curves down, for example, and he’s trying to do you missionary style, that’s probably going to be uncomfortable for you.

      • You seem like a nice guy and I mean no offense. I appreciate the fact that you have put a lot of thought into how to give a woman pleasure and that puts you ahead of the game. HOWEVER, your point seems to be that if a woman can’t have a vaginal orgasm then the guy (I also appreciate that you aren’t blaming the woman) is doing something wrong. Most women need clitoral stimulation to have an orgasm whether there is penetration or not. DO NOT IGNORE THE CLIT! That is my friendly advice to you and any other men who happen to be reading this.

  19. I came close (no pun intended) to an orgasm this one time with my ex boyfriend. But he climaxed first so it was over soon and I never really truly climaxed with him. My orgasms are pretty good when I’m masturbating. I just don’t do it with my hands or with the use of toys, I cross my legs while laying on the bed and just push my leg against the other so i get clitoral orgasms. it’s quite difficult for me to orgasm through penetration. specially when i haven’t had sex in a long time, it’s a bit painful when the guy slips in. then it just ruins it for me. he does however, climax quite easily. so i ended up faking it a lot.

    • finally someone with the same “problem”…. it just sucks cuz you’re all turned on and then he gets in, and that’s pretty much it…

      • it’s very frustrating because when he’s all done, he gets up and it’s all done. it happened to me once, i was on the verge of an orgasm, my very first through penetration and he cums, he gets up and then goes to sleep. there was this other time, he and i just got back from the bar, he’s had a few drinks. we are going at it and i’m violently horny. we take off all our clothes and i’m ready to get humping, but he’s down. he says he can’t get it up when he has alcohol in his system. it was incredibly frustrating. glad that’s over with now.

    • oh don’t ever fake it :( then he won’t know that you’re really missing out. you can’t really expect him to try harder if he thinks he’s pleasing you.

      If you feel that you could never come during sex, well, start making it you first. he always gets to come, why shouldn’t you? you just have to help show some guys what makes you feel good before they get the hang of it. but trust– by just giving up and faking it, you are selling yourselves short.

      oh and I didn’t have an orgasm for years and years and years during sex. but I finally figured out what worked for me (more or less, always when I’m on top). Since then, I pretty much come every single time I have sex.

      • thanks for the advice betty. i really need it. i know i have to be more assertive in bed. i’m missing out a lot.

        • don’t worry. it’s so common. and just because you haven’t had one during sex, doesn’t mean you won’t ever. I think a lot of it comes with growing to be more comfortable with your body. It helps let you enjoy what is going on. I really didn’t have an orgasm for like the first 6 or so years I was having sex. I think a lot of it for me was nervousness and body image. since you are able to have orgasms during masturbation, it seems like clitoral orgasms are the way to go.

          Being on top can help, because then the clit is getting a lot of friction that it wants! That’s how mine work. Or having one of you manually stimulate the clitoris during intercourse is helpful too. It might seem weird the first couple of times, and then it’s like, hell yeah! Why haven’t we been doing this the whole time?!

          I know it can seem daunting to be more vocal in bed, but I like to think of it this way- wouldn’t your boyfriend want you to be sexually pleasured as well? Trust me. Either they really want you to be sexually happy as well, or they don’t deserve to be having sex with you!

          I don’t think I’ve ever had a vaginal orgasm, but my clitoral ones are JUST GREAT! Most importantly- don’t worry about it. You’ll get there! :)

  20. I need to be relaxed, so no nerves, no nothing.
    I don’t enjoy oral and I’ve had nothing from penetration,
    hands are a rarity.

    Sometimes a girl just needs a little alone time to enjoy herself ;)
    But yeah, massaging etc seems to be the only.

    Then again, the only guys I’ve had are well-hung and thick, owwies.

  21. I dont enjoy oral many times either…however, if he uses his fingers at the same time (you know, gettin in) it does all the difference in the world and in the end I do come, it’s really good actually.

  22. Betty Dodson wrote two good book about this subject. Basically she said, it does not matter what type of orgasm you have, but that you are having them. Every one’s bodies are different; some people are easily pleasured, some are not. So when you start cuming, don’t try to put it into some kinda hierarchal level of awesomeness; it’s your orgasm, your way. Be proud!

  23. I’ve never had one. I’ve been sexually active since the beginning of this year. I’ve attempted to masturbate, but it just ends up with me being upset and miserable, because I can’t even seem to make myself lubricate. I’m terrified that I’ll never figure it out. I love my boyfriend, I’m very attracted to him, and I hate that I can’t seem to have that bonding experience. It’s just not fair.

    I was on anti-depressants since I was very young to about a few months ago. I can feel things more now, there’s more stimulation, but only rarely does it even feel like I’m building up to anything, and I lose that feeling very fast. I don’t really know what’s wrong with me or who to talk to.

  24. “I don’t really know what’s wrong with me or who to talk to.”
    Well to be clear the problem your having is very common and their is nothing wrong with you. I’m sure there they’re private web groups that talk about this sort of thing. You might try to seek one out.
    A female friend once mention in she read ‘special romance’ (the naughty kind) as a substitute for foreplay. You can probably find some online.
    Another thing people have tried is ohmibod instead of a normal vibrator. I never hear Americans talk about it, but I read about it in a tech mag a while ago. A woman combined an Ipod and a vibrator. Apparently it vibrates in rhythm with what ever track is playing on the ipod. Sounds sexy to me.
    “Men, in general, don’t have much a problem with orgasms… Hell, they have them in their sleep.”
    Hey, for some of us that is not as fun as it sounds. I thought I was dieing the first time that happened and the second time it manifested as a nightmare. It is not exciting for me…the whole male happy happy wet dream thing is way over exaggerated IMO.

  25. Yeah, it so odd. You would think ohmibod would have exploded from a financial point of view. Still be more social awkwardness for young women on the topic of masturbation then one might be lead to think is my guess. Most guys assume other guys masturbate, but women sometimes go into “eww mode” when they talk about female masturbation.

  26. Girls there is only one type of orgasm, even if you call it a g-spot/vaginal/clitoral orgasm….It’s all the same since the clitoris extends around the walls of the vagina so that any orgasm down there is triggered by stimulating the clitoris.

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