It is my firm belief that God intended sex in marriage to be a mutually fantastic experience on many levels, including physical. If that was His intent, then He certainly created us with all we need to make it happen. And yet, many women struggle with orgasm, at least sometimes or in some situations. In my mind this is not a design error, but a failure on our part to do what would work.
Lori has talked with many women about trouble with orgasm, I’ve talked to a number of men, and together we have discussed this with dozens of couples. In these discussions, we’ve seen several issues that set women up for orgasmic failure.
- “I’ve never had an orgasm – ever.” A small but significant number of women enter marriage never having had a waking orgasm. This is generally not from a lack of sex drive, but from a non-biblical teaching that it’s a horrible sin for a woman to masturbate. The vast majority of women have their first orgasm by masturbation, and those who haven’t experienced it this way find it difficult to get there with their husband.
- “It’s gross ‘down there’.“A surprising number of women have a very negative view of their sex organs, and by extension their sexuality. Some of this is the whole “sex is dirty” concept that won’t die. There are adult women out there who have never even seen their own vulva, and suggesting to these women they get a mirror look usually produces a look of horror. It’s difficult to enjoy an activity that involves a part of the body you’re trying to ignore!
- “I don’t look right.” Other women have found their bodies don’t match the one-size-fits-all female vulva popularised by porn. (Apparently many “porn stars” have had plastic surgery to make their vulva match this artificial standard.) If her sex organs are “wrong” in her eyes, that will negatively impact her desire and her ability to function. She will also be worried about what you think of her “deformed” parts , and worry kills a woman’s ability to enjoy sex.
- “It’s natural, so it should be easy. If I can’t do it, there must be something wrong with me.” I think what would be natural would be for a girl to explore her body as she grows up, gradually discovering the various sensations and pleasures her sex organs can produce until she inevitably stumbles on orgasm. This is the norm for the vast majority of guys but is less common among girls/women. The woman who enters marriage without years of gradual self learning about her sexuality is at a great disadvantage sexually.
- “God intended women (or people) to climax only during intercourse.” This can’t be found in scripture. I understand the way some get there, but having looked at it very closely I find their scriptural interpretation flawed. The reality is virtually no man makes it to marriage without having masturbated, and virtually no woman can have her first climax during intercourse. For many women it is absolutely necessary to first do it themselves, then experience it with their husband in some way other than intercourse, and then learn to enjoy it during intercourse. Based on emerging science on this, I would go so far as to say women were designed to need this multi-step approach.
- “God intended intercourse to be done with the man on top.” While very few people really feel this is a matter of God’s rules, some men and even more women don’t feel comfortable having sex any other way. Unfortunately, the missionary position makes it very difficult for women to climax. Some do, some might be able to, and some never will, no matter what. This human limitation on position is in conflict with God’s design for some women. It has been well know for centuries that women are far more able to climax when they’re on top. Both the way the genitals come together, and the woman’s ability to control tempo and movement makes this position far superior to any other for her pleasure. I’ve also been told that among the Jews of old, female on top was the norm – because a woman’s pleasure was of great impotence to the Jews.
- “I should be able to climax from intercourse alone.” While a many of women can learn to do this, some can’t, and others will find they can’t do it reliably. Given this, I see nothing wrong with one or the other of you giving her a hand during intercourse, or putting a small bullet or egg vibrator between your bodies.
- “Once he climaxes, it’s over.” Even if you’ve never said this, even if you don’t think it, the reality is this cultural message is alive and still causing damage. Aside from the obvious wrong of not doing something to get her to climax after you do, the fear and pressure of have having to climax before you or be left unfulfilled will hurt her ability to climax.
- “It’s okay, women don’t need to climax every time.” This is more or less true, for some women, sometimes. It does seem God made women able to become aroused enough for painless intercourse without being so aroused that lack of climax will frustrate her – but I see this as more of a design of grace for women with unloving or uncaring men. Many, but not all, women will have times when they want to have sex but don’t want to orgasm. However, that is her choice to make – and she should be free to change her mind at any point along the way. On the other hand, the biology says that sex without climax is actually worse for women than for men. Arousal causes “vasocongestion” or swelling from an increase in blood. In men this produces an erection, while in women it causes a less obvious but actually more significant swelling of both the external and internal sex organs. If a man doesn’t climax, he will lose his erection fairly quickly; if a woman doesn’t climax, it takes hours – or days – for her swelling to go away. This doesn’t cause any easily identifiable sensation, but it does have an impact that’s physical, mental, and emotional. Done repeatedly this interferes with her ability to want and enjoy sex.
- “God is punishing me for ______.” We hear this far more than you would expect – a woman attributing her sexual difficulties to God, who is punishing her for some past sexual sin. The wrong theology behind this goes beyond the scope of this tip, but once a woman sees her difficulty as something God has done to her she tends to give up.
You will have seen some ways to help your bride in what I’ve said above. Tomorrow I will clarify and add to what you can do to help her be able to climax reliably when she so desires.