“How do you do that?” he asked. He was wearing a curiously mixed expression. A tad fascinated, a little perplexed, and perhaps a twinge of envy.
“I allow myself,” I replied breathily.
Moments prior, I’d had a succession of orgasms through manual stimulation, which he graciously helped to facilitate. Some were intense, others not so much. They overlapped, one after the other. A flurry of sensation washing over me from head to foot. He raised his eyebrows in awe with each arrival. It was quite a pleasurable experience — for both of us.
I was not born multiorgasmic
There was a time when I struggled to have a single orgasm if any. Early in my sex life, I knew how to please myself, but I had no concept of pleasure. Which made it nearly impossible to experience with a partner.
I had not great sex for years. At the time, I blamed it on being with inexperienced partners. I’d prattle on about their lack of sexual skill. But the truth is, I was having lousy sex because I didn’t know what I wanted.
The orgasms I experienced during masturbation came fast and hard. Quite honestly, they were unsatisfying. Disappointment would flood over me as soon as I came. Sometimes I wasn’t sure if I felt worse pre or post-orgasm.
My technique was hurried. My body was always tense. I didn’t know how to relax. Firmly rubbing my clit was my go-to move, performed with zero finesse. Definitely, a case of orgasm being a response to stimulation and not pleasure.
Whenever I was with a partner, I’d get stuck in my head — trying to think, instead of feeling, my way to orgasm, which worked .001% of the time. When orgasm didn’t happen, I’d fake it because I thought I was supposed to.
Claiming my pleasure
Everything changed once I took responsibility for my pleasure. There was no defining moment of clarity. No known aha. Maybe I read or saw something that shook me awake. Or not. All I know is on a day that I cannot recall I arrived at the awareness that I needed to own my orgasm.
I opted out of the “worry about my partner’s pleasure” model. I made the unconsciously conscious decision to prioritize my pleasure — for me.
I began by scheduling masturbation dates with myself. Which didn’t feel revolutionary, but I guess it kind of was.
On days off, when I was home alone, I would build my entire day around self-pleasure. This helped me to get out of my head and into my body. To recognize the sensations that my body liked best. I resisted the urge to rush, which allowed my arousal to accumulate, creating the most delicious tension.
Sometimes I’d read erotica to help my body come online. Other times I’d draw myself a bath and allow the water to penetrate me through every orifice. I made every encounter sensual. Touching and stroking my skin and breathing into the experience. And most importantly, taking my time. I refused to allow myself to rush.
Adding a partner to the mix
The more intimate I became with myself, the easier it was for me to connect with someone else. But I still had to resist the urge to climb inside my head. “Less thought more feeling,” became my mantra.
The time I spent getting better acquainted with myself gave me clarity. I now knew what I liked and how I liked it. That meant that I could tell my partner exactly what I wanted.
I’d discovered that I require a smooth touch. That my body needs to ease into things to warm up. And that it takes approximately 10–15 minutes for me to reach peak arousal. Which means that it’s best not to be penetrated before then. I enjoy languid licks and zephyr-like kisses. Eye contact warms my skin. Holding hands makes me more comfortable.
I have the strongest orgasms through penetration when I’m on top. I have an affinity for all five digits. A shift in temperature makes my skin prickle, which heightens my turn on. I am very responsive to auditory sensation, so whispering in my ear is an advantage. And my appetite is pretty close to insatiable.
It’s not someone else’s job to please me
When I’m present, it’s nearly impossible to have bad sex. Even if the other person has terrible technique, I can tell them where and how to touch me. Granted, I may not have an orgasm, but I will experience some level of pleasure. But if the person has a good set of listening ears — then I can have at least one orgasm.
Yet and still, it’s not their job to give me an orgasm. Someone else can’t make me cum. What they can do is assist me in the process of allowing my orgasm to arrive.
Your pleasure is your responsibility too
It’s up to you to discover what you like. Because when you know what you want, then you can ask for it.
There may be things that you need to experience pleasure. You need to be able to name those things, using language that your partner can easily understand (body language counts).
Sometimes you will need to make mental and physical space for pleasure to be possible. If there is anything you need to release or discard to make room for good sex — do it. Get your Marie Kondo on if you have to. Clear up anything that might get in the way of you having a good time.
Are there certain comforts that make sensual gratification more likely for you?
Cold feet can inhibit orgasm, so rock those socks if you must. If you find that you do better in cooler temps, turn down the thermostat. Maybe you need your hips to be at a certain angle; if so, grab a pillow. If having your nipples pinched gets you off — have at it!
The point I’m making is these are things you should know about yourself. The more you know about you, the better your sex life will be. Because when you take responsibility for your pleasure, bad sex is optional. 😉
If you liked this article, you might also enjoy:
How to Tell if They’ll Be Good in Bed
You do not need to go all the way to find out what kind of lover someone will be.
Stacey Herrera is a relationship-ing practitioner, jalapeño junkie, and chronic library fine payer. She’s also an Intimacy + REALationship coach residing in the Port of Los Angeles. Sign-up to her newsletter for updates.