When Should Sex Really End?

He ejaculates, rolls off you and says it was great and now he’s tired. ‘Is that really it?’ you think.

Photo by Yohann LIBOT on Unsplash

There is this idea of sex ending with penis-in-vagina and the owner of the penis’ ejaculation, which also, if you think about it, takes away from the LGBT+ narratives of what constitutes as sex. Foreplay is usually seen as the precursory act leading to actual sex, when it should actually be the main event, instead of penetration. Constantly perpetuating the idea of penetrative sex as being the end goal is a problem (since sometimes, you just don’t want to have a penis in you and a lot of people aren’t straight), making it out to be the default for sex every time.

Having sex, as a woman with a man, means experiencing that feeling of disappointment after that dick appointment, at least once. It goes like this: the sex ends with you staring at the ceiling, dismayed and unsatisfied, thinking ‘is this really it?’ Far too often, we women are expected to live with the unsatisfactory sex life — after all, we’re taught only the man matters. Only 61.6% of women in heterosexual relationships orgasm, a rather sad statistic.

Something I’ve noticed a lot is how men are able to brush off their partner not reaching orgasm during sex, whereas women are inundated with guilt and thinking it was cruel of them not to have let him cum if it was the other way around. It’s what society as a whole has ingrained in us: sex isn’t for our pleasure, but for his — if we enjoy sex, we’re seen as sluts, but the same can’t be said for the man.

My friends and I have discussed this feeling of disappointment after sex a lot. When a man finishes before we are able to climax, and the sex ends there, it’s like being slapped in the face and not knowing what to really do. But you end up forcing a smile on your face, saying “yeah it was great,” when he asks how it was for you. Having struggled with reaching orgasms during sex before, I know how frustrating it is to just lie there and wonder if this is what people go absolutely bananas over — was sex really even that great? I didn’t even get anything out of it. Thankfully this all changed when I met J, who makes sure to make it good for me and we’re able to communicate about it, without either of us holding anything back when it comes to sex and foreplay.

There are a number of articles online, a running joke in entertainment, about the disappointment many women feel after sex, left unsatisfied and lonely after the encounter. It’s a known fact women need more to become aroused and have an orgasm — common breeze doesn’t turn women on. The important thing to do, when feeling this way, is to talk to him about it in the moment — but this can lead to the added pressure of him touching you with the expectation of orgasm, putting you in an awkward position, because it may feel like he’s just doing it to get it over with. This is where it’s important for the man to actually take notice of how you feel instead of just rolling off you in bed and giving into that post-orgasm glow and tiredness; rather, he should be doing something like fingering you or going down on you. After all, sex isn’t just about him.

Just because the man orgasms, it doesn’t mean the sexual desire you’re feeling is over.

The art of communicating with your partner is essential. If he’s a good guy, he’d be willing to learn how to make you feel good and want to satisfy you. Orgasming, however, isn’t the end to sex, and whilst we’ve been raised to believe penis-in-vagina is the Main Event, it definitely isn’t. Sex is about having fun with your partner, about that connection and intimacy and desire for one another. The important thing is making sure both parties feel respected and are having fun, irrespective of whether it leads to an orgasm or not. Sex isn’t entirely about reaching that climax, but about being connected to one another in an intimate way. Of course, it is great to cum, it’s an added bonus during the whole shag, but it doesn’t equate to amazing sex, nor diminish that closeness.

There’s an expectation of what sex really is, a tally of orgasms and penetration. Sex is an intimate experience, full of emotions, with your partner, but that expectation of what it is reduces it to something to tick off on your list of things to be done for the day. Ultimately, it shouldn’t end after penetration and care should be taken after to ensure the woman is satisfied, whether it comes from penis-in-vagina or not. But when the woman doesn’t want to, is exhausted, then it’s okay to do Other Things instead of inserting a dick inside. Sex isn’t defined by what goes in where, but rather the intimacy between the two parties, and definitely doesn’t end at his orgasm. Blogger, Coffee and Kink, writes: “The implication here is that only heterosexual, cisgender people have Real Sex (TM) and everything else is ‘merely’ foreplay. That’s why I want to kill the idea of foreplay forever. It places PIV as the pinnacle of sexual experience and everything else as something lesser, something not quite real, something before. There is no such thing as this thing called ‘foreplay,’ because there are a million things under this amazing, huge umbrella that we call ‘sex.’”

I personally agree with what Coffee and Kink wrote, and think sex goes so far beyond our perceived understanding of it and is more than just penis-in-vagina. But when feeling unsatisfied and still horny, it is absolutely essential to bring this up with your partner, if not at that time, then at some point. The best time to have an important discussion, such as this, is when neither of you are hungry or tired, or snappy, nor do you have any distractions around. The way it’s communicated is also so important. The key of any successful communicating is in a positive, and also helpful way.

It’ll only make the relationship — and the sex — better.



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Sumaiya Ahmed

Sumaiya Ahmed


Sumaiya Ahmed is a freelance journalist and contemporary romance author, specialising in sex & relationships, PCOS, and mental health. ko-fi.com/sumaiyaahmed