Sex isn’t rocket science, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t done your research. You’re a great kisser, you spend hours on foreplay, and you know your way around the clitoris—so why is she still leaving the bedroom unsatisfied? (P.S. if you think she is satisfied, you may be wrong. Just take it from these 20 women we asked about fake orgasms.)
So, we went to the experts to find out what could be preventing her from the elusive female orgasm. Turns out it could be your fault—but it could also be hers.
You’re not spending enough time on foreplay
Good news: Studies have shown that men and women take roughly the same amount of time to become sexually aroused. Bad news: That amount of time is approximately 10 minutes, which means your five-minute foreplay attempt is, well, not enough. She can’t orgasm unless she’s fully aroused, so use these tips to up your game.
You’re making love to her mind…not her body
Mental stimulation is definitely a thing, but kissing her will get you there faster. The reason: Research shows your saliva has testosterone in it, which you transfer to her through kissing. “Testosterone is the sex hormone, so kissing actually triggers her sex drive,” says sex and relationships expert Kat Van Kirk, author of The Married Sex Solution: A Realistic Guide to Saving Your Sex Life.
You can’t take your eyes off the prize
Her clitoris is where it’s at—many women can only orgasm through clitoral stimulation—but you still need to be delicate. “Direct, intense stimulation of the clitoris is usually just painful,” Van Kirk says. “Indirect stimulation is much more pleasurable, because the clitoris is more than just the exposed nub you see—it’s wishbone-shaped, and it curves around that entire area.”
You watch too much porn
You don’t have to be addicted to porn for it to adversely affect your sex life. Porn is designed to look good—not feel good—so if you’re taking sex position cues from videos you see on the Internet…don’t. Porn positions usually focus on making her body the star, which may make her feel insecure. “If she feels exposed, she might engage in ‘spectatoring,’ a process in which she sees herself through the eyes of a spectator,” Van Kirk explains. “Needless to say, it’s difficult to orgasm when you feel like you’re being watched and judged.”
She’s mad at you
Is she holding a grudge, even a small one? If so, her inability to reach orgasm may be in her head, says psychologist and relationship expert Tracy Thomas, Ph.D. “As physical as sex is, a lot of getting to orgasm is about how ‘into’ it she is,” Thomas explains. “If she’s holding onto something in her mind, she won’t be able to let go enough to reach climax.”
She doesn’t know what she wants
“The first rule of sex is that everybody is responsible for their own pleasure,” Van Kirk says. In other words, you may not be able to get her off because you have no idea what she wants—either because she hasn’t told you, or because she doesn’t know what she wants. If it’s the former, it’s time to sit down and have a good long talk about what does and doesn’t turn her on. If it’s the latter, maybe it’s time to do some exploring…
…Or you’re just not following directions
“Generally, we give love in the way we want to receive it,” Thomas says. “If she kisses your neck and lays long sensual kisses on you, that’s probably what’s going to help take her there mentally. Follow her lead.”
She needs an emotional connection
All sexual positions are not created equal, especially when it comes to emotional intimacy. “Doggy-style is great for a rough romp, but it’s not particularly intimate,” Thomas explains. “She might just need more of an emotional connection to connect into the moment mentally.” The best positions for this kind of connection are ones where she can see your face—such as missionary or woman-on-top.
She’s stressed out
This may not be your fault—not even indirectly—at all. “Stress is a huge factor,” Van Kirk says. “If she can’t manage it, she probably can’t orgasm.” In other words, she could be stressed out about any number of things (such as work or friends) that have nothing to do with you, and that could be affecting her sex drive and ability to orgasm.
She’s worried about getting pregnant
For many women, the thought of an unplanned pregnancy is terrifying—so much so that it could affect her ability to orgasm. The fix? Practice safe sex and have the discussion about what you’ll do if she does get pregnant, Van Kirk suggests. “She may still be nervous, but she’ll feel much better if she knows you’re both on the same page.”