Trouble in the bedroom? Sexologist Jacqueline Hellyer explains why we all need to forget about the \'performance model\' of sex.
I\'ve been seeing my new partner for six months. We’re really well suited, both in and out of the bedroom, but there’s something that’s been troubling me — he doesn’t climax when I go down on him. I’m 32 and haven’t encountered this before in my previous relationships. He says he loves what I do, but I’m starting to get a complex about it. Should I be worried?
Let’s say no to the performance model of sex! It isn’t about hitting a KPI (key performance indicator), where sex has to ‘achieve’ orgasm and leaves you feeling like you’ve failed or not performed up to standard if that orgasm isn’t reached.
The question you’ve asked is based on the assumption that your partner ‘should’ ejaculate and that you ‘should’ give him that ejaculation. Yet he says he’s loving it. So the problem here is actually your expectation of what should happen rather than the enjoyment of the experience.
That said, the first thing I’d say to you is: ditch the complex, because he’s told you he’s loving it. What more could you want?
Although the performance approach may be appropriate in the workplace where there are quotas, deadlines and outcomes to be met, you don’t need to take that focus on performance into your bedroom — especially with all the pressure and expectation that already accompanies sex. Where’s the fun in that?
Of the countless clients I see with sexual ‘dysfunctions’, the bulk of them are actually perfectly fine — it’s the model they’re trying to operate within that’s the problem. I may be a one-woman campaigner here, but hello world, it’s the model of sex that’s dysfunctional, not the people.
It’s not surprising, really. We had thousands of years of sexual suppression. In that time, we brought up our girls to know nothing about their sexuality (even today most girls grow up knowing very little — did your mother talk to you about your clitoris, for example?), and all the boys knew was masturbation. So, with no other information, when they got married, the husband would continue to masturbate instead of having sex. Think about it — masturbation has three parts to it: first you have to be horny, then the main focus is the genital friction (anything else is just foreplay) and it finishes with him ejaculating. When the sexual revolution happened in the 1960s and ’70s, the only model of sex we had was this one, which seems to have stuck.
But if we throw away that model that says ejaculation should be the end goal, then we can really start to embrace a model of partnered sex that focuses on pleasure, intimacy, connection and fun. Sex is about two people coming together and having a co-created experience. It’s not two people coming together and getting each other off. Sure, orgasms are great, but they’re an outcome of sex, not the point of it.
If you’re feeling bad because of the pressure you’re putting on yourself to give him an orgasm, you’re also putting pressure on him to climax — and if there’s one thing that gets in the way of that, it’s the pressure to orgasm. If he knows that you’re frustrated with his lack of orgasm, it’s going to put him under even more pressure, and that will only make his orgasm even more unlikely.
So relax. If you’re enjoying giving him oral, and he’s enjoying receiving it, then that’s pleasure, that’s connection and that’s what partnered sex is all about.
And with this approach (focusing on the experience not the outcome), you’re actually going to be more likely to have orgasms be part of that overall experience.
No pressure, though!