This week’s dilemmas: scandalous emails and dissatisfaction


This column is all about you and we want to hear more. Send me your sex, relationship and work dilemmas and get sound advice from our experts.

Email your questions to or contact Kate on Twitter @kateholmquist.

This week: orgasms and scandalous emails

Q I’m in my 20s and a man has never made me have an orgasm. I have no problem climaxing on my own. I think men expect me to climax as quickly as they do, and when I don’t, it’s as if it’s too much hassle to even try. Every sexual partner I’ve had – either in a relationship or just casual sex – has been the same in this regard. I’ve tried talking about it, using lubricants
and nothing has improved. It’s getting embarrassing and stressful at this stage.

A You’re not alone in your frustration – 30 per cent has never reached orgasm at all and 70 per cent never during penetration. Sex is a complex emotional experience for women and we need to fully trust our lovers in order to let go. You seem to feel under pressure to keep up with the men, but sex isn’t a performance race and I’m sorry that you have been made to feel that way.

“A common block to reaching orgasm is what we call ‘spectatoring’. Essentially, this means becoming somewhat detached from the pleasure of arousal, and not staying ‘in the moment’,” says psychotherapist Teresa Bergin.

“For some women, this can be because they become distracted easily, are caught up in thoughts of other things to be done, or worry about how their bodies look. This results in anxiety and impatience, and indeed this woman seems to be experiencing just that as she tries hard to match what she perceives to be her partner’s expectations of her, and replicate his ability to reach orgasm with apparent speed and ease.”

Male and female bodies respond differently in arousal and, as you have learned, it can often take women longer to reach orgasm than men. “It is important that sex is a shared pleasurable experience involving give and take. Once this woman starts to think excessively about what is happening or worries that it is not progressing quickly enough, the orgasm will become frustratingly elusive. Improved arousal and possible orgasm are more likely if she allows herself to relax and become carried away with physical pleasure without analysing it,” Bergin advises.

You know what works for you when you are on your own, so tell your partner “very clearly what works and how”, and encourage him to keep going.

“If a couple can cooperate and take the time to practise patiently, sex can often become more satisfying and result in orgasm,” she suggests.

Regarding sex during penetration, “experimenting with position can feel awkward at first but will get easier with practise and could really improve her experience,” says Bergin.

You deserve a patient and caring lover who keeps pace with you, rather than you feeling you must keep pace with him. It’s not a science project though, you need to feel comfortable enough, which may mean loved enough, to ask for what gives you pleasure and receive it.

Email your questions to or contact Kate on Twitter @kateholmquist. Selected entries will be published on an anonymous basis only. We regret that personal correspondence cannot be entered into

Q I was sent an absolutely scandalous email from an acquaintance concerning a friend and their personal behaviour. My first thought was, does my friend know what is being said about them? This could affect their career, so they should really know what is being said so they can go to the sender of the email and insist that it stop. If the information were to get around, it would likely be of interest to the news media.

If it were me, I would want to know, but now I am worried that if I do alert my acquaintance, I could be called as a witness in a court case against the sender of the email or worse.

A Legally, you have been put in an “invidious position” by your muck-raking acquaintance, according to a leading barrister specialising in defamation who read your question. If the allegations are true, then there’s no defamation. If not, the extent of the defamation relies on how many people have received this email and whether it goes viral.

“You would be best advised to go to the person that sent the email, saying ‘you have sent something scandalous and potentially defamatory. I’m marking your card not to send it to anyone else’,” says the barrister.

As you suspect, emails to a third party are considered to be published information and are thus actionable, just as a newspaper article would be if unsubstantiated content was defamatory.

If the email was sent only to you, the danger is minimal. Delete it and do not pass it on, as you could then be at risk of publishing and therefore defamation action yourself. If you were to tell the subject of the scandalous email and he or she was to take a case, you could indeed be compelled to testify. But if the email has not been sent to anyone but you, it is unlikely that the subject would take legal action because to do so would be attracting far wider attention to this scurrilous email.

That brings us back to the moral question. You say that if it were you that was the subject of the gossip, you would want to be told. So there’s your answer. Be as honest with your friend as you would want your friend to be with you. Whether the email is in a work or social context, your friend can decide what action to take.

Email your questions to or contact Kate on Twitter @kateholmquist. Selected entries will be published on an anonymous basis only. We regret that personal correspondence cannot be entered into

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