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‘I’m a 31-year-old woman and I have never orgasmed with a partner’

Roe McDermott: 80% of women cannot orgasm from penetrative sex alone

Dear Roe,
I’m a 31-year-old woman and I have never orgasmed with a partner. I was late to the game aged 24 when I lost my virginity. I can orgasm myself without difficulty.

I am with my boyfriend now more than two years, I love him and hope to be with him in the long run. I have told him about my predicament and have showed him the area where it feels good for him to touch during foreplay, and this has helped my pleasure, but I don't fully get the release. We have tried oral sex but again it never works fully and I find pressure of a hand more satisfying.

It’s really bothering me as I am beginning to think it’s never going to happen for me, and I’m anxious about it. I have never used a sex toy and wonder would this help? Any advice appreciated.

Let my oft-repeated refrain ring out across the land: 80 per cent of women will never experience orgasm during penetrative sex, and need clitoral stimulation. You have already figured this out, and can orgasm on your own, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you.


It’s clear either you and/or your boyfriend aren’t great at giving or following instructions in terms of how you like to be touched and how he can bring you to orgasm in the way you do yourself. You may have also built up some pressure anxiety around sex and having an orgasm so that when you’re with your boyfriend, you feel under such pressure that you’re psyching yourself out.


For a while, let him know you’ll be bringing yourself to orgasm during sex. Touch yourself while you’re having sex or as he’s kissing you or performing oral sex – or let him watch you touch yourself. Do this a few times so that it becomes part of your routine, and the pressure of whether you will orgasm or whether he will get you there is off. Then, if he wants to try again, great.

Also: yes, absolutely buy yourselves some sex toys – to use together and on your own. Treat yourself.

Dear Roe,

If your boyfriend terminates the relationship because you don’t do pre-marital sex, will he re-establish the relationship?

I do not know if he will re-establish the relationship. However, if he tries to get back together, you need to have some very serious, realistic and practical conversations about your attitudes towards sex. If you don’t want to have sex before marriage, you need to be explicit about what that means: no sexual contact at all? Some sexual activity but not penetrative sex? And when do both of you see yourselves being ready for marriage?

These questions need to be answered so it’s clear whether this man is fully on board with and respectful of your boundaries. If he isn’t, don’t get back together. He’s allowed to want to have sex before marriage, you’re allowed not to, and you’d both be happier with people who share the same value system.

Dear Roe, 
I am in a loving, happy and supportive relationship of nearly a year. If I was to list everything I am looking for in a partner, he is it. The one concern I have is chemical; sometimes the pheromones of a partner are intoxicating but I am not picking up on any in this relationship. It doesn’t affect negatively in any way whatsoever, it is not a problem.

I have read before that we are attracted to the pheromones of those with strong immunity or genetic make-up that will complement our own. Should I be concerned if my partner’s pheromones are not right for me, or am I just getting fixated on a notion?

You're in a loving, happy, supportive relationship and are complaining about a man's pheromones. Notions, indeed. Are you physically and emotionally attracted to your partner? If so, you have no problem. Take a break from your Science Magazine subscription, buy him a cologne you love in the sales, and drive yourself wild sniffing him to your heart's content.

Dear Roe,
My partner goes away to camp, so he's 10 days out and 10 days at home. He feels that we should have sex every day he's home. I'm guilty as of late I have not initiated sex but I still cuddle, kiss, hold his hand, tell him I love him, and how cute he is. He says that if you have a man worth keeping you will have sex with him until the cows come home. I love him so much. And I'm doing the best I can to please him, but if I don't want sex one day, he gets pouty and upset that my sex drive isn't high enough for him. After five days in a row I sometimes become sore and tired, because I still work while he has days off and I cook and clean and have to taxi my child to and from work and hockey. It's not that I don't want to. I'm tired. I don't think this is a reason to break up. Help me please.

You’re right, you being tired occasionally, or refusing sex is not a reason to break up. Your boyfriend’s selfishness, immaturity, and his attempts to bully and coerce you into sex are absolutely all reasons to break up. You are loving, and committed, and affectionate. He is an abusive person. Dump him. Immediately.

Dear Roe,
My boyfriend and I are in relationship for more than one year and we meet up for sex only. He doesn't make any effort to meet me, call me and text me. I always take the initiative. When I ask him for commitment he says we are not in that age group. Maybe he is not sure. What should I do?

This man isn’t acting like your boyfriend, he’s acting like a horrible person who is using you for sex and hurting you. Believe that you deserve so much better, and never accept this type of horrible treatment again. Dump him. Immediately.

Dear Roe,
I got invited to a wedding in July but the GAA haven't confirmed dates for the championship yet. I am from a county that most likely will still be playing in July. If possible I'd like to go to both but I can see this turning into an issue. The wedding will be on the far side of England in Yorkshire.

To the person dating this letter writer and looking forward to enjoying the wedding of a friend/relative together but is now facing the prospect of them disappearing last minute to attend a match that will be televised, easily recorded and live-tweeted about if they’re so desperate to know the progress in real time: if these priorities make sense to you, this GAA lover better worship the ground you walk on. Because I know what I’d be doing. Immediately.