Unmet Expectations: Orgasmic Conflict

Man” *thinking to himself* “We’ve been at this for a long time.  She seems to be enjoying it.  Maybe this is going to be the night!”

Woman *thinking to herself* “This is ridiculous.  I can’t keep stringing him along forever.”

Woman: “Oooooohhhhh!”

Man:  *thinking to himself* “I knew it!  This is it!”

Man: “That’s it, my love.  Let it out!”

Woman: “Sorry, dear.  Not happening.  Again.”

Man and Woman: *sigh*



This word can only be defined in one way – the epitome of a satisfying sexual encounter.

The unfortunate reality, however, is that many women struggle to achieve orgasm regularly.  Her failure to orgasm often leaves both the man and the woman feeling cheated, frustrated and dissatisfied.  A man feels less like a man if he isn’t able to please his wife.  A woman feels like she isn’t ‘normal’ because she can’t seem to climax through penetration alone.

Her inability to orgasm shouldn’t hinder their relationship or cause contention in their marriage.  But is happens.  Give it enough time, and this situation may lead to a type of performance anxiety for both the husband and wife.

A husband may begin to over-perform, continually looking for a way to evoke rapturous shouts of ecstasy.  Temptation to bring out the ‘big guns’ – touching, massaging, even kissing or licking every piece of her flesh in sight – reveals his desire to please his wife, but his overzealous desire often turns a time of close intimacy into a moment of disaster.  His heart is in the right place, but his moves turn to a missed opportunity.  Connection turns to contention.  After enough of these experiences, a man who feels he is unable to please his wife may begin to doubt himself, or even worse, spite his wife.  “Her inability to climax must be a sign that she isn’t as ‘into me’ as I believed,” he thinks to himself.  Over-performance turns to under-performance.  Why bother, right?

Meanwhile, a wife may believe her inability to ‘perform’ proves there is something wrong with her.  After not experiencing sexual release, she may begin to avoid sex altogether. While she considers taking opportunities to be a willing and even enthusiastic participant, her husband’s continual breathing down her neck about why she hasn’t “had one yet” turns her off.  No matter how many times she tells her husband that orgasm isn’t necessary for her to enjoy their lovemaking, he cannot be dissuaded from his quest. Feelings of inadequacy, hurt and resentment invade what should be a wonderfully bonding experience.

When a husband and a wife are dealing with unmet expectations regarding orgasm regularity, tension builds, sexual satisfaction wanes and intimacy erodes.  It affects not only their sex lives, but every other aspect of their marriage as well.  But orgasmic conflict does not need to hinder the sexual experience.  Positive changes can occur when a couple broadens their definitions of a satisfying sexual encounter.

It’s essential for a couple with these struggles to understand that great sex is not simply an orgasmic experience, it’s an emotional and spiritual experience as well.  Sex is designed to bond, connect and cement a couple together.  Don’t get us wrong, orgasm is great.  But, bodies, souls and minds becoming one flesh in a moment of affection, closeness and partnership is better.  Learning to truly understand sex, building marital friendship and working towards common goals will benefit the entire marriage and enhance the sexual relationship.

Once a couple with these struggles begins to understand sex, their expectations will change.  Contention will return to connection.  Their desire to better ‘know’ one another is what begins to drive them.  His desire is for her, not for her orgasm.  Her desire is for him, not his ability to please her.  So, lest you think that orgasm can never be a goal, here are a few things to keep in mind.


Don’t pressure her!  Understand that the more pressure she feels to ‘perform’ the less likely she is to enjoy the moment and feel freedom to try other pleasures.  Understand that there are many women do not orgasm through intercourse alone.  They need direct clitoral stimulation.  Try different positions, use your fingers and take your time to figure out what feels most pleasurable to her.  Help her to understand you are willing to do what it takes to help her climax, but also understand that there may be times when she just doesn’t want to.  She’s perfectly content availing herself to you, still giving you opportunities to know her in the most intimate ways.  Though it may be difficult for you to fully comprehend at first, her satisfaction can be complete without orgasm.


There is nothing wrong with you!  You are not alone if you don’t easily achieve orgasm every time.  Many women don’t.   Feeling isolated and abnormal will only increase your anxiety rather than help you understand what is really going on.  Take some time to familiarize yourself with female anatomy and the physical realities of your body. Intercourse often does not provide the clitoral stimulation necessary for orgasm.  That simple fact may open your eyes (and your husband’s) to a completely different understanding of  how your love life could be better.

Take opportunities to communicate with your husband that when you feel pressured to orgasm, you lose the sense of intimacy (or as others call it, “into me see”). Let him know if you want to keep trying but also help him to know that there are times when you are ‘all in’ for his pleasure alone.  Learn what arouses, excites and send you over the edge, but reassure your man that if you choose not to orgasm it has nothing to do with his ability or prowess.


Remember that sex isn’t about your spouse being ‘into you’.  It’s about both of you being ‘into us’.  It’s about connection.  As such, your time together will create a deep bond.  A bond of love.  Friendship.  Dependency.  Intimacy.  It’s a bond that should not be broken.  Could not be broken.  Will not be broken.


This is part 3 in a series on Unmet Expectations.  Other posts may be found here:

Unmet Expectations: Introduction

Unmet Expectations: Rewriting Your Story

Unmet Expectations: Orgasmic Conflict

Unmet Expectations: Better Than The Best

Unmet Expectations: Guilt vs. Shame

Unmet Expectations: Quality Time

Unmet Expectations: Holidays & Family Time

Unmet Expectations: Friends Outside of Marriage


10 thoughts on “Unmet Expectations: Orgasmic Conflict

  1. Thank you so much for this post. My wife often tells me that she has enjoyed our love making even when she does not orgasm. Now I know that I should not worry about it. As you say love making is all about connection, physically emotionally and spiritually. Since I am really striving to love my wife as commanded in Eph 5:25-33 I realise just what a treasure I have in her and my love is deepening almost daily.

  2. This might work for a couple who were both virgins on their wedding night. But for a man who had some previous experience with a woman who did enjoy her orgasms, to be married to a woman who claims to never need an orgasm is pretty much emasculating

    • I can certainly see where you are coming from. We are addressing how past sexual experiences impact our marriages in a future post in this series. Sometimes it is through comparison and sometimes it is through guilt/shame. If any of these things are factors in a marriage (on either side) it can cause some serious problems. Open communication is the must in all situations regarding expectations.


  3. What about when the wife climaxes before (and many times) and the husband isn’t able to climax? He says that he thoroughly enjoys it and he can’t understand why he isn’t climaxing, but it makes me feel like I’m not doing my job as a wife. This has only become a problem in the past year and we’ve been married for a number of years.

    • Thanks for the comment, m

      It’s difficult to answer this question with certainty without additional information. Our advice would be for him to meet with his physician and/or a good Christian counselor. These conditions are often either physical or emotional, and a physician and/or counselor will likely be of great assistance. (Generally speaking, depending on the age of the men who wrestle through these types of situations, our professional counselor friends usually recommend a good physical checkup first.)

      With that said, you shouldn’t come down too hard on yourself, especially if you’ve been married a long time and this has only began happening recently. Lovingly work with your husband through the situation, and encourage him to get help from a professional. There’s no shame in this type of situation, and you can both work on it together.

    • He is telling you the truth in all likelihood, especially if he is 45 or older. The response of the equipment changes in both men and women. Oh, if I had known this cruel truth 40 years ago. I would have made better use of so many opportunites.
      He may have some very real physical issues, vascular or nerves, that prevent or affect the quality of his erection. If he is older, he very likely requires a greater and more constant amount of contact stimulation of his penis by you. His erection will likely falter without it. You can frequently restimulate him to a usable firmness, but sometimes not. Sometimes, he may refirm, so to speak, but an orgasm, ejaculation, or both may evade him. And I know the next comment will evoke an “Of course, what else did you expect him to say,” response from most of the women readers, but, in my personal experience, I find the application of oral sex to be the most effective stimulation when all else is failing. This is also supported in some of the clinical and relatioship literature I have read. I personally feel it is because of the sheer number, various types, and quality of stimulation that can take place simutaneously involving suction, the mouth, tongue, lips, hands and fingers. I really don’t mean to sound crass. I just want to present an accurate case for this position with evidence to support it. It isn’t coming from the place of , “Well all men always want that and this is as good an excuse as any to pressure a wife into doing it all the time.” It truly is that effective a tool to help your older husband, or maybe even one with nerve sensitivity issues to maintain an erection and achieve an orgasm and perhaps even ejaculation. Yes, it is possible to only achieve orgasm as a man. Not quite as much satisfication, but it sure beats the alternative. Please give this serious consideration. He should see a physician and you may need to rethink how you can more effectively pleasure him to maintain a high quality sex life. From the nature of your post, this may be the one area where you can make a difference, but that doesn’t mean his inability to climax is because of someting you are doing wrong or that he lacks adequate desire for you. It sounds very much like a physical problem that is very treatable. And when he says he is still enjoying your time together it is because he enjoys feeling and seeing you orgasm. He also feels some source of pride in his continuing capabiity to satify you as a lover, even though he is experiencing problem of his own. Don’t think for a minute that you should withdraw so he doesn’t feel sexually inadequate. If you not allow him to sexually satify you in the way that still works for him, you will diminish him as a man. If he is having erection problems, praise his fantastic oral skills and beg him to never stop what he is doing and the way he is doing it. I can also tell you, there is very much sensual pleasure for him, and yes even you, when you take even his flaccid penis in your mouth and find joy in the act. He will not be worrying about whether or not it becomes erect, especially if you can tell him how turned on you are by the difference having never felt anything like it before. I assure you he will be pleased and you will become confident and assured of your active and efffective place in your shared sexual relationship. God bless you both, and you for being so concerned about him. I have the feeling he loves you dearly as he refuses to allow you saddle yourself with this issue. He knows you are not the problem and will not let you blame yourself.

  4. For the first few years of our marriage my wife gave me sex where I orgasmed but she did not. I went in quick and came quickly. There was not much foreplay and certainly no time for her to really get aroused. The relationship plateaued where she obviously did not enjoy sex but would acquiesce to my demands for sex but it left me feeling empty and a bit down actually.

    We went to marriage counselling and although sex was not discussed with the counsellor what we did learn to do was to communicate. So she learned how I would feel turned on and then come down and feel actually mildly depressed after these sexual encounters and I learned how she felt obligated to let me use her and had long ago given up any ideas of enjoying sex.

    We decided on a moratorium. No sex. Kind of like when we were going out. Now let me tell you that was hard very hard as my body had become used to frequent release. I started to masturbate but found that after that I felt down as well and I guess because we were beginning to communicate so much more we agreed that I should not masturbate either.

    One thing led to another and we reconnected. We did a lot more hugging, kissing and simple holding hands. We set up some rules like the no masturbating one for me and also no groping and pushing her for sex.

    One day she said she was aroused. She said she was feeling something she had not felt for a long time. To cut a long story short without the pressure to have sex that gave her space to get aroused.

    We finally settled on a formula. Its pretty unusual but it works for us. No pushing and groping or masturbation for me. Only sex when she wants it and that really keeps me focussed on making her happy then we do one other really weird thing. Could only happen in the bed room. We have a rule that she must have one orgasm first before I get to cum. That may be by me touching her ever so gently or by me being insider her and having to hold off cumming. Weird hey. But it works. She gets to cum once and of course the huge long foreplay lead up for me makes for a really huge exciting orgasm when its my turn and also because I stay hard after her first orgasm, she gets to orgasm often a second time and she says she really likes us to cum together.

    So that was what ended up working for us.

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