Sex & Relationships

Ask Joan: No Orgasms with Partner

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A member writes:

I am 70, divorced for almost 20 years. I have been dating a wonderful man for two years. We love each other, and we are very sexually active together, but I cannot reach an orgasm with him. I want this so much!

I always reached orgasm when my ex-husband and I had intercourse. I know that most women do not, but I had no problems. After we divorced, and I was on my own, I learned to masturbate and didn’t feel the need of a partner until I met this new man.

I find it strange that I can’t reach orgasm when my partner and I have sex, as my husband and I had no problems ever. I’d also love to climax together. There is nothing wrong with me “down there,” as I climax very easily in about two minutes when I masturbate.

I think I need to be more patient with myself when he tries to bring me to orgasm manually. I find it odd and I tend to get impatient. I very much desire my partner and have a very high libido, but there’s no resolution with him, only by myself. I believe this is a learned response after all these years of masturbating. 

Do you have some suggestions that could help me and my partner get it together? He has no problems with his performance and is a very loving man. Please help, as my partner thinks he is not doing his job well if I do not climax with him. I do believe that the problem is with me. 

— No Orgasm with Partner

Joan replies: 

You say the problem is with you, but there’s nothing wrong with you. Needing a certain kind of touch is normal and doesn’t need to be fixed. The problem is not that you don’t reach orgasm the way you used to—it’s that you are trying to recreate what used to work instead of finding new ways based on what works for you now.

As you noted, most women do not reach orgasm through intercourse. You were able to climax this way with your husband, but not with your current partner. There could be several reasons:

  • When you were with your husband, you were much younger, and your hormones assisted you in reaching orgasm more than they do now.
  • Reaching orgasm through intercourse can depend partly on the shape and angle of an individual penis. You and your husband might have been the right “fit.”
  • Body build and sexual position can influence whether there is clitoral stimulation during intercourse.
  • You’ve developed a masturbatory style that your brain and body respond to more than intercourse.

It’s marvelous that you can masturbate to orgasm in two minutes! Yes, it’s possible that during the years since your divorce, you taught yourself to reach orgasm only in a particular way, with a specific kind of touch.

But please don’t blame yourself for learning to give yourself two-minute orgasms. Teach your partner what you need. Instead of both of you trying to reach orgasm during intercourse, expand your sex play to include some of these steps:

  • Show your partner how you please yourself. Masturbate to orgasm while he watches without participating.
  • Masturbate to orgasm while your partner watches and holds you and/or masturbates.
  • Put his hand over yours as you masturbate your favorite way. He’s learning the kind of touch, rhythm, and pace that you like best.
  • When he pleasures you manually, relax into it, then take over with your own hand when you’re aroused but you don’t feel you’ll orgasm that way.

This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy intercourse—of course you can, with no pressure that it needs to lead to your orgasm. I suggest you have an orgasm in one of the ways listed above before intercourse, then you can both enjoy the ride without pressure.

Having simultaneous orgasms doesn’t need to be a goal. When you enjoy pleasuring each other, you can both focus on your orgasm, then both focus on his. That’s like having sex twice: double the pleasure!

If you do want to pursue reaching orgasm at the same time, or close to it, try using a clitoral vibrator or your own hand to assist during intercourse. If you can reach orgasm this way, he can hold off until he feels your orgasm start, then let go. This can be fun to try, but only if you don’t put any pressure on yourselves. You may orgasm together, or you may not, but it can be marvelous either way.  

I hope you’ll show this to your partner, so he can start to unlearn his belief that he’s not “doing his job well” if you don’t reach orgasm during intercourse or during his manual stimulation of you. Sex should be mutual play and joy, not “a job.”

You have a wonderful man and you’re in love—how lucky you are! Treasure each other, and don’t let old expectations interfere with the joy you can give and receive. I wish you the best.

Every month in Sex at Our Age, award-winning senior sexpert Joan Price answers your questions about everything from loss of desire to solo sex and partner issues. Nothing is out of bounds! 

Send Joan your questions by emailing All information is confidential. Joan can only answer questions that are chosen for publication.

Joan Price is the author of several books including “The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50” and the award-winning self-help book “Naked at Our Age.” Visit Joan’s  blog, “Naked at Our Age” and her Facebook page. For senior sex news, tips, event and webinar announcements, and special offers, join Joan’s mailing listView Joan’s new free webinar, “Safer Sex for Seniors.”



7 responses to “Ask Joan: No Orgasms with Partner

  1. I am 47 and my husband is 57. We have been married for 30 years, I was very young when I met him(14) I lost my virginity to him when was 15. The past 20 years have been very rough!! He’s had 3 failed back surgeries among other issues. Since then our sex life is pretty much non existent ( I’d say at best maybe 40x in the last 20 years) and most of not all felt like he did out of obligation. I have only climaxed 1 ONCE in our whole relationship. And it’s gotten worse! He used to be willing to use viagra but now refuses. I’ve tried talking to him texting him even writing long letters trying to talk to him on how I feel and what my desires and fantasies are (simple stuff) trying to let him know all I want is to feel love, loved and desired, wanted. But his response was (your gonna make me crazy, have you been watching crazy videos) he usually would scuff at me when I got close to him, truly to turn him on. And when we have had SEX he does even have the curtesy to take his close off he always just pull his pants down, that’s about is. I’ve tried telling him how I feel. I feel like if I was just a prostitute to him or not worth his time.
    It’s been very devastating to me and I am begging to loose it. Crying all the time. Even that does not move him at all. TRULY I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO ANYMORE!!! And supposedly he had his hormones checked “HE SAID” he is fine. I am
    Desperate!! PLEASE HELP!
    He had been taking methadone for 20 years + other painkillers and medications. And just switched off methadone to suboxone now for almost 2 months.

    At my witts end!! Please help

  2. No Orgasm with partner;
    I agree that communication with your partner is key to you achieving good orgasms. Your brain is still your biggest sex organ, and sharing fantasies, talking dirty, telling him what turns you on, and even some role playing might take your sex to a new level.
    My understanding is that the majority of women don’t climax through intercourse alone, most need some additional stimulation of their clitoris. As Joan said, rubbing your clit while he penetrates you might work for you and be a hot experience for him too…{it certainly would be a turn on for me!].
    Using a vibrator in your anus while he penetrates your vagina [or the other way around] could work too.
    Having your partner manipulate your clit either with his tongue and /or fingers to take you to the brink of orgasm before inserting his penis to finish you off has usually worked for my partners. I try to stimulate her nipples with her hands and lips with deep kissing at the same time….the more stimulation the merrier!
    My late wife rarely achieved an orgasm through intercourse, however if I rubbed her clit and sucked on her nipples, she would cum 99% of the time, so I would do that and then insert my penis in her and reach an orgasm myself. I always maintain that the best policy for good sex is that Ladies Cum First!…lol

  3. We have been married for 10 years, He’s 63, I’m 70. In the past we have enjoyed sex 2-3 times a week. My husband is gradully slowing down. He is a wonderful man, EXCEPT that he is modest and doesn’t communicate well about anything sexual. I am a little shy myself. I need more. I tried talking about using a vibrator he shut that conversation down quickly. I’m sad and just don’t know where to start or how to tell him I want more from him in bed.

  4. Showing your partner ‘exactly’ what you want to happen so that you achieve orgasm is the best way to get there. Unless he is completely indifferent, he will follow your lead in the intimacy (orgasm) you want and desire. Don’t be bashful or modest. He will thank you I am sure.

    There is no one size fits all way to satisfy a wo/man. Each is unique and requires learning what can be pleasurable.

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