Do you or your partner have difficulty in reaching an orgasm ?

I am a 33-year-old man and I find it difficult to reach an orgasm with a woman. I frequently masturbate and wonder if this is affecting my ability to climax with a partner?

In 1981, The Hite Report on Male Sexuality detailed the sexual habits and beliefs of 7,000 men aged between 13 and 97. One of the many insights revealed in Shere Hite’s exhaustive investigation was that men find masturbation to be a more efficient and effective means of sexual release than intercourse with a partner.

The reasons they gave ranged from feeling less inhibited because there was no pressure to perform to stronger orgasms because they were completely in control of the pace and the strength of their stimulation. If Hite were to conduct the same research today, I doubt that the responses would be different.

Once a man establishes that his risk of going blind is negligible. masturbation becomes a fairly routine part of his week, sexual relationship or no sexual relationship.

Though women have a tendency to read too much into the intimate relationship between a man and his right hand, it rarely causes a problem. That is unless it develops into a compulsion, or a man becomes so conditioned to his own brand of masturbation that his partner fails to provide him with sufficient stimulation to achieve orgasm.

Sex researchers call this phenomenon autosexual orientation. The term covers men who are reliant on a completely constant form of self-stimulation as well as those who get used to such an ‘idiosyncratic‘ style of stimulation that they disable their ability to ejaculate during regular sex.

When the sex that you have with yourself is so perfect that you can’t translate it into sex with someone else. you have a problem.

Dr David Coldmeier, a sexual dysfunction expert at St Mary’s Hospital, London, says: ‘Some men who suffer from retarded ejaculation report that the combination of very erotic fantasies at masturbation, combined with high level manual friction, enable them to climax in that scenario, but that vaginal sex is not so much of a turn-on, because the man does not get the same degree of stimulation and because the woman is not as erotic as their personalized masturbatory fantasy.’

It goes without saying that you should not be in a hurry to share this information with any sexual partner. If, as you suspect, your masturbatory habits are interfering with your ability to climax, the obvious solution is to cut it out for a while and see what happens.

If a period of abstinence does not solve the problem, you need to see a doctor because it could be a symptom of an underlying illness, such as diabetes, MS, nerve damage, booze. Or some kind of psychological disturbance: depression, antidepressants, fear that the vagina will grow teeth and bite off your penis.

You don’t mention whether the women you have sex with manage to achieve orgasm either, but when it comes to not coming during penetrative sex, female partners are probably the best people to talk to.

A fundamental design flaw means that the most sensitive part of our sexual anatomy happens to be outside, rather than inside, our vagina, and as a result many women need more stimulation to reach the point of no return.

I suspect that a little between-the-sheets honesty would go a long way towards helping both you and the women you have sex with to have a better time in bed.

Though my 29-year-old girlfriend easily has orgasms from oral sex, she has never had an orgasm from penetrative sex. She seems happy, but it leaves me feeling dissatisfied. She wants to get married soon but I am worried that we may be incompatible and that there could be someone better for- both of us. Is this something that can be overcome ?

Female orgasm is incredibly elusive. Although most women can climax perfectly well by themselves, partner sex is more complicated. In the most comprehensive sex survey yet carried out in the US, 61 per cent of women reported always or usually experiencing an orgasm through masturbation, but only 29 per cent reported always having an orgasm during sex with a partner.

This is mainly explained by the fact that the clitoris, the most sexually sensitive part of the female body, is located several centimetres away from the vaginal opening.

That biological anomaly could be overcome quite easily if lack of communication were not also such a problem. Women (young women in particular) rarely feel confident enough to make sexual demands on a new partner and, because porn movies have successfully propagated the myth that vigorous thrusting is all it takes to make a woman climax, consecutive partners fail to provide meaningful clitoral stimulation and are left thinking that there is something wrong with them rather than something wrong with the kind of sex they are having.

As women mature, they develop a better understanding of their own responses and some realize that they can climax much more easily through oral sex.

Most will have tried to convert the arousal they experience during oral into penetrative sex, only to discover that the physical transition kills the build-up of sensation. Unwilling to delay their partner, they eventually settle for guaranteed non-penetrative orgasm over an uncertain penetrative one.

It’s not an unreasonable solution. An orgasm is an orgasm is an orgasm, and I’m sure your girlfriend doesn’t care how she gets there, but she would be devastated if she knew how it was affecting you.

If you can find a way to get this out in the open, there are several practical techniques that could help you resolve the issue. First, when you have sex, begin switching between oral and manual stimulation to get your girlfriend accustomed to the sensation transition. You can then progress to penetration.

My advice to her would be to concentrate on the pleasurable feelings. Continuity is vital- if you keep changing positions she will lose focus, so be patient and persevere. Also she should try going on top, which will allow her to control the pace.

You may also want to try the ‘coital alignment technique‘. It is a revised missionary position that tilts the pelvis forward. It has been ‘designed’ to improve a woman’s chance of experiencing orgasm during intercourse.