9 Ways To Feel Connected To Your Partner If You Can’t Orgasm
Intimacy doesn’t have to come (pun intended) with an orgasm.
In a world seemingly obsessed with having orgasms, meaningful intimacy is often left on the back-burner in favor of back-scratching “Oh YEAH!”s.
It makes sense, to a degree. Orgasming feels ah-may-zing and is generally what we’re aiming for in most sexual encounters. Research shows that after climaxing, couples feel more connected to each other because of the release of the ‘love’ hormone, Oxytocin, which occurs when you hit O-Town.
But sometimes an orgasm just isn’t possible. Whether you psyche yourself out because you’re putting too much pressure on yourself, or if you just can’t ever seem to get there, reaching the Big-Oh doesn’t actually have to be the highlight of sex – or even a marker of whether or not an adult playdate was fulfilling or not.
People have sex for a range of different reasons, from the purely physical to more emotional ones. A 2007 study from the University of Texas found the most common reason people have sex is to develop and maintain love and commitment; meaning a lot of folks out there use sex as a way of showing their devotion to their partner. And they don’t necessarily have to reach orgasm in order to do this.
In fact, there’s actually a specific type of orgasm-free sex called Karezza, which marriage and sex therapists will often suggest to couples who need to reignite the love in their relationship and build a deeper connection.
If you rarely or never experience an orgasm, this doesn’t mean you don’t have a fulfilling sex life or are ‘less connected’ to your partner. You get to decide what a fulfilling sex life is – and what a fulfilling relationship is, for that matter, too – and there are loads of different ways to be intimate with your partner that don’t involve screaming or back curling (and feel just as good)…
1. Make eye contact
We don’t mean staring unblinkingly into your lover’s eyes while you ride them (which could be pretty creepy), but making eye contact during sex is extremely intimate, and crucial to bonding in most situations, including the bedroom.
“Research suggests that eye contact with a loved one results in a spike in oxytocin,” explains sexologist Dr Jess O’Reilly.
After all, if eyes are the window to the soul, staring into your partner’s peepers while you make love is an easy way to create a deep, soul-level connection with them.
2. Explore different kinks and fantasies
Sometimes during sex, we focus so much on the destination that we forget all about the journey, and therefore ignore all of the pleasure which can come before an orgasm. This is especially true if you and your partner incorporate fantasy, fetish or kink elements into your sex life.
People who engage in BDSM, for example, often use elements of the dominant/submissive relationship in many aspects of their lives outside the bedroom, and the entire kink is built on almost unbreakable levels of trust (as well as a bunch of other super surprising things). These couples usually have an incredibly deep connection which isn’t based on an orgasm, or on sexual pleasure at all.
3. Masturbate together
Because masturbation is usually an incredibly private act, doing it in front of or with a partner is one of the most vulnerable and intimate things you can do with them. It simultaneously allows you to get to know and connect with your own body and self, and your lover’s, and can build a lot of trust between the two of you. Whether or not you climax, sharing such a private act with someone you love can result in a whole new level of connection between you both.
4. Say “I Love you”
It might seem mushy, cringe-worthy or even needy, but saying “I love you” to your partner during sex is, unsurprisingly, a really positive thing for your relationship. In fact, a 2017 study from Chapman University found the number one thing couples who were sexually satisfied did differently from couples who weren’t, was saying the ‘L’ word during sex. It’s also probably the easiest way to show your love for your partner, sans orgasm, because you’re quite literally telling them how you feel. Those three words and eight letters can result in feeling a whole lot more connected.
5. Breathe in sync
In the market for a tantric sex practice which doesn’t require the flexibility of an Olympic gymnast and will also build a connection to your partner? Try breathing with them. The theory is that since breath moves energy through our bodies, breathing in-sync with your partner connects us. Relationship coach, Jordan Gray, recommends placing your foreheads together and taking several deep, timed breathes together.
“It helps you literally sync up to your partner, and it also encourages you both to slow down and focus on your breath. It’s an excellent exercise to use to gain a clear, slow moment of connection no matter what the context is. I have several married clients who do this exercise with their partner every morning and every night, as their non-negotiable, non-verbal check in,” he explains.
6. Give, rather than receive
A lot of us get into sexual habits of giving or receiving pleasure (which is one reason there’s a massive oral sex gap), so swapping things out every now and then can not only switch things up, but make you more vulnerable together.
“Learning to relinquish the need to please can be a challenge, but doing so may allow you to experience greater levels of vulnerability, appreciation, and acceptance, each of which have the potential to intensify the intimate connection,” says Dr. Jess.
If you can’t orgasm from a certain type of sex, like oral, being the giver and helping your partner achieve climax can really bond you both together in a new way.
Remember when you were young and would make-out with your partner for hours? When kissing was its own wonderful event and not just a step which led to sex? In long-term relationships, passionate, intense smooch-sessions are often the first thing to fade, until you’re only kissing good morning, good night and before getting it on. But kissing is incredibly intimate, and even having a make-out sesh for 10 minutes can have positive effects on your relationship, including a stronger connection. It’s another thing Gray suggests to his clients.
“Explore your partner’s mouth with yours. Hold their face in your hand. Slow down and fully enjoy how wonderful it is to kiss someone you love so deeply. Kissing is a conversation, and it’s one that you don’t want to rush through.”
8. Introduce ‘spoil’ sessions
Sign us up for this one! A spoil session is a totally uninterrupted block of time – however long you decide – where you deepen the physical and sexual intimacy in your relationship, dictated by one person in the couple. You each get to be the boss, asking for and getting exactly what you want, with your partner fulfilling your wishes.
You might ask for a massage, or to dance together in the living room with music blaring. Maybe you request to have a big deep and meaningful conversation, eat chocolates together in bed while watching Netflix, to make slow, sensual love, or really, whatever you like. It’s totally up to the couple. A spoiling session is an opportunity for you each to give and receive selfish love for a time, which can fill you with both gratitude and affection.
Honestly, you can’t beat a nice, long cuddle. While a lot of long-term couples end up only holding each other close after sex or perhaps briefly in the morning, snuggling into your partner’s body is incredibly intimate, and one of the best things you can do for a non-sexual connection. All humans crave and require touch, especially from people we love. In fact, intimate touch such as cuddling – as well as holding hands – has been shown to release a happy cocktail of hormones in the brain including serotonin, dopamine, and the love-inducing oxycontin. So get snugglin’.
Images via shutterstock.com, buzzfeed.com, popsugar.com, hercampus.com.
Comment: How do you feel connected to your partner apart from having sex and having an orgasm?