(Apologies in advance for the heteronormativity of this post. Simultaneous orgasms are easier for same-sex couple because they aren’t necessarily facing the same biological differences that curse the straighties. Not to say they’re EASY for same-sex couples. Just a bit less difficult.)
Romance novels and movies are awash in simultaneous orgasms. Hero and Heroeen (read that like you’re Dudley Do-right) cross that exquisite threshold, launch themselves willingly over a trembling edge, and tumble downward in a spiraling, panting tangle of sheets and sweat and oxytocin.
Boy howdy, right? It’s terribly compelling, terribly romantic, this notion of fusing so utterly with your partner every barrier is shed, every defense is dropped, and your bodies lock into each other’s arousal. The boundaries of your very skin becomes permeable and you – almost literally – merge into each other, like the entrainment and synchronization of two rhythms or the joining of the Blue Nile with the White Nile or the microscopic union of egg and sperm giving rise to one new life or… whatever metaphor gets you.
But in real life, simultaneous orgasms are, like, hard. Both for emotional reasons and for straightforward mechanical reasons.
As we know from this weekend, there are some differences between men’s and women’s orgasms. Specifically, women take longer to orgasm and are less likely to orgasm from penile-vaginal penetration.
And if the goal is for two people to have an orgasm at the same time, then how long it takes you to come and what kind of stimulation gets you there, well those are things you need to be able to match up.
You need three things: You need a high degree of control over your own sexual response. You need a modality that provides enough of the right kind of stimulation to get you both to orgasm. You need a minute awareness of your partner’s level of arousal. Control, modality, attention.
This is the easiest of the three. If you read this section and go, “DUDE that sounds HARD!” perhaps the time is not yet ripe for you to pursue simultaneous orgasm.
Gentlemen: please teach yourself to maintain a high level of arousal without ejaculating. If you can stay pretty darn aroused for half an hour, that’s a good start. An hour is better.
Ladies: please teach yourself to masturbate with your hands efficiently and reliably. If you can come reliably in 20 minutes, that’s great.
I’m gonna say there are two primary modalities for simultaneous orgasm. There are more, of course, but let’s simplify a bit.
If you’re one of the 25-30% of women who are reliably orgasmic from penetration, this will be a little simpler for you. If you are instead in the majority of women, we need to find a way to add clitoral stimulation to your intercourse. Lots and lotsa ways to do that:
- Your hand on your clit
- Your partner’s hand on your clit
- You holding a vibrator on your clit
- Your partner holding a vibrator on your clit
- Sandwiching a vibrator between your two pubic bones
- Angling penetration so that your partner’s pubic bone rocks against your clit (them on top)
- Angling penetration so that your clit rocks against your partner’s pubic bone (you on top)
- Your partner straddling your thighs so you can cross your ankles and grip your thighs together during penetration
You may also find that adding anal stimulation gives that extra oomph you need to have an orgasm during penetration. Try a buttplug (just plant ‘er gently in there and leave it be during intercourse) or have your partner use a finger on or in your ass during intercourse (may require long-armed or flexible partner).
All kinds of other stimulation can be useful too. Breast stimulation. Kissing. Hair touching/pulling/gripping/etc. Face and/or throat touching. And any number of psychological dynamics that might intensify the experience for you – pinning your partner down or allowing your partner to pin you down, fantasy and role play, a sexy venue… careful, though, that these add to your arousal without distracting you so much that you lose track of your partner’s arousal.
Mutual, simultaneous oral sex can potentially generate simultaneous orgasm. In some ways it might be easier – women may be more orgasmic from oral sex, and fellatio in particular gives you bunches of information about your partner’s arousal level and lots of control over how aroused you let him get, so you can make sure he stays on pace with you.
The trick with 69 is that it’s difficult to split your attention between what you’re doing and what’s being done to you. This diminishes as a problem if what you’re doing is just about as arousing as what’s being done to you. In other words, it’s easier to have an orgasm during 69 if you’re as aroused by the sensations of your mouth on your partner’s genitals as you are by the sensation of your partner’s mouth on your genitals.
I’ll get into more detail about attention soon. For now, begin practicing experiencing your partner’s genitals in your mouth, and their body’s responses to that, as part of your own arousal.
I’ve left this for last because it’s potentially the most difficult.
A common barrier in all orgasm challenges is mindfulness, paying attention to what’s happening in your body to the exclusion of anything else (e.g., not thinking about your fat, your kids, your to do list, your boss [except under sexy circumstances], or your car, instead of thinking about sex whilst having sex).
Attention is an order of magnitude more difficult during simultaneous orgasms because you have to pay attention to both your own and your partner’s arousal. I mean you have to pay all the necessary attention to yourself to get yourself to orgasm, AND you have to monitor your partner’s arousal, to get the timing right.
The people who find simultaneous orgasm easiest are probably people who find their partner’s arousal level to be highly, highly stimulating.
Fortunately, this is learnable. Begin practicing paying attention to your partner’s arousal level, and to experience it as a part of your own arousal. Imagine what it might feel like to be in their skin, what they must be feeling. Allow their arousal to feed and merge with your own arousal.
At this point, we get into the psychological part of it. At this point, you begin to shed the “my body/their body” dichotomy. At this point, you begin experiencing her skin as your skin – you feel both the firm softness of her abdomen under your hand and the warm pressure of your hand as she is experiencing it.
You live in two bodies at once. You feel with two bodies at once.
This is majorly advanced empathy. Most of us have experienced at some point – some of us experience it regularly, but most people have to work at it.
It’s good for you, this body empathy, like vegetables and jogging and 8 glasses of water a day – but more, it’s enriching, like a Jackson Pollack viewed with your nose 4 inches from the canvas, like Mozart, like a brand new idea. It’s good for you. Do it. Try it.
To conclude, allow me to say that this is all Extra Bonus Sexy Fun. Having or not having simultaneous orgasms is no reflection on your sexual health and wellness.
I think it’s worth trying though. What makes simultaneous orgasm so compelling, I believe, is the abandonment of the barriers we so often use to defend ourselves, to maintain our sense of identity, of separateness from others. It’s our task as adults to stay over our own emotional center of gravity, and simultaneous orgasm is about falling into each other at the bifurcation point between order and chaos, at the pivot between control and abandonment. It requires skilled neglect of your own personhood and precise, focused joy in your partner’s. In other words it takes practice.
Happily, every occasion that you practice can potentially improve your life and relationship – not just your sex life and sexual relationship, but your whole life, your whole relationship. It’s good. I think you should try it.