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I Don't Think I Like Sex


Published November 18, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated November 20, 2015 at 2:34 p.m.

Dear Athena,

I don't think I like sex. I can orgasm by myself, but not when I was with my last hookup or any girlfriend I've ever had. I don't find it all that appealing, and I feel like there is no hope. I think I should give up on it and be with someone who doesn't care that I don't enjoy it. What do you think?

No Hope for Hanna

Dear No Hope,

That just can't be! I refuse to believe that you cannot ever enjoy sex. We have to get to the bottom of this, to find whatever is coming between you and pleasure with a partner.

I'm no shrink, but an inquisitive look into your past may be useful. If you have some unfinished business, it's time for reconciliation. Otherwise, it will follow you into every bedroom and crash the party. Here are some questions for your investigation: When did sex stop being fun? Was it ever fun? Are you struggling to come to terms with a traumatic experience? What part of sex is the most unappealing to you, and why?

If you are unable to arrive at answers on your own, don't be afraid to seek professional counseling to help you work through this. Don't just write off this part of your life!

Whatever you may acknowledge and confront about your past, please believe that it can be resolved. There is always hope.

Once you feel that you understand — and accept — yourself, you can approach a relationship with more honesty and confidence. Perhaps you'll be better at picking partners, too. You're not going to develop the trust you want to feel with "hookups."

Here's another thought: Just because no lover has made you orgasm so far doesn't mean it's never going to happen. It's possible you just haven't found the right chemistry or met the person with whom you feel comfortable. It's also possible you haven't given your partners a chance.

It can take time to learn what makes someone tick, right? Enjoy the getting-acquainted part of a relationship. (And that's a two-way street: Let her get to know you.) After you gain trust in a potential partner, you can share that sex has been a challenge for you in the past. Get that "secret" out of the way, so it doesn't hover over you going forward.

My advice? Don't rush into sex; don't assume you have to jump into bed as soon as possible. And when you do, tell your partner what feels good — there is no right or wrong here — and ask the same of her. Take your time. Let go of the pressure to achieve orgasm, and just let your pleasure build ... until you do.

This may sound impossible now, but, as with any exercise, practice makes perfect. And won't the practice be a fun adventure?

We tend to believe that orgasm is the only goal of sex and, I won't lie, it can be frustrating not to get there. But do your best to be in the moment and let your judge-y thoughts go. Get out of your head and into those other body parts. Explore, enjoy the journey, and let the destination rise up to meet you.

Good luck,