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I was a late bloomer. I didn’t lose my virginity until I was 25 years old, date until I was 24, and my first kiss happened at 23. I was sexually clueless and my body looked like it belonged to a skinny teenaged tomboy. That created some major insecurities that eventually played out in the bedroom. 

When partners asked me what they could do for me during sex, I skirted the question by saying I was fine, sex alone was satisfying, and then pushed towards cuddling or giving them a blow job. I couldn’t admit that I’d never reached climax with a partner, oral sex made me uncomfortable, and that I’d pretty much resigned to the fact that I was never going to experience an orgasm without the use of a vibrator. It was easier to focus on the guy than to feel disappointed by trying and failing. 

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My second boyfriend, with whom I was with for nearly six years, spent our entire relationship wishing he could make me orgasm. The more frustrated he grew, the more I wished I could make this happen for us. The more pressure I was under, the less relaxed I felt about it happening or not happening. And, we all know what happens when you’re tense and apprehensive during sex — the likelihood of reaching climax is zero to none. I just couldn’t let go. 

Even though I knew that many women were unable to achieve orgasm during sex, I still felt broken. Why was it so hard for me to even accept pleasure when most women would jump at the chance to receive it? What was wrong with me? 

I felt guilty about receiving all the attention, even if only for a few minutes. If I let my partner go down on me, I’d quickly request that we move to other things. I didn’t stop to acknowledge that he might be deriving pleasure from giving me attention. I couldn’t be bothered to guide him through the process because it felt like too much work, and frankly, it didn’t feel so good for me. Eventually, he stopped trying. 

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As much as he felt discouraged by his lack of skills in making me reach the big O, we found excitement in other sexual experiences. We brought toys into the mix, watched porn, attended sex parties together, and invited other women into our bedroom. We kept amping up the thrills, but none of them were enough for me. 

I kept seeking satisfaction through my vibrator. When I learned how to squirt while masturbating, I felt vindicated because I was now able to do something few women were able to achieve. Still, I wished my boyfriend could do the job.

It wasn’t until I started dating my current boyfriend that I realized that somehow, in the midst of all the thrills my ex-boyfriend and I experienced, I completely bypassed the basics. 

Because there was no foreplay for me, we’d pile on the lube and go at it anyway. We’d “f—ck” instead of “have sex” or “make love.” We were passionate when we were alone, there was still a power struggle between us. He wanted me to submit in bed and I didn’t want to be told what to do. 

That dynamic left me feeling like I was there for his pleasure, and because I didn’t know how to go about getting what I needed, eventually I’d relent and give him what he wanted. I wanted to keep him happy — even though inside I was so unsatisfied. 

Soon after, my current boyfriend and I started getting intimate, he let me know how much he enjoyed giving oral. I felt comfortable enough to let him know my secret. I wanted to cut his expectations off at the pass. He was a persistent one though and would gently make his way downwards whenever we were having sex until I’d squirm, close my legs in embarrassment, and beg him to not try. He’d stop immediately, and although he was frustrated, he never made me feel weird about my hesitation.

Each time, I’d celebrate the fact that I let him have me for 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes before stopping. With my last partner, it all felt so sensitive and immediately so intense that I couldn’t handle it for more than a few seconds. This time around, it was gentler, sensual. I was beginning to enjoy it more and more and while I still didn’t believe I could achieve an orgasm, I was starting to like it for what it was: my boyfriend simply wanted to take care of me. 

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I remember laying back on my bed, closing my eyes, and navigating my body via his tongue. It was soft at first and he’d slowly build up bit by bit. I tried to still my mind, keep it from wondering about how I smelled, tasted, or looked. 

Eventually, something in my mind just shifted and I settled into the feeling. I stopped judging and telling myself I wasn’t going to climax and instead focused on the sensations. I stopped tensing up, practiced breathing and relaxing and minutes later, it finally happened. I was so shocked I might have started crying while he crawled on top of me and hugged me. Then we both laughed at how much easier it felt this time around. 

You’d think I’d immediately want more after that first time, but nope! I was scared that it was just a fluke. What if it never occurred again? The next several times the anxiety was still hanging around me and it took several more successes before I was able to relax every time he knelt before me. Now, it’s pretty much a given that I’ll have an orgasm via oral with him and I’ve even come to request it multiple times in one session! I’m thrilled that now, at 34 years old, I can finally feel some satisfaction in bed.