HighlightsThe Happy Trail

Intimacy tainted by fear

Having an orgasm in front of someone else has proven to be a fear for many.

During a sexual encounter, at least one person is expected to have an orgasm. However, a study published by Stanford and Indiana University in the book Families as They Really Are, revealed that male-bodied people are twice as likely to have an orgasm during sex than female-bodied folks. Particularly during college when hook-up culture permeates the air, this inequality, otherwise known as the “orgasm gap,” is at its peak.

Although hook-up culture plays a role in preventing people from having the “Big O” in front of a partner, one-night stands are not completely to blame; couples have this problem too. It can be difficult, particularly in the beginning of a relationship to get comfortable with someone sexually.

“You definitely have to have comfort with your partner,” senior Jay-Z (name changed) said. “And I think with comfort comes open communication, so you can tell each other what you want or need.”

Communicating about sex is not always easy, and some people find that it’s better to not discuss their lack of orgasms in the bedroom.

“I used to always fake orgasms” junior Beyoncé said, “because I was afraid that if I didn’t [come] I would hurt my partner’s feelings.”

But faking orgasms reinforces bad behavior; your partner won’t know what you really like, want and desire if you don’t tell them.

“I have never had an orgasm in front of my partner,” Beyoncé said. “During sex I get too intimidated, especially if they are watching me and telling me to come.”

Beyoncé hits the nail on the head, so to speak; the more pressure someone feels to have an orgasm, the less likely it is they will have one.

“My partners cared if I had an orgasm, and that was one of the problems,” Beyoncé said. The distinction between “caring” and “pressuring” can make all the difference when it comes to having “une petite morte.” Performing an expected role during sex can also inhibit an orgasm in a sexual encounter.

“I think about performance a lot,” senior Kanye said. “Sometimes I worry so much about performance that it takes me longer to have an orgasm, but I’m always able to eventually come.”

It can take a while for people, particularly female-bodied individuals, to orgasm. Sexologist Dr. Betty Dodson notes that it takes about 45 minutes for female-bodied people to be at their peak of arousal and it can take approximately 20 minutes for them to have an orgasm. Anxiety only makes matters worse, for both partners.

Pressure can prevent you from going the distance, but another important part of coming with a partner is being able to make yourself come when you are alone. It is impossible to have an orgasm in front of a partner if you cannot have an orgasm by yourself; you have to know what you like. Dodson recommends on her website that when it comes to coming during partner sex, masturbation is the key to success. Dodson recommends masturbating in front of a mirror and spending time being naked in order to get comfortable with your body.

Being comfortable with your body includes being able to be nude around a partner, and it also means that you are comfortable with the unknowns that might happen during sex.

“I think people are self-conscious,” Jay-Z said, “and I think they are worried that they will do something embarrassing, like fart.”  These embarrassing moments might stop you from wanting to enjoy yourself, but embarrassing things happen all the time during sex—just open an issue of Cosmo. You are not alone.

At the end of the day, you are in charge of your orgasm; don’t rely on your partner to give you pleasure.