Do You Need To Tell Your Partner When You’re Going To Orgasm?

Photographed by Lula Hyers.
Having sex with a new partner for the first time is exciting, because there's so much to discover and explore. It can also be very anxiety-inducing, because you have no idea what to expect — including how, when, or if they're going to orgasm. Orgasms are not always obvious or in-your-face: They can be subtle, or they can be explosive, and everyone does it differently. When your partner has one, it seems like something you should just know, but sometimes you just don't. So what should you do? Definitely don't stress out about it, says Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist who specialises in helping women orgasm.
Yes, you could just say, Did you come? but that can add a lot of pressure and might make your partner feel like they're taking too long or not doing a good enough job, Marin says. Instead, the best thing you can do is talk about your orgasms before you know they're coming, she says.
Advertisement
A precoital chat about your orgasm style might sound like a vibe-killer, but it's actually the opposite, according to Marin. You can keep it brief and say something like, I'll let you know when I feel satisfied, or you could try something more specific like, I have a hard time orgasming with someone new, and it's not a problem with me so it shouldn't be for you. "Your partner is just as anxious as you are, so they'd love the inside scoop on how your orgasm works and what you want from them," Marin says. Describing how you come will hopefully encourage your partner to be forthright about how and when they come, too.
Of course, these sort of open and honest talks aren't always doable, particularly if you're having casual sex and aren't as in tune (emotionally or physically) with your partner, Marin says. If that's the case, and you're mid-sex, she suggests you say something like, Anything else I can do? or Are you getting close? You shouldn't feel guilty about asking that, because you need to know where you are in the process, she says. "We all want to please each other, and it's important to recognise that it's not going to be that awkward, and your partner will be more grateful for the feedback than you realise," Marin says.
The bottom line to keep in mind is that sex doesn't have to end once one person has an orgasm, even though it can feel like that, Marin says. "We're all really anxious about performance, but orgasms shouldn't be the end-all of any experience," Marin says. "It's tempting to see it that way, because it's like a gold star that shows you've done a good job." But a lot of people have amazing sex without ever orgasming, and that's totally okay, too, Marin says.
As long as you address your expectations, you and your partner really can't go wrong. There's a myth that the best sex "just happens with no effort whatsoever," Marin says. "The reality is that good sex requires communication; it's not something that just happens magically," she says. Letting your partner know when you're going to orgasm (or not orgasm) might feel momentarily gauche, but it's worth it in the long run.
Advertisement