Orgasms Aren’t My Favorite Part of Sex

My latest piece at the girl-power site Off Our Chests:

A month or two ago, I published a piece called A Unified Theory of Orgasm. In that piece, I talked about my own history, and how long I took to learn how to orgasm. Basically, learning how to orgasm took a long time and a lot of angst. And I’m really glad that I eventually figured it out — and that I have many years of experimentation still ahead of me.

That piece was really well-received, and a lot of people have thanked me for writing it. As always, though, there’s some mixed feedback too. And I’ve been worried about one thing in particular: it seems like a lot of people missed the part in my article where I said that, now that I’ve learned how to have orgasms … orgasms aren’t even my favorite part of sex. It’s a long article, and I can see how people would miss that, but I did say it and I think it’s important.

Specifically, I wrote:

[It may help some people] not to prioritize orgasms. I am not saying orgasms aren’t important; I just don’t want the importance of orgasms to wound you, the way it wounded me. For me, it is helpful to imagine sex as a journey. For me, it helps to focus on having fun throughout, instead of doing what it takes to reach the “goal” of orgasm. If you’re not taking pleasure in the journey — or at least indulging some curiosity — then why keep going? Why not stop and try something else?

Experimenting sexually in an open-ended way has been, for me, the most productive possible attitude. And in fact, once I knew how to make myself come, I discovered that — though it’s helpful to be able to attain that release if I really want to — orgasms aren’t actually my favorite part of sex! There are lots of other things I like better.

It’s also worth noting that our definitions of “orgasm” are fairly narrow. Some research indicates that there may be other ways to conceptualize orgasms than the stereotypical genital-focused approach.

And now I want to talk about it some more.

It may be ironic that I spent so much time feeling terrible and broken and depressed because I couldn’t figure out how to have orgasms … whereas now I prefer not to focus on them. In fact, I estimate that most of my current sexual encounters don’t include my orgasm, and very few of my most pleasurable sexual encounters have included my orgasm.

I’m the first to admit that I don’t know everything about sex, and there’s a lot that I haven’t experienced. Anything might change. But seriously. The best sex I’ve had in my life has been connective and emotional and, for me personally, has frequently involved intense BDSM. My favorite sex so far? Has also mostly been orgasm-free.

Read more by clicking here.

About Clarisse Thorn

Clarisse Thorn is a Chicago-based, feminist, sex-positive activist and educator. Personal blog at; follow her on Twitter @clarissethorn; you can also buy her awesome book about pickup artists or her awesome best-of collection, The S&M Feminist.
This entry was posted in relationships, Sex and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Orgasms Aren’t My Favorite Part of Sex

  1. Andie says:

    Thank you for this.. I had an ex that would get very insecure if I didn’t orgasm. I had to assure him that it didn’t mean I wasn’t thoroughly enjoying myself (I was!). There’s so much more to enjoy, and while orgasms are nice, I myself enjoy closeness etc as well.

  2. You talk about BDSM and teasing in the piece and about orgasms to please a partner. Tease and denial is a major part of my BDSM play, and I’ve told my wife that when I’m bottoming I’d be happiest with coming about half the time; she ends up getting me off most of the time because that’s her preference. She tells me she gets a sense of accomplishment and finality when I come.

    Orgasm control specifically aside, the scenes that have been the deepest and most intimate for me have often been those where my orgasm is either omitted or secondary.

  3. Li says:

    I already found orgasms secondary to the sex I was having, then started taking anti-depressants. Now I definitely don’t prioritise them during sex because if they aren’t gonna happen they just aren’t gonna happen. I actually get annoyed with partners who insist on trying to get me off when it’s obviously something my body isn’t going to do at that time, especially since for me the mechanics of my orgasm can be tied heavily into (dis)ability.

  4. anna says:

    I’m happy you’re having the sex life you want and enjoying it.

    However – speaking only for myself here – I can’t enjoy sex if I don’t have an orgasm. I just get horribly frustrated and wish I never started. And I’m sure there is pressure from some men to have an orgasm, which I agree is wrong, but I think there’s also pressure from some to act like it doesn’t matter. To just smile and say “That’s ok honey, I understand. I’m just happy being close to you.” Outside of BDSM men are never expected to say that, to give her an orgasm and then go to sleep with no pleasure for them because she’s just too darn tired, to have sex that involves her clitoris always being touched and his penis hardly ever noticed, etc. There aren’t even words for the female equivalent of “cocktease” or “blue balls” – women aren’t supposed to complain.

  5. Issa says:

    When I first became sexually active, orgasms were completely elusive, much to the frustration of my first lover, who turned my lack of orgasm into such an issue that it pretty much guaranteed that I would never have one anywhere near him. It wasn’t until many lovers and years later that I finally had that first one. And they’re a regular thing now, perhaps they even come “easily”, but I’m just not all that attached to orgasm. I spent so much time having good sex without orgasms that now even with them, my good sex is rooted in so many other details instead. Sometimes I don’t really notice or remember whether I orgasmed or not. I feel kind of lucky to have had that early experience.

  6. m says:



    Oh yes, so much this. Each to their own, of course, but I get frustrated if I don’t get an orgasm, and I feel it’s totally unfair that mens’ orgasms are usually taken for granted, but mine’s just a bonus that doesn’t have to happen every time.

  7. Agreed that women’s orgasms are undervalued and not taken for granted compared to men’s. That’s a lot of what I was saying in the first article, the one I cite at the beginning of this one. But like I say, anything can become pressure.

  8. Angie unduplicated says:

    Endorphins. I wanted my orgasm and if he didn’t produce it, I would. Menopause has been a complete blessing: I can now live without the Big O and my quality of life has improved without the social pressures.

  9. B says:

    I was having orgasms, by myself, long before I even knew what they were. I’m talking elementary school. I started masturbating at a very young age just as a result of curiousity and I remember feeling very relieved when I finally found out that it was something other people, even other girls, also did. I still remember very vividly when I found out what that awesome feeling I loved so much was; it was in the sex q&a section of some teen magazine and there was an explanation of orgasms.

    By the time I started having sexual interactions with a partner, I was already so familiar with my body and my orgasms that it was just beyond a non-issue. They are definitely my favorite part of sex. Everything that comes before is fun, but nothing feels as good as that for me.

Comments are closed.