Sex in Public: “I can’t have an orgasm with my husband.”

{via, with my modifications}

Six months ago, I cheated on my husband of nearly ten years. I cheated on him with a woman. It happened once.

This affair was my first experience sleeping with a woman. It was explosively passionate, like catching fire, like waking up screaming. I felt known, understood, and safe with her.

Friends asked me, Was sex better with her? The thing was, aside from the illicit thrill and the chemistry she and I had shared, I hadn’t had an orgasm. It had been a lot of fun, but in the end I’d had to say to her, “Don’t worry. It’s not something I can really do with other people.”

Once I’d said it to her, I became aware it was the truth. I’d never had an orgasm with my husband, either. Nor with any previous partners or one night stands. This felt like a shocking secret, sometimes more shocking than the affair itself.

I can orgasm just fine on my own. What prevents me from doing it with someone else?

During the months of therapy and conversations and figuring out our post-affair marriage (and my post-affair self), my husband and I had a lot of sex. A lot of really fun, creative, passionate sex. We’re still doing it. And I still haven’t been able to orgasm.

I don’t know what that means, or how to fix it, or whether “fixing” it is the wrong approach. Sometimes, when I realize we’ve worked so hard to get there yet again and I know it’s just not going to happen, I experience what I’ve come to think of as the “reverse orgasm,” where sex ends with a panic attack and a painful mental storm of self-recrimination, disappointment and despair.

Even though he comforts me and says all the right things, this is a moment of relative solitude. It’s just me and my orgasm, not happening. Once again. And if I cease to work on it, am I settling for less, yet again?

I know I don’t want to leave my marriage, and I know there are no simple solutions. Vulnerability and trust and belief in my self worth can’t happen overnight.

I’m not sure what the solution will be. But learning to talk about it, having the courage to write about it here and be honest about this vulnerability, is a big part of it.

Jolie, London


Sex in Public is an ongoing storytelling series devoted to uniting people through vulnerable & intimate admissions of sexuality, self-love, & body image. 

© 2018 Ev'Yan Whitney. All rights reserved.