If you're a woman who has had sex with dudes, then chances are you have encountered the oldest dick move in the book. It's the one I like to call: Ye Olde Jizz And Roll Off. It often ends with someone *cough, the woman* lying on her back, staring at the ceiling, silently disappointed and still horny, wishing she had the courage to ask this guy to finish her off.
The sad truth is, so many of us can't summon the strength and confidence it takes to turn to the side, poke the dozing man next to us and ask, "Could you, maybe, like, finger me a bit longer?" A basic bitch pop psychologist like myself would say a lot of this probably comes down to the gender stereotypes surrounding sex: That women don't really want to have sex, they only do it to stop men nagging them; that those who do want it are very slutty indeed; that penis-in-vagina sex is the 'end goal' and anything else is merely a build up to The Main Event. You know, all that crap.
But am I being paranoid? Does this happen to other women? And how can we fix it? I decided to find out.
For better or for worse, I'm someone who doesn't find it particularly hard to reach orgasm. I’d say eight out of 10 times, I'll come during sex. Despite knowing that sex shouldn't end when a man ejaculates, I know I'd still feel it was a bit unfair if I came and my partner didn't. That's how deeply ingrained in us this bullshit really is.
So the other morning, I conducted an experiment. This makes it sound a lot more calculated than it really was, FYI. At 7 a.m., my alarm went off and my boyfriend and I entered into the 'snuggle and chat about how tired you are' phase. But we were horny, so started gently touching each other. He was fingering me while I stroked his penis (the classic lazy, morning move) and as his breathing became more rapid, I knew he was close to orgasm. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, my climax hit me like a slap in the face. "Erm, did you just come?" he asked. Clearly, it was a surprise to everyone involved. I took my hand off his penis and gently suggested I was going to take a shower.
I don't want to assume, but I felt like I could sense a bit of disappointment. And worse, I couldn't help feeling guilty—like I'd stolen an orgasm from him.
(Side note: How some men do this ALL THE TIME without an ounce of guilt is beyond me). For the rest of the morning, I was worried he was thinking I was selfish (I know he wasn't, these are the dark forces of my own insecurities and preconceptions about sex at work here) and was disappointed that I hadn't finished him off.
My point is, I felt like a Grade A Bitch just taking my orgasm and then walking off. So why don't the guys who do this every damn time they have sex feel like that too? Are they actually dead inside, or do they just simply not care?
Unsure whether I'm alone in this (I mean, I speak to women about sex every day, I know I'm not), I spoke with sex therapist Ammanda Major, who is head of clinical practice at Relate. She reassured me the feeling of disappointment when a man finishes before a woman feels fully satisfied, is pretty common.
"Women can feel a bit abandoned and it's been the stuff of sitcom jokes—that the guy rolls over and the woman's thinking, 'Is that it?'", she says. It's normal to be left feeling disconnected and lonely after this happens," she adds.
We all know that most women need way more stimulation than men in order to get fully aroused and in the zone, so if you're not getting that, and then you're having penetrative sex and the guy comes and it's all over, it's hard not to be left feeling a bit... disappointed.
"I think there are a lot of reasons why," she tells me. And she makes a very good point that I selfishly never considered. "For some men with premature ejaculation (PE), they've not learned how to be more in control of when they ejaculate, so both partners end up being a bit dissatisfied. That can be something the man needs to understand more about and learn how to be a bit more in control of."
But, she says, it is also common in straight couples in which the man doesn't have PE.
It’s all about managing each other's sexual expectations. "Couples generally need to talk about this. Some women might say any ejaculation before they're ready is too early. But again, there has to be some sexual communication. A lot of people really struggle with that, about being honest about their needs, what they want and what they’d like to happen."
That's a point I can definitely agree with. After a guy comes and you're left feeling horny and frustrated, you might not necessarily want him to stimulate you until you climax. That's a hell of a lot of pressure for your vulva to take. But him showing a bit of respect for your needs, asking if there's anything he can do, or just gauging the vibe (the vibe being: touch me) would be very welcome indeed.
So if this is happening to you regularly, or just starting to happen, should you bring it up with your partner? Unequivocally yes, but the way you do it is super important. Ammanda says you need to think about how you can help him understand before, or during sex, that you might need further stimulation and that just because he has ejaculated, the sexual experience for you has not ended.
"It's how you communicate that," she explains. "In my experience, most men want to feel that their partner is getting something from [sex]. They’d rather hear it than not because it gives them a chance to satisfy their partner."
It's all about picking your moment, which is not the "sitting down across the kitchen table talking about stuff" moment. "When you're not tired, when you've got no other distractions, when it feels right, when you feel close to someone or when you're having a conversation about the relationship generally," Ammanda explains.
"What can be very off-putting is when one partner is highly critical during the sexual experience—most people find this very upsetting. If you want to get a different result or want something to change, sometimes you have to put some effort into how you can best communicate in a way that’s positive and effective."
Despite all this, orgasm (male or female) should most definitely not be the thing that signals the end of sex either—because, ultimately, great sex is about connection, intimacy, and fun, and not about conducting an orgasm tally—but both partners should make sure that everyone is feeling adequately seen to, whether that's by reaching climax or not.
Ammanda agrees that those needs and expectations shouldn't always be centred on orgasm. "We have to bear in mind there are a lot of preconceptions about sex—mainly that people have got to have wildly fantastic, simultaneous multi-orgasms. That is simply creating a false expectation for the vast majority of people.
“What men often quite struggle with, in my experience, is understanding that their partners don't necessarily need to have an orgasm and aren't necessarily bothered about whether their partner comes or not. It’s more about the intimate, emotional experience."
Be clear about your needs and expectations. Communicate these to your partner in a positive and constructive way. And never just lie there in a wet patch on the bed, feeling frustrated.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.