My friend Alex's "first time" story is rather typical: equal parts awkwardness and pleasure finishing with a big, faked orgasm.
"At some point I realized that as pleasant as the sensation was, this particular stroking motion from intercourse wasn't going to lead me to an orgasm," Alex explains. "So when it seemed like the right time, I grimaced, made some appropriate noises, and no one was the wiser."
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What makes this story atypical is that Alex is a man.
That men reach orgasm easily and definitely whereas women work long and hard to get there (if they get there at all) is a myth, according to sex educator Carol Queen, director of San Francisco's Center for Sex and Culture.
"Some women can get turned on and come just as quickly as any man; and plenty of men take a long time to get aroused enough to go forward with direct genital contact, need extra sources of mental or physical stimulation to get that turned on, and have difficulty achieving orgasm during partnered sex," Queen says.
Sexual responsiveness between partners varies for reasons ranging from skill and technique to psychology and anatomy. I have been in sexual relationships with men in which I could readily climax through vaginal intercourse, but I also had a long-term relationship with a partner — I'll call him Eddie — whose anatomy and mine rarely conspired to bring either of us to orgasm the old fashioned way.
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