My boyfriend cannot touch me / I cannot feel pleasure

Questions and discussion about your sexual lives, choices, activities, ideas and experiences.
prunelle
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My boyfriend cannot touch me / I cannot feel pleasure

Unread post by prunelle »

Hello,

I have a number of issues that are preventing me from having a fulfilling sex life with my boyfriend (of one year). We've made very slow progress over this last year, but recently I feel I've reached a plateau, which is why I've come here looking for help.

I'm a very ticklish person, and he finds it extremely difficult to touch me in certain places (armpits / ribs / hips / inner thighs and between the legs...) I immediately push his hand away when he puts it there. It's improved a bit with time, but we're currently at a distance (we live ~3 hours from each other), and when we meet up again after too much time I'm as sensitive to his touch as I was at the beginning and he literally has to fight me if he wants to touch me in an intimate way.

This problem is compounded by what I would call over-sensitivity of the clitoris. He's already tried to masturbate me several times, but each time I didn't get any pleasure from it, it was just painful for me. He's already performed cunnilingus on me for at least 20 minutes: I tried to relax as much as possible to see if I could get any pleasure from it, but either I was in pain, or I couldn't feel anything because he wasn't touching my clitoris directly but around it.

The problem doesn't stop at the clitoris. I feel very little pleasure when he touches me. It's very unpleasant for me when he touches my nipples (I think I'm particularly sensitive because as soon as he touches them for too long I develop crusts on my nipples...), and the same goes for between my legs. I've always thought it was due to my lack of self-confidence and the fact that I have a very negative view of my appearance. I find it extremely difficult to accept myself in an intimate situation. I've never masturbated, because the whole thing disgusted me, and I've never felt the need to. On the rare occasions when I tried, touching my clitoris hurt, so I stopped. I believe less and less that I could get pleasure from it, so I'm less and less open to trying these sexual experiences again with my boyfriend.

One last thing: he's also tried to penetrate my vagina with his finger, and this too is impossible. It's very unpleasant for me as soon as he runs his finger over my vagina, and as soon as he penetrates just a little, the pain is great and I immediately ask him to stop. I'm probably too tense, but relaxing in these situations is almost impossible for me. Even when I manage to be calm, as soon as I feel his finger there, I immediately tense up. He's already tried to do it very gradually, but even that doesn't work.

All this is preventing me from having a sex life with my boyfriend and it makes him sad that he can't do more with me. He knows it's not his fault, but he inevitably feels a bit bad when he tries to touch me but I react as if I'm in agony... I'd really like to get to the bottom of this situation. Do any of you have any advice or ideas about what's wrong with me?

Thank you very much !
Sam W
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Re: My boyfriend cannot touch me / I cannot feel pleasure

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi prunelle,

This sounds very frustrating, and like there are multiple things contributing to what's going on. The first one I want to ask about is: do you find yourself to be pretty sensitive to touch in general, even non-sexual touches or things like certain fabric textures? And with your nipples specifically, does that crust develop because there's liquid present when he touches them? Or does it seem to be purely the act of touching that causes the crust to develop?

Too, I hear you saying you find it difficult to accept yourself in an intimate situation. Would you say that's mainly to do with how you view your body, or are there other things that contribute to that feeling? And when you and your boyfriend are together, are you very aroused by the time you try to do anything sexual together? Do you find yourself getting aroused pretty easily once you two take things in a sexual direction? Or do you feel like you're bored, nervous, or not very interested in what's going on?
prunelle
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Re: My boyfriend cannot touch me / I cannot feel pleasure

Unread post by prunelle »

Hi Sam,

Thank you very much for your reply!

As for my sensitivity, I don't think I'm sensitive to certain fabrics, I'm only sensitive to human touch (intimate or not), I'm very ticklish. And the scabs on my nipples only come from touching them with my fingers, there's no liquid used. But I think I have very sensitive skin, it's very dry and I tend to get eczema, so maybe it's linked.

The difficulty to accept myself in intimate situations is very much linked to the fact that I find it hard to accept my body and its flaws, and maybe also to the fact that I don't know my body well, I'm a bit disgusted by my sexual organs. I also have a general lack of self-confidence, I feel the opposite of sexy and I find it hard to believe that anyone could be attracted to me.

I'm very rarely aroused when we start doing intimate things, it has happened before but very few times (mainly when it was at night and I was probably more relaxed, or my senses were less alert) but even then, when he touches my nipples or between my legs, it becomes immediately unpleasant for me. I get a bit excited when I can feel him wanting me and enjoying it too, but that doesn't happen very often, because when we do intimate things now, he has to be very careful and it's not really the style of sex that suits him (he likes things a bit rougher). But generally speaking I rarely feel excited, I'm nervous and sometimes I feel bored, mainly when he starts touching my clitoris, I wait for the time to pass and I'm quite in a hurry for it to end.
Sam W
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Re: My boyfriend cannot touch me / I cannot feel pleasure

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi prunelle,

Thank you for that additional detail, that's all really helpful! I can see how the eczema combined with being pretty ticklish in general could make it trickier to find ways for your partner to touch you that actually feel good rather than uncomfortable.

That being said, I think there are a few bigger things at play that are making sex uncomfortable or touch uninteresting/unpleasant for you. The first are those feelings about your own body; while plenty of people do have happy, satisfying sex lives while struggling with their body image, if we're really down on our bodies--or repulsed by the parts of them that are involved in whatever kinds of sex we're having--that can make it much harder to enjoy any sexual things that happen, or to feel comfortable with a partner touching you. Would it be helpful to talk about some ways to start feeling a bit better about your body? Or dig into where those feelings of disgust might be coming from?

Too, if you're not feeling that aroused and find certain parts of sex boring, that's also probably playing a big role in why you don't feel much pleasure. Our brains are our biggest sexual organ, and if they're not involved in and enjoying what's going on, it's unlikely to feel all that good. If you'd like, we can talk about some ways to maybe get your brain more engaged and figure out how you and your boyfriend can build sexual interactions that are exciting for both of you.
prunelle
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Re: My boyfriend cannot touch me / I cannot feel pleasure

Unread post by prunelle »

Hi Sam,

Thanks again for your answer. By posting here, I was precisely hoping to get some advice on how to be more accepting of my body, and how to make my brain more "engaged" and be more willing to accept sexual situations. If you have any idea on how I could gradually become more comfortable with touching my own body and masturbating, and how we could do so that sexual stuff go more smoothly with my boyfriend, it would be also very useful. Thank you !
Sam W
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Re: My boyfriend cannot touch me / I cannot feel pleasure

Unread post by Sam W »

We can absolutely offer some advice on that! In terms of the body stuff, here are some starting places I really like:
The Sex Goddess Blues: Building Sexual Confidence, Busting Perfectionism
Seven Ways to Love Your Body
https://www.scarleteen.com/blog/heather ... ofrightnow
https://www.scarleteen.com/article/advi ... bish_story

As you read those, do you see pieces of advice you could implement or test out for yourself?

As for getting better acquainted with your body and desire, and with masturbation, there are a few different starting places. I really love this article as a tool for connecting with desire and fantasy: How to Approach Sexual Fantasy and Desire on Your Own Terms. Too, how open would you say your boyfriend is to you two having no-pressure talks about things like fantasies or sexual activities you're curious about?

With masturbation specifically, do you have a sense of where that discomfort or disgust with your genitals or touching them in a sexual way yourself seems to come from? Or does it feel like you have no idea why they set off those feelings for you?
prunelle
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Re: My boyfriend cannot touch me / I cannot feel pleasure

Unread post by prunelle »

Thanks for the recommendations! It's true that I've had problems accepting smells, discharges, hairs... My boyfriend has often reassured me about that and it's getting a bit better, but I still have quite a long way to go. I'm going to apply the advice in these articles and see what happens. I'm very modest about my body, so maybe the advice to spend some time naked could help me accept it more. In any case, reading these articles has done me good.

My boyfriend talks to me very freely about his sexual desires, I think I'm pretty open too but often I play down the fact that I'm not aroused because I don't want to hurt his feelings. But I think I'm able to talk to him quite freely about the sexual stuff I like best.

I don't really know where my disgust for my genitals comes from. I feel like it's almost a fear of what's between my legs, and that like it will automatically hurt if I touch there. I always thought it came from the fact that I've never paid attention to my genitals and I don't really like my naked body in general.
Amanda B
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Re: My boyfriend cannot touch me / I cannot feel pleasure

Unread post by Amanda B »

Hi prunelle,

I hope it's okay I'm joining in here. It sounds like you and Sam have had a productive conversation getting to the root of your ability to experience pleasure with your boyfriend. I'm glad you've been able to take a look at some of our articles too.

In pursuit of understanding your relationship with your genitals further, are you comfortable exploring why you might think it will automatically hurt if you touch them? As Sam said, the brain is the most important sex organ, so I could definitely see how a preconception that your genitals will hurt if touched would impact your sex life.
prunelle
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Re: My boyfriend cannot touch me / I cannot feel pleasure

Unread post by prunelle »

Hi iamamandab,

I don't have any issue with it, I'm glad you joined ! Thank you very much
I would be comfortable exploring this problem, I think it would be very helpful if I could understand why I feel like this, in order to be able to touch myself and be touched properly.
Sam W
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Re: My boyfriend cannot touch me / I cannot feel pleasure

Unread post by Sam W »

So, we've definitely seen people express that fear/aversion to their own genitals before, and there are a few reasons for it that seem to be more common.

To start out with, what kind of messages about sex, masturbation, and/or genitals did you get growing up? That could be from friends, parents, media, faith, or anything else that tended to communicate messages to you.

Too, if there are things you've struggled to like or at accept about your body--how it looks, how it behaves, etc--does it feel like those same emotions extend to your genitals?
prunelle
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Re: My boyfriend cannot touch me / I cannot feel pleasure

Unread post by prunelle »

I don't recall my friends or parents, or the media I was exposed to, painting a negative image of sex, masturbation or genitals. I have no such memories, I would even say it's quite the opposite. I think I'm a bit of a prude by nature and I discovered all these things very late in life, it hasn't existed in my life and mind until recently.

And indeed I have the impression that my genitals are a summary of the complexes I have about myself (thinness, hair...), but I also have the feeling that my complexes about this part of my body aren't enough to explain the fear I have of seeing and touching that area. I always thought what made me feel like this way was the combination of the fact that I don't know this part of the body very well, and the fact that I find it so ugly.
Carly
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Re: My boyfriend cannot touch me / I cannot feel pleasure

Unread post by Carly »

Hey prunelle -- thanks for providing that perspective on the kinds of messages you got about sex and your body growing up. If this is all relatively new for you, maybe we need to ask this kind of question about how you've felt recently/the last couple of years. What kind of messages do you receive about your body in the present from external forces?

I also want to touch on your comment about discovering these things "very late" in life. I know it seems like a lot of people start experimenting with their sexuality much earlier, but there's no real timeline for when that's supposed to start. People do it when they're ready, whenever that is. And discovering things about our sexual selves never really ends. Is there a reason why this is the time you've started thinking about this? Were you waiting until a certain point? Did you make a conscious decision about when you wanted to start making this a part of your life?
prunelle
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Re: My boyfriend cannot touch me / I cannot feel pleasure

Unread post by prunelle »

Hello Carly,

Thanks for joining the conversation! I've never received any negative comments about my looks, either as a child or more recently. I don't get compliments regularly either, but I can only remember positive things coming from my family or friends. But I've probably always felt that I was rather average, and I've always felt complexed by girls who are more feminine than me.

Until recently (the end of my high school) I didn't really pay attention to my appearance. I remember a conversation with my mother who told me to stop treating myself as a single brain without a body, that taking care of my body is also important to feel better in my head, it's an integral part of myself. It's something I'm now trying to work on (by exercising and taking better care of myself). Maybe not thinking about what I look like was a form of withdrawal to avoid having to face the "problem". It's also certainly a lack of interest on my part that leads to a lack of motivation to do anything to change this situation.

But since I've been trying to dress and present myself better, I've received nothing but positive feedback. That's certainly why I'm now pretty confident when I'm dressed, but it's my naked body that I find hard to cope with, and a few things in particular that give me complexes.

I didn't really "wait" to discover my sexuality, it's more that I never felt the need. It's not at all something I thought about before. I've been thinking about these things since last summer because I've had my first boyfriend and he has more libido than I do. It's also that I'd like to be able to do these things with him, it sounds like fun when people talk about it.
Sam W
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Re: My boyfriend cannot touch me / I cannot feel pleasure

Unread post by Sam W »

You know, people engage with their sexuality at all different kinds of paces. And it sounds like you were engaging--or not engaging--with it at a pace that works for you. Do you feel like the exploration of it you've done with your partner has been fun in the way you were hoping? Do you feel a lot of sexual attraction to him? And when you think back to the past, where there times where you felt pretty strong sexual desire or attraction for someone like a crush or a celebrity?

With getting comfortable with your naked body, one thing I recommend (and that might be in some of the resources I linked you earlier) is to, if you can, find ways to be naked where you aren't in the midst of anything sexual. Those could be things where you're more directly connecting to your body, like exercises where you go from part to part and thank it for what it does for you, or things where your focus is on other stuff--like reading or taking a bath--rather than on your body. Sometimes doing that can help you get more comfortable with the way your body looks without clothes.
prunelle
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Re: My boyfriend cannot touch me / I cannot feel pleasure

Unread post by prunelle »

I always like these moments of "sexual exploration", but I think that I don't feel that attracted to him. I'm completely comfortable being close to him though and I like it a lot. But I still would say that my desire for him is rather moderate. Also I never really had crushes or celebrity crushes, and I never felt attracted to someone, or aroused by anyone ; but I think it's mostly due to my great inhibition.

I'll do that, it sounds like a great advice, thank you !
Sam W
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Re: My boyfriend cannot touch me / I cannot feel pleasure

Unread post by Sam W »

You're very welcome, I hope some of it works!

Too, one thing to keep in mind is that attraction does play a role in how pleasurable sex is. So, if you aren't feeling that attracted to your partner overall, that could be a factor in all this as well. But, if you think a lot of that is tied up in these other inhibitions you're still unlearning or dealing with, then you may notice that as you work through those, the intensity of your attraction might change. It's also perfectly okay if you eventually realize that you're not attracted enough to him for a sexual relationship and would rather be close friends; sometimes people just don't click on a sexual level, and no one is doing anything wrong when that happens.
prunelle
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Re: My boyfriend cannot touch me / I cannot feel pleasure

Unread post by prunelle »

Thank you very much, I will keep this in mind !
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