Sex after Celibacy

Dear Dr. Patti:

After many failed and hurtful relationships, I took a vow of celibacy nine years ago. During that time, I was involved with men but refused to have sex, and the relationships eventually ended. Four months ago, I met a wonderful man. We have so much in common, it's like a dream. My problem is this: We've had sex, but neither of us had an orgasm (he had been celibate for 10 years before this). Could this be because of our long celibacy? We didn't rush; we took things slow from beginning to end. It felt so good to hold someone and be held. We have talked about making this a permanent relationship, but I'm afraid that if we never climax, things may fall apart. What should I do? --iVillager "J"


Dear J:

You are two lucky people to have found each other. Over the course of one's life, many women (and men) choose celibacy for emotional, physical or spiritual reasons. These may be short or long breaks from the demands of sexual sharing, respites that can lead to redefining what you want from sex, providing time to heal, shifting your focus to your inner self or avoiding the pain of another disappointing love affair.

Now that you and your new boyfriend have found each other and rejoined the world of the sexually active, my main message for you is this: Take it slowly and stop worrying about outcomes. The best way to find success is to enjoy the process and to feel the pleasure. Because the two of you have not been with other partners for a while, it will take longer than usual to rekindle that type of spark and resume "regular" (with orgasm) activity. Think of an athlete who takes time off from training then needs to build up her endurance again.

For help along the way, you may want to add some sexually explicit videos to the mix. You can find them on my site, at My favorite is the new Kama Sutra tape, which is a teaching video that shows how to be good lovers. Another great one for women is Betty Dodson's Celebrating Orgasm, which shows her (and my) one-on-one method for sex coaching women to orgasm. It will give you and your new beau the necessary info on how to get you there. You may also want to integrate the use of a personal vibrator for your orgasmic release.

As for the newness of this situation, give it time. Lay off expectations and just enjoy the ride together.

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