I'm not feeling pleasure is that normal? Ask Bish

I’m Not Feeling Pleasure, Is That Normal?

We might feel more pleasure the more we have sex, but only if we can pay attention to our body and what it might do.

I lost my virginity about 2 weeks ago (girl, 19) and initially it hurt but it doesn’t hurt anymore. I have had sex a few times since the very first time, however I can’t really feeling anything. The guy is doing everything right but I’m not feeling ‘pleasure’ as sex is described. Is this normal? Will I start to feel pleasure the more I have sex as I’m still new to it all.

Thanks for your really great question! I’m sure a lot of people who are new to sex will be having the same thoughts, so I hope that this helps them and you.

Painful sex

I’m sad that it hurt initially. A lot of people think that first time sex is supposed to hurt for girls but it really isn’t. It’s not your fault that it hurt, but I just want everyone else to know that the only reason that first time sex hurts is because we tell people that first time sex hurts. Here are some articles about how to prevent painful sex and also how to make first time sex really great

More pleasure over time

You could start to feel more pleasure from having sex. When we’re new to anything to do with our bodies (for example a new kind of exercise, or going dancing for the first time, or trying out a new bath) it’s generally something we learn to enjoy more over time. However this is also because we learn to notice the things we enjoy and we adjust how we do them. It’s harder to do this for sex because there are so many ‘should stories’ about how we should be having sex. This means that we often pay less attention to ourselves and more to how we are supposed to do something. 

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Maybe it’s the sex that you are having

From what you describe I’m making a guess that the kind of sex you are having is penis in vagina sex. If that is the kind of sex you’re having then it’s just really important to know that most women don’t orgasm from it. Many women find it too painful to do and a lot of women, like you, just find that it doesn’t do much for them. I’ve written about this here (which includes studies and stats).

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One of the reasons for this is that penis in vagina sex is more stimulating for penises than many vaginas. As I explain in this article about why penis in vagina sex is meh, the head of the penis is very sensitive and gets a lot of attention from PiV, but the head of the clitoris doesn’t get so much. So if you have a clitoris and if that is the most sensitive part of your body, maybe think about having sex which stimulates that instead. Masturbation, dry humping, sex toys, etc etc. 

Maybe it is how you are having it

There are a few different ways that you could make penis in vagina sex more pleasurable. You could have other kinds of sex before, during, and afterwards for example. So a lot of people like to, for example, masturbate before, during or after penis in vagina sex. 

It’s also possible that the positions in which you are having sex are not doing it for you. Different positions can sometimes help to direct the penis into a different part of the vagina, which might feel more pleasurable, or comfortable. Also different positions means that you get different views of each other. You might prefer a position where you can see the guy, or not see the guy. 

You might also not be able to enjoy it if your basic needs aren’t being met, you haven’t been able to talk about safer sex (which might be stressing you out), or if you haven’t done much talking about what you might actually want.

Let’s not get obsessed with bodies though

But let’s not get obsessed with bodies though. Or at least, bodies as biological organs that do things. With sex, when we feel safe, encouraged, and cared for, our bodies can be capable of doing very different things. A bit like the high that people get when they go for a run, or the intense relaxation of a bath, or how the body tingles and crunches up when are giggling really hard at something.

Our bodies can do this if we try to just allow for it to happen. This means that we have to also engage with our surroundings, the other person, our fantasies, our sexy memories, the music that’s playing, the story of your relationship, the excitement of trying new things. It’s not just about one bit of the body going inside another bit of the body. 

Paying attention is key

So this means that what we need to do to enjoy sex (or anything) more is to carefully and gently pay attention to what our body is doing and also might do. Paying attention just means noticing what’s going on. When you do this for you, the other person, and also everything else that is going on in the room, and in your head, things can really start to spiral upwards into pleasure. 

So can you take more notice of things like: breath, noises, sounds, words, temperature, tingling, memories, thoughts, sensations, the vibe between you, facial expressions, eyes, changing skin colour or texture, goosebumps. To help you do all of this you could try just slowing everything down. Don’t just follow the script of what you should be doing (which is really really hard) but just try to focus on the now. Instead of ‘having sex’, just try doing all of this the next time you make out (which is also probably sex but who cares). 

I’ve got an article and a video about how to enjoy sex more

Also I co-wrote a book on how to enjoy sex more called A Practical Guide to Sex, it’s available worldwide and is all about this stuff.

If you want to get really geeky about sex try my Teach Yourself Sex Ed course (honestly, if you do that you will be more of a sex expert than 99% of the population).

Hope you find that helpful!


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I’ve been a sex and relationships educator since 1999 (with a background in youth and community work). In that time I’ve taught and given advice about sex and relationships with thousands of young people in person and millions online. I’ve worked with many charities, local governments, schools and youth organisations facilitating training and workshops. My two books, Enjoy Sex (How, When, and If You Want To) and Can We Talk About Consent? are widely available around the world. I’ve been on the telly and the radio and have written articles for newspapers and magazines. I’m also a member of the World Association for Sexual Health. Read more about me and BISH here. Find out about my other work here Justin Hancock

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