Updated: Aug 23
Being part of the kink and BDSM community provides an alternative conception of what is a good sexual encounter.In the vanilla-ish community, orgasm is the end goal of most sex. Both men and women want to climax at some point during the sexual encounter. If someone does not climax, it is often seen as a less than successful encounter.
Some people in the vanilla-ish community come to understand that they and their partners are not always going to reach orgasm during every encounter. It tends to happen as you get older and more experienced. However, climax remains a goal of the large majority of sexual interactions.
In the kink community, this is not always the focus. In fact, there can be very intimate encounters where people leave very satisfied and no one reached orgasm. Sometimes people do not even have sex and yet the encounter is highly fulfilling. I have found when I talk to people who do not participate in kink that the concept of playing without sexual contact or climax seems odd and unfulfilling. Let me explain why playing without climax and potentially without sex can be amazingly fulfilling.
Play Versus Sex
One distinction people in the BDSM community make is play versus sex. Play encompasses all sorts of fetish encounters. Sometimes there is sex, sometimes there is not. It can be things like impact play, fire play, electric play, bondage, shibari, sensation play or deprivation. All of these things can and do occur without necessarily involving sex.
Sex refers to what most people think of as sex: oral, anal, or vaginal penetration. Sex can happen in the BDSM community with or without other types of play.
Why would people engage in play if it does not result in orgasm or a sexual encounter? Simple. Play provides other ways of bonding and connecting with a partner, it provides sensations that we like, it can result in catharsis that does not involve climax.
Some kinky people enjoy combining sex and play. Some people have play partners that they do not have sex with at all. Some people have sex with partners they do not engage in kink play with. This happens because what someone desires in a play partner can differ than what they desire in a sexual partner.
I have play partners that I do not have sex with. For me, I have things I enjoy doing in terms of kink play and have play partners who are skilled in these types of play but I am not sexually attracted to them. I have sexual partners who do not enjoy kink play. I am lucky enough to have partners who I am sexually attracted to and who are skilled and enjoy the same type of kink play that I do.
I enjoy very heavy impact play. I especially like belts and caning. It is not easy for all men to hit a woman, even in the context of consensual kink play. I have had partners who have tried impact play with me and feel guilty when it is over. They do not make good kink partners but they have made good sexual partners.
In my history, there are two male partners I have had a great kink chemistry with who were very skilled in impact play but I was not (and still am not) sexually attracted to them. With these men, I have loved the time we spend together in play. I will spend time setting up an encounter, talking about what I desire and what they want, setting up parameters for the scene. When we play, I feel amazing. It is very intense. When I am done, I am happy and fulfilled and satisfied. However, there is no sexual play. I do not climax in orgasm, but I do have a release that is somewhat similar with a dopamine and seretonin dump. I like to have after care that involves a bit of cuddling and tenderness. And I love these men.
Stop Chasing the O
Some people chase orgasm. I have had partners who have stated they hate having sex with a woman who does not climax every time they have sex. Hate to tell you, even the most orgasmic girl will not have this happen every time. It does not mean you are a failure. It just means that for that night, she was not in the right place to orgasm.
Chasing orgasm can be counterproductive. If your partner insists you climax every time for them to feel okay about sex, it sets up a situation where someone will either feel the need to start faking it or will want to put off sex unless they are really ready to climax. It gets to be oppressive.
There is a lot more to sexual encounters than orgasm. Yes, climaxing is great. However, sex can be used to bond people, to increase communication, to help release stress, to reconnect people, to kill time, to show devotion, and a dozen other reasons. Orgasm does not have to happen to make these other things happen. I can have sex with someone just because I want to feel close to them and let them know I care about them. I don’t have to orgasm to show that.
Orgasm is important. If you have difficulty climaxing or you have a partner that ignores this need for you in every encounter it becomes frustrating and unsatisfying. However, there is no need to insist on orgasm with every encounter. In fact, you should stop insisting on this. Focus on the deeper parts of sex, the more meaning parts of sex. Focus on the connection and bonding that can occur. Focus on making you and your partner happy. Orgasm is a bonus.
For me, it comes down to this. If I just want to orgasm, I can do that for myself in a couple of minutes. Sex is much more meaningful to me than just climaxing. When you stop chasing the orgasm and start focusing on the more important parts of sex, you step out of hook-up culture and start embracing the more loving parts of sex.