Q: In the past few years when I've been between relationships, I've become pretty skilled with a vibrator. I find when I am intimate with a man now, it's much more difficult for me to have an orgasm when he goes down on me. My orgasms are more powerful and occur faster when I give myself clitoral stimulation! This is humorous to me -- is it the result of "doing it on my own" for too long?

A: Bingo. It's kind of like trying a new massage therapist when the one you've been seeing every week for the past year does a perfectly good job that leaves you blissfully satisfied every time. It doesn't make sense to switch up (which is exactly what your clitoris is telling you now). But let's say you lost your job and didn't have extra money for the luxury of that weekly massage, so you had to go without. Then someone gives you a gift card to a new spot for your birthday, so you check it out because you missed those massages so much. Well, that massage is going to be nirvana -- you may twitch, you may cry, you may even orgasm -- and it all but makes you forget about those massages you got at the old place.

I think you see where I'm going here. A little deprivation goes a long way when it comes to sex. Taking some time away from orgasming in general will make your body want it that much more the next time the opportunity arises. Lay off the diddling for a week, for starters. When you get back to it, try using only your hands. Some additional stimulation may be required to get you all the way there, so if that's the case try some visuals. Porn is free and easily accessible on the Internet, and a two-minute clip of your preferred perversion might be all that's necessary to get you there.

Even deprivation during sex can make a world of difference. Being deprived of your sense of sight, for instance, enhances any other sensation you're experiencing, which is why blindfolding is so popular. You can also try asking him to tease you as a form of pleasure deprivation. Have him massage, tickle, bite and taste all around your erogenous zones without actually hitting them. A solid 30 minutes of that, particularly if you're blindfolded and/or tied to the bedpost, should have you primed for the big O. Another huge part of our arousal is watching and hearing our partners experience pleasure. If there's something your man really likes in particular -- blow jobs, perhaps, as if I even need to say it -- then go nuts on him.

Now a little technique tip for your partner. The Kivin Method is a virtually guaranteed method of orgasm, and all it takes is a switch from the position you're probably accustomed to for cunnilingus. Have him go perpendicular to your body, creating a right angle. What he wants to do is sweep his tongue across the hood of your clitoris from side to side (rather than up and down), which is closer to the motion we ladies usually use while masturbating. The other thing he wants to do is put pressure on your perineum, that little stretch of skin between your vagina and anus. Underneath it lie the muscles that make orgasms, so by pressing a fingertip or two on this area while licking your clit, he should be able to successfully make you come. Meanwhile, your body is basically unrestrained, so you can do whatever feels comfortable with your hands, arms and legs.

Just don't stress out if you can't always come from the oral, or any other kind of sex. If all you're thinking about is going to Pleasuretown, then you'll psych yourself out and never get there. If all else fails and you're determined to get off during sex (or your man is becoming increasingly frustrated by the situation), just toss your vibrator in the mix. I'm sure he'll have no problem learning how to use it on you, or just watching you use it, since it's always a sure thing.

  • Alexis McKinnis is taking your questions about sex, dating and relationships. Send them to advice@vita.mn or submit anonymously at www.vita.mn/alexis. Don't leave out the juicy details!