When my boyfriend and I have sex, I will often get close to orgasming but will never succeed. This is because my body will seem to shut down. On more than one occasion, I have started to cry once I reach that point. Do you have any idea what may be causing this?
Are you telling me that you can't have an orgasm during intercourse? (I have to ask because different people mean different things by "sex.") It could be that all you need to do is sneak your hand down between his body and your body and get a finger on your clitoris. See if stimulating your clit will help you to get past the barrier between you and an orgasm. Are you able to masturbate to orgasm? If you are not, this is where you need to start. I suggest The Good Vibrations Guide to Sexuality to get more information about female sexual response.
If you mean that you can't have an orgasm when your boyfriend is going down on you, that's a whole other problem. In that case, he probably isn't doing it right. Every woman needs a different kind of cunnilingus. This is hard for guys to understand because for a hard penis, a blowjob is a blowjob. Getting your cock sucked looks pretty much the same no matter who is doing it. But the clitoris is a lot more sensitive and finicky, and unfortunately, the technique that was successful last night might not work today. It's important to have an exploratory attitude, be patient, and make sure your partner knows she can tell you to go faster, harder, slower, up or down. The guy who gets pissed off or—even worse—dismisses what his girlfriend tells him will never be a decent lover.
I strongly recommend that couples masturbate together. This is an erotic display, and it's also a really wonderful way to learn about one another's bodies. You can also interrupt love-making and bring masturbation into it at any time. I've sometimes been able to help a female lover have an orgasm during oral sex if she knows she can stop it at any time and masturbate to orgasm. Same thing with vaginal and anal sex. The clitoris can be your ally to eroticize all kinds of new sex games.
I also recommend giving each other massages, even if you have to take a class or watch a DVD to learn how. The whole body needs attention. Lovemaking can be prolonged and enhanced if you remember that. Deep breathing exercises and massage can help everybody to stay in the present moment and fully occupy the body. You may be crying during sex simply because it brings up strong feelings. You may be expressing frustration and despair. You might be feeling especially close to your lover. Or it's possible that something bad happened to you in the past which is affecting you today. You can't stay present and in your body because these bad memories are being triggered. If this is going on, please write to me again. I don't have to answer your question in the column if you'd like to keep it private. Trauma is the cause of a lot of distress for women and affects their partners too. But it should be a separate topic for another day.