I set out to experience a 90-minute orgasm, but I moved past my body insecurities instead
A few years ago, a colleague of mine suggested that, as a sex writer, I had to meet Kenneth Play, a sex educator known for the “sex hacks” he teaches. Play not only gives video lessons and offers online courses about female pleasure, he also offers hands-on sessions to clients involving genital touch. I’ve interviewed Play for several articles since, and during a call with him last spring, he presented me with an intriguing offer: to receive and write about a session where he would give me a 90-minute orgasm. “A what?” I asked. “Is that even possible?”
Play explained to me that, using his (gloved) hands and toys, he can give clients multiple orgasms in such rapid succession that it feels like one big one. The experience sounded too good to be true, but also too good to not at least try.
I initially agreed to the session to gain material to write about it, but it also appealed to me personally. I’d been studying techniques like extended orgasms to explore heightened states of pleasure and the altered states of consciousness they can elicit. I also just wanted to improve my sex life; I had a hunch that I had not yet experienced my body’s full potential. Still, I was not prepared for how deep our sessions would get—and how much I’d learn about myself from them.
In order to get to know me and give me the best experience possible, Play talked to me on the phone the week before our session and chatted with me right before and after the session itself. During our phone call, he asked me some very personal questions, like what my sexual fantasies were.
I had never quite described them in detail before because, well, I thought they were super strange.
“It’s really weird,” I began.
“It’s the weird ones that I want to hear about,” he reassured me.
“I have this thing with premature ejaculation porn,” I blurted out.
“Uh-huh,” he said non-judgmentally. “What is it about it? The humiliation?”
I struggled to even articulate what went through my head when I masturbated. “No, it’s not that,” I said. “It’s like…I get turned on by the idea that men are just uncontrollably horny, and that it’s really easy for men to orgasm and really hard for women; that men are simple and women are complicated.”
“Do you think you’re complicated?” he asked. Oh, god, I thought. This was going deeper than any conversation I’ve had in the past. Since I’d interacted with Play before and knew his basic philosophy was based on feminist and sex-positive views, I took a chance and opened up to him further. I confided in him that for the first few years of my sex life, I could only orgasm through masturbation, and I still had shame around that.
“Here’s what I think,” he said. “I think you’re the premature ejaculator. I think you’re the horny man. And I think you’re using those fantasies to bring out that side of yourself.”
“I don’t think women are more complicated,” he added. “But if you believe you are, and you’re insecure about that, that can get you in your head during sex and make your sex life complicated.” Wow, I thought. It was like this man was peering into my soul. I was definitely not a stranger to a pattern of psyching myself out during sex by worrying about whether I’d orgasm. I’d sometimes give up before I even tried. I’d get afraid I was burdening partners with my orgasms or wounding their egos if they didn’t succeed.
Then came the actual session. I visited Play at Hacienda, which serves as his (and several other people’s) home and workspace, as well as a site for sex parties and other sex-related events. When we talked about how the session would go, I explained to him that I was still insecure about my ability to have partnered orgasms—I’d only had them with two people—so we created a rule: For the first half hour of the session, orgasms wouldn’t be the main focus. He sensed that any pressure I felt would get in the way of climaxing, so he wanted me to be aware of the sensations going on in my body and focus on feeling pleasure.
Then, he had me lay down in the room where he completes his sessions, which had a huge bed that took up almost the whole space and all varieties of sex toys displayed on the walls. He had coconut oil and several toys on hand and started off by giving me a full-body massage to get me comfortable.
Contrary to my fears, I did orgasm once Play eventually started touching my clitoris, and without much difficulty. I was so relieved. He brought me to tears when he told me that my clitoris was very responsive, describing how it became engorged when he started rubbing it. Part of me had still believed I was broken. I had two more orgasms using toys during the 90-minute session, but I didn’t really get to explore the 90-minute orgasm because I was still working through so many feelings. Play invited me back for another session.
The second time around, I had a few orgasms, but not a 90-minute one. Play suggested that if I wanted to become more multi-orgasmic, I should learn to breathe deeply, make noise, and use other techniques to focus on physical sensations and keep my arousal going after each orgasm.
But, I realized, even though achieving a 90-minute orgasm was the goal of our work together, it wasn’t actually what I needed—I needed to celebrate all of the wonderful sensations I could experience without pressure.
It felt so liberating to free my body from all these expectations I’d imposed on it.
During the years when I could only orgasm alone, I had blamed my own body. It was all I’d heard from friends and sex articles: that women’s orgasms were complicated, that this was just how it was. In reality, there were other things going on, including that I was taking SSRI antidepressants (which often impede orgasm) and not receiving enough clitoral stimulation during partnered sex. I’d been so hard on my body, I hadn’t had the chance to acknowledge it for the beautifully responsive, well-functioning, orgasmic apparatus it truly was.
This realization helped me feel more comfortable in my skin and less anxious around future partners. As I went on to explore my sexuality with more people in the following months, I learned that partnered orgasms weren’t difficult at all when I was turned on, present, and able to ask for what I wanted. As Play had pointed out, the real obstacle wasn’t my body; it was the insecurity that kept me in my head.
Everything I thought I needed to gain in order to have a satisfying sex life was actually already in me. Play was right: The supposedly male characteristics I’d envied and fantasized about were, in fact, actually my own. And, ultimately, I didn’t need a 90-minute orgasm to show me that. I just needed an appreciation for all the amazing things my body could already do.