What is a ruined orgasm and can you bounce back from one?

A ruined orgasm sounds like a real Debby Downer, but allow sexpert Annabelle Knight to fill you in on what it really means

Woman's hands pulling white sheets in ecstasy, orgasm
(Image credit: Getty)

A ruined orgasm could very well make couples throw in the towel. 

The moment has deescalated, and neither partner is quite sure how to get in the mood after the setback. But don't let your orgasm (or lack thereof) feel discouraging. 

"An orgasm isn’t the be-all and end-all of sex, nor does it define a sexual encounter," insists Annabelle Knight, sex and relationship at Lovehoney (opens in new tab)

That being said, should you or your significant other want to get a little pep in your step after the finale gets thrown out of whack, Knight will tell you everything you need to know. 

Meet the expert: Annabelle Knight

Annabelle Knight is a sex, dating, relationship and body language expert. She is the author of romance novels Chasing Clouds and The Endless Autumn. Catch her expertise on Radio River Live and Lovehoney (opens in new tab), where she is resident sex and relationship expert. 

What is a ruined orgasm? And how to fix it

Like the feeling itself, ruined orgasms are multifaceted. 

"An unintentional ruined orgasm is where you are put off your stride just as you are on the point of orgasm," Knight says. "It is something that anyone who is sexually active has experienced."

Whether a solo sex session gets interrupted or the magic fizzles when you're with a partner, you can generally retrieve the momentum—just reach for the best sex toys or keep the activity going. Either way, there are benefits. 

"Often the orgasm may be a little more intense because of the delay and the fact that you are keen to recapture the moment," Knight says. 

Perhaps patience really is a virtue. 

Couple having sex

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When discussing intentional ruined orgasms, BDSM comes into play. (Get an introduction with our guide to bondage for beginners.) This is when someone wants to change the course of their partner's finish.

"For many, the experience of a ruined orgasm can be a fetish, where they receive pleasure and satisfaction from the denial of pleasure," Knight says. "For the dominant, the appeal in a ruined orgasm is likely the satisfaction that comes from control."

In order to get back on track, Knight suggests a role reversal. But, as is with most new techniques, the important thing to remember is to talk about sex with your partner and decide where the boundaries lie. 

"Make sure this a step you both want to take together. And always, always agree a safe word in advance so that you can stop the activity at a moment's notice without any room for disagreement," Knight suggests.

Should you not want your sexy time to be thwarted, you might consider experimenting with orgasm control to stay in charge. This is the act of controlling either your orgasm or your partner's O by either forcing, denying, postponing or extending sexual bliss—sometimes a little bit of everything. 

"Have you ever changed how you were touching yourself because you wanted things to go faster or slower," Knight asks. "Have you ever seen the look of pleasure on a lover’s face and slowed down what you were doing to prolong the sex? These are all forms of orgasm control."

She adds: "Orgasm control is done by getting to the brink of orgasm, then stopping, slowing down or lessening stimulation until your arousal levels drop. Then you get back to the edge of orgasm and repeat as many times as you want."

In a sense, a "ruined" orgasm might not be so terrible at all. But if all this talk about the finish puts you slightly on edge, you can explore Karezza sex, which is about the connection more than the climax.