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What Is a Ruined Orgasm?

This BDSM practice is for those of you who love stop-and-start teasing.

While some people consider an orgasm during sex to be the gold star of intimacy, for others, forced or ruined orgasms are just another way of having The Best Sex Ever. Granted, if you're new to a concept of a ruined orgasm, you might be at a loss for what it is, how to do it, and why anyone would want to experience one.

So whether you're interested in experiencing a ruined orgasm for yourself, just want to learn, or arrived here after falling down an internet rabbit hole (welcome!), here's literally everything you need to know about ruined orgasms.

What is a ruined orgasm?


A ruined orgasm is one that’s the result of stop-and-start stimulation and teasing, generally under the control of your partner, explains Carol Queen, PhD, resident sexologist at Good Vibrations. It’s an orgasm that doesn’t give you the climactic feeling of pleasure you usually expect from an orgasm.

Generally, if someone enjoys and eroticizes being in control of another person, they’d get especially turned on during this kind of play. Mainly because "there’s a feeling of power and pride when you are able to give your partner pleasure and choose when to take it away," explains Daniel Saynt, founder of The New Society for Wellness (NSFW), a private, sex-friendly members club in NYC.

"The sadistic pleasure of refusing to allow your partner to reach orgasm is rooted in control—wanting to be in control of a sexual experience and taking ownership of your partner's orgasm."

While ruined orgasms are commonly seen as a fetish and/or a form of dominant/submissive play, Astroglide resident sexologist, Jess O’Reilly, PhD, says she's recently seen this term used to describe orgasms ruined by accident as opposed to on purpose.

"For example, if you’re about to orgasm and your partner stops or pulls away, you might have an orgasm that isn’t as satisfying. Or you might be right on the brink of orgasm and your partner says or does something that turns you off," she explains. "In other cases, an orgasm might be ruined by your own thoughts as your mind turns to distressful topics. Perhaps you’re watching porn and you’re almost there, but then the WiFi drops."

That said, in this context, we're talking about a ruined orgasm in the BDSM sense. If you lose your orgasm or have more of a blip orgasm, we've got tons of recourses for you as well, so check out some arousal tips or info about how to have a more intense orgasm, if that's what you're looking for.

How is a ruined orgasm different from a forced orgasm?

While both are more commonly seen in the BDSM communities, a forced orgasm means you *are* allowed to orgasm as intensely as you’d like, whereas a ruined orgasm is more about minimizing the pleasure you feel when you climax.

"A dom might stimulate a sub just to the brink of orgasm and then stop. Even if they do have an orgasm, it can be a let-down or less intense than an orgasm in which stimulation continues," explains Dr. Jess.

"For those who enjoy submission, the ruined orgasm is a reminder that their partner is in control of their pleasure and can strengthen relationship bonds," adds Saynt.

That said, as with most things sex-related, there’s definitely some potential of overlap, and you might experience both at the same time. You could have a dom “ruin” a forced orgasm as well, says Queen.

Is a ruined orgasm essentially just no orgasm at all?

So, a ruined orgasm isn't exactly no orgasm or a lost orgasm. Queen notes that she’s heard of ruined orgasms also being referred to as “ejaculation-only orgasm”—aka an ejaculatory response that’s separate from orgasm (which, yes, is possible).

A ruined orgasm could also mean a weak orgasm. “The difference between that and basically being interrupted or distracted away from your building pleasure, and having a meh orgasm as a result, is the control/tease/intentionality part of ruined-orgasm play,” says Queen. And in other instances, a ruined orgasm = a better orgasm, if the sub truly has a fetish for this and is that into it.

Is a ruined orgasm the same as edging?

While the start-stop tempo of a ruined orgasm might seem similar to edging, they’re actually pretty different. The purpose of edging is to have more pleasure for longer, whereas the purpose of a ruined orgasm is to take away from the pleasure in order to serve the larger purpose of control, explains Queen. Edging also happens to be seen more frequently in masturbation, which doesn’t seem true of ruined orgasms.

Why would someone want to have a ruined orgasm?

There are a lot of reasons why someone would want to have a ruined orgasm. "Some people enjoy the torture/pain side of it, while others experience an extreme amount of pleasure from the continuous stimulation after the orgasm," explains Mistress Rogue, a professional dominatrix and founder of The Dom House. "It can make the sensation feel even more intense than the orgasm itself."

Additionally, a female dom working with a male sub subverts sex role stereotypes that are ingrained in many people. And Queen points out: “Considering that many cis men may have had a lot of orgasm-centric sex in their time, this is a way to change up the playing field.”

The long process of teasing and drawing out foreplay and learning your physical point of no return before orgasm is also v helpful in learning your own arousal patterns and your body, which is good to know in any situation. You can take what you’ve learned about your body in a ruined orgasm session and apply it to non-kink sex as well.

Why would someone want to give a ruined orgasm?

If you're wondering why someone would want to be the giver in a ruined orgasm situation, it usually comes down to control. "People enjoy giving ruined orgasms because it's sadistic by nature, and if you're a sadist, you get pleasure from tormenting someone in that kind of way," says Marla Renee Stewart, a sexologist and sexpert for Lovers sexual wellness retailer and brand. "Most people know that orgasms feel great, so to ruin something that's supposed to feel great can feel great to the person ruining it altogether."

Take Rogue, for example, a self-proclaimed primal sadist. "I enjoy giving ruined orgasms to submissives who enjoy the torture because it gives me all the control to continue or stop their pleasure and suffering," she says. "It makes them beg me to stop or continue and it takes the submissive into a headspace in which I can push boundaries and get what I want from them while they are cum-drunk."

Are there any risks involved with ruined orgasms?

While ruined orgasms aren't as physically risky as some other types of BDSM activities (looking at you, breath play), all sex carries risks, and with ruined orgasms, it's mostly mental.

Dr. Jess says communication, negotiation, and aftercare are especially vital when it comes to ruined orgasms, since humiliation and control are often at the core of the experience.

"Some people might find this type of play a fine line between consent and CNC (Consent Non-Consent,) because part of the play is trusting the Top to continue the stimulation and also trusting the Bottom or submissive to use their safe word when it's time to stop or it's too much," says Rogue. "Make sure both parties negotiate consent, to know exactly when and where is a good time to stop the stimulation."

Additionally, Saynt adds that as with most things, moderation is key here. "The repeated flow of blood to your genitals may cause discomfort or swelling," he says. That said, as long as you find time or orgasm at some point, the feeling should eventually fade.

How do you go about having/giving a ruined orgasm?

First, have a conversation with your partner about kink and dom/sub play. “Don’t just tie them up and begin tormenting them without a clear sense that this is something they're willing to try,” says Queen. That's a biiiiig no-no.

Start by addressing your wants, boundaries, and hard limits with your partner. Then, let your partner communicate theirs. If you both are on the same page and decide to give ruined orgasms a try, here's how to get started safely:

  • Make sure you’ve got a safe word on lock (try “pineapple” or “purple” if you need inspo!). No matter how much experience you have with kink, always remember that feelings (or muscle cramps!) can sometimes arise in the moment and it’s important to have a word to pull out to stop play and to respect that.
  • Then, Queen recommends the dom teasing the sub (let’s say in this instance, you’re the dom and your partner is the sub), such as giving a hand job or fingering your partner to build up erotic tension.
  • Play with starting and stopping the action and work in teasing. The “journey” of the ruined orgasm should not be linear. Instead, you want to get your partner hot and bothered and then stop.

The resulting orgasm should be meh and not as pleasurable as expected for all that foreplay, which is the point of it being “ruined.”

Any other ruined orgasm tips?

When it comes to how to make a ruined orgasm better, Stewart suggests starting with a BDSM website or group to connect you with others. "From there, you can get tips and advice about what you should or shouldn't do, as well as learn from other people's stories about what it's like to have one," she says.

If you're already out there having ruined orgasms and want to turn things up, Stewart and Saynt recommend incorporating toys into your play. "The Lovers Wonder Wand is great because it's a lovely fit in your hand and it's pretty powerful for a sadist who likes to ruin orgasms," Stewart says. It's like the Hogwarts equivalent of taking orgasms away, which will pretty much earn you top makes in all things BDSM.