Happy New Year everyone!
Did ya’ll survive the holidays? Dr. Dick just barely made it through this annual ordeal by the skin of his teeth. The holidays are supposed to bring out the best in folks, right? Then, what’s with all the lunatic behavior this time of the year?
Leave it to all the wretched holiday hype to spike our self-critical nature. Just when ya thought it was safe to take a peek in the mirror, along come those age-old bugaboos to scare ya back into the closet of self-doubt. Consider this month’s grab bag of frightened souls.
Hey Dr. Dick –
I’ve always had a low self-image. Then about two years ago I decided to do something about. I began going to the gym regularly and eating better. It paid off…now I have a better image of myself and have been dating more. I am seeking a LTR but only seem to met and slept with unavailable women. I’m starting to turn this back on myself…sure now I’m good enough to sleep with, but not have a relationship with! Thoughts?
—K in NYC
You’re looking for a LTR and you’re sleeping around with unavailable women? Darlin’, what do you suppose is wrong with this picture?
Dr. Dick suspects that you still need to do some serious work on the self-image thing. I applaud your efforts to get in shape and eat right. Good for you! However, heaping recriminations upon yourself for your lack of success in the dating game, particularly while pursuing the unavailable, is downright self-defeating.
Rethink this strategy immediately.
I only have one testicle. I was born that way. It has a huge effect on my self-confidence. I consider myself a good-looking guy and I work out at the gym to try and look and feel the best I can. But even so, whenever I meet a guy and we have sex, I am always terrified that when he notices, he’ll freak out or suddenly be turned off. Even though the guys I have been with (not that many) haven’t had a problem with it, I feel it is a problem. And also, I have trouble ejaculating—whether that is physiological or psychological, I don’t know.
I have two questions. 1) Would having only one testicle reduce my sex drive and make it harder for me to ejaculate? 2) I have pondered the idea of having a prosthetic testicle inserted (so at least I wouldn’t LOOK any different to other guys). Do you know much about this procedure and if it is safe?
Thanks very much
Whoa, aren’t you all tied up in a BALL of knots? (Big pun intended!)
You’re obsessing about something that apparently is of no consequence to your partners. Hey, if they don’t give a shit that you’re shy a nut, why should you?
Celebrate your uniqueness, instead of living in shame. Your “irregularity” is neither life threatening, nor is it particularly obvious.
Consider the great length some guys go to in an attempt to hide the “shame” of what they perceive as a personal inadequacy. Like the guy who wears a really terrible toupee (or any toupee for that matter) in an effort to mask his hair loss. Is this not completely ridiculous, not to mention counterproductive? I mean, doesn’t his folly call even more attention to the very thing he wishes to conceal?
I propose that it’s your anxiety about “being found out” that’s getting in the way of your sexual performance, not having just one testicle. Nor do I believe that it’s interfering with your sex drive. But I advise you consult your physician if you think you have a hormonal imbalance. A regular injection of testosterone will remedy that.
You ask about surgery; well, it’s a simple enough procedure. But there are always risks, like the possibility of infection for example. Besides, you’ll always know that one of your balls is a fake. And in time, you’ll probably begin to obsess about that, too.
David, this problem of yours can be solved in a less drastic and invasive manner than surgery. Choose self-acceptance over the knife and be happy.
I am writing because I am a very self-conscious person and am afraid to date anyone because of how I look underneath my good-looking clothes. I was born with problems that left scars and veins on my body, making my younger years hell. I am very self-conscious when it comes to wearing shorts, which I never wear, and being naked with someone. I want to be with someone and look normal, like all the other people. I enjoy looking and feeling good about myself, but when it comes to revealing my true identity I lose all confidence. I am afraid of rejection because I am different.
I want a boyfriend who hot and has a body to die for, but I don’t base my dating prospects on looks, but on personality. I know there are others out there with the same philosophy, but it is hard to see. What should I do? I want to meet someone and have fun, but I have this fear of being rejected and not being what they expect.
I can’t tell from your comments if you are a man or a woman. That’s actually a good thing, because my advice is the same regardless of your gender. Our society can be a heartless place for those of us who don’t fit the “ideal” of youth and beauty perpetuated by the popular culture. And it looks to me like you’re guilty of the same bullshit you accuse others of perpetuating. You want a lover who is physically perfect, but you don’t want others to discriminate against you for not being so. Aaaa, hello! If you allow this unhappy double standard to control your sense of wellbeing, you have only yourself to blame.
Throw off the shackles that ensnare you. They’re all self-imposed, not to mention self-defeating. Learn to accept yourself for who you are, with all your assets and liabilities. And you’d do well to be a little less of a snob where others’ looks are concerned.
Dear Dr. Dick,
I’m an attractive, talented and fun loving guy who has never had a lover in the 23 years that I’ve been openly gay. Sure I get a lot of looks and flirtations but rarely from the ones I’m attracted to. It seems that unless you work out 4 to 5 times a week you’re not worth their time or attention. In fact, if you read personal ads you’ll find that the majority of them use that as a prerequisite. Mind you, I’m not flabby or out of shape, I’m just tall and thin (6’3″, 175#). This has made me very self-conscious about myself and in turn has produced performance anxiety. I find myself working so hard to please a man sexually that I can’t “get it up” to save my life. I joined a gym a couple of times. But after a year of religiously working out (both times), I never saw any visible improvement in my body so I stopped going. Another aspect of my frustration is the fact that I have been HIV+ for 12 years and I am developing the “skinny arms and legs syndrome” from my drugs. Sex has become a very complicated issue for me. Half the time I’m self-conscious about my body and the other half afraid of passing on HIV or getting some new sexual disease. Any advice?
Dear sex fan,
You bet I have some advice. In fact, if you’ve taken the time to read this far in this column, you already have a good idea of what my take on all of this is.
Some gay men have turned discriminating against other gay men into an art form. If it’s not about muscles, then it’s about age, race, HIV status, where one lives, the clothes one wears, the car one drives—the litany goes on and on. If you buy into this dehumanizing nonsense, as it appears you have, you do it at your own peril, darlin’! You give this ugly thing power over you, and it will erode what little self-confidence you have left.
Let me make a couple of quick comments. First, do you use the same superficial standards to measure potential partners that you say others reject you by? That’s a common enough scenario (check out the letter above). But this cycle of oppression needs to stop somewhere; why not with you?
Second, working to please a partner is a good thing. But taking it to an extreme is not. Obsessing about pleasing a partner, so much so as to let it interfere with your sexual performance, or worse, your mental health, is very dangerous.
Finally, fear, whatever its guise, will always and everywhere diminish your ability to pursue and enjoy your sexuality. I guarantee that being so afraid of getting or passing on a disease or being afraid of rejections because of your body type will cripple your sexual performance.
I suggest you begin 2004 by taking your fears, apprehensions and frustrations to a professional. A sex-positive therapist will help you overcome these stumbling blocks so that you can happily get on with the rest of your life.
It’s my sincere hope that, with the dawn of the New Year, we’ll find the courage to scuttle all this self-defeating crap, and in doing so, make the word a much better place in which to live.