Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered!
Location: New Haven, CT
I’ve been with the same man for 14 years. We both decided to become Christians about a year ago. Now he’s not interested in sharing the same bed and not interested in having sex with me. It tried to overlook this hoping it was some kind of phase, but it goes on and on and he still doesn’t want sex. He’s the only man that could ever satisfy me sexually. I dated a few guys, four to be exact, before we met. I still love this guy but he won’t acknowledge my feelings. I feel like I’m losing everything, my best friend, my partner, my lover …and my sanity. I’m happy we’re still together, but I’m frustrated to the point of exhaustion without my sex life. Any ideas what I could do to turn this around?
What an unhappy tale of woe you have you have to tell, Jean. The Christian conversion thing didn’t quite work out like ya thought, huh? Well maybe it has less to do with Christianity per se, and more to do with the Joe you converted with.
I’ve heard similar complaints from other people whose partners have unilaterally decided to make a radical life-change for themselves. Often these new zealots fail to appreciate how their life altering decisions impact on the wellbeing of their mate. And because they are so damn single-minded about their new passion — as every zealot is, there is rarely any talking to them.
Two former clients come to mind. First, there was George, a gay man in a 10-year relationship with this other really sweet guy, Robert. Eight years into the relationship Robert had a heart attack. Despite a full recovery and living a much healthier lifestyle after the hear attack, Robert got it in his head that if he were to have sex again, it would kill him. There was no reasoning with him. No sex ever again, period. This otherwise blessed relationship ended painfully. Pity that!
Another client, Melissa, discovered long-distance running two years into her marriage to Allen. She became like a woman possessed. Running consumed her. Her career, her friends and family, her social life all suffered. But no one took the brunt of her newfound craze more than her husband. At first sex was out of the question because there was no time. Then all that body-punishing running radically changed her metabolism. She even stopped menstruating. Her libido virtually expired. Even the imminent demise of her relationship didn’t alter her running routine. So basically old Melissa just ran away from her marriage. Simple as all that!
In your case, Jean, your partner appears to have bought into the some of the worst sex-negative messages of Christianity. I suspect that there’s no turning this around and, unless you wish to continue to sacrifice your sexuality on this unworthy altar, I’d suggest you make peace with the fact that life will never return to how it once was.And what’s all this about he being the only man who could satisfy you? You’ve had only 4 other partners, for christ sake! And most, if not all, were crummy lovers. Am I right? You’re not the kind of gal that quits shopping for shoes after trying on only 5 pair, are you?There is a whole world of men out there that would be happily give you what you aren’t getting at home and some of them may even be good lovers. If no accommodation can be made with your husband about fulfilling your needs, than I suggest you beat a hasty exit.The longer you stay in this unhealthy environment the greater the chance will be that you will become more and more embittered. God gave us the gift of sexuality for a purpose. It was meant to give us pleasure and enhance life. Your sexuality is in danger of becoming just the opposite of what nature intended. Do yourself a favor and choose life and happiness. You’ll be glad you did…so will God.
dr dick: I am gay and i have no idea how to break it to my family. and they say all the time when they see a gay guy look at that fag glad he’s not my kid. i would disown him. just wondering if u could help me.
Ain’t it a bitch being surrounded by a bunch of yahoos! Coming out is rarely easy, but doing so to ignorant, fearful, bigoted people is the worst.
Pete, you should know that all bigotry is deeply rooted in the bigot’s own fear about him or herself. It stands to reason, all irrational fears and hatred, like homophobia, are more indicative of the troubled psychological make-up of the one with the prejudice, rather than the people he or she abhors.
Often people will use religion to back up their prejudice. It’s particularly galling when non-religious people do this. But it’s safe to say that authentically religious people don’t need to persecute or ostracize those who do not believe as they do. Any more than authentically heterosexual people need to persecute or ostracize people of other sexual persuasions. Let that be the standard by which you judge the worth of any message coming from a religious dogmatist or a moralizing heterosexual.
Before you start in on the self-disclosure thing with your family, Pete, I suggest you first try to clear a path for that discussion. Begin by challenging those around you who shame or denigrate those who are different. Ask them why they make such ridiculously uninformed and hurtful statements. Ask them if degrading other people makes them feel superior. And if it does, what does that say about their inadequacies. You could suggest that their intolerance of gay and lesbian people proves they have some hidden, unresolved sexual issues that they need to address. I mean — “me thinks you doth protest too much” — and all that, right?
If your family environment doesn’t improve with that tactic, you may find that, at least in the short run, discretion is the better part of valor. Sometimes coming out to one’s family is best done only after you’ve come out to friends and co-workers. This strategy will provide you a bank of support that you can fall back on if the family disclosure things turn out badly.
My counsel to those just starting the coming out process is to reserve the good news about you and your sexuality for the audience best situated for receiving it. Celebrate your queerness with open-minded people first. Nowadays there’s much more acceptance of alternative lifestyles in the popular culture then ever before. Particularly younger people seem to have more tolerance for diversity. But however you choose to handle this difficult but important developmental task, don’t sink to the lowest common denominator. Don’t cave into the bigotry that surrounds you. Don’t let it intimidate you into a life of shame, repression or self-loathing. Live authentically. Pete, and live proud! Because when you do, you are a shining example of a happy, healthy, integrated and well-adjusted human being.
Finally, just remember you are not alone. Sex positive and gay positive organizations abound. If you need help with any of your coming out, if you’re feeling isolated and alone — turn to one of them. They are there to help. And there are even support organizations for your family members too. Turn them on to: PFLAG (parents and friends of gays and lesbians).
Location: Laguna Beach
As an older man, I’ve started having performance problems. Unfortunately there’s no decrease in my libido. I think some of my problem is psychological. I’m also HIV+. And I find myself worrying about transmission even with condoms. But some of the problem is physical. I do wear a cock ring and that helps I guess. Is there anything else I can do to increase my performance to match my libido?
Your concern is a familiar one, Bob. Men regularly present this problem in my private practice and I also have a personal familiarity with the issue in my own life.
Diminished performance, at least in terms of a perpetually stiff dick, is a natural occurrence as we age. There was a time when I thought this was a major problem. I don’t think like that now. These days I’m helping my older clients (and myself) appreciate the full range of sensuality that is the unique purview of us more seasoned lovers. I’ve always felt that as gay men we are too genitally focused, especially when it comes at the expense of all the other pleasure zones our bodies have been gifted with.
The rushed, hormonally driven sex of my youth has matured into a slower, more relaxed and sensual sexuality that I am thoroughly enjoying. This has been one of the very best gifts of the aging process. It’s even having an effect on my younger partners and they are appreciative.So I no longer equate performance with a stiff dick. For those times when I absolutely need a rock-hard hardon a cock ring does just fine. I’m aware that I may need more time to achieve this kind of erection, but I’m not just twiddling my thumbs while I’m waiting, if ya know what I mean. I am no longer frustrated by this natural phenomenon, because I no longer have unrealistic expectations.
I realize that many men are experimenting with an erection-enhancing medication such as Viagra, but I suggest that this be reserved for those who are truly experiencing erection dysfunction.
I’m also concerned with the alarming rise of younger men, men in their 20’s and 30’s who are using Viagra or another similar drugs recreationally. This is very troubling. If your young body is having difficulty producing an erection, then you need medical attention ASAP, or maybe you just need some sleep. However, if you’re abusing Viagra just so you can have an erection that lasts for hours that’s a real bad idea for several reasons. Not least of which is your body will habituate itself to that stuff and you will find that, in time, you won’t be able to get it up at all without ever increasing doses of Viagra.
This is gonna fuck up your cardiovascular system big time. In fact, you may very well be inducing the very sexual dysfunction the drug is supposed to help. Consider the person who overuses eye drops or lip balm or any number of otherwise innocuous health and beauty products. Their body will stop making the natural substances that these over the counter products are intended to assist. It’s counterproductive and it’s ill advised. If this is a problem with relatively harmless over the counter products, you know you are playing with fire when you’re abusing powerful prescription meds.
Whoops, sorry Bob, I went off topic there for a minute. It’s just that every opportunity I get to put out a message that will dissuade someone from hurting himself or herself, I just launch into it.So back to you. It is clear from what you tell me, your performance problems do, as you suggest, also have a psychological component to them. You have a fear that, despite being responsible in your sex play and even though you play safe, you could accidentally pass on HIV.
It’s true; one’s brain can indeed override almost every function of our body. For example, we draw each and every breath we take without even thinking about it. However, if a situation dictates our brain can and does override that essential pulmonary function and we can hold our breath. The same is true with our sexual response cycle. Sometimes we can become sexually aroused without really thinking about it. However, if for one reason or another our brain assisted by our conscience interferers with or even shuts down the sexual arousal, then that’s pretty much all she wrote.
Your scruples about the possibility that you could accidentally pass along HIV are interfering with your sexual response cycle. No cockring or an erection-enhancing medication is going to change that darlin’!In other words, the problem is not in your cock, the problem is in your head. This is something you’re gonna have to wrestle with and finally resolve. This tension between your head and your dick is actually a good thing. Your body is providing you an opportunity to align your moral values with your sexual performance. How will this resolve itself? I couldn’t say. But I know for sure resolution is possible.
I do suggest, however, that you not try to do this in a vacuum. Reach out to a HIV support group or a sex-positive therapist for the help you need in making peace between your head and your cock.
Good luck, ya’ll