Category Archives: Sexual Anxiety

Review: An Intimate Life: Sex, Love and My Journey as a Surrogate Partner

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Hey sex fans!

I have another swell sex-positive book to tell you about today. Anyone who frequents this site will already be familiar with my dear friend and esteemed colleague, Cheryl Cohen Greene. If ya don’t believe me type her name into the search function in the sidebar to your right and PRESTO!

Not only will you find the fabulous two-part SEX WISDOM podcast we did together, (Part 1 is HERE! And Part 1 is HERE!) you will find a posting about the movie The Sessions. You’ve seen it right? It’s the award-winning film staring John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, and William H. Macy. It’s the story of a man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity.  He contacts a professional surrogate partner with the help of his therapist and priest. Ms. Hunt plays Cheryl, the surrogate partner in the movie

Cheryl also contributed a chapter on sex and intimacy concerns for sick, elder and dying people for my book, The Amateur’s Guide To Death And Dying.

With all that as a preface, I now offer you Cheryl’s own story: An Intimate Life: Sex, Love, and My Journey as a Surrogate Partner. The first thing I want to say is this book is it’s not a clinical or technical tome. It is an easily accessible memoir. And that, to my mind, is what makes it so fascinating.

She writes in the Introduction:An Intimate Life

I started this work in 1973, and my journey to it spans our society’s sexual revolution and my own. I grew up in the ‘40s and ‘50s, a time when sex education was—to put it mildly— lacking. As I educated myself, I found that most of what I had been taught about sex was distorted or wrong. The lessons came from the playground, the church, and the media. My parents could barely talk about sex, much less inform me about it.

What follows is a candid and often funny look into the personal and professional life of a woman on the cutting edge of our culture’s movement toward sexual wellbeing.

Cheryl comes out of her conservative Catholic upbringing and her often tortured family dynamics with what one would expect—her own sexual awakenings as well as the conspiracy of ignorance and repression that wanted to stifle it. This is a common story, the story of so many of us.

Starting when I was around ten, I masturbated and brought myself to orgasm nearly every night. … If my nights began with anxiety, my days began with guilt. I became convinced that every earache, every toothache, every injury was God punishing me. … I couldn’t escape his gaze or his wrath. Sometimes I imagined my guardian angel looked away in disgust as I touched myself and rocked back and forth in my bed.

The miracle here is that this troubled tween would blossom into the remarkable sexologist she is today.

rsz_1greenecherylSome of the chapters in her book describe one or another of her hands on therapeutic encounters as a surrogate partner, but equally important and compelling are the chapters that describe Cheryl’s own sexual struggles as she moved to adulthood and beyond. Cheryl’s acceptance of her own sexuality enables her to build a career out of helping others do the very same thing.

Everyone has a right to satisfying, loving sex, and, in my experience, that most often flows from strong communication, self-respect, and a willingness to explore.

Despite the frank discussion of sexual topics within the book, there is no prurience or sensationalism. For the most part, Cheryl’s clients are regular people, mostly men, who have pretty ordinary problems—erection and/or ejaculation concerns, dating difficulties, as well as self-esteem, guilt and shame issues. Cheryl helps each of her clients with the efficiency and confidence of the world-class sex educator she is. Most of her interaction involves her supplying her clients with some much-needed information, dispelling myths, and giving them permission to experiment. As she says;

I continue to be amazed at how solid education delivered without judgment can eradicate much of the guilt and shame that turns life in the bedroom into a struggle instead of a pleasure.

Her most famous client, Mark O’Brien, the 36-six-year-old man who had spent most of his life in an iron lung after contracting polio at age 6, was the author of How I Became a Human Being: A Disabled Man’s Quest for Independence, in which he writes about his experience with Cheryl. This, of course, was adapted into a film, The Sessions, which I mentioned above. For her part, Cheryl delivers a most poignant remembrance of Mark early in her book.

I explained Sensual Touch to Mark. Although he was paralyzed, he still had sensation all over his body, so he would feel my hands moving up and down. … I encouraged him to try and recognize four common reactions: feeling neutral, feeling nurtured, feeling sensual and feeling sexual.

An Intimate Life chronicles Cheryl’s life-long interest in human sexuality. Her life and sometimes-turbulent loves are on display, but in the most considerate fashion. She teaches by example. She’s even able to speak with great compassion of her time living with and through cancer.

As I inch toward seventy, I appreciate more and more how much I have to be grateful for and how fortunate I’ve been. I was lucky to find a wonderful career and to be surrounded by so many smart, adventurous, caring people. My personal sexual revolution auspiciously paralleled our culture’s, and in many ways was made possible by it. I am eternally grateful to the pioneers, rebels, and dreamers who made our society a little safer for women who embrace their sexuality.

There is so much I loved about this book, but mostly it’s the humanity I found in abundance. Cheryl’sdr.-cheryl-cohen-greene enlightened soul shines brightly from every page. Her no nonsense approach to all things sexual is an inspiration. And her perseverance to bring surrogate partner therapy into the mainstream is laudable.

…what separates surrogates from prostitutes is significant. When people have difficulties grasping [that], I turn to my beloved and late friend Steven Brown’s cooking analogy that I’ve so often relied on to help me through that question: Seeing a prostitute is like going to a restaurant. Seeing a surrogate is like going to culinary school.

Finally, An Intimate Life is the culmination of Cheryl’s life as a sex educator, her surrogate partner therapy practice being just part of that mission. I highly recommend you read this book. You will, I assure you, come away from it as I have, a better person—enriched, informed, as well as entertained.

Cheryl, thank you for being in my life and being such an abiding inspiration. Thank you too for this marvelous book; now you can be in the lives of so many others who need you so that you can inspire them along their way.

Be sure to visit Cheryl on her site HERE!

Sobriety & Sex

Name: Gregg
Gender: Male
Age: 40
Location: Seattle
Since getting sober now almost 8 years ago I am very tense about sex and I feel as though I have lost my mojo. I am unable to relax and be intimate with a man and I am thinking I need an intimacy coach or sex coach, or something. Perhaps someone with tantra training who can help me find a comfort level with my body again and being touched and touching another.

Hey, thanks for your interesting question. Sadly, yours is not an uncommon concern. In fact, I just finished an 8-week group for men in recovery who were dealing with similar intimacy issues. A lot of the work we did together was helping one another reestablish a sense of trust.

legs & bootsSo many of us gay men start out our sexual lives with alcohol and/or drugs to help us overcome our inhibitions as well as a means of dulling some of the anti-gay messaging that comes to us from the world around us. Sometimes, the substances take hold of us and instead of we being in control the substances are in control. There was one guy in the group I just mentioned who is in his 5o’s, and he confessed to the group that before he got clean and sober, a couple years ago, he had never had sex sober. And he had been sexually active since his early twenties.

Substance abuse can rob us of more than just our dignity. It often effects our sexual response cycle in ways that diminish our ability to enjoy our sexuality. Men often report erection problems and women report arousal phase problems when they come off booze and or drugs. This, as you suggest, impacts on our comfort level in all intimate situations. If our parts aren’t working like we would want them to, we’d rather avoid intimate contact rather than be embarrassed. So, in other words, when we rid ourselves of the substances that once enabled us, we often need to relearn how to be ourselves, particularly in intimate situations.

Learning to trust others enough to open ourselves to others, even with our “brokenness,” is the key to regaining our sense of sexual self. We need to learn how to overcome our shame, which often gets in the way of reaching out to others. And if some of our shame is unresolved internalized homophobia, well then, we really have some work to do.tit bite

I think you’ve hit upon the perfect solution to your pressing problem. Working with a sex coach or intimacy coach is definitely one way to go. For those challenged, as you are, verbal therapy is great. But there is no substitute for actual hands-on therapy.

I know several people who have been helped by a surrogate partner or a sexual healer. I applaud you for thinking so creatively. Of course, finding the right person to work with will be a challenge. And I should mention that other helping professionals, even some sexologists, do not always look upon these kinds of interventions as legitimate. That’s a pity, but what are ya gonna do.

As you know, there are loads of sex workers out there. Unfortunately, very few have the training needed to provide surrogate partner therapy, or understand the delicate issues that a trained sexual healer must deal with. I hope you find what you are looking for.

If you need someone to discuss this with further, give me a shout. You’ll find my contact information on either the ABOUT page or the THERAPY AVAILABLE page in the header above.

Good luck

Where went the wood?

Name: bob
Gender: Male
Age: 26
Location: pa
(Never happened before) But I couldn’t get it up tonight, and this chick was H OT. Now I’m not gay at all, but I haven’t had sex in about 3 years because I was locked up…so I masturbated pretty regularly about 3 or 4 times a week. But I can’t figure out why I was soft… the only thing I can think of is “I ate clams tonight and I’ve never had them before. Could it be that or should I get checked out?

It weren’t the clams, my friend! And I don’t think you need to get check out, either…at least not right away. If you could back away from the situation a little bit and stop freakin’ out. I think you’d discover the source of your problem all on your own.

Here’s the thing, while you were out of commission, there in the jailhouse, you relied on, as you say, jerkin’ off. Ok, cool. We all gotta get by somehow. Now the first time you try to score after your release; you go soft. This tells me you have a mild case of performance anxiety. We all get that from time to time.dessert

There’s probably nothing wrong with you or with your johnson. You just got the jitters first time you tried to get you some fine pussy after bein’ away, that’s all.

The anticipation of bonin’ this HOT chick, fueled by some predictable self-consciousness; what with just gettin out of the slammer and all, pulled the plug on your wood. No surprise there, right?

What I don’t want to see happen is for you to replay the incident over and over in your mind’s eye till that’s all I can think about. Hey, maybe that’s already happening. If it is, this proverbial molehill will, sure enough, become a mountain. You’ll then bring all this anxiety to your next encounter. Setting you up for even more disappointment. You can see how this shit can snowball, right?

If you interpret every less than satisfying encounter as a failure, your fears will become self-fulfilling. You’ll begin to avoid partnered sex and you’ll develop a full-blown sexual dysfunction. Your self-esteem will take a nosedive too.

If you are preoccupied with your performance, it’s less likely that you’ll be fully present during sex with a partner. This pretty much fucks up your sexual responsiveness and any hope for spontaneity. Don’t let this happen to you, Bob. Why not just relax into the whole sex thing and not try to prove your manhood or your sexual prowess with your pecker?

Good luck

It’s a small world after all

Name: ali
Gender:
Age: 25
Location: canada
my girlfriend dont waana get maried to me beacuse she is afraid of sex , she hates sex because she think its a disguesting thing like sucking fingering n etc what am i suppose to do i love her how i satisfy her dat we have to marry???

Why would you want to marry a chick that doesn’t like sex as much as you do? That just seems crazy to me. If you think you’re gonna win her over and change her mind about sex by marrying her, that’s even crazier. Loving someone is not enough to overcome this kind of sex aversion. If she’s unwilling to see a therapist to help her through her distaste of sex, then I’d say it was time for you to find another potential bride.

misunderstanding

 

Name: Randy
Gender:
Age: 24
Location: Florida
Is it possible that anal sex can result in increased flatulence?

Ahhh yeah! Think of your ass as a cylinder and your partner’s cock as a piston. All this slamming in and out forces air up your bum. And what happens to that trapped air after (and sometimes even during) the fuck fest? You got it…farts for days. It’s no big thing, all bottoms get fuck-farts. The same is true for women — her pussy is the cylinder and her partner’s cock is the piston. All this slamming in and out forces air into her cooch, producing the very familiar pussy-fart.

Name: Jonathan
Gender: Male
Age:
Location: UK
Hello, please could you tell me if there is a way to increase the size of my testicles permanently, I do shoot a good amount of cum but they are small in the hand and look small in underwear and swim trunks, have you any advice on what I could try,

Hold on there, big fella. What are you tellin’ me? Do you want to increase the size of your balls (testicles), or the size of your sack (scrotum)? You can do the later, but not the former. If you are past puberty, your balls are the size they are gonna be, there’s no increasing them. Your sack, on the other hand can be stretched to increase its size. Will that satisfy you? If so, read this: …don’t let me get too deep. If not, you’re out of luck, darlin’!

Oh, and by the way, the “good amount of cum” you mention, most of that, 70% of it, is not sperm, the reproductive cells produced in your balls. Most of your semen is a mixture of fluids produced in your seminal vesicles, prostate, and bulbourethral glands.

Good luck.

The Summer Solstice 2012 Q&A Show — Podcast #337 — 06/18/12


Hey sex fans,

Happy Solstice everyone! Well, actually solstice isn’t until Wednesday, but who’s quibbling. Damn, this year is flying by. It seems like it was only a couple of weeks ago that we were welcoming spring. And, guess what? I just did the math; this is my 6th Summer Solstice podcast. Holy COW!

In honor of this milestone I have a delectable Q&A show in store for you today. We will be hearing a bunch of very interesting questions from the sexually worrisome, each will surely amaze and entertain. And I think we’ll have just enough time to do some SEX SCIENCE too. Stick around, sex fans, this is gonna be great!

  • William is using AndroGel for low “T”. Will it get his dick to grow?
  • Craig was snooping in his wife’s gym bag and found something interesting.
  • Chris and I have a lengthy exchange about his deep-seeded sexual conflicts.
  • Paula asks for my advice about purchasing a prostate massager for her hubby.
  • Gerard has blood in his semen.
  • Jenny asks if all fetuses start out as female. This triggers a SEX SCIENCE tutorial.

Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Dr Dick’s Sex Advice and Dr Dick’s Sex Toy Review.

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

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