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The Heartbreak of Male Performance Anxiety

I get a dozen or so messages a month on this topic. I’ve written about it in numerous postings and spoken about it in several podcasts, but still the email comes.

One of the real bugaboos for anyone, regardless of gender, is living up to our own expectations of sexual performance. So many things can get in the way, literally and figuratively, of fully enjoying ourselves and/or pleasuring our partners.

The arousal stage of our sexual response cycle is particularly vulnerable to a disruption. And when there’s trouble there, there’s no hiding it. A limp dick or a dry pussy can put the kibosh on all festivities that we may have hoped would follow.

However, performance anxiety can strike any of us, regardless of age, and at just about any point in our sexual response cycle. This is a particularly galling when it seems to come out of the blue. And regaining our composure can be more far more difficult than we imagine.

Today we will be focusing on male performance anxiety.  I’ll address female performance anxiety at a later date.

Here’s Bob, he’s 26:
Doc, this has never happened before. But I couldn’t get it up tonight, and this chick was H.O.T. 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, darlin’! And I don’t think you need to get “checked out” either…at least not right away. If you could back away from the situation a bit and stop freaking 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 slammer, you relied, as you say, on jerking off. Okay, cool. We all do what we gotta do. 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.

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

The anticipation of boning this H.O.T. chick—fueled by some predictable self-consciousness; what with just getting out of the big house 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 til that’s all you can think about. If you do, this proverbial molehill will become a mountain. You’ll then bring all this anxiety to your next encounter, setting yourself up for even more disappointment. You can see how this shit can snowball? 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. And your self-esteem will take a nosedive, too.

If you’re 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. Why not just relax into the whole sex thing and not try to prove your manhood with your pecker?

Then there’s Steve with a slightly different take on this meddlesome problem:

My partner and I have been together for just over 3 years now in a monogamous relationship. I am the top and he the bottom. Our problem is not premature ejaculation on his part, but his inability to have an orgasm at all. No matter what I try and even if he masturbates, sometimes it is impossible to get him to cum. Is this a medical issue? Have you ever heard of this?

Delayed ejaculation is the difficulty one has ejaculating even with a firm erection and sufficient sexual arousal and stimulation. This problem is not uncommon. For most men, delayed ejaculation occurs during partnered sex more frequently than while masturbating. In fact, 85% of men with delayed ejaculation can usually cum by jacking off. However, in partnered sex, the guy may be unable to ejaculate at all, or only after prolonged partnered stimulation. This problem can be very frustrating and cause distress for both partners involved, as you already know.

What causes delayed ejaculation? Well, it could be a number of things. It could be something as simple as performance anxiety, or inadequate stimulation, or there could be neurological damage.

I don’t want to be too reductionist here, but most of us experts believe that the majority of instances of delayed ejaculation aren’t physical in nature, but rather are the product of psychological concerns. Simply put, there’s a difference between the psychosexual response we have when we are alone and the one we experience with a partner. There’s probably nothing wrong with your partner’s unit. It’s all in his head…or his mind, to be more exact. If I had to guess, I’d say he’s got a real bad case of performance anxiety.

When I see this sort of thing in my private practice, I always begin the therapeutic intervention by calling a moratorium on fucking of any kind. This immediately takes the pressure off the couple. From there we begin to rebuild the partnered psychosexual response one step at a time. We begin with sensate focus training (Sensate Focus is a series of specific exercises for couples that encourage each partner to take turns paying increased attention to their own sensations. More about these helpful exercises in the weeks to come.), stress reduction and relaxation exercises. These applications are designed to reduce performance pressure and instead focus on pleasure. The idea is to get them to stay in the moment; absorb the pleasure present without worrying about what is “supposed” to happen.

Finally we address as frankly and openly as possible any fears or anxieties that they may have—as individuals or as a couple. I have the greatest confidence in this method; it succeeds over 90% of the time.

Ok, let’s recap shall we?

Overcoming sexual performance anxiety is dependent on five simple things.

  • First, a guy needs to be attuned to his sexual response cycle — arousal, plateau, orgasmic and resolution phases. He should know what kind of stimulation he needs at each phase to fully enjoy himself and satisfy his partner.
  • Second, the more worried a guy is about a performance issue, the more likely that problem will present itself. A bad experience in the past can often set the stage for its recurrence.
  • Third, don’t be afraid to talk this over with your partner. Withdrawing from your partner or shying away from sex altogether will only increase the likelihood that the problem will persist.
  • Forth, be proactive! Fearing the loss of your sexual prowess or feeling sorry for yourself is counterproductive. Confront the challenge head on. Employ sensate focus training stress reduction techniques and relaxation exercises to help you push past this temporarily impasse and regain your self-confidence.
  • Fifth, free yourself from the mindset that your dick is the center of the universe. Your manhood or your capacity to be a great lover does not reside in your genitals. Expand your sexual repertoire. Remember, pleasure centers abound in your body as well as your partner’s.

Good luck!

SEX WISDOM With Celeste Hirschman and Danielle Harel — Podcast #307 — 11/02/11


Hello sex fans! Welcome back.

I got a totally kick ass show in store for you today, my friends. I’m so stoked to welcome not one, but two very special guests to this SEX WISDOM program. Celeste Hirschman and Danielle Harel are fellow sexologists, acclaimed authors, innovative therapists and all-round fabulous people. I am so proud to share a microphone with these remarkable women.

Celeste and Danielle developed their own very unique approach to sex therapy. They are indeed among the movers and shakers in the field of human sexuality who are making news and helping us take a fresh look at our sexual selves.

Celeste, Danielle and I discuss:

Celeste and Danielle invite you to visit them on their site HERE! Look for their amazing blog HERE! Find them on Facebook HERE and Twitter HERE!

(Click on the book cover below to buy their book.)

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.

Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Hot Plus Size Lingerie.
Plus Size Lingerie

Almost Heaven

Hey sex fans,

I know; let’s make this Friday a Product Review Friday!

Ya’ll have probably noticed that everyone on the Dr Dick Review Crew has taken a break from reviewing. The truth of the matter is we all seemed to hit our saturation point at once. I guess we all experienced a little burn out.

I know, some of you must be thinking, gee, I should have such a problem; burning out on sex toys. Let me tell ya; no one who has actually had to honestly review sex toys would make that comment. Because, despite the fun aspects of reviewing them the review process itself can, and often is, grueling.

So just about the time we were about to throw in the towel, we were approached by a new partner in our review effort, the good people who are responsible for The Romance Series videos.

As you know, we’ve reviewed educational videos in the past; so it wasn’t much of a leap to include these excellent enrichment videos.

To explain what I’m talking about we have Dr Dick Review Crew member Jada to tell you all about the DVD she viewed.

Almost Heaven  ——  $29.95

Jada
My husband is a porn aficionado. He’s been watching porn since he was a teenager. Frankly, I can’t see how he can stomach the mind-numbing sameness of it all. For the most part, every thing I’ve tried to watch with him has been a disappointment.

Don’t get me wrong; I love sex. I love stories about sex; I have a fantastic erotica library. I love depictions of sex; I thoroughly enjoy Dr Dick’s The Erotic Mind podcasts and their accompanying slideshows of the artwork of his guest. But, for the most part, I do not like porn. I want to like porn; it’s just that I rarely see anything I can like.

I’ll admit it; I need a bit of a story line to get into the sex. I want the characters to be believable and I want the women in the movies to be more than one dimensional sex dolls. I don’t know, is that too much to ask for?

When Dr Dick asked me if I would consider reviewing one of The Romance Series titles, I hesitated. I wanted to do it, because it would be something my husband and I could do together, but I didn’t want to waste my time or his. I finally agreed and I stopped my Dr Dick’s and picked up Almost Heaven.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the DVD housed in a very tasteful, yet erotic package. The DVD comes in a traditional plastic package, but this is sheathed in a cardboard carton that give is a much warmer presentation. The promotional imagery on the box is suggestive, but not overt. It’s obvious that this presentation is geared to a female audience.

When I got home I tantalizing waved the package in my husband’s face. I said, “Look what I scored.” His eyes rolled up in his head and dismissed my find with a wave of his hand. I was crestfallen. He didn’t mean to be mean; he just thinks porn for women means toning down the sex till it’s soft-core pabulum.

I asked him to put aside his prejudice and watch it with me. He said he would.

Our date night arrived, we got comfortable in bed and I slipped the Almost Heaven DVD in the player. I hoped for the best.

Almost immediately my husband commented on the production values. The audio track was clear and balanced, and he didn’t notice any background noise. Apparently this is a big bugaboo for pornophiles, like my husband. I was just happy that a bunch of fake boobs weren’t jumping out at me from the screen.

It was easy for me to slip into the storyline. A pretty young woman, Angie, is told that she died the night before and is able to take only one memory with her into the afterlife. She chooses to remember her husband, Jake. But what memory of Jake should she choose? Another couple, Sara and Michael, helps Angie make the right choice. It’s a sweet concept. In fact, it was like watching a mainstream movie, but getting to see all the sex, which would only implied in a Hollywood version.

There are four scenes in the movie. The music, lighting and camerawork are all topnotch. Each scene is a sexual vignette featuring a different couple, but all the scenes follow the story arc. And ya know what I liked most? Condoms were used throughout. Kudos to The Romance Series people for being considerate to their performers and respectful to their audience. Thank you!

I was totally impressed with how the sex was presented. Despite the romantic overlay, this is a full-on sex movie, mind you — oral, cowgirl, spooning, doggie, missionary, all very tastefully presented. The chemistry between the couples is palpable, there is lots of kissing and the sex is hot. I couldn’t have asked for more. And I caught my husband adjusting his boner under the covers more than once.

My husband said Almost Heaven is not a porn movie for women, whatever that is; but it’s a really great porn movie for couples.  High praise coming from him.

If you’re looking for a bit of romance and plot with your sex, this title is bound to please. It was just the thing to get our motors running for the sex we had after the movie. It was the perfect date night!
Full Review HERE!

Enjoy

LORDY, LORDY, LORDY!

Hey Dick!
As you know, I am an escort. My business is doing very well. In fact, so well I need to ask if you know of any meds, besides Viagra, that I can take that will help me maintain an erection over a longer period of time?
Can I be frank? Here’s the deal, let’s say I have I have two one-hour clients during the day. Then a regular of mine calls and wants an all-nighter. That’s not a problem other than the fact that this particular client wants to get fucked hard. I mean real hard, for hours at a time. He’s an insatiable power bottom.
I want to be able to ride his ass, like the bitch he is. Hell, I’m even attracted to him. I just can’t stay hard enough to fuck him like he likes (especially after having had the two clients before him that same day). Sometimes I have difficulty getting it up for him, and wind up finger-fucking him till my hand is sore. I do not want to lose this client. And shifting days is not the solution. Because when he wants it he wants it and I have to produce. That’s what I do, I sell “muscle.” I have a reputation for giving the best hard driving, dominating and controlling sex around.
Again, is there a medication I can take to maintain the erection?
— Works Hard

Dear WH,

Your life reads like a cheap porn movie script. Lordy, the good doctor nearly got the vapors simply reading through your very explicit missive. (As you can see, I had to edit out some of the more gory details so I could protect your identity in this public forum.) Of course, as you suggest, it never hurts to advertise. You’re so bad!

I thoroughly understand the pressures you and other sex workers face. It’s not as glamorous a life as it is often portrayed, huh? Ok, so you’re beautiful, men idolize you and crave your attention. You’re getting loads of sex, putting all those “bitches” in their place, and crying all the way to the bank to boot. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. But then again, there are all those sniggling performance issues that even a he-man like you must contend with.

The trouble lies in the fact that you are a workaholic. And that’s never good, regardless of the work one does. Sex work, like any other work, will burn you out if you’re not careful. If you don’t learn to pace yourself, darlin’, you’ll fizzle. (How’s that for an appropriate euphemism?) And from what you tell me, this is already beginning to happen. Keep it up (no pun intended), and you won’t be the first causality in this line of work, nor will you be the last. But If you ask me, and I happen to know a little something about sex work myself, the object here is to grow old (or older in your case) in your chosen profession.

I’m tellin’ ya, WH, if the erectile burnout don’t get ya the psychological torment will. I’ll bet you’re terrified the word will get out that Mr. Big-Beautiful-29-year-old-Stud-Power-Fucker can’t get it up. That would be real bad for business. And you know how those johns can gossip. Bitches! They don’t know that you’re servicing men at a rate that would make a superhero blush. All they see is limp willie and that spells trouble right there in River City.

It’s not surprising that you are having erection concerns given the number of clients you are seeing in one day. I mean, girlfriend, when do you find time to eat? You don’t need a new med, you need a vacation. If Viagra and a good cock ring don’t do the trick, then, in my humble opinion, your body is telling you to slow the fuck down.

And here’s another tip; research is beginning to show that prolonged and persistent use of Viagra can have some very unpleasant side effects. Those who overuse this potent cardiovascular drug, particularly young men who use it recreationally, may be in for some very unpleasant surprises down the road. So, I have one simple suggestion, WH, have a care about your sexual wellbeing and treat your dick gently. Despite the pounding you can inflict with it, it is a very delicate mechanism.

Good Luck

Eating Out at the Y: The Finer Points of Cunnilingus

Many women prefer oral sex to intercourse, because it has the potential to give them exceptional orgasms. And for those of you who need loads of direct clit contact to get off, mouth-to-clit stimulation is one of the easiest, most enjoyable ways to get make that happen. Unfortunately, for many gals, like Carol here, her man’s oral skills simply aren’t up to the task.

I like oral sex, but my new BF doesn’t know what he’s doing down there. He’s really sweet and I like him a lot. Unfortunately, he thinks he this really great lover when actually he sucks…and not in a good way. I know he reads your column, he was the one that turned me on to your site, so could you give him some pointers on how to orally pleasure a woman? He doesn’t listen to me.

Now, despite being a big fat homo, I am regularly quizzed on the art of muff diving. I’m always happy to oblige, but I’m bound to say that everything I know about cunnilingus I’ve learned from my lesbian friends. Instead of me—who has no pussy—pontificating on the joys of orally pleasuring a woman, I turn to my #1 friend of the lesbian persuasion, Joy. Not only does she have her very own pussy, she also knows her way around other pussies as well.

I shared Carol’s letter with her, and asked for her thoughts. I figure, if you wanna learn how to do something right, ya talk to a pro. Simply put, no one sucks cock as good as a queer; no one gobbles clam like a dyke. Enough said! Joy’s first comment was…and I quote, “What’s this chick doin’ with a dude? If she wants good head, she should bed a dyke. Once you go lezzie, you never go back.” Ahhh, Joy is such a joy!

Okay, so giving oral is about the most perfect sexual thing you can do for a woman. It makes her feel special. What woman doesn’t groove on knowin’ her partner finds her finger-lickin’ good? And maybe that’s a good place to start this tutorial. If you don’t like the taste or smell of pussy, give up on the idea that you’ll be a fabulous lover. However, if you want to give this whole muff diving thing a try, but you don’t know if you can handle the flavor or aroma, or if your chick’s unsure about you being down there, thinking she might be unsavory; you could start off by showering or bathing together.

The novice pussy lapper would do well to approach this amazing piece of human anatomy very gently…at first. If the woman you’re eatin’ out wants more vigorous attention, she will ask for it. So relax and enjoy! (Note: If all this licking and sucking isn’t a turn on for you, it won’t be much of a pleasure for your partner, either. So, if your heart’s not in it, you will have to find other ways to please her.)

Don’t make the mistake that Carol’s boyfriend makes. Listen to the feedback you’re getting on the job you’re doing. If you’re not getting any, ask for it. (Just don’t talk with your mouth full.) Once you hit on something that works for your gal, stick with it for a while—unless of course, you’re trying to drive her wild with some tongue teasing.

Joy says that the biggest no-no in pussy divin’ is divin’ in without knowing your way around. Like I always say, ladies, it’s completely up to you to introduce your partner to your particular pussy. Remember: Just because he’s been with other women, don’t make him an expert on your parts. Get it? Got it? GOOD!

Finding just the right position will eliminate the fatigue factor and neck strain. Have her lie across the bed (or the sofa, kitchen table, whatnot shelf) with her ass situated just at the edge. With her legs apart, knees up and her feet resting on the edge of the bed/table/whatever, take a comfortable position on the floor between her legs. Here’s a tip: The more muscle control she has to exert to maintain her position and balance will often lead to a stronger, more pleasurable and intense orgasm, because a thunderous orgasm is all about muscle tension.

Joy insists that a soft tongue and a relaxed jaw work best. And holy cow, she knows of what she speaks. She always starts out licking her pal from vaginal entrance up to her clit. She follows the outer edges of her pussy along both sides. Slowly at first, then more rapidly. Sometimes she’ll even throw in some raspberries. (You know, the vibrating sound you make when you force breath through lightly closed lips.) Joy stands by this technique, don’t cha know! Sounds like so much fun, I kinda’ wish I had me a cunt.

Don’t let your hands be idle when you’re yodeling up the valley. Gently press the two outer vaginal lips together, then run your tongue between the inner and outer labia one side at a time. Try poking your tongue into her vagina. The majority of a woman’s vaginal nerve endings are around the opening and within the first couple of inner inches. Target them with a darting tongue motion. Insert a hardened tongue into her hole. Try moving your tongue in and out, as well as in circles around the inside of her opening.

Spread her outer vaginal lips with your fingers. With your tongue pointed, gently flick your tongue around her clit. Feel free to roam around in there, but keep coming back to her clit, because it is the most sensitive area—just like your dick head, you dickhead! Be careful though: some women find the direct approach too intense. If this is the case with your woman, blow a stream of warm breath over and around the clit. This lighter, breathy touch might do the trick.

Keep your tongue and hands busy flicking and massaging, poking and prodding lapping and kneading. In other words, find out what she likes and how she likes it, and let her have it just that way. Again, be sure to ask for feedback—and then do precisely what she says.

Once your partner is good and hot and juicy wet, Joy suggests you kick things up a notch. Spread her lips, expose her clit and give it a quick little suck. If this hits the spot, you might want to lightly pull back her clitoral hood and repeat the quick sucking motion. Joy assures me that this feels incredible, and it’s just the thing to do if you feel like driving your partner crazy with ecstasy. Now take her exposed clit into your mouth and gently suck on it, simultaneously flicking your tongue over and around it. This combined with fingering her hole will usually produce a stunning orgasm.

Finally, Joy suggests you surprise the little woman by having a sugar-free mint or an ice chip in your mouth while you eat her out. These can create a very intense tingling sensation and will enhance your performance—and her pleasure—immeasurably.

Good luck!

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