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SEX WISDOM with Ruth Neustifter — Podcast #253 – 01/05/1

Hey sex fans,

I have an outlandishly wonderful interview program for you today to launch the 2011 edition of this, the SEX WISDOM podcast series. You’ve come to expect prominent movers and shakers in the field of human sexuality as my guests in this series. And that’s because over the last year we’ve had an opportunity to meet outstanding researchers, educators, clinicians, pundits and philosophers; each one making news and reshaping how we look at our sexual selves.

So let’s start off this new year with at bang, shall we? I have the honor of welcoming a woman of distinction in the world of sex education. She is a Couples and Family therapist, a sought after lecturer and workshop leader, an author, and acclaimed educator and if that weren’t enough, she’s the star of her own line of sex positive videos. I am delighted to have with me the dynamo that is Dr. Ruthie.

And get this; to celebrate her appearance on my show, Dr. Ruthie is offering a FREE 1-hour consultation to a lucky listener. The terms for entering this giveaway are included in today’s show, so listen up. But here’s a tip; it involves tweeting about this podcast.

Dr. Ruthie and I discuss:

Dr. Ruthie invites you to visit her on her website HERE!  Look for her on Facebook and Twitter HERE & HERE!

Click on the book art below to pre-order The Nice Girl’s Guide to Talking Dirty.


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.


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:

Sex Addiction, or Too Much of a Good Thing?

This last post of 2010 will start with a declaration. One of my famous “Thus Sayeth Dr. Dick” sorta things, if you please.


I categorically reject the concept of sexual addiction that has been floating around in the popular culture for the last 20 years or so.

And yes, I know this will rankle a bunch of you, but you’ll just have to get over it. You see, there is no such thing as a sexual addiction. Period!

Nowadays people bandy about the term addiction as if it can be applied to any and all obsessive behaviors. I have an addiction to chocolate; I’m addicted to shopping; I’m addicted to video games; I’m addicted to porn—or, I’m a sex addict. NONSENSE!

That being said, I hasten to add that I do believe there are sexual obsessions and compulsive sexual behaviors, plenty of ’em in fact. However, obsessions and compulsions are not addictions, and addictions, while they may involve irresistible impulses, are not the same thing as compulsions. Get it? Got it? Good!

I want to be absolutely clear about this. An addiction is a very specific condition. It denotes a dual dependency, physical as well as a psychological.

  • A physical dependency occurs when a substance is habitually used to a point where the body becomes reliant on its effects. The substance must be used constantly, because if it is withheld, it will trigger symptoms of withdrawal.
  • Psychological dependency occurs when the substance habitually used creates an emotional reliance on its effects. There is no functioning without it. Its absence produces intense cravings, which if not fed will trigger symptoms of withdrawal.

Check it out. With the help of my handy-dandy dictionary, a good place to start in discussions of this sort, I discovered these three very distinct definitions:

Addiction: The need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal. Broadly: persistent use of a substance known by the user to be harmful. A state of physiological and psychological dependence on a drug.

Compulsive: Driven by an irresistible inner force to do something; i.e., a compulsive liar.

Obsession: A persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling.

See? Different words. Different meanings. Not a particularly complex notion to grasp, right?

And listen, just because a bunch of yahoo afternoon talks show hosts and even a load of my esteemed professional colleagues banter these words about like they were interchangeable doesn’t make it so. In fact, we do ourselves a huge disservice by muddling these very specific concepts into a jumble. My fellow therapists should be the first to recognize this because finding help for an addiction or an intervention for an obsessive/compulsive disorder will be as specific as the problem itself.

One thing is for certain: identifying one of the things, as the other will complicate the problem solving. It’s like going to the doctor with a headache, and when the doc asks where does it hurt, you point to your stomach. It just won’t do.

Hi Dr. Dick,
I recently found out my boyfriend has been cheating on me. He wants me to forgive him, but he keeps on doing the same thing over and over again. He’s like addicted to sex or something. I love him very much, but I feel dirty just by being around him and knowing what he’s doing. It also makes me feel stupid putting up with all of this and at the same time I still love him, please give me some advice. Thank You.
— Darlene

Before we turn our attention to your boyfriend’s behavior, let me make a quick observation about you. You’re a big fat ball of contradictions, huh? How can you say that you love the person that makes you feel dirty and stupid? You’re deceiving yourself about at least one of those feelings. And if I had to guess, I’d say what you’ve got with your man ain’t love—it’s an obsession.

Your boyfriend probably has you figured out by now, and he knows that you will tolerate his misbehavior, which gives him tacit permission to do whatever he feels like doing. From where I sit, you’re the real sap. If you’re really serious about reining in your wayward BF, you’d better come up with a clear, unambiguous message about what you will and will not tolerate. Until you do precisely that, he’ll just think that he can roam wherever he wants and whenever he wants.

If the two of you are supposed to be living in a sexually exclusive relationship, and he’s taking his business elsewhere, then he’s got a problem, too. However, I caution you against thinking that his sexual behaviors are an addiction. Because they’re not.  And thinking they are will not help you find the solution to the problems you folks are having.

There are root causes for his behavior, just like there are root causes for your behavior. To get to the bottom of all of this, each of you will need to invest a good deal of time and energy with a qualified therapist. One can only hope that there’s a big enough bank of goodwill between the two of you to carry the day because overcoming your obsession and his compulsions will demand all of your emotional resources.

Dear Dr. Dick,
I have been in a relationship for five years now and truly love my partner, however I can never seem to get enough sex. I am 30 and he is 29, but I constantly find myself in the chat rooms lookin’ for younger guys to have sex with. It’s more than just a hobby—it’s a habit! I’ve actually lost jobs because he’d be out of town and I’d spend almost every waking hour on the PC with a cocktail looking for sex, not caring about anything else. It’s like I’m addicted to sex. He knows I have played around (I actually have talked him into three-ways a few times), but he has no idea how extreme it’s become. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m not unhappy with him. I just can’t seem to stop wanting sex with younger guys. Any suggestions?
— Brian

It’s interesting that you should tell me about your compulsive sexual behavior in the same breath that you tell me of your love for your partner. As you’ve probably guessed already, there isn’t really much of a connection between the two. Love and sex are two very different things. Sometimes they go together, but not always or even often for that matter.

It appears to me that you’ve really got two problems happening simultaneously: First, your compulsive prowling of the internet for sex (complicated, I might add, by your alcohol consumption). Second, the deception you’re practicing on your partner. Let’s deal with each of these in turn.

Your particular sexual activity, like any compulsive behavior (overeating, excessive shopping, etc.), is more than just a bad habit. It’s a serious psychological dysfunction. Take it from me: breaking this behavior pattern will be nearly impossible without some professional help. If the problem is as serious as you say, then you’d better seek help right away. This sort of thing, if left untreated, will not only destroy your relationship, it will ruin your life. When you seek that professional help, I encourage you to include information about your alcohol consumption. If there is an addiction in all of this, it’s the alcohol, not the sex. And in your case, the addiction may be fueling the compulsion.

Now, regarding your relationship. It’s imperative that you come clean with your partner about your sexual obsessions and compulsions, as well as your probable alcohol addiction. Not only will you feel better about not lying to him anymore, you’re going to need his support in overcoming the difficult obstacles you face. I suggest that you attend to this right away. There’s not a moment to lose.

Good Luck

the indomitable human spirit…follow up

I have something extraordinary to share with you.  Here is an email I received in response to Tuesday’s posting:  the indomitable human spirit

Dear Dr. Dick,

About your post today…thank you, thank you, thank you! I appreciate your words and I love that Roman and his girlfriend are having a good time and are willing to explore options.

I am disabled. I had polio as a 13 month old baby in 1955 and use forearm crutches for very short distances and a manual wheelchair for everything else. Basically, my shoulders serve the same function as hips do for others. Due to polio, multiple surgeries and post polio muscular atrophy, I also have some reduced sensation from the hips down and a lack of control with both legs.

I am also a very sensual and sexual person. I love the physical feeling of being touched and kissed, and absolutely relish having orgasms. I love the emotional rush of planning, organizing and getting ready for a sexy time with my guy, and I love the psychological boost of knowing I am desirable.

I have found the world of BDSM to be extremely helpful to me. I have a leather bustier and thong with flames; we have a restraint system under the mattress, a flogger, blindfolds, Hitachi Wand, assorted dildos and other fun toys. While I think people may come from the womb wired for a mindset that jives with BDSM, for someone disabled in the way that I am there are definite perks. The extra levels of touch and physical stimulation in BDSM play help me build toward an orgasm. The building of mood with language throughout the day, calling my guy Master, his comments about spanking my butt after supper, laying out the clothes, choosing the toys from our toy box, lighting the candles for wax play and burning my favorite incense…all work together to get me in the mood, physically and mentally.

BDSM is so much about the focus, the connection and the attention – either using all the senses, or purposely withholding one sense or another, that many people in the BDSM world already make adaptations for personal differences in play and are acutely aware when someone responds more sensually to a quiet whisper rather than a normal tone of voice, or to the sensations of one type of clamp rather than another. In that world, individual differences are considered normal, so my differences seem to make less difference to them. I know of several couples where one or both are disabled and choose to attend BDSM functions…and frequently it is the woman or man in the wheelchair who is the Dom in the relationship.

Vaginal intercourse is difficult for me. I don’t have the muscle tone to provide adequate stimulation for my guy to reach orgasm. The adaptation for that is oral or anal intercourse. I went to my gynecologist for a frank talk about any special concerns about anal intercourse for someone in my physical situation. I also called and talked with the Dom of a BDSM dungeon to ask the same questions. He gave me some great advice and ideas, probably more specific and useful information than the doctor.

I have found the Liberator pillows to be extremely helpful for positioning and, combined with the under the mattress restraint system, there is much less problem with losing control of my legs and accidentally kicking someone. Regular bed pillows and other positioning cushions that I have tried over the years would just scoot out from under me and were usually more frustrating than helpful. With any restraint system attention has to be paid to circulation and the restrained person never left alone, but that is true whether the people involved are disabled or not.

All that being said, a sense of dedication and a sense of humor are absolute necessities! Our attitude is one of discovering how to make things work rather than questioning whether they are possible. And humor simply must be part of the process. At one point I decided satin sheets and a matching sexy gown would be a great surprise to put my guy over the moon. A friend came over and put the satin sheets on the bed for me and when my guy arrived home I was waiting in the silky nightie on those expensive satin sheets. My beloved was quite excited and reached out to gently push me over just a bit so he could join me on the bed. Odd how slick those sheets were. I went sailing across the sheets and off the other side of the bed onto the floor. We laughed until we cried.

Thanks again for helping get the word out that disability does not equate to celibacy.


the indomitable human spirit

Happy Solstice, sex fans!

I know I’m supposed to be on holiday, but I just couldn’t resist sharing with you this correspondence that typifies the season. It is a true celebration of the indomitable human spirit.

Name: Roman
Gender: Male
Age: 22
Location: Kansas
I’m a 22 and I have cerebral palsy. My girlfriend has CP too. You say you have experience working with people with disabilities. Do you know about how CP and how it affects our balance and muscle control? Me and my GF have difficulty having sex. Our bodies don’t move like other people. Most of the time we are in wheelchairs and, while sitting is ok, our stiff legs make conventional sex impossible. We have invented ways to get each other off, but when it comes to intercourse we are stumped. We’ve tried different things, but we can’t get the angle right. We’ve looked for ideas on the internet, but nothing.

Kudos to you Roman, and your plucky girlfriend. You kids sound like you’ve got it gonin’ on, I’m really impressed. You’re right, I have some experience with people with disabilities, particularly around the issue of sexuality. And I am familiar with the affects of cerebral palsy on one’s balance and muscle control. So I think I can help you. However, I want you to help me too. I think you could help me and my audience understand and appreciate your situation a bit better.

Here’s why I think this. It’s not often I hear from such an articulate fellow in your particular circumstance. So I want to ask you a few questions. (Any one else out there in my audience who wants to chime in on this, please do!) In the past, most of the people I’ve encountered who have disabling conditions, like CP have been at the mercy of those who care for them at home or in assisted living facilities. So would it be correct for me to guess that you and your girlfriend are living independently? It sounds that way to me. The reason I say that is, one of the most troubling problems folks, like ya’ll, have is finding private time and space for any intimacies of whatever kind. Families and assisted living facilities are notorious for not giving or respecting a client’s privacy.

If you are in an independent living situation and you have enough privacy to engage in intimacies that can get you off, short of intercourse. How do you do you get one another off? Is this done while you’re in your chairs? If you’re actually getting naked with each other, and I hope you are, do you need assistance from someone to achieve this?

Here’s why I’m asking you this. If you are having a person assist you as far as getting out of your cloths and into the sack with each other, would it be out of the question for either of you to ask this person to help you get into position for fucking? I ask this because on one very special occasion a couple I knew some years ago asked me to assist them in their love making. At first, I didn’t know if I was up to the task. Not because I would be freaked out gimps gettin their groove on — not at all. I was concerned that I wouldn’t know what to do, or how to do it. My friends, the couple, told me not to worry, that they would direct me if I helped them manage their limbs and coordinate their movements. I was honored by their request, so I accepted their invitation.

We were all really nervous, me especially. They asked if I would be comfortable being naked with them. This put me on the spot, for sure. It’s not that I was uncomfortable being naked, that’s rarely an issue. But I was strangely uncomfortable being naked with them. Was it professional pride? Did I feel more secure being clothed, less vulnerable that way? Hell, I don’t know. They explained that they didn’t want this to be some kind of clinical thing where I was being a therapist, albeit an unconventional therapist.

In the end I relented. And after a few minutes of feeling really awkward, we lost our inhibitions and got down to business. Just so you know, my friends were right. Had I kept my cloths on, the experience wouldn’t have been the same. While I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible, I was remarkably able to experience, in a most intimate way, what it must be like to live in a body that doesn’t respond like my body does. I felt like my friends’ bodies were extensions of my body. And they said they felt the same way; that my body was an extension of their bodies. It was a communion like no other.

My friends kept cracking jokes. Every time I’d topple over trying to get the two lovebirds into position they’d say something like: “is that what it’s like having an able body?” BITCHES! No doubt, the humor and giggling help take the edge off for us all. I know it helped me overcome being so self-conscious. I confess I was a bit embarrassed to be the only able body person present.

What struck me most in all of this was the determination of my friends. I’ve never met anyone more dogged and tenacious…and all to get a little nookie. God bless ‘em!

We tried several positions. Luckily, my friends had upped the dose of their muscle relaxant medications so they were a bit more pliable. One position that seemed to work particularly well was having my friends lying on their sides facing each other. I helped the woman swing one of her legs over her guy. I was then able to scoot their pelvises together and guide his dick into her pussy. Then all I needed to do is bounce them a little. It was brilliant, even though it was the hardest I ever worked for a fuck — and it wasn’t even me who was doing the fucking.

We were all completely exhausted by the experience. My friends were enormously grateful and I was blissed out. It took them days to recover, but at least they achieved what they so desperately wanted. Did they ever attempt intercourse again? I don’t know. They may have discovered that fucking, especially if it takes that much concentration and energy may not be worth it. Maybe they realized that full-on fucking is not necessarily for full-on sexual enjoyment. I mean my friend was expert at eating out his girlfriend. All I had to do is help him in into position. And she got off on it big time…oh and so did he…the randy little bugger!

So, Roman, I didn’t mean to go on and on like that. Sorry if I got off topic. I just wanted to tell you that story because I thought it might suggest to you and your girlfriend the idea of having someone help you guys fuck. It’s worth a try, right?

Good luck

Joining The Resistance

Name: Green Guy
Gender: Male
Age: 44
Location: Lowell, MA
Dr. Dick I am an African American gay man who was reared in a very psychologically abusive and conservative southern environment. I am very inexperienced with relationships, dating and sex. In fact, I have been celibate for the last five years, trying to figure out how I got so psychologically fucked up and what to do about it. I was in therapy for quite a while, but I still have many issues to deal with, including trusting men. I would like to be in a healthy relationship, but I don’t even know where to start. I feel that my personal life has been a total disaster. I want to change things around, but I feel utterly lost. Although I am professionally successful, I have serious issues with my body. I am somewhat overweight, but have recently joined a gym to get in shape. I just feel totally hideous, and depressed (I am on medication), and don’t believe any guy would ever be interested in me. Please help!!

Holy Cow, darlin’, you sure do know how to let it all hang out, huh? Did you notice how may superlatives you used: “very abusive, many issues, total disaster, serious issues, totally hideous” to mention a few. It’s clear to me, and probably any other human that comes near you, that you are soooo not ready for a relationship. In fact, if you are as icky and psychologically fucked up as you say, if you can’t trust anyone, if you’re a dating klutz, if you are totally hideous and misshapen, then why not just let it go and spare any other person the torture of being involved with you? You’re right, what guy in his right mind would be interested in the likes of you?

Ok, you see what I’m doing here? I’m joining the resistance. You want to pile it on yourself, swell. I’ll join you. I’ll pile on too and together we’ll heap on the insults and contempt until you can’t stand it any more, until you reach your tolerance for self abuse (and not the good kind). And from what I can gather, that’s gonna take some piling on. Of course, you could quit this self-abuse at any time. Seems to me 44 years of negative and undercutting behavior is plenty…even for you.

None of us is without our issues, my friend, least of all me. But to navigate social situations, even casual ones, one needs to be able to judge what the traffic can bear. If you come on like gangbusters, like you did in your message to me, you’re finished even before you begin.

Whatever therapy you did in the past, it either didn’t work or it didn’t have any lasting effects. Find a therapist that will challenge you not stroke you. Find someone that will jump on your shit, someone who will care enough about you to disallow you from hurting yourself with such cruel remarks about yourself.

When I have a client like you in my private practice I always lay down the law. For every self-critical thing you say about yourself, you must say something nice about yourself. That shuts the client up in a hurry. Once he or she is quiet enough to listen we start pulling apart the tangle of their self-hatred.

You were abused as a kid. Sadly, so are lots of kids. But that’s in the past. I’m sure you have scars, but who doesn’t have scar tissue. You don’t know how to interact with others socially, that a skill that can be learned. You’re fat and out of shape? You’re going to the gym to address that. You’re depressed even on antidepressants? Well, no wonder you’re sick of yourself. And that has got to stop, NOW.

Before you consider asking anyone else to love you — with all your flaws — you’re gonna have to learn to love yourself — with all your flaws. If you can’t do that, then don’t expect anyone else to do it before you do. Get off your pity pot and get to work. You say you are successful in your professional life. (Frankly I don’t see how that’s possible given the litany of your liabilities.) But for the sake of argument, let’s say you are telling the truth. How did you come to be a successful professional without at least some redeeming qualities? That is unless you are a professional executioner, or a professional hit man, or a politician.

You see you can’t have it both ways. If you have skill enough to make yourself a success in your professional life, then you have skill enough to make yourself a success in your private life. With the help of this new therapist you’re gonna get — the one who is not going to let you get away with your shit — you’re gonna learn how to marshal and channel the aptitudes you have that make you successful in one area of your life, to make you a success the other areas of your life.

Good luck

Name: Jose
Gender: Male
Age: 20
Location: Norwalk, CT
how can i approuch a good stripper to get into sex? even tho they just strip some do more off work. How do I know they are willing to do it?

I’m gonna go way out on a limb here and guess that English is not your first language, right Jose? I think I understand what you are asking. Let’s just hope the women you approach will also understand you’re meaning.

So OK, you know this fine stripper and you want to have sex with her, right? Swell! First thing you oughta know is that not all strippers are hookers. Some simply strip because they make really good money. They don’t sell sex, mostly because they don’t have to. The strippers that do offer sexual favors for a fee, don’t do so where they strip. It’s bad for business and, I hasten to point out, it’s against the law— except if you’re in Nevada — and you’re not.

There are two real good ways to go about this hunt for stripper sex. First, you could ask the vixen out on a real date. Personally I think this is the best way of going about gettin laid by any woman. If the woman, stripper or whatever, is available for a date, and you’re not a totally creepy putz, she might take you up on the offer. Just remember, many strippers already have a boyfriend, and he wouldn’t look kindly on you trying to hustle his filly, if you catch my drift.

Also, some stripping establishments prohibit their employees from fucking with the customers. If that’s the policy at the joint you frequent, let it go. Don’t pester the woman for something that will jeopardize her job. However, if she does accept the date, and all goes well, and you charm the pants off her, literally, you just might get a little slap and tickle. I just hope we’re clear on the concept that if any woman, especially a sex worker, accepts a dinner invitation it is not the same thing as saying she’ll fuck you, right? GOOD!

The second option is to ask the stripper if she does escort work on the side. Again, some stripping establishments prohibit their strippers from fraternizing with customers in any way, shape or form, especially fucking them. You ought also know that if the woman in question is indeed an escort as well as a stripper, your “date” with her is gonna cost ya. These women are professionals; so you’d do well to treat them with the respect you’d offer any other professional woman.

Never, under any circumstance, offer to pay a stripper…or any woman for that matter…for sex. That would be pandering prostitution, and that’s against the law. If the woman in question is an escort, she will be exchanging her time, the pleasure of her company and her expertise for money; not sex for money. Get it? If she’s smart she won’t give you a second chance to get this right. So if you fuck up asking her the first time you may be out of luck forever.

My advice to you is, figure out ahead of time which way you want to go on this — a real date or escort hook up. Then approach her like a gentleman. If she’s not interested, respect her decision to decline your offer with grace and dignity.

Good luck