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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!

Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are

Just in time for National Coming Out Day, which just so happens to be today, October 11th, we have this from Craig:

Doc,
I’m 19, and I’ve decided that I’m gay. But I don’t know how to tell anyone. I’m afraid that I’ll lose my friends and family. I come from a very religious family, and they’ll never understand. I don’t want to hurt them, but I want to be honest about who I am. Just wondering if you could help me.

Coming out is never easy—or almost never—but having to do so to bigoted people makes things worse. There are many different aspects to the coming out process. It means both owning and valuing who you are, and sharing that information with others. You’ve apparently laid the groundwork by self-identifying as gay. Unfortunately, coming out also means learning to deal with the hostility many people have toward us sexual minorities.

Owning your sexual identity and integrating it into your overall sense of self is the first step in what I believe is a lifelong process. Your sexual preferences are just a small part of who you are. It is indeed an important part, but it’s not necessarily the defining element that some would make it out to be. In this instance, LGBT folks are not all that different from everyone else who is awakening to his/her sexuality. We can take some comfort from the fact that we are not alone. So many other segments of the population are marginalized and discounted because of their race, gender, age, religion, ethnic origin, you name it. Let’s face it, pup, our culture doesn’t do real well with diversity.

And ya know what else? There are a whole lot of us who are marginalized and who are discriminated against, who then turn right around and discriminate against and marginalize others. This just breaks my heart! Hopefully you’ll avoid the temptation to do this yourself.

Being different in our society is a double-edged sword. Obviously, it’s a challenge to the status quo, but it also frees us up to tread a less traveled path. To compensate for the difficulties of being a minority, we get to define ourselves in ways that are unavailable to the dominant culture.

I don’t suppose any of us is ever entirely really free of our own internalized homophobia, any more than other marginalized minorities can rid themselves of their internalized self-doubt. No one can completely escape the prejudices and biases that surround them, but most of us make our way, regardless. That’s why coming out is so important. It empowers us. It increases our self-esteem. Honesty increases personal integrity. And when we stop hiding or denying this important aspect of ourselves, we have greater freedom of self-expression, and we become more available for happy, healthy and honest relationships.

So, how much do you know about LGBT history? Knowing that you belong to a big and vibrant community with a long and illustrious history will enhance your queer identity. You’ll find positive role models in every era of human history, and in every human endeavor—and affirmative role models will help you achieve a positive sense of self. (However, you’re gonna have to do some digging. The dominant culture suppresses queer history, which often leaves those who are just coming out feeling isolated, alone and unsure. Fear of rejection from the dominant culture is greatest for those who don’t know they belong to something bigger and stronger than themselves.)

Knowing your gay history will also give you ammunition to refute those around you who will try to label you as sick or sinful. Loads of LGBT folk have enriched civilization through science, religion, music, politics, art, theater, sports and literature, to name just a few. Long before you and I showed up on the scene they were paving the way for the freedoms and tolerance we currently enjoy in this country.

If you’re not already involved in your local gay community, it’s high time you got hooked up. Practice your coming out skills with other LGBT people. Coming out to those who are most likely to be supportive will make this phase easier. And in doing so, you’ll be creating a natural support system of friends who will be your gay “family.” You will also find helpful resources, including support groups, crisis lines, gay-friendly churches and synagogues, social outlets and political and cultural activities and organizations.

Once you’ve honed your coming out skills with the queer community, you’ll be ready to move on to straight folks. This will probably be a mixed bag. Some won’t give a hoot. Others may have a lot of hoot to give. The best advice I can give you is the same advice I received from my gay elders when I was coming out at about your age: Make your coming out a celebration.

Listen, if you carry your hat in your hand, shuffle your feet and look all dejected when you make your announcement, your audience will have little choice but to receive the information as bad or troubling news. However, if you stand up, look the person in the eye, and tell her or him that you have some wonderful news to share with them, you will be giving them a running start on receiving the information as good news. Besides, a positive presentation will help short-circuit some of the initial shock or confusion they may experience.

Expect that most straight folks—particularly those of a religious bent—will need some time to get used to the idea of you being queer. And as you suggest, it is quite possible that some family members or friends may reject you initially. But it’s not the end of the world, and lots of people, even some religious folks, come around in their own sweet time.

Coming out to others will be a more positive experience if you’re comfortable in your own skin. Hopefully you’re not overly dependent on others for your sense of self—a tall order for someone of your tender age and background. But remember, thousands of people, young and old from every corner of the world, are making their first tentative steps out of the closet right this minute. You are not alone.

How well you do fare may ultimately hinge on controlling, as much as possible, the time and place you come out. If you “out” yourself as opposed to being “outted” by someone else, you’re more likely to succeed. Being able to judge the receptiveness of your audience is also important. The best time for you might not necessarily be the best time for the person you’re about to tell. (F’rinstance, grandpa’s funeral may not be the ideal time to announce to your family that you’re a big fat flamer.)

While some friends and family may have figured you’re queer long before you have, give everyone the time and space he or she needs to work through the news. Be prepared for some negative reactions. (Having some supportive friends available to talk things through afterward, or retreat to, will help.) If you do your best to bring the news in a life affirming way and your audience still rejects you, that’s not your fault; nor does that make them right. You have the right to be who you are. You have the right to be out, proud and open about all the aspects of your life, including your sexuality. Never let people unable to accept that, even if they are family, diminish your self-worth.

Coming out may be difficult, but it’s also very rewarding. Coming out affirms your dignity, as well as underscores the dignity of other queer folk. Finally, never take for granted the freedom and tolerance the dominant culture begrudgingly gives us. It’s only through vigilance and political action that we secure our rightful place in society.

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!

Baby I’m Yours

Hey sex fans,

It’s Product Review Friday and we welcome back the good people at BodyWand.  We have two more of their products to tell you about today. But wait, you didn’t miss their first appearance in this review effort did you? Well not to worry if you did, because you can find our first review HERE!

Today’s reviews are brought to you by Dr Dick Review Crew members — Ken & Denise.

BodyWand Mini Pink —— $21.89
BodyWand Plug-in Blue —— $81.29

Ken & Denise
Denise: “We’ve decided to review these two BodyWand vibes together because they are so much alike, design wise that is. Both are wand-type massagers, but one is teeny tiny and the other is giant.”
Ken: “When we picked up the massagers from Dr Dick, Denise and I had to chuckle because the BodyWand Plug-in is three times the size of the BodyWand Mini. I said that the BodyWand Mini looked like a Barbie Doll accessory.”
Denise: “And I said the BodyWand Mini reminded me of the joke about the lesbian who had to kick start her vibrator.”
Ken: “Denise and I both really like a wand-type massager because of their versatility. All share a similar design; a rounded head, attached to a stalk-like neck that is attached to the body of the massager. Some are cordless (rechargeable), some plug-in and some run on batteries. The two vibes we have today are examples of the plug-in variety and the battery operated variety. BodyWand also makes a rechargeable model, which was reviewed here last month.  See that review HERE!”
Denise: “Both of these massagers have dial-type controls; the controller on the BodyWand Mini is in its base and the controller on the BodyWand Plug-in is, obviously, on its body. A dial control allows for more variation in the speed and intensity of the vibration and, to my mind, it beats a simple on/off or a high/low speed switch.”
Ken: “The BodyWand Plug-in is akin to the granddaddy of wand-type massagers, the Hitachi Magic Wand.  It’s just over a foot long, runs on electricity, plugs into an A/C outlet in your wall and is the most powerful type of massager there is. It delivers consistent vibration and you’ll never have to worry about replacing batteries or recharging it. Of course it also means you are tethered to the wall by a cord, but this one has a nice long cord, about four feet long. The body of the BodyWand Plug-in features a easy-grip textured surface, which makes it easy to hold even with lubed fingers.”
Denise: “The BodyWand Mini, on the other hand, is only 4” long, features some decorative rhinestones on the base and is powered by 6 LR 44 watch batteries. Just between you and me; I hate fiddling around with those tiny watch batteries, but I’m happy to report that the BodyWand Mini come with the batteries already installed. You just have to remember to remove the clear plastic dot that covers the batteries before you use it for the first time. And the battery compartment is easy to open. The motor produces an intense buzz-type vibration on the highest setting. This is very different from the deep rumbling vibration you get with the BodyWand Plug-in.”
Ken: “The BodyWand Mini is adorable, but packs a punch. The BodyWand Plug-in is a workhorse and will never let you down. Both are amazingly quiet.”
Denise: “I’ve taken to slipping the BodyWand Mini into my purse for those emergency jilling-off sessions. I’ve used it in the bathroom at work and during my commute to and from work. You’d be surprised how tolerable a traffic jam can be when you’re distracted with a mini vibe like this.”
Ken: “I dig the BodyWand Plug-in. At first I started using it on my sore shoulders after a long hot shower. I’ve been doing some intense workouts at the gym lately. So there I was lying on our bed with just a towel around my waste. Before long the vibration on my shoulders traveled down my spine and, like magic, I started to get a woodie. I absentmindedly moved the vibe to between my legs and just under my nuts. The sensations were unbelievable. In no time at all I was beating my meat like it owed me money. I shot a wad on my freshly showered chest and I discover that my shoulders didn’t ache as much as before. It’s miraculous.”
Full Review HERE!

ENJOY

Guess What, Honey? I’m A Kinky Old Perv!

And now, by popular demand, a reprint of an old favorite.

So you’ve met the person of your dreams only you haven’t got around to telling your new honey your dirty little secret. The sweet thing hasn’t a clue that you’re itchin’ for some big-time bondage. Or that you’d sell your soul to be dominated like the lowly little bitch that you are. Or you’re salivating over that dildo you have tucked away in the attic—you know, the one that could be mistaken for a floor lamp. Or you’re craving to be spanked til your shameless ass glows in the dark. Or you want to hump his/her feet like a dog and gobble up his/her toejam. Or you have this nasty little thing about spike heels, frilly knickers and jungle red lipstick.

Never fear—Dr. Dick has heard it all a million times before. Some sorry pervert’s got it bad for white bread.

Dear Dr. Dick,
Help! I’m in love with the sweetest guy/gal in the word, but our sex life is all vanilla all the time. I’m bored shitless! I know how to liven things up, you see I have this fetish (you fill in the blank) but I don’t know how to tell him/her about it and I’m afraid s/he’ll freak if s/he finds out. What’s a perv to do?

Introducing your partner to your personal world of kink can be a little tricky; the whole love match could blow up in your face. But a life of pretense and sexual boredom isn’t the way to go, either. Why not just stand tall like the filthy pervert you are and brazenly proclaim your fetish to Little Miss Mary Sunshine? After all, unless your boyfriend or gal-pal is as dumb as a post s/he’s already figured out that your mutual sex life walks with a pronounced limp (or perhaps is suffering from a case of the gout). Besides, there’s nothing more satisfying than corrupting an innocent. Who knows—s/he may have secrets of his/her own.

Case in point. Here’s part of an exchange I had with a young man from Omaha.

Dear Doc,
I’m 23, and I’ve been dating 30-year-old chick for nearly a year now. I come from a very conservative Christian upbringing and I love that she is more experienced than me. My girlfriend likes to tie me up. I’m a college gymnast so I have very defined muscles. They are a huge turn on for my girlfriend, which I guess explains why she likes to see me struggle against the rope. I get real turned on too when I’m tied up. Sometimes she teases my penis and testicles with a feather or a piece of leather, which drives me wild. I’m worried though, because I think this is gonna warp me somehow. Do you think this is perverted? Why is it so much fun?

Ahhh yeah, Jake, I do think it’s perverted. I think your girlfriend is a big fat pervert and I think you’re still just a teensy-weensy little pervert—but well on your way to Big Fat Perverthood (note: Big Fat Perverthood is not a clinical term; just something we toss around the office for fun), just like your girlfriend. And why is this bondage thing so much fun? It’s such a blast because it IS perverted, IS nasty and IS forbidden, silly! One can only guess what your fundamentalist Christian mom and dad would think about their star athlete son trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey while a considerably older dominatrix punishes his family jewels. I fear this apple has fallen a great distance from the tree, right, Jake? I absolutely love it!

Okay, back to telling your partner about your kink. Here’s what I suggest. Casually direct the conversation to the amazing variety of human sexual expression. You could reassure your sweetie that just because some things are unfamiliar to her/him doesn’t make them bad. Tell him/her that you’ve been waiting for your relationship to mature so that you could share the intricacies of your desires with him/her. This can be one of those precious bonding moments that Oprah is always going on about.

This might be a good time to view that special video you picked up in the kink section of the local porn emporium. Invite her/him to explore your fantasy with you. Tell the little flower that your love for him/her demands that you share the fullness of your sexuality with her/him. Then pick one turn-on for the two of you to experiment with—lingerie, toys, dominance and submission, pee, role-playing—whatever your hearts desire.

Decide on a safe-word, an out-of-context word your partner can use if the experiment is heading in an uncomfortable direction. For example, if the dildo is too big or the lipstick is too red, s/he could say “pickles.” The safe-word, when uttered in the scenario, will let you know that you need to change direction or slow down without completely destroying the built-up sexual energy.

If this initiation process doesn’t work, Dr. Dick suggests that you cut your losses and dump the white bread. Go out and find yourself a kindred spirit, someone you won’t have to apologize to for being creative in your sex play. Because, as we all know, the key to fantastic sex is all about communicating – and if you can’t be honest about what you want, then it won’t be long until you’re looking around, wondering how the hell you got to a sex life full of furtive, 2 minute, missionary position encounters. And life is way too short for that crap.

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