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All In A Day’s Work

There are so many interesting people out there on the web.  And many of them are doing their damnedest to make a difference in the lives of others. For example, the other day a young woman who has her own relationship advice website asked me if she could interview me for her site. I was very happy to oblige.

Her site is very different from mine in both style and presentation. One of the first questions she asked me is. “Why do you put such sexually explicit images on your site? It sometimes looks like a porn site. Doesn’t that take away from the advice you give?” Without coming right out and saying so, I believe she thought I should have a more formal presentation, a presentation that was befitting a professional of my stature. sexually explicit images

I told her, I add the images to be provocative. Most people who visit my site are already familiar with seeing sexually explicit images online. What they don’t get at those other sites is good, unambiguous, sex-positive information about human sexuality. I’ll be honest, I went on to say, I use the images to entice my audience to read the words around the images. It’s a psychological thing, ya see. Images, even those that may, at first glance, be off-putting can and do rivet one’s attention to the message I’m trying to communicate. Also the images make my site stand out from all the other professional oriented sites that offer similar sex advice. Besides, I like the way the site looks with all the images. I find it edgier as well as more interesting. After all, this is Sex Advice With An Edge!

Of course there is a downside to this. I’m approached on a regular basis by online advertisers; folks who would love to give me money in exchange for ad space on my very popular sites. And I’m all in favor of taking their money, don’t cha know. But more frequently than not, there are strings to this money. “Dr Dick, we would love to support you and your site, but we have to ask you to first rid your site of any sexually explicit image.” Well, fuck yourself very much! Is my retort. Of course, I try to say it in a real nice sorta way. I explain to my would be sponsors; ya see, this is how sexual repression begins. If I took your money and allowed you to dictate the kinds of images I could use on my site, in short order you would also be asking me to change my written and/or spoken content. And that, sex fans, I will never do, not even for some much needed financial support.

That’s when I hit upon the idea of having my audience help support the site. I added a DONATE button right there in the sidebar to your right, which you may or may not have noticed.  Ya see, infrastructure and administration for a free site like this is very costly. And instead of selling out to advertisers who want to censor my content, I invite all of you who enjoy DrDickSexAdvice.com and DrDickSexToyReviews.com to make a modest, once a year donation. Think of if as a holiday present to all you fellow sex fans. Your donation not only goes to supporting what you consume, but it underscores your social conscience. Your sponsorship helps disseminate badly needed sex education and sexual enrichment messages throughout the whole world. Hint, hint…I could use your support! I even have swell gifts to send to those who contribute as a certain level. Now doesn’t that sound just like your public television station?

jillin-off500Next my young interviewer asked, “If I could give one single piece of advice to her audience about sex, what would that be?” I love it when people ask questions like this. “Say Dr Dick, let’s sum up your life’s work in a sentence or two.” I tried to be gracious and come up with a pithy response that wouldn’t sound trite. I thought for a moment and said, “masturbation!” “Ahhh, what about masturbation exactly?” she inquired. I said, “everything.” She sounded perplexed. I suppose I was being a wee bit too pithy with my one-word answers.

So I went on to elaborate. Ya see masturbation is the key to a successful sex life. It is the most basic building block of all sexual expression. If we take the time to learn everything that masturbation has to teach us about ourselves, both in terms of physical and mental responses, we will be well on our way to being a really great lover. And the best thing about masturbation is that nature supplies all the motivation, because masturbation is it’s own reward. It’s pleasurable, informative, particularly if you pay the slightest attention, and you don’t need a thing other than what has already been supplied by nature.

Just about every sexual dysfunction I can think of has at its root a lack of understanding and appreciation for simple self-pleasuring. Some people never learn how to masturbate. Most of these folks are women, who then are set up for a lifetime of sexual frustration and disappointment. Some people learn to masturbate early in life. Most of these folks are men. But just because they can pull their pud with relative ease, doesn’t make them a student of self-pleasuring. In fact, a lifetime of mindless jerkin’ off can be counterproductive. Years and years of quick wanking just to relieve sexual tension, or just because one is bored, is the major contributing factor of premature ejaculation.

If we spent at least some of our masturbation time acquainting ourselves with our body and our sexual response cycle, we’d not only be male_masturbationpleasuring ourselves, but we’d be learning what makes us tick. And that, my friends, is essential information we’ll want to pass on to our partners.

One of the biggest problems with partnered sex is that most women and a whole lot of men think that their partner should know exactly how to pleasure them, right from the get-go. This is incredibly naive if you stop to think about it. Just because each of us has a relatively similar configuration of parts down there, as does every one else, that doesn’t mean we all function the same way. Each of us is unique, not just in terms of our physical attributes and how we’re hot-wired, but more importantly what turns our crank in our biggest sex organ, our mind.

My interviewer than came up with a humdinger, “since so many people have difficulty expressing themselves sexually, why do you suppose they bother?” I suppose they bother because they are driven to bother. For starters, we’re animals and sex is part of the biological imperative of all animate things. Lots of people muddle through the complexities of sexual coupling just so they can replicate. Once that’s done they don’t bother further. For those who aren’t particularly successful in finding a mate for this purpose they can always burn off excess sexual tension on their own…which gets me back to my masturbation comments. You see how all this sex stuff tends to make a big circle, right?

As our forebears evolved and advanced farther from their mere biological urges to something that more closely resembles modern human motivation, their rapidly developing brains began to play a larger the role in dictating their sexual expression. Pleasure soon began to compete with procreation as the dominant reason for exercising our sexuality. Of course, we often run into problems when seeking out another to satisfy our pleasure, which gets me back to my earlier point, but we do nonetheless.

As humans began to develop societies along with culture came religion. Inevitably sexuality became intertwined with that too…not always for the better. On the upside, the earliest religions and gods welcomed and celebrated sexuality and an integral part of human nature. There were sacred prostitutes and sexual orgies were part of religious expression. Unfortunately, these religions and gods didn’t fair well in their upcoming struggle with more militaristic and male dominated religions and gods. Basically the old religions and gods were outlawed and persecuted. A new era of sexual repression was upon us. But even today, one can hear the echo of this ancient tradition. There are some among us who firmly believe that sexuality is the best means to communing with the divine.

Erotic Fresco Painting From Pompeii

As human societies became more complex, the role of sexuality also changed. In a male dominated culture sex was more about aggression and ownership than anything else. The pleasure principle, at least the concept of mutual pleasure disappeared. Women were on the receiving end of this assault, of course. And as a consequence a man never had to bother himself with the niceties giving to get. He just took. Centuries upon centuries of culturally sponsored behavior like this has created a sexual male that is unversed at best and resistant at worst to the idea of mutuality with his partners. The “get it up, get it on and get it off” mentality leaves little room for female sexual expression.

lesbian_tickle.jpgOnly recently, with the rise of the women’s movement, have things begun to change. Happily, some of us men folk are getting the message that that pleasuring one’s mate will actually result in an abundance of more pleasure for them. A novel concept for most of us, don’t cha know. Alas, this still leaves us with the pressing problem that began this discussion. Most men, particularly young men, are unfamiliar with the workings of their own bodies and sexual response cycle. They are absolutely clueless about the great mysteries of the female anatomy and how all those blasted things works.

So we fall upon one another in this hit and miss manner, missing more often than we hit, sadly. And yet we persevere. All I’m saying is if we all took a little more time before for the event to introduce our partner to the peculiarities of our own bodies, there would be more hits than misses. Of course, that’s dependent on having a much better sense of ourselves than most of us do.

Nowadays, it’s très chic to fuck for a myriad of more interpersonal reasons. These include — self-expression, creativity, self-esteem and emotional satisfaction. With motivations like these, physical desirability of the potential partner often plays a much larger role than ever before. This gives rise to the innumerable industries out there that prey upon our natural insecurities. Think of all the ways in which we measure ourselves and one another. And who among us does not find ourselves wanting in one aspect or another? Either our cock isn’t big enough, our tits are too small. We’re too short or too tall, too fat or too thin, too young or too old, too much hair or not enough. We’re the wrong color, or ethnicity, too rich or too poor. Didn’t go to the right school or live in the wrong neighborhood. And the list goes on and on. With all this worry and anxiety it is, as my young interview suggested, a wonder that we ever connect at all.kissing.jpg

Then there’s the “L” word — LOVE. This is the most complicated, irrational and inexplicable of all motivations for connecting with another human on any level, least of all sexually. While love may go a long way to blind us to the inescapable insecurities that plague us all — you know how they say that love is blind — it isn’t always enough to overcome sexual dysfunction. And here is where the sex advice industry, of which I am a proud practitioner, enters the picture.

Good Luck

And they’re off…

Name: Dan and Rebecca
Gender: Couple
Age: 25, 20
Location:
We are a happy but frustrated couple looking for advice. I’m a 25
year old male, and my lovely girlfriend is 20.

I have no problem bringing her to orgasm and pleasing her, but since we’ve been seeing each other I have not been able to cum once. In the past it was always difficult for me to cum during sex, my first time (age 18) my then gf and I went for about three hours before we just gave up. Usually I would have to jerk myself off afterwards but now I can’t even do that.

However if I am alone with porn I am easily able to masturbate and can get off a few times a day. How is it that I can jerk off to pictures that mean nothing to me, but can’t cum for the woman I love the most?

I’ve spoken with a doctor and he said medically there is nothing wrong with my penis. What do you suggest we do? We are really getting frustrated and just want to be able to please each other.

Simply put, there’s a difference between the psycho-sexual response we have when we are alone and the one we experience with a partner. Your doctor is right, there’s probably nothing wrong with your unit. It’s all in your head…or your mind, to be more exact. And I’m not being flippant.

If I had to guess, I’d say you have a real bad case of performance anxiety, pup. Here’s how this nasty thing works. Say I have a less than satisfying sexual experience for one reason or another. Before I know it, I’m replaying the incident over and over in my mind’s eye till that’s all I can think about. The proverbial molehill has become a mountain, don’t ‘cha know. I then bring my anxiety to my next encounter. My hyper self-consciousness primes me for more disappointment. And I’m all prepared to interpret the disappointment as a failure. Well, you can see where I’m going with this, huh? My fears become self-fulfilling and I find I’m beginning to avoid partnered sex and my relationship flounders, I develop a full-blown sexual dysfunction and my self-esteem takes a nosedive. My preoccupation with my problem makes it less likely that I’ll be fully present during sex with my partner, which pretty much scuttles my sexual responsiveness and any hope for spontaneity.

It looks to me like performance anxiety is putting a damper on your sexual arousal and short-circuiting your sexual response cycle, Dan. Get thee to a sex-positive therapist ASAP, darling! Believe me, this is nothing to fool around with, especially for someone at your tender age.

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 a great deal of the pressure off the couple. From there we begin to rebuild the partnered psycho-sexual response one step at a time. We begin with sensate focus training, stress reduction and relaxation exercises. I have the greatest confidence in this method; it succeeds over 90% of the time.

Good luck

Hey dr dick! What’s that toll-free podcast voicemail telephone number? Why, it’s: (866) 422-5680. DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Name: Gene
Gender:  Male
Age: 45
Location: Orlando
I am a homosexual, and I have a “friend” who has been incarcerated for five years. The relationship while he was out with me was excellent. I have asked him numerous of times is he having sex with the homo’s in jail and he responds by saying no. I think otherwise, and he wants to come back to me upon his release. My question is “should I wait for him”?

Gene, Gene, Gene, there are so many things wrong with this picture, I hardly know where to start. Your man’s in the big house for 5 years, and you expect him to keep it in his pants for the duration…just for you? Like WHY? Hey, he’s in the clink, darling, not in a monastery. Oh wait; even monks in a monastery don’t keep it in their habit nowadays! At any rate, it may not be up to him if he has sex or not…if you catch my drift. He might be someone’s bitch right now, he’s just not telling you about it.

Should you wait for him? You mean, all alone by yourself with no one to comfort you while your guy is doin’ his time? This sounds like the script for a real bad 1950’s prison movie. You could play the role of the long-suffering girlfriend pining away while her good-for-nothing man pays his debt to society.

Honey, you need to get out more.

Good luck

Name: Erin
Gender: female
Age: 32
Location: AL
Is it wrong for a married woman to want to masturbate when alone?

Gee, let me see. Is it wrong for a woman to feed herself when she is alone?

Erin, what could possibly be wrong with wanting to pleasure yourself when you are alone? As we all know, many women only get off through masturbation. Hell nowadays, liberated women folk everywhere are comfortable enough with their sexuality to jill-off even with their partner. So no, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with self-pleasuring…alone or with a partner.

Besides, there’s no better way to get to know your body and your sexual response cycle. Once you acquainted yourself with how your body works, you’ll have a whole lot more information about how you tic that you’ll be able to share with your partner when the time comes. It’s a win/win situation for ya’ll.

Name: Joy
Gender:  female
Age: 21
Location: California
I have been dating this guy for almost 3 year and also live with him. I love the way he makes love to me and i love dick, but sometimes i just want to make out with girls… does this make me a lesbian at all?

Hardly, not even a little bit lesbian! Ya see, it takes more than suckin’ face with another chick to make a gal a lesbiterian. You’re gonna need to get yourself a she-mullet, some plaid shirts and a vibrator that you can kick-start. Now that’ll make ya dyke for damn sure. Sheesh!

Hey dr dick! What’s that toll-free podcast voicemail telephone number? Why, it’s: (866) 422-5680. DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Learning to ride

Hey sex fans!

We’re all back from Spring Break. Did you miss us? We sure missed you. So ok, let’s get this ball rolling again with a timely question from one of my correspondents.

Name: Drew
Gender: Male
Age: 23
Location: Boise
I’m gay, I’m a virgin, and I think I may be afraid of sex. In all the porn I’ve seen, the bottom guy looks uncomfortable and in pain, why would I want that? I’ve only done anything sexual with one guy and I was so anxious that I couldn’t even get up. I liked the guy, he was hot, and I enjoyed all the fore-play type stuff, but I just couldn’t do anything else. Any advice on how to get over this?

First thing, don’t ever look to porn for your sex education; you will surely be misled. Second, that grimace that you report seeing on the bottom’s face as he is being penetrated, may be a grimace of pleasure not pain. I think you are projecting your own discomfort on the guys in the movies.

Let me tell you a little story. The other day I was walking in the park with Ginger the dog. Actually, I was trying to walk like a normal person, but she was pulling me along like a maniac. We were both, in our own way, enjoying some beautiful spring weather and the sights, sounds and smells nature in its glory. As we walked along we encountered a father and son who were seriously involved in what appeared to be the kid’s first lesson in riding a bicycle…without training wheels. Despite the father’s patient encouragement the kid couldn’t seem to get the hang of it. He would start out ok, but just as soon as his dad let go of the back of his seat the boy would wobble and eventually crash. There were plenty of tears, a skinned knee and the boy’s fear and anxiety was thick enough to cut with a knife. It was quite a scene.

The kid was convinced that he didn’t have what it took to ride on his own. His defeatism fueled itself and became a self-fulfilling prophecy. He finally gave up. Sat down on a bench, his bike in a tangle at his side, and refused his father’s pleading that he try again. In the kid’s mind the bike was the enemy another attempt would only hurt and humiliate, and so the lesson ended.

What the kid lacked was self-confidence, a sense of adventure and probably more importantly — balance. I wish I had had an opportunity to suggest to the boy and his dad, that they might try another ploy. I wanted to say, set the bike aside and work on that balance thing first. This would surely increase the boy’s confidence and it wouldn’t cost a blow to his ego or his knee. And it would be fun.

I would have suggested the dad start by helping the kid walk on 4” curb, balancing himself as he went. Then the dad could increase the challenge to include balancing on one foot, then the other. Once the kid discovered the power within him to accomplish these tasks, the bike could be reintroduced. The father would assist the boy in drawing upon his skill in balancing on the curb to master balancing on his bike.

The same will be true for you, Drew. Sex is nothing to be afraid of. Rather it is a skill that one learns. Some, obviously, take to it quicker than others, but everyone can learn a happy, healthy sexual expression that will build self-esteem and bring great pleasure.

I want you to start exploring and enjoying your bottom on your own. Like the kid in the park, you need to acquaint yourself with the powers that lie within you. He needed to find a sense of balance within himself; you need to find the Big Old Butt Pirate within yourself.

Most all of the discomfort in butt fucking is associated with your sphincter muscle trying to resist whatever it is being inserted in your ass. When this muscle resists to the point of spasm things can become very painful. So here’s what I want you to do.

  • First, before you start playing with your hole — relax. Just like the kid in the park would have needed to calm himself before attempting to balance on the curb. The same is true for you.
  • Take a relaxing shower, a warm bath, and/or try some deep breathing exercises to center yourself.
  • Have a ready supply of a water-based lube handy. Silicone-based lubes are swell for these exercises too. However, oil-based lubricants aren’t recommended for use with a condom.
  • Start with a little self-pleasuring. Stroke your dick with your lubed hand and get into your happy place.
  • Gradually slather some of that lube on to your balls and taint. With legs open wide find your hole and play with your rosebud. Gently massage the area around your asshole, but don’t side your fingers in just yet. Simply get used to the feelings of playing at the opening of your ass.
  • Let your play include the tip of your finger entering your ass.
  • If you do this while you’re stroking your cock, you will find that your hole will actually open and invite your finger. That’s the great thing about pleasuring one part of your body while learning to pleasure another.
  • Once you are comfortable with your fingertip inside, try pushing it in further and move it around a little. Try pushing it and pulling it out of your ass. Ya know, like finger-fucking yourself.
  • Find your prostate. It shouldn’t be hard to find if you’re all horned up. It will feel smooth and hard, like a flat stone.
  • Give that puppy a nice gentle massage. If you’re still stroking your wood, don’t be surprised if this prostate massage gets you to bust your nut. In fact, you will find that your prostate actually enlarges a bit and becomes more firm just as you are about to shoot.
  • As you jizz you will also notice that your sphincter muscle will tighten around your finger and pulsate with each squirt

Continue these self-pleasuring exercises until you are comfortable inserting a couple fingers in your ass. Then try a small vibrating dildo. In no time at all you will be ready to jump on your bike and ride…so to speak.

With these exercises behind you, no pun intended, the first time you actually fuck with a partner will be the incredible experience it is meant to be. If you encounter any discomfort you’ll know what to do — deep breathing to relax and priming your hole with a lubed finger or two.

  • First, attend to your personal hygiene. Make sure you’re clean inside. We don’t want any unsightly and embarrassing mishaps to mess up the big event.
  • Remember to take it slow. There’s no rushing pleasure. And you’ll be the one in charge of what goes in your ass, when and for how long.
  • Warm up with some foreplay, kissing, sucking, licking, rimming touching and massaging.
  • Have condoms and lots of lube near to hand.
  • While you’re warming up, start loosening up your ass with your lubed fingers, just like in your self-pleasuring exercises.
  • Once you’re comfortable offer your ass to your partner. Have him replace your fingers with his own. Try some swell finger-fucking first.
  • Once you’re relaxed and loose, lie on your side with your partner behind you. Have him slowly push his cock against your rosebud.
  • Try pushing out like you are trying to take a dump. This will help open up your sphincter for his entry.
  • As he enters you, have him stop so that you can breathe deeply. Give your ass the time it needs to adjust to the new sensations. If there’s pain or discomfort have your partner reverse course and go back to finger fucking before you proceed.
  • Make sure that your partner knows that if you ask him to stop; he will stop. Trust is very important in butt fucking.
  • As he fills you with his dick he will hit your prostate. This will send waves of pleasure through your body and signal your sphincter to open for even more.
  • You may find that you’ll even want to push your ass back to meet and engulf his cock.

By the time this happens you will happily discover that you are ridding your bike all by yourself. And you will be very happy.

Good luck

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.

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