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Prescription for a Porn-Positive World

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One of the enduring hot-button issues in our culture (and every other culture) is sexually explicit material. Everyone has an opinion on what we, as a society, ought to allow—and what should be prohibited.

Everyone has an opinion, but not all opinions are formed through sound reasoning. More often than not, our opinions are visceral responses to things that frighten us, or that we don’t understand. And if we don’t like it, don’t understand it, or it puts us off, why, that’s reason enough to have it banned!

It’s no surprise that people on both ends of the political spectrum can comfortably join forces in a pogrom against porn. It’s the great boogieman, after all: the corruptor of youth; that which erodes family values and degrades human sexual expression. What’s not to hate about porn?

I suppose if all that were true, there wouldn’t be a multi-billion dollar industry cranking out everything from soft-core erotica to extreme hardcore. But there is, and it reflects the simple principle of supply and demand. If so many people honestly believe that sexually explicit material is bad for us and our society, why the huge demand?

Case in point—19-year-old Alex from Indianapolis writes:

Hey Dick,
I noticed from your bio that you are a pornographer. How do you justify that? Isn’t pornography basically an insult to human sexuality? How do you square that with being a sex therapist and believing, as you say, that you affirm the fundamental goodness of sexuality in human life, both as a personal need and as an interpersonal bond?”

Wow, Alex! You actually took the time to read my bio? I’m impressed! You bring up a very interesting point, albeit with a bit of a jab. You’re right; I have been a pornographer. If that’s the only word you can come up with to describe what I did at Daddy Oohhh! Productions. I like to think that the adult material I produce is not in conflict with my basic, overall philosophy about human sexuality. (By the way, thank you for quoting it as accurately as you did.)

Admittedly, porn is a thorny issue in our sex-negative culture. Lots of people are hostile to the notion that there could actually be something uplifting and life-affirming about the depiction, in any medium, of sexual behaviors. Lots of people believe that even nudity, let alone full-blown sex, is bad and that it corrupts the consumer, especially if the consumer is a youth. I don’t happen to share that perception. But this is such a touchy subject for most that it’s very difficult to have a civil discourse about the place pornography has in our (or any other) culture. Since we find it so difficult to talk about sexual issues in the public forum, it’s no surprise that pornography—i.e., the public exposure of sexual things—continues to be the big, bad boogieman for even otherwise enlightened people.

I hasten to add that, for the most part, the adult entertainment industry richly deserves the dubious reputation it has. There is an enormous amount of content in the marketplace that degrades, dehumanizes and exploits. And I’m not just talking about the stuff that doesn’t suit my tastes. Because there’s a lot of good stuff out there that doesn’t particularly appeal to me.

Therefore, I caution you in your youthful zeal not to reject everything that depicts sexual behavior as worthless just because a good portion of it is indeed shameful junk. That would be like discarding all religion because a good portion of its practitioners degrade, dehumanize and shame those who don’t share their belief system.

You apparently also think there is an inherent contradiction between being a sex therapist and a pornographer. I don’t agree. For nearly 30 years, I’ve been involved in all sorts of cutting-edge sex education and sexual enrichment projects. So why not attempt to bring a fresh, healthier perspective to adult entertainment? Sounds like the perfect role for a sexologist to me.

Humans have been depicting sexual behavior, in one fashion or another, since we were able to scratch images on the walls of our caves. Some of these depictions are intended to titillate, others to educate, even others to edify, but all are expressions of the passions of the person who scratched, painted, wrote or committed to film (or videotape) the images they did. I think that if you were really interested in getting to know my thoughts about pornography, you’d do well to check out some of my work. And let’s not forget that in more sex-positive societies than our own, sexual practices were and are integral parts of worshiping the deity.

Porn, like most forms of human expression, has both gold and dross. And just maybe, we need the crap in order to appreciate the treasures. Also, today’s porn may be tomorrow’s art. Ask Henry Miller or Anaïs Nin. A lot of stuff that hangs in the Louvre museum today was, upon its creation, considered scandalous and pornographic as well. Happily, we, along with our perceptions, evolve.

The definition of what is ‘pornographic’ changes with the times. Community standards also play a part. A lingerie catalog that showed women in bras and panties might be “pornographic” in one place, but no big deal in another.

I argue that there is a purpose to sexual depictions, pornographic or not. Otherwise, why would these depictions be so pervasive and appear in every culture? And it’s not just because it’s art. Most pornography is decidedly not art. So if it’s not art per se, what is it? Most pornography is simply designed to arouse sexual desire. And that, generally speaking, is a really good thing. It’s precisely this pursuit that probably brought you, young Alex, to me in the first place. Am I correct?

Sexual desire can stimulate an array of thoughts and behaviors from tender, intimate and passionate to raw, fierce and cruel. The mood of the consumer also plays a part. If your libido is raging, you might find a certain depiction stimulating, while the same depiction can cause disgust when your hormones are more in check. Porn tends to imitate what people fantasize about, rather than what actually happens in the lives of most of us. As a result, nearly everything is exaggerated in pornography: body parts, sexual situations, as well as sexual responses. Everything is staged and a lot is faked. Exaggeration is a time-honored way of calling attention to something that is otherwise pretty commonplace…you know, like sex.

In the end, Alex, you will have to decide for yourself what merits pornography might have in our culture. I suggest, however, that you approach porn with a slightly more dispassionate eye than you are currently using. You may find that it has something to teach you about yourself, your culture and the history of humankind.

Good luck!

We are what we consume!

Name: Norm
Gender:  Male
Age: 27
Location: St. Louis
How dangerous is Ecstasy? Are the herbal substitutes any safer?

Good question.  Unfortunately, it’s so hard to categorically say how dangerous any particular drug is; there are so many variables.  For example, aspirin can be deadly to some people.  If pharmaceuticals are risky, you can be sure that street drugs are way more so, because you never know how adulterated they are due to careless processing.

Simply put, everything we ingest comes with some risk.  The spinach salad you’ll have for lunch could kill you.  Inevitably, it comes down to the individual.  Is the alleged thrill worth the risk?  Sometimes that’s an easier call than at other times.  My rule of thumb is the more organic the substance and the fewer chemicals involved the better.  But there’s always the possibility that a person will have an adverse reaction to even the purest most organic active ingredient.  So beware.

Ecstasy is an amphetamine that has been chemically altered to give it its hallucinogenic property.  Researchers believe it is potentially toxic to the brain and persistent use can cause serious liver damage. At the same time, ecstasy is being used to help ease dying cancer patients deal with the end of life.

So-called herbal substitutes consist of a variety of compounds. Some of which have been associated with liver inflammation. All of these substitutes have some sort of compound that causes what is known as sympathetic stimulation, because it stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. This results in a state of heightened excitability. Specifically, they increase heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure, and have an effect on muscle tone. This is the same phenomenon that causes a sense of hyper-alertness or the fight or flight response.  Of course one can say the same about caffeine.  Regardless of what the compound is, when you alter your normal physiology and cause excessive stimulation, there will be a price pay.

Drugs, like sex, allow us to transcend ourselves.  At their best, they distract us form the ordinary day-to-day stuff so that we can focus on what’s happening right in the moment.  Both drugs and sex can give us a peak experiences, but they can also devastate. Our ego boundaries go down, but that can leave us vulnerable at best and paranoid at worst.  We can have a heightened sense of connectedness, or a keen sense of isolation.

If it’s a good sex or drug trip, we want to chase the experience longer than we should.  We go to great lengths to postpone the return to the humdrum of daily live.  This relentless pursuit, more often than not, leads us out of bliss and into despair.  Just ask the addict that is looking for just one more hit.

Some people report that ecstasy increases their self-confidence and their ability to connect with others.  It can make sex seem otherworldly. But ecstasy, while increasing our desire for sex, also diminishes our ability to perform. There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to fuck, but being unable to because of a limp dick.

That’s why lots of party boys mix drugs like Viagra, or another erection educing pharmaceuticals with their Ex.  However, this can be a fatal combination.  Also, men under the influence are much more likely to think with their dicks, which is a prescription for risky sex. Sex under the influence can also get a whole lot rougher than one anticipates, because we’re unable to process physical sensations like normal.

Finally, there’s the basic law of physics.  What goes up must come down.  Remember, the higher the high, the lower the low.  Count on it!

Name: Trisha
Gender: female
Age: 22
Location: Galveston
I want to surprise my BF with a special anniversary dinner.  We’ve been dating for two whole years and just moved in together.  I want to make something special and sexy.  Got any ideas?

Ahhh yes, as we all know, the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach…or is it his zipper?  Well, whatever!  I’m assuming that you want this little repast to be a prelude to some hot monkey sex, right?  I love the sound of that!  In ever culture I know of, sex and food have always been intimately linked.

There are a variety of foods that arouse feelings of love and that do wonders for one’s romantic life, at least according to one or another culture.  Everything from black beans to cabbage, from bananas and strawberries to oysters; all have been reported to stir amorous feeling in the consumer.  Are they true aphrodisiacs?  Who knows?  Maybe it’s the combination of the loving preparation, the mutual enjoyment and feelings of being full and satisfied that is the big turn on.

People first sought aphrodisiacs as a remedy for various sexual difficulties, especially performance anxiety.  Aphrodisiacs are also thought to boost both male and female potency.  In ancient times nutrition was always an issue. Food hasn’t always been as available as it is today.  And of course, nothing pulls the plug on the libido like malnutrition.  And hunger radically reduces fertility rates.

Our forbearers believed that anything in nature that looked like or represented the male seed, such as bulbs, eggs, snails were considered to have sexual powers. Other types of foods were considered stimulating because they physically resembled genitalia.

Here are a few things to consider as you plan your menu. Greeks and Romans believed aniseed had special powers. Sucking on the seeds is said to increases your desire.  Or maybe it just freshened the breath enough to get close enough to fuck.

Asparagus has a phallic shape.  It’s also fun to feed your lover.  Steamed spears in a pungent lemon dipping sauce will make for a sensuous experience.

Almonds have been a symbol of fertility throughout the ages.  The aroma is thought to induce passion in a female.  Arugula or “rocket” has been considered an aphrodisiac since the first century A.D.  This ingredient was added to grated orchid bulbs and parsnips and also combined with pine nuts and pistachios for a full-on erotic feast. Try an Arugula salad or use it in a pasta sauce with basil another herb said to stimulate the sex drive and boost fertility.

The Aztecs called the avocado tree the “testicle tree” for obvious reasons. The fruit hanging in pairs, as it does, resembles a man’s balls. Serve this fruit with its sensuous texture in slices with a small amount of Balsamic vinegar and freshly ground pepper.

Bananas have a marvelous phallic shape.  But from a more practical standpoint bananas are rich in potassium and B vitamins, necessities for sex hormone production.

The Aztecs referred to chocolate as the “nourishment of the Gods”. Chocolate contains chemicals thought to effect neurotransmitters in the. It also contains more antioxidants than does red wine.  Here’s a tip, combine the two.  Have a glass of Cabernet with a bit of dark chocolate for dessert.

Carrots are believed to be a stimulant to the male. The phallic shape has long been associated with stimulation since ancient times.  Early Middle Eastern royalty used carrots as an aid to their seductions.

The book of The Arabian nights tells a tale of a merchant who had been childless for 40 years and but was cured by a concoction that included coriander. Cilantro is also known as an “appetite” stimulant.

Fennel, like anise, was found to be a source of natural plant estrogens.  Use of fennel as an aphrodisiac dates back to the ancient Egyptians.

An open fig looks like a vagina.  And traditionally it is thought of as sexual stimulant.  A man breaking open a fig and eating it in front of his lover is a powerful erotic act. Serve fresh ripe figs in a bowl of cool of water as they do in Italy.  Be sure to eat with your fingers!

The ‘heat’ in garlic is said to stir sexual desires. Garlic has been used for centuries to cure everything from the common cold to heart ailments.

Ginger root raw, cooked, pickled or crystallized is a powerful stimulant to the circulatory system. And what is good sex if it isn’t all about healthy blood flow?

The Egyptian believed that honey was a cure for sterility and impotence.  Medieval seducers plied their partners with Mead, a fermented drink made from honey.  Lovers on their “Honeymoon” drank mead and it was thought to “sweeten” the marriage.

Chewing on bits of licorice root is said to enhance love and lust. It is particularly stimulating to women. Mustard, maybe because of its bite, is believed to stimulate the sex glands and increase desire. Chinese women prize nutmeg as an aphrodisiac.  In quantity nutmeg can also produce a hallucinogenic effect.

Oysters are legendary aphrodisiacs.  They of course resemble a pussy, but they are also very nutritious and high in protein.

Zinc is a key mineral necessary to maintaining male potency.  Zinc is also reported to heighten sexual performance in both women and men.  An essential good mood nutrient, it triggers the feel-good brain chemical serotonin. Pine nuts are rich in zinc.   They have been used to stimulate the libido as far back as medieval times.

Pineapple is rich in vitamin C and is used in the homeopathic treatment for impotence. Raspberries and strawberries are perfect finger foods for hand feeding your lover. Both of these luscious fruits are described in erotic literature as fruit nipples.

Tomatoes, known as the “love apple” are considered love food, because they have great nutritional value and their acidity is considered a sex stimulant.

The scent and flavor of vanilla is believed to increase lust.  Fill tall Champagne glasses to the rim and add a vanilla bean for a heady, bubbly treat.

Eating is so much more than just chewing and swallowing.  So don’t forget about the presentation.  Food that is colorful and attractive to the eye gets one in a good mood. The smell of the food cooking exhilarates the senses and sets in motion feelings of arousal.

Good luck ya’ll

No, seriously…

Name: PaunFarr
Gender: Male
Age: 41
Location: Ohio
Dr. Dick, I’m feeling the intense letdown of the ballot issues passed this week in California, Florida and Arkansas. Especially CA, where they had gay marriage but now have lost it, and my heart goes out for all those married couples now in limbo. I don’t understand this. Ohio passed their “marriage protection” act a couple years ago, and it was a devastating blow to me. Why is ok for the majority to restrict the rights of the minority? Where is our defender? Where is justice simply because it’s the right thing, not necessarily the popular thing? Will Barack Obama be able to turn around the tide of hatred and discrimination that George Bush has sewn for eight years? How long must we wait to be recognized as equal citizens and not made to feel like the lowest form of person possible? Looking for some advice on how to hold my head high when we’re so often given the message to slink away.

Yeah, I’m bummed too.  But the November 4th vote is not the end of the story.  There dr_dick_1976.jpgare many more chapters yet to be written.  Don’t let your disappointment and frustration take the wind out of your sails.

The very first thing I learned in the 30 plus years I’ve spent fighting for human rights, is that equality and justice never comes easily.  The second thing I learned is that my dignity and self-worth is not dependent on the approbation of others.

You learn to hold your head up because you KNOW you are as good as anyone else.  You fight inequality and injustice wherever you find it, not just in the gay community.  You make allies of all the other people in your community who are marginalized for whatever reason.  You build a coalition.  When your efforts fail, as they often will, you support and encourage your colleagues and plan your next assault on the in equitable and unjust system.  In fact, you redouble your grassroots organizing to broaden your base by reaching out to others in a language they will understand.  One thing is certain; other minorities will not automatically understand your oppression as a gay man any more than you will automatically understand what oppresses them.  But working together to find common ground will provide you the means to achieve your goals of equality in the dominant culture.  That’s how it’s done.

And ya know what?  This struggle is never over.  If you leave the battle once your rights have been secured, then you signal to your allies that you were only in it for yourself.  Nothing will undermine a coalition faster than selfishness.

Whatever you do, don’t be lookin for a defender to swoop in and save the day for you.  That’s the stuff of fairytales.  If you’re not on the front lines making this coalition happen, then don’t expect anyone, from the president on down, to come to your rescue.  Remember, dignity is not the result of the struggle; dignity is in the struggle.  Make this your life’s work and you won’t be discouraged with one, or even several, set backs.

Name: Paige
Gender: Female
Age: 22
Location:  Tulsa
I am engaged to a wonderful guy.  I’m excited about my upcoming marriage, but I’m also afraid that it will fail.  I know you are going to think we’re freaks, but my fiancé and I have decided to save ourselves for after we are married. Some of our friends even our recently married friends are having trouble with their relationship and with the divorce rate so high, what are the chances that my marriage will work?  Do I just have cold feet or am I not ready to get married?

First off, I don’t think you’re a freak for reserving full sexual expression till after you bride32.jpgare married.  It wasn’t too long ago when that sort of thing was the norm.  And as you say, even though nowadays most people enter marriage as established sex partners, that alone won’t insure a marriage will be a success.

So ok, if a successful marriage is not dependent on sexual experience what does it take to make a marriage work?  Hell, if I knew that I’d bottle it and make myself a well deserved fortune.

For the sake of argument, let’s just say you are the marrying kind and that you simply have cold feet, like every bride and groom to be does.  Let’s say that you and your fiancé have made the right choice…for you…to enter your marriage as virgins.  What’s next?  Possibly you need to jettison the Pollyanna notion that marriage is a breeze.  Your recently married friends are having problems because there are always problems in a marriage.  It’s the nature of the beast.  Hopefully, the problems you guys will face won’t be insurmountable.  But, sure as shootin’, problems will be your constant companions, sometimes they’ll even big problems. So count on it and prepare yourself accordingly.

If you have an unwavering commitment to one another to do whatever it takes to make your overall relationship work, you’ll probably be ok. Being sexually unfamiliar with one another may be a liability or it might be an asset.  One thing is certain, if you guys start to have problems with the whole sex thing, as often happens for newlyweds, get help right away.  There should be no shame or embarrassment about that.  In fact, you might want to be proactive and start looking around for sexual enrichment courses or videos to help you grow together as lovers.  Look to my Product Review Page for some video and toy suggestions.

bride0020.jpgHere are some generic tips.  Great sex is dependent on mutuality.  Be sure your partner knows he or she is loved, appreciated and respected.  One of you may discover that he or she has a stronger libido than the other.  That’s pretty common.  Deal with this immediately, like adults. Don’t wait for your relationship to go broken. Accommodations and compromise are always necessary in seeking the common good.  And people come to compromise and accommodation through effective communication.  If you don’t know how to do that, your relationship is doomed.

Passion is not a dirty word, nor is creative sexual expression a sin.  If you have religious scruples about enjoying your body and that of your fiancé you’re headed for trouble.  Boredom in the bedroom, particularly for newlyweds is a recipe for disaster.

Saving yourself for your wedding night does not preclude you being well versed in self-pleasuring.  In fact, the more you know about your body and the mysteries of your sexual response cycle the smoother things will go for the two of you on your wedding night. Nowadays there is absolutely no need for anyone to come to their marriage bed uninformed about sex in general and his or her sexuality in particular.  And come prepared; always have lots and lots of lube handy!

Like I said, mutuality is the key.  And since we all evolve sexually, both of you will need to grow right along with your partner.  Make your sex play an adventure.  Never hesitate to check in with one another to see how the pleasure thing is going.  What worked last time is not necessarily gonna work the next time.

Spontaneity is always a real good thing.  Traditional marriage doesn’t mean you have to be stogy.  Both of you need to take responsibility for seeing that your intimacy needs are being met.  Sometimes that will involve fucking like bunnies, other times it will mean vegging-out in front of the boob-tube with a fist full of Häagen-Dazs.

Openness and honesty about your most secret sexual desires and needs is essential.  Can’t trust your partner with your secrets, you oughtn’t be married to him or her.  Take responsibility for your own sexuality.  Ask for what you want and need, but don’t neglect caring for yourself.

Seek your partner’s pleasure before your own.  This is particularly important for a man.  If you become too busy to celebrate your sexuality together, you are indeed too fuckin busy.  Prioritize your life with your partner at its center.

There’s a fundamental difference between making love and fucking.  Both have their place in a healthy marriage.  And there ought also be room for solitary sex too.  Everyone in entitled to privacy and private time, especially in a marriage.

Have some creativity about your sexual expression.  Toys, fantasies, role-playing, they’re all good.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.  Attend to making your sex play spaces fit the mood — romantic to down and dirty.  One size does not fit all, if you catch my drift.

If you plan to go to seed once you’re married you can be assured that the fire will go out just as soon as you do.  Stay in shape, get plenty of exercise, and keep yourself attractive to your partner.  Pay attention to your personal hygiene. No one wants to bump someone with a smelly body and bad breath.

Make sure your partner is fully aroused before full-on fucking.  And remember sex is way more than the old in an out.  Finally, have a sense of humor about the whole thing; it will help take the edge off.

Name: Steve
Gender: male
Age: 46
Location:
Safe to swallow?  Improve the taste?

I just love it when ya’ll take the time to write or call me to tell me about your spunk. I like it for two reasons. First, it reassures me that ya’ll are paying attention to your sexual response cycle.  And  that you continue to be fascinated with how your body works. These are two really good things.

Second, well hell, I just get a kick outta hearin’ about your joy juice discoveries. Gosh, seed2.JPGIt warms the cockles of my poor old heart.  So keep it up, so to speak, and keep the good doctor informed. Who knows one day I may hear something I’ve never heard before.

Back to you Steve, there ain’t nothin’ to get all freaked out about.  Eatin’ your spooge will not make you sick. If you get off suckin’ up your own seed, knock yourself out. Have a ball! Oh wait, you already are!

Think about it for a minute, there couldn’t possibly be anything in your cum that could harm big old you, because that would mean it would also be harmful to your cute little defenseless sperm. But it’s not, so there.

Technically speaking, your joy juice, semen to be more precise, is mostly water. There’s also a simple sugar to keep you’re hard workin’ sperm alive and well. And, the rest is pure protein, baby. So look at it this way, your eating habits, so to speak, will require you to eat just a little less tofu than the rest of us.

And I do know a little something about making your spooge…spunkalicious.
Most of our ejaculate is produced in our seminal vesicles and prostate gland: not in our testicles, as most folks think. Only our sperm is produced in our balls, and sperm makes up only a fraction of our ejaculate. Our prostate gland is influenced by what we consume; eat, drink, smoke, things like that. So if you want to have sweet tasting jizz, for yourself and others, watch what you consume. Oh, and drink lots of water too.

Eating celery and/or parsley can have an almost immediate effect on the taste of your cum. Some report that the effect can be as swift as 30 minutes. So not only do celery and parsley freshen your breath, but they freshen your spunk as well. Hey, it’s like having two mints in one.

Oh and I can turn you on to a brand new product.  So brand new, in fact, that I have yetsmallermaple.jpg to publish a review of it on my Product Review Page.  Let me introduce you to Intimate Teas.  They have this special tea called My Maple Cookie.  It’s a unique blend of premium herbs specially formulated to change the female genitalia and male semen to smell and taste like pure maple.  How fun is that?  And it really works too.  I mean, who doesn’t want his/her juices to smell and taste like dessert?

If your diet is heavy with meats and fish your jizz will most likely have a bitter taste. A high concentration of dairy products creates a foul taste…so does all that coffee and nicotine. Lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet (except for asparagus that is) will produce a slightly sugary taste. And if you like your cocktails (the kind you drink, silly), it’s best to stick with high-quality, naturally fermented beers, wine or liquor. The cheap stuff, the rotgut, will not only give you a wicked hangover, but will cause your spooge to have an extremely acidic taste.

Name: Alva
Gender: female
Age: 40
Location:  New Mexico

It has been over six years since I have had sex. My husband of 12 years died cancer 5 years ago.  There was no sex in our relationship the last year of his life.  He was the love of my life and I still miss him so much. I would like to get back into the swing of things.  I just don’t know how.  My friends tell me I should get on with my life.  They tell me I’m still an attractive woman and that I’m wasting my life.  Sometimes they badger me so that I don’t want to be around them.  Maybe there’s something wrong with me.  Maybe I’m dead inside.  Why can’t I just move on?

You raise some very interesting issues, Alva, concerns that are often ignored or misdiagnosed by healing and helping professionals.  Grief has a profound effect on grief-1.jpgevery aspect of our lives.  Yet there is hardly any literature on the effects grief has on our sexuality.  To my mind, grief is the leading causes of sexual dysfunction for those who have experienced the death of a loved one.  And you, my dear, present some of the classic symptoms — indecision, self-doubt, lack of libido, a desire to isolate.

Before I continue I want to underscore that grief is not depression.  And treating grief with an antidepressant is counterproductive.  It can actually take away the impetus to resolve the grief and get on the rest of one’s life.

Now, is six years of grieving enough?  Apparently your friends think so. But what do you think?  Would reviving your sex life sully the memory of your dear departed husband?  I believe it’s time for you to bring this concern to a professional for help.  I suggest that you get some therapy from someone who is well versed in both sexuality and grief counseling. I say this not because I’m siding with your friends, but because you, yourself, identify this as a problem.

What could a counselor do for you, you may ask?  Well, I can only speak for myself, and the work I do in my practice.  A good portion of my practice is with sick and dying people and their friends and family who survive them.  I know the impact a terminal illness and the dying process can have on the surviving spouse or partner.  We often go into survival mode, shutting down so much of ourselves in an effort to have the strength to cope with this life-altering experience.  Of course, trying to kick-start our life afterwards is often a monumental effort.  Without the support and guidance of a professional or a group of similarly challenged people, some of us just sink to the lowest common denominator and stop fully functioning.

grief.jpgTraumatic events in our lives can radically shift us out of living mode into merely surviving mode.  And if this goes on for a long time — and six years is a very long time in my opinion — surviving mode begins to feel like living mode.  But it’s not!  Good thing we have friends to tell us when we are off course.  You are right to say that sometimes the interventions of our friends can feel like badgering.  And I know that’s not helpful.  But how else are they to convey their continued concern for your wellbeing?

I believe in the resilience of the human spirit.  I believe that we can honor our dead and continue to live and love too.  Now it’s true that some animals and even some humans mate for life.  And when the mate dies they never mate again.  However, this doesn’t sound like you, Alva.  It sounds to me like you have a desire to get on with your life, to fill the void, to make new connections, but you simply don’t know how.  Acknowledging that fact is a real good place to begin.

Perhaps you could start by reawakening your sexuality through self-pleasuring.  Reconnect with your body and the joy it can bring you.  Six years is a long time to be without, so starting up again may take some effort.  While you are working on resolving your grief in a grief support group, you might want to connect with another group member who will no doubt be experiencing much the same things as you.  You could explore your sexuality together.

Reestablishing a social life will no doubt follow, slowly at first.  But the inevitable tug of our basic need for human to human contact will draw you, if you let it.  Remember the best testament to those who have died is to continue to celebrate life itself.

Good luck ya’ll

byte ME!

Name: Todd
Gender: male
Age: 42
Location: OKC
Here’s one for you. Several months ago I had difficulty sleeping so I got a prescription for Ambian. I’ve been using it off and on for several weeks and it worked fine. But I think there are side effects. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and find the TV in my bedroom on and a porno in the DVD player. There’s lube and cum stains on my sheets, but I don’t remember a damn thing. I’ve heard of people sleepwalking, but not to this extent.

Some people don’t just walk in their sleep; they eat as well. And some people, like you, have sex in their sleep. As sleep disorders go, this is pretty extreme, but researchers are finding that abnormal nocturnal behaviors like eating, having sex, even driving a car may be a side effect of that popular sleep medication you’re taking.

sleepwalking3.jpg

You may be a parasomniac, someone who is prone to unusual sleep-related behaviors. Ambian may be aggravating and intensifying or triggering the condition. And curiously enough, there is such a thing as a sexsomniac.

Sexsomnia is an umbrella term for any sexual behavior (masturbation, taking dirty, even fucking) that happens while the person is asleep. The incidences of sexsomnia appear to be on the rise, but that might be attributed to growing public awareness.

As an aside, get this. — A surge in naked sleepwalking among guests has led one of Britain’s largest budget hotel groups to re-train staff to handle late-night nudity.

Travelodge, which runs more than 300 business hotels in Britain, says sleepwalking rose seven-fold in the past year, and 95 per cent of the sleepwalkers are scantily clad men. Isn’t that amazing?

The exact number of sexsomniacs is difficult to determine because it usually isn’t that much of a problem to warrant treatment or even reporting. Perhaps if you weren’t taking Ambien you wouldn’t have even known you were a sexsomniac.

I’m gonna guess, Todd, that you don’t share your bed with a regular partner, right? The reason I ask is that some sexsomniacs have been know to assault their partner, either in the form of non-consensual sex, or consensual sex that becomes disturbing or violent.

So it would seem that the best treatment for you would be to stop the Ambien. You might want to consider an herbal remedy for sleeplessness, one that doesn’t have as many unhappy and unwelcome side effects of this particular prescription med does.

Name: Zoe
Gender: female
Age: 25
Location: Boise
I learned how to masturbate when I was 12. From that first time I’ve loved how it makes me feel. No matter how good my lovers are; they never come close to the pleasure I feel when I’m touching myself. I like the intimacy I have with my boyfriend, but he’s not very good in the sack. I’ve been trying to get him to watch me masturbate, or we could masturbate together, so that he’d know how to touch me and make the bells ring. Unfortunately, he’s really straight-laced and he thinks my suggestion is perverted. He resists every time I bring it up. Sometimes after we have sex, I wait for him to fall asleep then get myself off. Is this selfish?

You betcha it’s selfish, selfish as all get-out. Not you, Zoe, but the bonehead you’re fuckin. This is a classic — “you can lead the horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” sorta deal. Only here we have a — “you can lead the horse’s ass to the mysteries of pussy, but you can’t make him appreciate them.”

I gotta ask, what’s a sexually enlightened chick, like you, doin’ with a bozo, like him? Do you actuallyebony_nude.jpg think that he’s gonna magically come around one fine day and let you lead him to nirvana? I think not. You know why I think this? It’s because you’ve created a monster, an — “all I need to worry about is me gettin’ off in my girlfriend’s snatch” kinda monster. And that’s one fuckin’ scary monster.

I am of the mind that it’s fruitless to try to get an obstinate partner, like your guy, to do something he doesn’t want to do. The nagging alone will harden his resolve to resist. In the numbskull’s defense, he may be missing the point completely. He may not understand why you want him to watch you pleasure yourself. So if your agenda is to get him to be a better lover, you’re gonna have to come up with a new strategy on how to approach the big lug.

First off, he needs to be told, in no uncertain terms, that he’s not the Hercules in the boudoir he thinks he is. This is gonna sting his ego like crazy and it might very well be the end of him and you altogether. But I assure you, risking this is much better than maintaining the status quo. Because, with each passing fuck, he will be more convinced, then the fuck before, that he’s da man.

Once you burst his bubble, you’ll need to immediately inflate a new one for and with him. Us men folk can’t long survive without our illusions. Begin this inflation process by taking some responsibility for this predicament. Own up to keeping him in the dark about his lack of sexual prowess. Then tell him that there’s a very easy and fun fix for the problem. Maybe if he understands that you want to jill-off for him as a tutorial, he’d be more compliant.

female_masturbate.jpgI’d be willing to guess that if you made this presentation more of a game or a role-play scenario then a seminar he’d be more receptive. Why not try something like this. Introduce a blindfold into your sex play. Have him strip down to his jock for you, then blindfold him. It’s gonna be his job to get you off without using the magic wand he has stuck in his jock. The blindfold will necessitate that he use his hands (and mouth) to find and pleasure you. While you tease his dick inside his jock, guide his hands to your pussy. He’ll no doubt be fumbling around at first, so you’ll have to encourage him with some dirty talk, or actually use his hand to jill yourself off. Just remember keep it fun and playful and keep his dick safely tucked away.

You can see how this little exercise could be educational for him without being emasculating. Once he figures out that there’s more to sex than the old in and out, he might actually cum around, so to speak. Similarly, you might, on another occasion, submit to the blindfold yourself and have him use your hand to jack himself off. In time, you be able to do away with the blindfold altogether. But then, you might want to introduce restraints of some sort. While he’s buck naked and restrained put on a hot and horny show for him. Tease him with your self-pleasuring, but don’t let him touch you. Maybe rub yourself with his stiff cock. Since he’ll be unable to resist, it will be like masturbating yourself with his johnson. Doesn’t that sound like a load of fun for all concerned?

However, if the monkey resists even these sexy games; kick him to the curb and find yourself a new man that will appreciate your fine self.

Name: Alex
Gender: male
Age: 19
Location: Indianapolis
I noticed from your bio, dr dick, that you are a pornographer. How do you justify that? Isn’t pornography basically an insult to human sexuality? How do you square that with being a sex therapist and believing as you say that you affirm the fundamental goodness of sexuality in human life, both as a personal need and as an interpersonal bond.”

Wow, Alex, you actually took the time to read my bio? I’m impressed. You bring up a very interesting point, albeit with a bit of a jab. You’re right, I am a pornographer. If that’s the only word you can come up with to describe what I do at Daddy Oohhh! Productions. I like to think that the adult material I produce is not in conflict with my basic, over all philosophy about human sexuality. BTW, thank you for quoting it as accurately as you did.

Admittedly, porn is a thorny issue in our sex-negative culture. Lots of people are hostile to the notion that there could actually be something uplifting and life affirming about the depiction, in any medium, of sexual behaviors. Lots of people believe that even nudity, let alone full-blown sex, is bad and that it corrupts the consumer, especially if the consumer is a youth.

I don’t happen to share that perception. But this is such a hot-button issue for most people that it’swillie.jpg very difficult to have a civil discourse about the place pornography has in our, or any other culture. Since we find it so difficult to talk about sexual things in the public forum; it’s no surprise that pornography, the public exposure of sexual things, continues to be a big bogyman for even otherwise enlightened people.

I hasten to add that, for the most part, the adult entertainment industry richly deserves the dubious reputation it has. There is an enormous amount content in the marketplace that degrades, dehumanizes and exploits. And I’m not just talking about the stuff that doesn’t suit my tastes. Because there’s a lot of good stuff out there that doesn’t particularly appeal to me.

Therefore, I caution you in your youthful zeal not to reject everything that depicts sexual behavior as worthless just because a good portion of it is indeed shameful junk. That would be like discarding all religion because a good portion of its practitioners degrade, dehumanize and shame those who don’t share their belief system.

You apparently also think there is an inherent contradiction between being a sex therapist and a pornographer. I don’t agree. For over 25 years I’ve been involved in all sorts of cutting-edge sex education and sexual enrichment projects. So why not attempt to bring a fresh, healthier perspective to adult entertainment. Sounds like the perfect role for a sexologist to me.

Humans have been depicting sexual behavior, in one fashion or another, since we were able to scratch images on the walls of our caves. Some of these depictions are intended to titillate, others to educate, even others to edify, but all are expressions of the passions of the person who scratched, painted, wrote or committed to videotape the images they did. And let’s not forget that in more sex-positive societies than our own, sexual practices were and are integral parts of worshiping the deity.

bodyrocks.jpgI think that if you were really interested in getting to know my thoughts about pornography, you’d do well to check out some of my work. I am so proud of the work that I do that I put my real name on all my products.

Porn, like most forms of human expression, can be both gold and dross. And maybe, just maybe, we need the crap in order to appreciate the treasure. The definition of what is ‘pornographic’ changes with the times. Community standards also play a part. A lingerie catalog that showed women in bras and panties is ‘pornographic’ in some place, but be no big deal in others.

Also today’s porn maybe tomorrow’s art. A lot of stuff that hangs in the Louvre museum today was, in its day, considered scandalous and pornographic. Happily, we do evolve.

I argue that there is a purpose to sexual depictions, smutty or otherwise. I mean, why else would such depictions be so pervasive and appear in every culture and in every age. And it’s not just because it’s art. Most pornography, by its very nature, is decidedly not art. So if it ain’t art, per se, what the fuck is it? Most pornography is simply designed to arouse sexual desire. And that, generally speaking, is a really good thing. It’s precisely this very pursuit that probably brought you, young Alex, to my site in the first place. Am I correct?

Sexual desire can stimulate an array of thoughts and behaviors from tender, intimate, and passionate to raw, fierce, and cruel. The mood of the consumer also plays a part. If your libido is raging, you might find a certain depiction stimulating. While the same depiction can cause disgust when your hormones are more in check.

Porn tends to show what people fantasize about, rather than what actually happens in the lives of most people. And just so you know, everything is exaggerated in pornography, body parts, sexual situations as well as sexual responses. Everything is staged and a lot of it is faked. Exaggeration is a time honored way of calling attention to something that is otherwise pretty mundane…like sex itself.

In the end, Alex, you will have to decide for yourself what merits pornography has, if any, in our culture. I suggest, however, that you approach porn with a slightly more dispassionate eye than you are currently using. You may find that it has something to teach you about yourself, your culture, as well as the history of human kind.

Good luck ya’ll

Trouble In River City!

Name: Bill
Gender: Male
Age: 32
Location: Seattle
I recently discovered that my GF has been cheating on me. She wants me to forgive her but it’s been really hard. Just dealing with the fact that it happened is overwhelming. It feels like I could never forgive her. I don’t know if there’s a solution or not. I know I still love her but the truth is I feel dirty being around her. It also makes me feel stupid for putting up with this and letting it happen in the first place. I feel like a total sap. I’d love any advise you could give me.

Before we turn to chastising your vixen girlfriend for her behavior, let me make a quick observation about you, Paul. You sure are a ball of contradictions, aren’t you, darlin’? How can you say that you love a person who makes you feel dirty and stupid? Simply put, you are deceiving yourself about one or the other of these emotions. And pardon me, but there’s no way that what you describe here can be love. An obsession, heart sick, wounded pride, sour grapes…absolutely. Love? Ahhh, not so much! So stop saying that you love this woman, Paul, it’s just adding to the confusion.

16386555_p.jpgHere’s a tip for us all. Let’s each of us promise, right here and now, to save the “L” word for those feelings that are a little less desperate and debilitating. Ok? Because if we don’t reserve the “L” word for feelings that are uplifting and life-affirming then we will bandy about, like Paul here, that over-used term it to describe any and all our fixations. If what we are experiencing tears us down instead of building us up, then it ain’t love no how. Period!

Ok Paul, I ’m gonna try not read too much into your brief message, but there appears to be some important information here that we should consider. When you say your girlfriend…”has been cheating,” that suggests to me that her indiscretion may have been ongoing. Because you could have said…”she cheated on me.” Which would imply a one-time thing.

And what an interesting word choice “cheat” is in this context. This makes fidelity sound like some kind of sport. I don’t think fidelity is sport, nor do I think it is always a genital issue either. Lots of couples are faithful to one another even though they have open relationships and/or multiple sex partners. But I digress.

Since you can’t supply me with more of the gory details, Paul, I’m gonna go with the first option. I’m gonna assume you’re telling me that the chick’s been doin’ you wrong and it’s not a simple…”whoops, I don’t know what came over me. One minute I was like all normal, and the next there I was with my dress over my head and some guy, other than you honey, was pluggin’ away at me like there was no tomorrow”…sorta thing. Ok?

Since I don’t know how deep or exclusive this relationship with your girlfriend is or was supposed to be, I can hardly advise you on what you ought to do next. I can, however, point out that a secret ongoing affair suggests the trouble with your relationship runs pretty deep. Maybe your girlfriend has you pegged as a sap, and she knows that you will tolerate her indiscretions. Which in turn, gives her permission to do carry on in whatever manner she might like. Maybe she doesn’t think that your relationship with her is all that substantial in the first place. Who knows!

If you’re not a total sap, and you’re serious about reigning in your wayward GF, you’d better come up with a clear, unambiguous message about what you will and will not tolerate in the future. Until you do that there’s no point in even imagining there might be a future.

If, on the other hand, the two of you did agree to live in an exclusive relationship, and she’s still taking her business elsewhere, then I suggest the bond between you is pretty busted. Is there something salvageable here? Your guess is as good as mine. What is perfectly clear is that both you and your girlfriend need to step back and take a sober look at yourselves. There is a reason for her behavior, just like there’s a reason 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, most likely with a professional therapist, and hope that the bank of goodwill between you is enough to carry the day.

However, if I had to guess from the tone in your message, I’d say there was precious little goodwill left. If so, why not be a man about it. Just call it quits and move on.

Good Luck

Name: Barbara
Gender: Female
Age: 48
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
I’ve been with my current lover for 5 years and I dearly love him. A couple of years ago he had hemorrhoid surgery and was in the hospital for a month. When he got home he refused to have sex with me but once a month of so. After two years his sexual interest is less and less. We have a wonderful time together, except for the sex. He’s a great guy and I know he loves me. We talk about it, but he tells me that he doesn’t need sex and he wants a platonic relationship. He’s not open to therapy. If he doesn’t want to be physical, I don’t want to force it but I’m masturbating all alone and I’m very frustrated. I don’t what to leave him, but I can’t stand the status quo.

This is a classic lament, Barbara. So many couples struggle with much the same thing. Love, intimacy and sex — three very different things — yet we are socialized into thinking that they should always come to us as a package deal. And anything that doesn’t is less than optimum and often downright bad or sinful. What a tiny little box we’re all supposed to fit in.

I believe there is a fundamental difference between love, sex and intimacy, but so many people confuse or conflate these very different needs to their detriment. Some go so far as to destroy an otherwise good and vibrant relationship just because it doesn’t conform to what we perceive as the norm…ya know the big package deal I just mentioned.

16689940_p.jpgI don’t know how we got it into our head that the only legitimate or wholesome sex is the sex that happens in a loving relationship, or that if there is no sex in a loving relationship, then that relationship is somehow defective. That’s simply not the case.

The way I see it, passionate sex is dependent on a good deal of sexual tension. Ya know, like the grips of hot monkey love that happens at the beginning of a relationship. In time this sexual tension dissipates. I might add that it takes a great deal of work to keep that kind of tension alive. Most couples don’t invest that kind of energy, even though they may pay lip service to the desire for it.

Intimacy, on the other hand, is dependent on domestic tranquility, in other words, the elimination of tension in the relationship, including sexual tension. And since most couples desire intimacy over sex they choose (either consciously or not) the domestic tranquility option. But the result is the kind of sexual frustration you report.

Those who wish to have both sex and intimacy need to be creative in solving both issues. Not just imagining that loving someone is enough to make it happen.

That being said, Barbara, if your partner refuses to join you in any effort to find a solution to the problems that plague your relationship, he is telling you your concerns are unimportant to him. My counsel is always the same under these circumstances. If your sexual needs are as pressing as you say they are, then confront him in no uncertain terms. No beating around the bush, darlin’, it’s ultimatum time. Tell your partner that dragging his feet, or obstructing all together your efforts to solve your relationship problems signals to you that the relationship, at least as it is currently configured, is in desperate trouble.

As I’ve suggested earlier, you can tell him that there are several ways of keeping the relationship going without expecting he fulfill all of your sex and/or intimacy needs. But living without sex in your life is a deal breaker. He needs to know that you are serious about the crisis that exists. Of course, if you do this you will have to follow through on the ultimatum. To do otherwise would tell him that you don’t believe your concerns are all that important either.

If you ask me, life is too short to be living with all that sexual frustration. Don’t tolerate the frustration make it work for you. Your sexual frustration could be the very thing that motivates you to create better your situation for yourself and possibly your old man too.

Good Luck

Name: Dave
Gender: male
Age: 40
Location: Wisconsin
I have a boyfriend that I love very much. We have been together for over 6 years and we care for one another very much. The problem is that we never have sex. The last time was probably two years ago and that time he just took care of me and that was it. I haven’t seen him climax in years. I asked him if there’s a problem with me and he says no. I know he still has a sex drive because I’ve caught him masturbating once. When I bring up the subject he says he knows we need to work on it but that’s as far as it goes. I know he’s not cheating, but I can’t say the same about myself. Should I feel guilty for seeking sex outside our relationship without his permission? In the past I’ve felt horrible about this, but my frustration is overriding my guilt. But it still bothers me because I am not being the moral person I was raised to be. I’ve asked him about opening our relationship, but he doesn’t like that idea either. What am I supposed to do?

fist.jpgSad to say there’s not much a couple can do to either beef up a sex drive or cool one down, when there’s no will on the part of one or the other partners to do so. And I would say that if you guys have been living successfully like this for four years, there’s little chance of turning this around. Besides, why would you want to fix something that’s not really broken?

If, as you say, you are feeling guilty about going outside your relationship to find the sexual satisfaction you need and want, then it is time for you to have a chat with your lover. The tension you are experiencing between your sexual desires and your moral compass is a real good thing. It ought not be denied. But like I always say, these are often very difficult negotiations to hammer out. However, not to try to make these accommodations is, I believe, a form of sexual abuse.

Finally, regardless on how you approach the subject, there’s no need to sink to the lowest common denominator, bubby. Could it be the sex you have with your partner is just boring? And you’re misinterpreting his boredom as disinterest? You say he masturbates. What’s in his mind (or on the computer) when he does? Would you even know? Ever thought of asking? Maybe he’s just too self-conscious to come right out with it and ask for what he wants from you. Is there any way you could entice him back to bed with a little spice? Would he respond to some porn, or toys, or even a three-way?

Maybe it’s just as well there’s no sex in your relationship, you seem to be getting along very well otherwise. But only a frank and open discussion with your man is gonna shed the necessary light on this situation.

See Dave, you have lots of options. It’s time to be creative, like the fabulous homo you are.

Good Luck darling!

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