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Give it to me straight!

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Name: Darren
Gender: Male
Age: 24
Location: Long Beach
I’m a 24-year-old straight male. On my second tour of duty in Iraq, I took some shrapnel in my back on account of an IED. I’ve been in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down, ever since. I come from a very strict religious family so I never was sexually active before the marines. Now I’m back at home, and while my parents are great caregivers, I can’t talk to them about this. I’m afraid that I won’t ever get to have sex, but I want to. What should I do?

Tough break, pup! As if the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan weren’t bad enough, there is all this collateral damage to our brave and valiant service people. Damn. If we, your countrymen, don’t owe ya’ll every possible assistance, accommodation and convenience I don’t know what!

I’ll admit, your family’s religious scruples, coupled with your spinal cord injury, makes for a pretty daunting double whammy. So let’s start with some basics. Lots of people automatically think that a person in a wheelchair can’t have or is uninterested in sex. Your parents probably think this. They probably also believe that sex is only for married people and since you aren’t married and you’re in a chair, there’s no good reason to discuss the matter further. I encourage you not to sink to the lowest common denominator on this.

I suspect that since you still have a healthy interest in sex, and you want to get laid at some point…hopefully real soon. All we have to do is figure out a clever work-around to your current living situation. To that end, I have some questions for you. Are you afforded any private time and space in your parent’s home? Are you are getting some physical therapy at the veteran’s hospital or elsewhere? Are you in a spinal injury support group? Do you have any social outlets, other than the medical related ones? Do you still have some jar-head buddies who could swing by and pick you up and take you out?

The reason I ask all these questions is that, despite your disability, you’re gonna have to forge your own independent life away from, and out of the control of your parents — good people though they are. Many care-providers, despite their best intentions, have a tendency to smother the people they are caring for. Don’t let this happen to you. The only way you will find the fuck you are looking for is if you assert your independence. This move toward independence may have to happen incrementally, but you gotta get started.

Clearly you have access to the interents, or you wouldn’t have been able to contact to me. That’s a good start. The internet tubes is gonna be your best friend for the duration, count on it. Connect with other similarly challenged vets and civilians online. These folks will be a wealth of information for you about how to take the next steps — pardon the pun — toward independent living. If you’re not plugged into an ongoing spinal injury support group, make that happen ASAP. Like I said, these folks will have information and resources that the professionals who attend you do not have, or will not share. If there are any wheelchair fetishists out there, your support group will know about them. And I think you can be pretty certain that there are. You are following me on this, right Darren? Good!

Now, this is where your jar-head buddies will come in handy. Prevail upon them to be your transportation. Parents are good for getting you to and from the hospital and the like, but you don’t want to count on them to get you to a tryst or date, don’t cha know. One thing for certain, when connecting with chicks online or elsewhere you need to be pretty upfront about what you want and need. Remember, you have to compensate for people’s preconceived ideas about sex and disability.

I’ll grant you, this is a fine line to tread — again no pun intended — because you have to be upfront about your desires, but ya gotta do it without being a dickhead about it. You are also at a disadvantage for not having had the opportunity of hone your dating and seduction skills before Iraq. So you’re gonna have to do some remedial work now. In social situations — and you ought to be goin out to places other than hospitals and support groups — project yourself as a sexual being. Put out a sexual vibe. Not all geeky and weird, but as a matter of self-confidence, you’re a marine vet for Christ sake. That should be swagger and bragging rights enough.

And don’t forget, you know something that others may not know. You’re gonna be a freakin’ terror in the sheets, because you gonna be making up for a whole lot of lost time. Make eye contact and smile, be your charming devilish self. Whatever you do, don’t gawk at her tits. They may be pretty as all get out, and the object of your eternal desire, but please, keep a lid on it!

If you are unsure about your skills as a lover or you just need a little tutorial on how to please a woman, my I suggest you connect with a pro — ya know a sex worker. That’s right, it’s a time-honored way for guys in the service to lose their cherry. And you’re still sorta like in the service, right? Nowadays, connecting with just the right provider has never been easier, thanks again to the internets. See, I told you that the internet tubes was gonna be your best friend for the duration. Seriously, I suspect that you have lots to learn about the ins and outs of sex, — my final pun, i promise — so why not see a specialist?

One thing for sure, if you are having a difficult time carving out private time there in your parent’s home, or they are the snooping kind, keep your internet searches on a friend’s computer. You don’t want your parents finding out that you are indeed a sexual being looking to get his freak on. At least you don’t want them to find out till after you’ve established your independence. Because if they pull the plug on your internets before you’re on your own, because they think you are a big fat pervert sexual sinner, you’re gonna be shit out of luck, if ya catch my drift.

Good luck

Name: Mikhall
Gender: Male
Age: 18
Location: U of M
I’ve been having wet dreams since I was 13. I thought I would get over this by now, but it’s still happening. I’m in college now and I don’t want my roommate to think I’m some kind of freak. Is there anyway to make this stop?

I remember when I was a kid, I couldn’t have been more that 6 or 7, I overheard my older brother telling his friend he had had a wet dream. I couldn’t wrap my head around what he was saying. He was boasting, of course, and it had something to do with sex, that I knew for sure. But why was he so proud of wetting his bed? I was way to self-conscious to ask him about it, so I let my mind just spin out all these fantastic scenarios and boy, were they fantastic. My brother was really cool, so I was hoped I would have a wet dream one day too, but I was also dreading it all the same. Information about sex, when it comes in dribs and drabs like this, can really be confusing.

I finally had my first wet dream a few years later and I was surprised as hell to wake up with sticky wet sheets and PJs. Interestingly enough, I didn’t make the connection between what had just happened to me and what my brother had been talking about a couple of years earlier. So ok, I wasn’t all that swift when I was a kid. But just look at me now!

As I look back, I can’t honestly tell you how I figured the whole thing out. I did, however, discover that wet dreams had a more ominous technical name: a nocturnal emission. That was scary in and of itself.

So ok, here’s what we know about wet dreams. And you can bank in this info. When a guy begins puberty, somewhere between the ages of 9 and 13, he starts to produce sperm. Once that happens he’s able to ejaculate, even though he may not have discovered this on his own, ya know like through jerkin’ off. It is at this point that most guys experience their first wet dreams. While asleep our little boy cock rubs against the mattress or sheets, or we may unconsciously fondle ourselves till we squirt. Since this often happens while dreaming, or because of a dream with sexual overtones, a nocturnal emission is also call a sex dream, or the ever popular dirty dream.

Here’s something you might not know. Technically there is a difference between a nocturnal orgasm (which anyone can have at any age, even as and infant) and a nocturnal emission (which only males have and only after he reaches puberty).

I know you’re a bit exasperated, Mikhall, with the continuation of these pesky wet dreams, but it’s all quite normal and I might add, healthy. You clearly have a very active spooge production system. You’re body is producing an over abundance of spunk, more than you need. And it has to get rid of the excess somehow. Believe me, you really wouldn’t want it stay in your system; it wouldn’t be healthy. Embarrassment aside, you can be grateful that your bod is working properly and in harmony with nature.

Do you recall your first wet dream? Most guys tell me that they thought they had injured themselves, or they somehow got a sex disease. Too bad our parents don’t prepare us for this eventful night. Many kids are so filled with fear and embarrassment that they try to destroy the evidence — getting rid of the sheets, underwear or pajamas. Another confusing aspect of a kid’s first wet dream is the pleasure and arousal he feels. Those of us brought up in religious homes are often filled with shame by this disturbing occurrence.

Those of you who are familiar with Dr Dick’s background know that I was a Catholic priest for many years. I know, scary, huh? I don’t want to go off topic here and discuss my life as a priest now — we can save that for another time. What I want to point out here is that when I was in the saddle, so to speak, I often had the occasion to hear the confessions of young people. It was remarkable how often young men would confess to a wet dream, like if they had committed some heinous crime! What gives with a culture that instills such shame about things that are so natural and outside of our control?

Think of it this way, when your bladder gets full you take a wiz. When your prostate and seminal vesicles get full you take a jizz. It’s as simple and natural as all that. Now, if I were to guess, Mikhall, I’d speculate that, for whatever reason, you’re not masturbating all that much. Right? The reason I think that is, if you were relieving yourself of your joy juice, ya know like beatin’ off, you’d have less of a build up and fewer wet dreams, if any. Do you see where I’m headed with this? The same thing would be true if you didn’t relieve yourself when your bladder got full, you’d piss anyhow, only it would happen when you weren’t able to properly direct it. Get it? Got it? Good!

If you want to cut down on those embarrassing wet dreams, milk yourself before you sleep. This way you can direct your spooge into a proper receptacle, like a Kleenex or a dirty sock — just like all your peers.

I also want to remind you of the current research being done about masturbation. Australian researchers questioned over 1,000 men who had developed prostate cancer and 1,250 men who had not, about their sexual habits. They found those who had ejaculated the most between the ages of 20 and 50 were the least likely to develop prostate cancer.

The protective effect was greatest while the men were in their 20’s. Get this, men who ejaculated more than five times a week were a third less likely to develop prostate cancer later in life.

Good luck!

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Easy Cum, Easy Go

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Hey sex fans,

Listen up!

I’m adding this new feature to my Q&A columns.  Whenever possible, I will include in my response a link to a movie in my HOW TO VIDEO LIBRARY (see the VOD tab at the top of the page?) that will further educate or enrich the person who is asking the question.

Think of it as at HOMEWORK or further study on the topic at hand.  I hope all of you will benefit from this terrific instructional and enriching resource.  (Click on the images below for viewing information.)

Name: Spencer
Gender:
Age: 37
Location: Ottawa
I am very interested in learning more about prostate massage and milking techniques.  Are you familiar with these things?  Thank you.

I am very familiar with both prostate massage and the fetish commonly known as milking.

But let’s begin with prostate massage, because it is something every guy can practice and enjoy.  I a53342_xlfrecommend all us men folk be prostate aware.  You know I’m a big advocate of frequent prostate self-exam, right?  And I figure while you’re down there rootin’ around in your butt-hole checking for abnormalities, hey spend a little more time and give yourself a nice massage why don’t ‘cha?  Fingers work just fine for this, but an insertable vibrator is…well…out of this world.  Prostate massage is a wonderful way to expand your self-pleasuring repertoire, especially for all you guys out there who only know how to yank on their dick for joy.  And ladies, prostate massage is a great way to play with your male partners.  Perhaps if you signal to your guy that a little butt play can be fun, more straight guys will be less ass-phobic and the world will be a much better place, don’t cha know.

You can feel your prostate gland by inserting a finger a couple of inches or so into your bum.  If you are the least bit aroused your prostate will feel like a smooth rounded flat lump about the size of a large almond. Just in back of and up from your prostate is a smaller triangular wedge shaped nodule that is the bottom portion of your somewhat larger seminal vesicles.  This, by the way, is where most of your jizz is produced and stored. Underneath the seminal vesicles are the ampullae, which are tiny reservoirs for your sperm that will mix with all the other fluids produced by the vesicles and your prostate when you cum.

a73296_xlfAs you become aroused, ejaculatory fluid and sperm accumulate in these glands backing up behind valves in the ejaculatory ducts. When the fluid pressure reaches a high enough threshold, the valves open and the urethral bulb fills, triggering the muscular contractions of your ejaculation.  This empties the glands and you’ve just shot your wad.

Naturally, if one abstains from ejaculating for a while and prolongs his arousal stage, say like through edging, more fluids will build up, making for a larger load and a more explosive orgasm.

So with that little anatomy lesson behind us, so to speak, we can get back to prostate massage.  Simply insert your well-lubricated middle finger or middle finger and index finger into your butt hole and apply a little pressure.  Slowly massage your prostate.  Doesn’t that feel yummy?  Some men can cum by prostate massage alone.  Hell, you may find that you don’t even need a stiff dick to enjoy an orgasm and/or an ejaculation.

a83370_xlfNow to kink things up a bit we introduce the fetish called milking.  This is mostly a partnered — dom/sub, bondage/discipline — sort of deal.  But a guy can certainly do it on his own if he’d like.  Basically, the object here is to drain and collect the spunk produced.  How it’s collected?  Well that’s is up for grabs.  Ya see there are a zillion variations on the milking theme.  Some practitioners deny the donor the pleasure of an orgasm while collecting his jizz.  Ice packs are placed on a guy’s cock and balls before milking begins.  The spooge will flow through prostate massage and masturbation, but there won’t be much feeling for the donor.

Another interesting twist on milking is to completely restrain and blindfold the donor.  This may include a little (or a lot) of cock and ball torture (CBT) during the milking sessions.  There are even milking machines available, not unlike the contraptions that milk a mother’s breast, for the medical fetishists among us.

There are sadists who revel in denying the donor any sexual release except for his milking sessions.  This is where a male chastity belt will come in mighty handy.  A guy will still need to a71598_xlfhave his balls drained, so to speak, every few weeks in order to avoid him losing his joy juice in a wet dream or when he takes a piss. But with regular prostate milkings, a dude can be deprived of orgasmic release for a long time with no harmful effects.

Those going for volume rather than frequency practice what is known as cum control, which takes edging to a whole new level.   Their objective is to go as long as possible without triggering an orgasm or a wet dream.  Since the pressure of fluid buildup increases with each arousal, the urgency to have an ejaculation also increases.  To deny himself the release is, for some, exquisitely painful.

If you’re still looking for more information on all of this, search them interweb tubes for key words like:  Semen Worship / Orgasm Control / Cum Control / Milking / Edging / Chastity and Cock and Ball Torture.

Name: Shelly
Gender:
Age: 21
Location: Atlanta
How come men are seen as ‘studs’ and women as ‘sluts’ for doing the same things.

Basically darling, that’s because our culture is pretty fucked up — sexually, and in so many other was too.

Despite the progress we’ve made over the last 50 years to liberate ourselves from suffocating 5Blit2oaSplgn264lJN97XCpo1_400sex-role stereotyping and culturally induced gender expectations, we are nowhere near being free and clear of all that crap.

Changing societal attitudes about sex begins with each one of us carving out our own healthy place to celebrate our sexuality.  Carving out that place means we don’t tolerate this or any other kind of double standard bullshit from those around us.  It’s tough standing against the tide of sexual bigotry, but it will make you strong and proud.  Banding together with other like-minded people for support and encouragement is also important.

The biggest danger, of course, is that young, sexually progressive women will, in time, cave to the pressure to conform.  They will begin to internalize the madonna/whore dichotomy that has plagued all of us for millennia and pass it on to yet another generation of vulnerable women.  The risk is always there; so vigilance is the only response.

And all you guys out there who think that this double standard is the way things oughta be.  Think again!  You are not a stud if you cheapen your sexual partners by degrading them; you’re just an asshole.

Name: Brianna
Gender:
Age: 30
Location: San Diego
I’ve been so disturbed about the increasing number of recalled Chinese made products lately — dog food, toothpaste, children’s toys and the like — that I was horrified to discover that most of my sex toys are made in China.  I suppose this is a dumb time to ask, but how safe are sex toys?

That is a real good question, Brianna.  Ya know there was a time when I thought that the greatest hazard to the ardent sex toy consumer was simply all the poorly designed and cheaply a2458_xlfmanufactured crap that floods the marketplace.  But in light of the alarming news of recent months about the safety risks of many products coming from China, I think there is room for concern about the safety of Chinese made sex toys.

I hasten to add that not all Chinese imports are dangerous.  Nor are all products grown or manufactured in the US safe.  But there is a long history of unscrupulous Western companies exploiting the Chinese labor force.  This greed and abuse leads to a dangerous mix that often has dire consequences.

Obviously there is no government regulatory agency out there with a mandate to protect us from unsafe or unhealthful sex toys.  Of course, one can make the case that even when there is a government regulatory agency with a mandate to protect us, and our pets, from unsafe, tainted or unhealthy food, drugs and other consumables they’re not doing a particularly good job.

The sex toy industry does an equally piss-poor job of regulating itself.  No surprise there, I suppose.  Profit motives seem to trump all other considerations.  And since there is virtually no scientific data on sex toy safety the responsibility for keeping ourselves safe falls to us, the consumer.  It’s up to us to positively impact the market.  We can begin by taking some responsibility for what we consume.  We can go GREEN with our sex toys, so to speak.  We could patronize only the retailers that provide fair and balanced product reviews.  We could refrain from buying on impulse or being swayed by slick smutty packaging.  We could avoid excess packaging that only winds up in a landfill.

We could avoid doing business with sex toy retailers who continue to peddle products with by unsubstantiated claims.  Herbal supplements that promise to grow a guy’s dick bigger or enhance his sexual performance.  Or those patches, pills and lubricating oils that are supposed to boost a chick’s desire.  It’s not like there aren’t good products out there, it’s just that we have to do our research before we buy.  Check out some of the great Product Review Sites too — Dr Dick’s Sex Toy Reviews, Jane’s Guide or Hey Epiphora.

a122441_xlfWe could protect ourselves by insisting our toys be manufactured by people who have access to sex information, education and contraception for themselves.  If our purchases support repressive governments who abuse their people we are complicit in the repression.  Imagine our dildos, vibrators and fetish gear being manufactured by people who will never be able to enjoy a happy, healthy integrated sex life because of gender inequity or poverty.  That sucks, huh?

We can also protect ourselves by patronizing responsible and ethical sex toy retailers.  These include my very own Dr Dick’s Stockroom, Good Vibrations, Babeland and Eden Fantasys.  These retailers have excellent customer service departments and well as educational components to outreach.  They’re also terrific resources for all your sex toy related questions.

There have been a lot of unsubstantiated claims made of late that there is a potential danger in all sex toys.  Some insist that most sex toys contain cancer-causing ingredients. While I won’t go that far, there are some things to be concerned about.  For example, many soft rubber toys are made using phthalates, which have been linked to environmental and human health issues. Phthalates (pronounced “thall-eights”) are a chemical compound used to soften hard plastics into soft rubbery and jelly-like toys. I also recommend that you avoid toys with artificial scent and dyes.  They’ve been known to trigger allergic reactions in some people.

I believe that if you buy quality you are more likely to get quality.  Consider hypoallergenic materials, such as silicone, wood, glass and aluminum.  They are more expensive, but worth it.   Then again, you could always use a condom on any insertable, or less expensive toy of questionable material.  The problem with this is, condoms are not biodegradable and they’re expensive.  By the time you factor in the cost of condoms for every toy use, you’ll actually be spending more per diddle than if you bought quality from the get-go.

Remember the more information you have, the wiser a consumer you will be.

Good luck ya’ll

fitzsimmons_AZdailystar

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Sex Advice With An Edge — Podcast #32 — 09/24/07

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Hey sex fans,

I have a really swell show for you today. We have several very interesting questions from the sexually worrisome. And I respond with an equal number of lively, affable and oh so informative responses! Hey, it’s what I do.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT — Guess what? drdicksexadvice.com had hit a huge milestone. As of this morning, we’ve exceeded 100,000 unique visitors to the site since it’s premiere last February! Damn, ya’ll make me so proud!

  • Valeri got the shaft from her dick of a husband!
  • Darren is a wheelchair bound vet looking to get laid.
  • Mikhall keeps having wet dreams! WTF?

BE THERE, OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s dr dick’s toll free podcast voicemail. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question? No time to write? Give dr dick a call at (866) 422-5680. Again, the TOLL FREE voicemail number is (866) 422-5680. DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY !

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll fine me in the health section under the subheading — Sexuality. Or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice With An Edge. And don’t forget to subscribe. I don’t want you to miss even one episode.

Say, would you like to become a sponsor for one or more of my weekly sex advice podcasts? As you know, I plug a product or service at the beginning and end of each show. Each podcast has its own posting on my site along with the name of the podcast sponsor and a banner for the product or service.

The beauty part about this unique opportunity is that once a sponsor’s ad is included in a particular podcast that sponsor is embedded there forever.

Your sponsorship also underscores your social conscience. Your marketing dollars will not only got to promote your product, but you will be doing so while helping to disseminate badly needed sex education and sexual enrichment messages. Simply put, ya just can’t get a better bang for your advertising buck!

For further information, contact me at: dr_dick@drdicksexadvice.com

Today’s podcast is once again bought to you by: DR DICK’S HOW TO VIDEO LIBRARY.q.jpg

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Learning the ropes, so to speak

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Name: Julian
Gender: male
Age: 32
Location: Mexico City
What does CBT mean?

Geez, CBT could mean all sorts of things, depending on the context. It could stand for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, something the good doctor knows a great deal about. It could also stand for Computer Based Training, but why in the world would you be asking Dr Dick about that? Let me see what else…CBT also stands for “Cock and Ball Torture”.

Yeah, that’s it! That’s what you want to know about, huh Julian — you little pervert, you. Good for you!big-balls

There are all manner of torture techniques for your cock and balls Slapping, Squeezing, Pinching, Bondage, the use of weights even tickling can be a form of torture. A dude’s package can withstand a fair amount of torment. But dolling out professional grade torture is not for the amateur. The dominant (as opposed to the submissive) really needs to know what he or she is doing. Carelessness can lead to severe injury.

In most cases, “torture” is really mostly “play”. One’s cock and balls are simply tugged on or stretched out, maybe with some weights. There’s cock and ball bondage too — the family jewels trussed up like a thanksgiving turkey, don’t cha know. And that’s just the beginning. Imagine what you could do with your mother’s old clothespins. See, now you’re putting two and two together!

Oh, and the “T” word doesn’t necessarily stand for torture. It can represent a full range of play — from tickling and teasing to torment and torture.

If you’re interested in investigating the pain/pleasure of cock and ball torture for your self, Julian, here’s a safe way to start. Begin by experimenting with different sensations. Look around the house for things you can brush or rub against your cock and balls. Start with something soft like a silk scarf. Progressively work your way to something with a rough texture, like a scrub brush. You will also notice that the sensations are different when your dick is soft as opposed to when it is hard.

curiosity_WM_1024x1024Try a hollowed-out, cylindrical loofa sponge. Get it good and wet, and slip it over your cock and try jerkin’ off with it. Rubber bands can be applied to your cock and balls. Not only for the constriction sensation, which is delightful in itself. But you can also snap those puppies for some delicious pain.

Lots of pervs like cock and ball spanking. You could try your hand at this, so to speak. Or you could employ a kitchen wooden spoon or spatula. They work nicely too. Prickly things like a fork can be used to scrape or drag over your cock and balls. Poke them lightly if you like. Be careful though; you do not want to break the skin and draw blood.

Cock and ball bondage can be a delight. Hemp rope is the perfect choice for this. And I have a fantastic resource for you, Julian, a novice, as well as for all you more advanced perverts. Check out all the great stuff at Twisted Monk. You’ll find everything you need, including some very informative how-to-videos. Look for the Twisted Monk banner in the V-Style Ball Spreadersidebar.

Again, safe play is happy play. Wrap the rope around your cock, and around each of your balls separately. Use the rope to stretch your sac. A little discomfort is desirable, but just don’t over do it. Remember the sensations will become more intense as your dick engorges with blood. Keep this kind of play to less than 10 minutes at a time. Watch for signs of distress — your dick will veer to the color purple and your balls will feel cool to the touch. When that happens, it’s time to loosen the restraints and move on to something else for a while.

If you really get into this you can find loads of more professional torture implements at Dr Dick’s Oxballs Stacker Ball StretcherStockroom. Look for the banner in the sidebar at the top of the page. There’s a whole department in my online store devoted to cock and ball toys. You might want to start with a ball stretcher or a cock and ball harness. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

CBT is great for livening up and extending a ho-hum jerk off session too. And here’s a tip: once you know what you like and how you like it; you can turn on your partner to the practices.

Speaking of partners, the novice perv might want to surrender his privates to a professional Dom. A well-trained mistress or master will be able to take you places you’ve only dreamed about. A pro Dom is also a great resource for the do-it-yourself kinda guy. Before you launch into uncharted waters, seek the advice of someone who has made the study of pain/pleasure his or her life’s work. But don’t expect to get this information for free.

Cock and ball play can be loads of fun — alone or with others. Just remember the mantra — safe play is happy play. Experimenting is fine, but if you get in over your head and you don’t know what the fuck you are doing, STOP. Go back to something more suitable to your skill set.

Good luck

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Making a Marriage Work; A Primer For Sexual Success

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I’m preparing a workshop for recently engaged couples. I expect there will be about a dozen couples attending. While most of the participants will be preparing for their first marriage, there will be at least two couples working on their second marriage. My experience tells me that regardless of how many turns one takes on the merry-go-round anxiety about sexual compatibility, particularly for the long haul, abounds.

One of the best resources out there for those considering a sexually exclusive traditional marriage is Esther Perel’s controversial book, Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic.  Her thesis is that increased emotional intimacy between partners often leads to less sexual passion. I’ve been preaching the same sermon for nearly 30 years. But I assure you; there are ways around this predictable stumbling block.

Here we have Paige, age 22 from Tulsa. OK.

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’re married. It wasn’t too long ago when that was the norm. But even people who enter marriage as established sex partners aren’t assured success.

I caution you to jettison any Pollyanna notion you might have about marriage being a breeze, or that all you need is love. These are dangerous fictions. Your recently married friends have problems because there are always problems in a marriage. It’s the nature of relationships. Hopefully, the problems you guys will face won’t be insurmountable, but sure as shootin’ problems will be your constant companions, even big problems. So count on it and prepare yourself accordingly.

You can also be assured that the problems you will encounter, regardless of their nature, will impact on your sex life together. Money concerns, the stresses of a career, kids, in-laws, you name it will all influence how you perceive your spouse. Nothing dampens ardor like financial difficulties or meddlesome relatives.

So Paige, rather than focus on the nature of your sex life as you enter your marriage, may I suggest that you concentrate on the bigger picture. And in order to do that you need to ask; why do most traditional, sexually exclusive marriages flounder? They crumble because they can’t bear up under the strain of the couple’s expectations for each other. Simply stated, they want too much from their spouse. They expect companionship, economic support and family for sure, but they also expect their partner to be their best friend, confidant and passionate lover. That’s a pretty tall order to fill for a single individual. Who wouldn’t have cool feet, or even be frozen in place, faced with those daunting expectations.

A lot of engaged couples overly concern themselves with the sexual viability or their relationship. My sense is that sexual concerns, by themselves, don’t tax a marriage to the point of breaking. You’ll notice that I said, ’sexual concerns, by themselves’. While sex and intimacy issues are indeed real and sometimes overwhelming, it’s the underpinnings of the relationship that bring these sexual issues into stark relief. Let me give you an example.

Say I’ve just spent 60 hours this past week at work; I get snarled in traffic on my commute every single day. I drag my sorry ass home to a loving partner, who may have been looking forward to an amorous night of sex play. But I’m completely fagged out, so to speak. I simply don’t have an interest in the old slap and tickle. It’s not that I don’t love my spouse; I do! I don’t have the energy to even squeeze one off by myself, let alone please and pleasure my partner.

Or say I’ve been caring for a house full of sick, ornery kids all day; and freaking out about our family’s precarious financial situation. I have barely the time and energy to rustle together some grub for the brood, when my loving partner, who may have been looking forward to an amorous night of sex play, arrives back at the homestead with stars in his/her eyes. I’m exhausted; and the idea of a tussle in the sack is the last thing on my mind. It’s not that I don’t love my spouse; on the contrary. I just don’t feel attractive, interesting, or more importantly, randy.

As these examples point out it’s not that the sexual energy has flown the coop. More often than not couples who face the tribulations of life together redirect their energy into resolving more pressing concerns than gearing up for sex. The reason I know this for certain is, if I were to take this stressed out couple away from the humdrum of their day-to-day, and land them on a tropical beach without a care in the world; I know for certain they’d fuck like bunnies.

Another example, say a couple is joined at the hip; you know the ones I’m talking about. Where one or the other partner can hardly take a trip to the loo without their spouse traipsing along. Many couples think this kind of closeness is a sign of their love and fidelity, and it may very well be for them. But I can guarantee this kind of familiarity will also stifle sexual passion. The truth of the matter is erotic fervor is dependent on at least a modicum of mystery. If I know my partner like the back of my hand, I’m less likely to see him/her as a sexual object; in the same sexual way as when we were courting.

This also can be proven. Why is the chick at work, who I have virtually nothing in common with, such a turn on? How is it that my yoga instructor, someone I hardly know and who pays me no attention, make me wet? It’s the mystery or the forbidden that jacks up the sexual tension.

The way I see it is passionate sex is dependent on a good deal of sexual tension. This kind of tension dissipates with time and it takes a great deal of work to keep that tension alive. Most couples don’t invest that kind of energy; even though they may pay lip service to the notion that they want the passion to continue.

Intimacy, on the other hand, is dependent on domestic tranquility, in other words, the elimination of tension in the relationship; regrettably this also includes sexual tension. And since most couples desire intimacy over sex they choose (either consciously or not) the path of domestic tranquility. But the result can be the kind of sexual frustration so many married people report.

I’ve been to a lot of wedding; and I’ve officiated at more than I can count. I’ve helped numerous couples construct their vows. Generally the first thing they want to say to each other is something like: “I promise to be your best friend, your confidant; your constant companion. Sound familiar? I thought it might. What I never hear is: “I promise to always be up for all your hot monkey love.” Not only would that vow be a showstopper; it would be an impossible promise to keep, unless you’re a blow-up doll. Frankly, it’s so much easier being a best friend or confident than the sexual siren that will be the answer to all your erotic dreams after we’re married for a few years.

Sexual exclusivity is at the heart of the romantic ideal. That’s why sexual infidelity is such a bugaboo in our culture. But the truth of the matter is, sustaining a model where marriage is the font from which all fulfillment flows is simply unrealistic. Maybe if we expect sexual exclusivity from our spouse, we ought to manage our other expectations of him/her (best friend, confidant, etc.) more pragmatically.

I am of the mind that since more than 50% of marriages in this country end in divorce; we must look at the relationship model we are laboring under. Maybe the romantic ideal is simply an illusion. I mean we can’t honestly try to explain away the divorce rate by saying all these couples simply married the wrong people. Know what I mean?

The parameters of a healthy, successful marriage will need to expand and contract with the stresses put upon it; it is after all a living entity. The balance between dependence and independence will constantly shift; so will the power dynamic in the relationship. Carve these things in stone and you will be mark a grave, not milestones on a path to growth.

Good luck

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