Hey, Faggot:

My problem is rather serious. I’ve considered seeking professional help, but I admit I’m a little embarrassed. I’m a 21-year-old, considerably well-adjusted female, except for one thing: I have been masturbating consistently since age 11. I feel my masturbation habit is ruining my sex life. I believe I am unable to climax with a partner because I am so used to artificial climax. I’ve tried going without, but I just can’t stop! When I had a consistent partner, it wasn’t as frequent. Yet, I found myself masturbating once in a while to satisfy my urge for a climax.

I worry that this problem may lead to bisexuality, because I’m really losing interest in sex with men at this point. I have found myself picking my nails or watching television during intercourse! I’m confused because otherwise, I truly enjoy men, their sexuality, and what they have to offer me as a woman. Yet, I must admit I am curious to see what sex with a woman would be like. Am I totally ruining my sex life? Do I have bisexual tendencies? And, most of all, do I need to seek professional help? –Masturbator X

Hey, MX:

OK, first off, those orgasms you’re having all by your lonesome aren’t “artificial.” They’re real. And if you can bring yourself off alone, you should be able to bring yourself off in the company of men. In fact, men would be good role models for you: Guys chase down their orgasms with a single-mindedness that you would do well to emulate. When a guy’s fucking you, he maneuvers his dick around until he’s getting rubbed just…so, and he keeps it up until he comes, right? When you masturbate, don’t you do the same–rub yourself just…so, until you get off? Well, assert yourself! Communicate to the boyfriend exactly what is required to get you off and demand he do it. You know what it takes, you give yourself orgasms all the time! Tell him how it’s done! Think of boyfriends not as people but as large, sweaty sex toys with hairy bodies and weak batteries. Pleasure yourself with his body–that’s what it’s there for! And isn’t that what he’s doing with your body? When a guy fucks you, he’s basically masturbating inside you, substituting your pussy for his fist. Well, substitute his face for your banister–turnabout is always fair play, right? If you masturbate humping pillows or going for long horseback rides, then treat his thigh like a pillow and his face like a saddle. Vibrator do the trick? Show him how to use it, guide his hands!

Too many girls (and boys) think that if the woman has an orgasm at all, it has to be by happy accident–during intercourse or as a result of the “right” amount of cunnilingus (read: until his tongue gets tired). But his orgasms? Whatever it takes, man: sets, costumes, livestock, laser-light shows, and trips to the emergency room if need be–he’s gonna insist on it. So don’t be demure! You insist right back!

And if he’s too inept or his face too stubbly or thighs too squishy to get you off–DIY, girlfriend: Do It Yourself. He can still hold you or make out with you or play with your tits or lick your ass or register you to vote or something, anything, while you bring yourself off! He can even fuck you while you do it. And the orgasm you give yourself with his loving assistance counts: self-induced orgasms in the presence of others are every bit as real as look-ma-no-hands orgasms.

Lastly, “overmasturbating” does not make people bisexual. Don’t be silly. People don’t become bisexual from masturbating too much, or God knows, every last red-blooded American male would be as bi as the Dole campaign is clueless. Should you decide to act on your bisexual impulses, some of your potential girlfriends will need as much direction as every last one of your boyfriends. If you don’t learn how to communicate what you want (“You are my red-hot banister of love!”), you may find yourself lying under a girl picking your nails and watching television–and it’ll be your own damn fault.

Hey, Faggot:

I’m a sexually active male in my mid-20s and I have a problem that’s been really messing with my mind and my whole outlook on my sexual future/relationships. Every time I have intercourse with a woman, I can never reach an orgasm. But when I masturbate, I spew streams. Is this some mental dysfunction of mine, or is it that the women I’ve been with just can’t satisfy me? I desperately need to cure this problem, for I do plan to marry and have children. I find myself masturbating every day now, wondering if it’s all in “the stroke.” What advice/techniques can you give that may cure my ill? –Can’t Cum With You

Hey, CCWY:

Four parts performance anxiety, and one part self-fulfilling prophecy–that’s the cocktail you’re sippin’ on, lemon peel. You’re in your mid-20s and you’ve had some bad experiences, and now you’re convinced that you’ll never reach orgasm during intercourse, so you…don’t. Why? Cuz you can’t? Cuz the women you’re sleeping with don’t turn you on “enough”? No: because of the pressure you’re placing on yourself. So, take the pressure off. When you have sex, you expect that your partner expects that you expect that you’re going to have an orgasm. The anticipation of failure, failure to meet all those expectations, makes you anxious. So alter or do away with those expectations, and your anxiety should lessen. Tell the next nice girl you meet and take to bed that you’re not interested in intercourse, only outercourse: tell her that you’d like to get to know her better before you start having intercourse. Chicks dig that intimacy stuff.

As your comfort level with your new partner increases, inform her that though you enjoy intercourse very much, you haven’t always been able to achieve orgasm through intercourse. Tell her the truth, but be casual about it–it’s not a major malfunction! Tell her, “Intercourse just doesn’t rub me the right way, I guess.” By this point, of course, she’ll be so blown away by your cunnilingus skills–and the loving attention you’ve paid to her pleasure during the weeks you two have spent exploring nonpenetrative sex–that she probably won’t give a shit.

When the time comes to incorporate intercourse into your sex life, think of it as foreplay. Explore different angles and positions and then move on to other things–masturbation, blow jobs, cunnilingus, whatever. Maybe you need to be on the bottom for your dick to get the kind of rubbin’ it needs–or on your side or doggy-style or hanging upside down with your hands tied behind your back. Through low-stakes explorations you may stumble over some specific position that does the trick or find that just being relieved of the pressure to come allows you to enjoy the fucking more and you…come. But since you’ve given yourself permission not to come, no worries, no performance anxiety! If you do come, bonus! If you don’t, no one’s disappointed. Withdraw and move on to something else. Good luck.

Send questions to Savage Love, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.