Why you should care
OZY’s Eugene S. Robinson addresses queries from the love-weary in “Sex With Eugene.”
Losing That Loving Feeling
EUGENE, SIR: In the last year and a half, I’ve struggled with achieving satisfying orgasms, particularly from masturbation. I am a cis male, early/mid-20s, physically healthy and fit. I used to be able to have intense climaxes — mind flaring, seeing stars and so on — from either act, but now it’s like all I feel is some pleasant-but-fleeting pressure/tensing followed by a sense of frustration, as if I fucked it up somehow. If it wasn’t for ejaculation, I would almost be questioning if I was really having a real orgasm at all, which starts to get kind of depressing when it happens every time.
Orgasm obviously isn’t everything, and I’m less concerned about it when it comes to fucking because I’m enjoying everything else about it and focusing on my partner. But in all honesty, I really miss being able to cum well by myself. I’ve tried several things: with/without porn, prostate stimulation, getting high, abstaining for a couple of weeks, asphyxiation, regular kegels … none of it seems to really have helped much. I realize this is likely one of the psychological/sexual self-fulfilling prophesies where awareness impedes resolution, like with ED, PE and so on. But could there be causes/solutions I might be overlooking? Any help would be appreciated. — OR
Dear Either: My temptation here is to double down on your take since it feels very much to me like a head issue. I’m sure a more responsible columnist would advise you to see a medical professional, which I will do as well, despite being no kind of responsible. But if it walks like a duck and drives a truck like a duck, it’s probably a duck. And while all other indicators show me a man who should be able to get from here to wherever he wants to be without much difficulty, the fact that you suddenly can’t has us searching for a cause/cure, and it just feels like the likeliest one is between your ears.
Either that OR it just jibes with what I’ve been thinking, and that’s that the aggressive and continual commercial bombardment of sex to sell stuff is taking a terrible toll on our collective abilities to maintain a little interest in what they are convinced is the key to selling us everything from cars to cupcakes: sex. Have you ever thought of what constitutes “sexy” and suddenly found yourself pulling off of old and overused media tropes involving seductive looks/come-hither glances and some sort of sexy sashay, and realized, suddenly, you have nothing?
It happens, and while you can bullshit me all day, bullshitting your head is a lot harder. The bigger issue is undoing what they’re doing to us, and my first and best guess would be a careful curation of partners. Find yourself what I like to call “a natural.” That is someone who has been absolutely and resolutely resistant to this kind of media input and really just dancing to the tune of different drummers. They’re out there, and here’s hoping the magic returns for you.
EUGENE, SIR: OK. Been with current lover for a month. We’re in our mid-20s. We’re enjoying sex the other day and I went for anal and was told “no,” which is fine. I can hear that and not flip out. But then I asked, “You sure?” and now it’s become a thing. I ask you this cuz you’re like this sexual ethicist, but am I an asshole here? — Buuuuuut….
Dear No Ifs or Ands: I got stopped by a cop once. I was standing on the street in suburban California, minding my own business. He pulled up in a police car and asked me, “How you doing?” I said, “Fine. Thanks for asking.” “You waiting for someone?” “I am.” “Can I ask who?” Which is right about the time I became surly. He eventually left but not before asking me, honestly and man to man, “I just don’t understand, why are you so hostile?” It was a good question, and given that I NEVER had negative interactions with the cops I grew up with in New York, one I had been asking myself.
And then I realized why and told him “You’re just seeing THIS interaction. But in the month of May, I have been stopped 13 times by ‘well-meaning’ cops just like you. And, frankly, my patience is wearing thin.”
This is what you stumbled into.
I don’t know if your lover is a man or a woman, and I’m sure you felt that situationally this was probably not that big of a deal. But considering the fact that they had probably heard that a few times before, questioning the earnestness of their “no,” even in jest, might be a skosh irksome. Understand that and move forward. You’re not an asshole. You’re just too deep into the rotation to have your joke be anything but annoying. So maybe not your fault specifically that you ended up being the camel-back-breaking straw, but it sounds like that’s what happened.
Mouth? Meet Vagina!
EUGENE, SIR: I love my husband and I love cunnilingus, and he is willing but not especially able to do it well. He’s trying to get better and has asked me for help, but one of the sexiest things is surprise. How can I be surprised if I am telling him what to do all the time? — Name withheld by request
Dear Perspective: I would guess that learned behaviors have to be learned somewhere. And while I know how to ride a bike, there’s no way — drugs or not — that I can ride one as well as Lance Armstrong. So the difference between me and Armstrong? Hours and hours of practice. And anyone who would think it made sense to put me in a race without that would have to be extremely optimistic, hopeful or a fool. So while you’re right that it’s hard to surprise yourself (or even tickle yourself), at a certain point, unless you’re dealing with someone who is actively resisting, with patience and a playing field that is built on the spirit of play, you should be able to have a lover who gets better.
In fact, I’d say at this point, maybe telling him what to do all the time might be part of the problem. He knows enough to know what he doesn’t know and seems to want to get better, so let him do it while you just sit back and … relax. As long as he is making progress, I think you’re on the rightest of all roads.