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My husband and I have been married for just under 3 years. Two
days ago I walked into our bathroom for something, and caught him
masturbating in the shower. I'm dazed and confused by this, and
feel like our marriage is in trouble--and may even be over. Why
would he do that, when he has me? Our sex life
has been regular and good since we've been together, so I'm totally
shocked by this. Help!
We are all sexual beings, and pleasuring oneself is a very normal/natural
outlet, even when we're in a committed relationship. Your husband's
body belongs to him, not you--and vice-versa. Masturbation can be
a healthy form of release/relief from tension and stress. These
sensations are considerably different from making love with somebody
else (it would be like comparing apples to oranges--they're nothing
alike). Most (honest) folks would admit to enjoying both--and would
be hard-pressed to give up either. Both sex and masturbation fulfill
different needs in us. Relax. Ask your husband if you can watch
sometime (this can be exciting/erotic--if you don't make it about
your insecurities), and begin to expand your sexual repertoire together.
My first husband hardly ever made love to me, and now I'm married
to a man who's wonderful--but can't have intercourse, because of
a variety of meds he's taking. I'm frustrated, and wondering how
I could end up in this situation again. My present husband is very
generous, giving and kind. He often cooks for me, and always supports
my interests and goals. My only complaint is that sex has always
been missing from our relationship, and I really want that. He's
a lot older than I, so I'm not sure what my options are (if any).
I've always believed that we set up our lives the way we need
them to be, which is strongly influenced by long-standing subconscious
beliefs and fears. I don't think it's simple coincidence that you've
gotten with two men who can't or won't have sex with you. Perhaps
something in your background makes you fear males who have any real
masculine power. It appears that what this guy does give
you, might be elements you couldn't get from your mother in early
childhood. It's entirely possible you've tried to heal some primal
needs, which always take precedence over our adult
needs. Get help to resolve early parental deficits, so you can make
satisfying adult choices.
I've been seeing someone for awhile, and we've recently gotten
sexual. I like this guy--but he ejaculates prematurely, and it's
very frustrating for me. It seems like just as I'm heating up, he
climaxes. He says he's always been very 'sensitive,' and that other
lovers haven't minded, but it's driving me nuts
that he can't go beyond about 90 seconds. He's able to recharge
fairly quickly, and can do it several more times--but this still
isn't satisfying, and I'm left feeling aroused and angry afterward!
Is there any hope for us?
This situation is horribly frustrating, and no amount of foreplay
makes up for abbreviated sexual intercourse, when this part's important
to you. If your lover sustains his erections and is able to delay
climax during other forms of stimulation (manual/oral),
he could have attachment/engulfment fears. This issue's considered
a form of impotency--and in some circles, it's regarded
withholding. If all types of sensual interplay trigger
rapid release, the two of you can try special exercises that will
help him gain more control over his orgasm. It seems this hasn't
been an issue for him, so I'm not certain he'll
be motivated to resolve it. Given this is a new relationship, you
may not want to invest the time/patience it takes to surmount this--but
only you can come to that determination.
Is it wrong for me to keep seeing someone (sexually) if I know
it's not going anywhere, and there's no future?
This depends on whether the other person is apprised of where they
stand with you! If you've been honest about your
feelings (or lack of them), and you're both able to appreciate/enjoy
the nature of this connection with no strings attached,
I see no harm in continuing.
Shari, my buddies and I have had an ongoing debate about this
for years; does size matter to women??
Dear Sir, this depends on the woman. Just as males are
anatomically different, so are females. When a woman's vaginal canal
is deeper than average, she can accommodate/enjoy a larger penis.
Others may be built considerably smaller or shallower inside, and
(to avoid pain) need to be with a man who can't thrust as deep,
or irritate sensitive tissues. Some females consider oral stimulation
more pleasurable and satisfying than intercourse. Others like having
their cervix (opening to the uterus) stimulated during sex by someone
who can reach it, and relish deeper/fuller
penetration. So it seems that old saying; "different strokes
for different folks" still holds true!
I'm dating a great guy, but I hate the way
he kisses! There's too much tongue, and it's like I've got this
thing shoved in my mouth, and I'm unable to respond.
I've always been very oral, and can get totally aroused (and even
climax) while only kissing, but with him, it's
just not working. The rest of our contact is pretty good, but I
can't fully connect when this part's off. He always
leads with his tongue (such a turn-off) and I've barely ever felt
his lips! I've tried to explain/show him what 'works' for me, but
he gets angry or sullen when I do. This has become such a frustrating
issue, I'm about ready to move on. Am I being too hasty?
The Romantic Kiss is our first intimate contact beyond a handshake.
It's supposed to be an interactive exchange--a sensual
dance shared by two. Kissing helps us discern potential; if our
mouths don't fit, the rest of it won't matter.
"Good kissing" is completely subjective; if someone shares
your style, you'll think he's
a great kisser! If not, you'll be right where you are. Sensory explorations
during the kiss can be erotic/compelling, but a man who
routinely leads with his tongue, might
have control issues. You can't respond, because you're not being
allowed to--but you must accept what he chooses
to give, whether it's pleasurable for you or not; this is just one
description of narcissism.
There are many different styles of kissing--but between
humans, it's generally done with the lips.
If your guy isn't willing to connect with you in this way,
you should anticipate other struggles as well.
I've recently had a phone interaction with a man I felt a wonderful
(and rare) connection with. He contacted me through a single's dating
site, and frankly, I'd almost given up on finding someone who sparked
feelings of "potential." Our dialogue flowed easily and
naturally and our cerebral/ spiritual chemistry was terrific. We
were both so excited about the uniqueness of our contact, we made
plans to get together that same night to see if there was physical
attraction as well. Sadly, he never phoned (as promised) to firm
up our plan, but called an hour before we were scheduled to meet
(finally returning my 2 calls to him) explaining
he'd gotten "hung up" with a meeting. It quickly became
obvious we woudn't be able to meet that night, but he said he'd
call over the next couple of days to "talk and set up another
date," which he never did. I feel disappointed and perplexed
by this incident. I've never been comfortable chasing after men,
so I'm not sure what to do. "Confused"
Dear Confused, welcome to the harsh reality of online dating. It
can be a useful tool for meeting people, but may yield more quantity
than quality. It seems a lot of folks on these services are ambivalent
about being in a relationship. They may be licking their wounds
from their last failed attempt, but craving the interaction, stimulation
and ego refueling this "safe" contact offers. Personally,
I think these sites are a sort of relationship pergatory
for people not yet ready to bond again. Some have unfinished business
from a past relationship that makes them scared to re-engage, and
some have been terrified of real intimacy and closeness
their whole lives! Often, what people say they want is
very different from what they truly desire (or are 'ready'
to have). Bottom line, trust your instincts. When you meet someone
whose words aren't congruent with his actions, pay attention,
'cause he's showing you
what you can anticipate from him in the future. Try getting involved
in new activities or taking classes in areas of interest. You're
likely to find more substantive people with whom you're compatible.
I love a man who's considerably older, by 22 years. We're compatible
on so many levels, the age thing doesn't seem to matter. We have
wonderful times together, and (after 19 months) he's asked me to
marry him. I'm very excited, but the problem is, he's not much younger
than my parents, and they've had a hard time accepting
this relationship. A few of my friends have been concerned about
the age issue, and have jokingly referred to him as my "sugar-daddy."
I've dated quite a bit, and was once married to someone 'age-appropriate,'
but have never felt a connection like this with anyone else. I think
I'm a bit afraid of what my friends and family will think about
our engagement, and I'm literally losing sleep over how to break
this news to them!
Love can arrive in surprising packages. Your parents may want to
save you from making errors in judgment that could hurt you--but
at some point, they must accept that you're capable of making sound,
adult decisions. What matters most, is the quality of connection
the two of you share. It's natural to want everyone to accept and
appreciate this man as you do, but give them time to know him better.
When they observe how happy you are, how could
they object? As you focus on your fiance's lovable qualities,
your friends and family will probably follow suit. You cannot control
other people's feelings or responses; when you attempt to, you'll
be miserable. Stay positive, and don't try to predetermine
their reactions. Let loved ones know how excited/thrilled you are
to be marrying a man that you adore, and can hardly wait to share
your life with.
I've been seeing a man for over a month, and we've gotten very
close during this time. Our intimacy is steadily deepening, and
I'm feeling great about this--but I'm a bit concerned and afraid.
When I convey that I love him, he doesn't always say it back, and
this feels really hurtful to me. I feel like I'm going out on a
limb by telling him how much I care, and it makes me want to run
away when I think he doesn't feel the same. I'm sensing
this relationship has potential to grow, but how can I get him to
be more expressive about his feelings for me?
Whoa, my dear. Love and trust take time to develop/establish, and
there's just no way around that. Shortcuts seldom work out, and
are typically driven by an inner emptiness
we're trying to fill up. This is still a very young relationship,
and infatuation at this stage is natural. People move at
different paces with respect to emotional bonding--and the phrase,
"I love you" might be considered
more sacred/meaningful to someone else, than it is to you. Those
three little words can't actually mean much, if there's
expectation or demand for reciprocation. If you
have irrepressible urges to verbalize affection for your partner,
it's probably springing from genuine feelings, and you've determined
it's safe to tell him. Your beau should never have to feel obliged
to parrot the words back (any more than you should), as
this renders them inauthentic. If he's caught up in intensely loving
emotions at the exact moment you are, he might return the sentiment--but
this presumes that the two of you are having identical
emotional experiences at any given time, and that's unrealistic!
Can you both agree to keep it honest, and try to share (all) your
feelings as they come up? At this juncture, it may be less
scary for you both to say; "Wow, in this moment, I'm
really crazy about you!" or, "I'm really loving
you right now." These qualifiers can diffuse concerns
that might be swirling around about the future, and allow
each of you to stay grounded in the Now. Give him space to grow
his feelings and ease into this attachment, or you may frighten
Why are good girls are drawn to "bad boys"? My friend's
terrific; she's a good student, a hard worker and a great friend.
The trouble is, she keeps getting involved with the wrong kind of
guy. He's usually a drop-out, seems a little dangerous and can't
hold onto a job. My girlfriend often ends up paying for their dates
and complaining about it--but she keeps going back for more, and
then gets her heart broken. I just don't get it! This happens over
and over, and it seems a little crazy that she continues to date
This is a complex issue, but here are a couple of possibilities:
Your friend may be drawn to certain elements in others,
that she's not comfortable owning for herself. Getting involved
with "bad boys" might feel balancing, if she's disowned/discarded
her darker facets, to maintain a "good girl" image (perhaps
to satisfy her parents' expectations). Another aspect of this might
involve a fear of closeness/attachment; since there appears to be
a pattern of romantic disappointment and she continues
to make these (poor) choices, I'd say that dating someone who's
probably feels too scary.
My wife has not made love with me in over two years. No matter
how many different ways I've tried to get information on this or
fix the situation, she won't communicate with me about why.
I've begun thinking about getting my needs met elsewhere, but I
know there'd be hell to pay if she found out (she gets furious
if she even catches me masturbating)! I'm feeling lonely, and so
in need of sensual expression and affection, I can barely stand
it. Is it wrong to want/need this in my life? I really don't want
to cheat on my marriage, but it's starting to feel like I have no
choice. Any suggestions?
You're trapped in a control game, but you can choose to
stop playing it. Any partner who withdraws/withholds attention or
affection and won't speak with you about it, isn't seeking
a solution to the problem. Sexual problems in a relationship almost
always indicate deeper issues--but it's the bedroom
stuff that (finally) prompts a couple to seek help! Ask your wife
if she's open to couple's therapy. For some, talking about sexual
preferences or needs can be very difficult/awkward; a skilled professional
should be able to facilitate this, and generally enhance communication
between the two of you. David Schnarch, PhD. authored a book called,
Passionate Marriage. Schnarch discusses the relational
dynamics you're struggling with, and what to do about it. To unhinge
from a spouse's sexual control, he suggests using an approach such
as this: I want a loving/satisfying sex life with you. If you
don't want this, I accept your choice--but please know that I'm
determined to get these needs met, even if it's elsewhere.
Shari, I recently met with an online connection. We'd shared
some phone time and emails, but from the moment I saw him, he was
all over me! I'm just not comfortable with physical contact until
I start to feel a level of affection for someone--but this guy threw
himself around me when I arrived, and kept touching my arms/hands
while we sat and talked. In short, it turned me off. I've had this
happen a few times before, and I'm not sure how to avoid it. Seems
like these men presume you want to be treated this way, or it's
their right to put their hands on you immediately. Is there any
way around this?
You've highlighted an important issue, and you're fully entitled
to these feelings. Each of us has a personal comfort zone, and yours
has evidently been breached. The internet allows for non-physical
intimacy, which (for some) spills over into the first physical meeting.
There are times these feelings/desires will be mutual, and other
times they won't. Some men are connected enough to their
own senses to read/respect your non-verbal cues or body
language, and some aren't! Convey your position on this before
you meet someone; let him know that while you're comfortable with
a hand-shake, you generally need to know him better before
a hug. If he disregards this boundary
when you meet, you've got a fuller sense about this guy, which could
help you avoid difficulties later on.
Shari, do men have any sense of smell? I just
can't get past bad breath or their over-use of cologne. Aren't they
even aware of these things? It seems they'd want
women to get closer, not be repelled. I can't bring myself to talk
about this stuff, so even when I really like someone, it's easier
to make up another kind of excuse to stop dating him.
If you're planning an exit anyway, seems like there's nothing
to lose by saying that you can't get close
because of this issue, and seeing if he's willing to do something
about it! Men's olfactory nerves can be less sensitive
than women's, but no man wants to "repel" a lady he's
interested in! If he's wearing too much cologne, express how extra-sensitive
your nose is, and ask him to use much less, or
none at all. Breath problems can be trickier, depending on whether
they're related to food odor or poor hygiene. If you're sharing
odorous foods/condiments (garlic, onions, etc.) this is usually
a non-issue--but if not, ask if he can be more mindful of his intake
before your date, and use breath fresheners when he's with
you. Chlorophyll capsules or tablets taken after
a strong smelling meal can mitigate some of this problem. If he
has hygiene issues (breath is yeasty or smells
like garbage), gently tell him his breath is offensive, and gift
him a package of dental floss. If he's looking forward to kissing
you, he might be motivated to clean up his act.
Do you have resources/help for an issue concerning a divorced
father idealizing his relationship with his children, two of whom
live with their mother and three who are older and on their own?
He can't see any of their flaws and becomes outraged
if anything negative is pointed out to him, or any questions are
raised about how much time or money he spends on them. Thank you.
If you're romantically involved with this man, I'd say you're treading
on very dangerous territory! How someone relates
to his/her children is usually sacred ground, and most
people aren't open to outside input, unless it comes from a professional
(and even then, it may not be well received)! It sounds
as if your voiced concerns about his kids could be experienced as
a personal assault. If your man's narcissistic, he'll be
incapable of confronting his own shortcomings, or seeing "flaws"
in anyone he views as an extension of himself. But aside
from this, I can't help wondering why
you seem compelled to alter how this man spends his time and money.
How and when did this become your business? Is this a nourishing/satisfying
relationship for you? If not, do you think that changing how he
treats his kids will enhance this? Leave it alone, or move
Dear Shari, I went back to a man I was seeing over a year ago.
Well, we know where this is going: I'd had intensive
therapy related to boundary issues, and thought I was better. I've
recognized that I generally attract abusive men,
and worked on my self-esteem issues. I got back with this guy and
he went through his own emotional upheaval, and began saying that
I was not 'present.' He'd
rant and interrupt me--and finally I started to shut down. I
can't believe that I allowed myself to get to the point where I
would argue with him! Now, in his mind of course, I'm
the one with "all the problems." I really need to get
out of this cycle. I didn't resort to name calling, tried to be
patient and helpful while he wigged out--but gees, after awhile
it was too much to bear. Finally, I just exploded. My business went
haywire, and I was so focused on paying my mortgage, that his neediness
for sex and attention was too much to accommodate. I need to be
solidified in my own skin and better at making choices for myself--I'm
49 years old, for goodness sake! I've read nearly every article
on your site. I met a guy awhile back, who appeared to have clear
cut boundaries, and I let him go! Help me break this cycle of dysfunction!!!
In my experience, re-runs never work out; after
all, you've already seen that movie, and you know exactly
how it ends! I think it would be useful for you to reframe your
statement about attracting "abusive
men"; more accurately, you are attracted to them. Healthier
choices entail resolving/ healing childhood wounds that impact self-worth,
and (subconsciously) perpetuate these selections. Meaningful
inner work can dismantle early 'core' issues, so
we're not compelled to repeat them within our adult attachments.
We tend to get with/stay with people who match our
level of emotional development. In a sense, they're a mirror for
us, helping to reflect where we'd benefit from working on ourselves.
I'm sensing an (internalized) 'critical parent' in your expressions
of what you think you "need" to do. Try changing your
state-ments to "I want," and you'll lower your
rebellion/resistance to making better, more sound adult choices.
Should I tell a romantic interest about my genital herpes
diagnosis in the uncertainty stage of a new relationship?
A. This is actually a timing issue, but you're demonstrating
solid character and consideration for others, in thinking
this through. There are no absolutes regarding when to
have these conversations, but they're never easy.
Bringing this up too soon exposes you unnecessarily, and may be
more information than a very new romance can handle. Waiting too
long can be emotionally wrenching, because there's more on the line
(in terms of potential loss). If/when you start to sense
that this relationship could have a future and/or you've
chosen to sexualize it, this is the time to discuss your diagnosis
(but not as you're climbing into bed!). Begin by
describing your feelings about broaching this topic; "this
is difficult, scary, awkward," etc., which will help you
share the rest more easily. Saying you've "been exposed"
to the herpes virus and are feeling a responsibility to let him/her
know before you move ahead, is a good way to continue. Allow for
questions, and answer them as best you can. Sharing this news may
invoke less concern if you've already established some emotional
trust--and you might learn that he/she has the virus as
well, which makes this a non-issue. If your friend freaks out,
there probably wasn't potential for something beyond the physical.
Can you please tell me why so many females
are shaving their pubic areas? Being with someone
who's shaved makes me feel like I'm with a little girl, not a woman;
frankly, it's not an erotic or sensual experience for me. I'm not
even buying men's magazines anymore, because the pictures are of
girls who are mostly bare down there! I think women
are supposed to have fur on this part of their bodies. Pardon me,
but why else would we call them "pussies?"
Each of us has different preferences in terms of what we consider
alluring, but I think you may be speaking for a significant number
of males. Furtively looking through Dad's Playboy magazines during
adolescence may have influenced what's erotic to you as
a grown man, but it's hard to know exactly what drives sexual proclivities
or fetishes. As we mature, we discover what 'sparks' us about another's
physicality, and (thankfully) "there's a lid for every
pot." Females can differ in personal comfort
with respect to this body feature, and usually express their own
style/taste in grooming it. A woman's pubic hair actually funnels
urine away from the body, which can help keep her cleaner.
Many have noticed that these hairs function as tiny antennae
that invoke pleasurable responses to the lightest/most subtle touch.
Some men love being with a woman who's clean shaven (and insist
on it), as oral sex is more pleasurable for them when this
area's completely exposed, and their lover(s) may feel similarly.
Others like yourself, want to be with a partner who looks (and feels)
more natural and womanly. For many, it makes no difference either
way. Your reference to pedophilia is intriguing, and could
certainly be a topic for debate. Interestingly enough, preferences
for or against pubic hair don't seem to be confined to
a specific demographic, as I've heard differing opinions from men
of all ages on this. Fad and fashion have always dictated personal
trends; some of 'em stick, and some don't. Sadly for you, it appears
this one's destined to be around for awhile.
Is it true that men become better lovers later in life?
In a word, yes. More accurately, there's greater
potential for it. Sexual changes occur as we age, due (in part)
to decreasing hormone levels. If our emotional/psychic development
keeps up with our chronology, priorities can't help but shift with
respect to connection and attachment; our lovemaking usually reflects
this. In our youth, relationships are primarily driven by sexual
attraction--later on, we tend to look for additional values
in a partner that are compatible and nourishing to us. Men who've
navigated this part of their growth successfully, tend to take more
time with a lover, have less focus on climax and derive greater
pleasure from a variety of sensual and intimate aspects
of sharing, besides intercourse. This means, the entire experience
takes on richer dimensions that make it more fully satisfying and
intense (mature women may crave this as well). Vasodilators like
Levitra, Viagra, Cialis, etc., enable older men to have spontaneous
erections, and some of them think this should still happen
like when they were thirty-something. Others realize it's the quality
of connection they share with a partner that matters most,
and allow themselves to respond (naturally) to those feelings.
Shari, I'm dating a man in his late fifties who keeps
asking for my input on dressing himself. At this age and with a
closet full of Armani, it's doubtful he's lacking
confidence in this area, and he does just fine when I'm not there
to help him! At first, I was flattered he valued my opinion and
admired my style sense, but this has gone way beyond occasionally
asking which tie goes best with a suit. Frankly, it's becoming a
turn-off. I mean, what the hell did he do before
I came along?? I want/need to be with a grown man
(not a boy), and if I'd wanted to have a kid, I'd have figured out
how to make that happen years ago! How can I get it across that
I don't want this job?! "Stuck in the closet."
Dear Stuck, there could literally be thousands of women
reading this right now, who'd switch places with you in a heartbeat!
Nevertheless, your man's behavior repels you, and this should be
respected. Frankly, almost nothing kills sexual excitement/tension
between a man and woman faster, than when a partner is
parentified (no matter who's promoting it)! First,
encourage him to trust his own "excellent" sense of style.
Second, stop responding with this type of assistance. If
you've already discussed this issue and he's failed to be responsive
to your concerns, try letting him know that this behavior doesn't
feel erotic/compelling to you, and it could inhibit your
sexual desire. If that doesn't get his attention, he may
need a mother more than a lover.
I'm unable to climax with a woman during intercourse. Other
times are no problem, but I'm wondering why this happens.
There could be many reasons you're having this difficulty, which
is actually considered a form of impotency. If
you're practicing safe sex, latex condoms inhibit conduction
of body heat and sensations of friction; polyurethane condoms (Avanti)
or a lambskin variety (Forex) help circumvent these issues, but
are only available in a standard size. If this is happening
when you're not wearing protection, your
inability to orgasm could have a psychic/emotional basis, and be
related to deeper issues. You might have some fear or anxiety about
getting someone pregnant, or getting too close. Men are
extremely vulnerable (physically/emotionally) at the point of climax,
and subconsciously you may not want to surrender control.
Wanting to hold back your orgasm to please a sexual partner is natural
and fine, but if you're overly focused
on this, you might push beyond the level of physical sensitivity
that makes it possible. All these elements can be influences, but
consistent inability to climax inside a woman's vagina
may be worth exploring within a therapeutic context.
Shari, I recently met a man I felt a unique connection with,
and it was thrilling to (finally) be on the same page with someone
I'd met totally by chance! It seems he felt similarly, and immediately
began talking about "our future together." This felt premature
to me, and I said so--but we shared some great conversation, kissed
a little and made plans to spend the following day together. The
upshot is, he never called, and I have no way of reaching him. I
thought this guy was genuine, but now I'm feeling
like a fool. What do you make of this?
Ahhhh, chance meetings. These can be delicious, but you really don't
know 'who' you're actually dealing with. A man who 'fast-forwards'
is generally not comfortable being in the moment or feeling
his way through a situation, which suggests a lack of confidence.
He may have been seeking a quick, easy sexual encounter, and you
didn't accommodate that fantasy (thank goodness). His inability
or unwillingness to give you the courtesy of a follow-up
call to say he wouldn't be meeting with you again, is passive-aggressive
behavior that speaks to a lack of emotional development (and character).
You're not foolish. You've just met someone who's good at seducing
women, but scared of getting close to them; this can stem from unresolved
I recently met a woman I felt a strong attraction with, and
asked her out. After our initial get-together, I asked to see her
again and she indicated she didn't feel we were compatible. I was
very disappointed by this, and tried to change
her mind. It didn't seem like her reasons were substantial enough
to avoid getting better acquainted; we live in different worlds
(career-wise), there's roughly a 15 year age gap (she's older),
but she said we didn't seem to have enough in common
to allow "potential for more." Frankly, I don't think
she's even open for a relationship, but I'm really pissed off! I
feel dismissed without being given a chance, and
it seems unfair. What do you think?
Dear Dismissed, situations like this are probably not
fair. When our excitement isn't matched by another, a variety
of feelings (besides disappointment) can get triggered; insecurity,
unworthiness, self-doubt, etc. An older woman may be more romantically
experienced, and have acquired a solid sense of herself and
her emotional needs. This could mean her priorities are
very different than yours; she may be interested in building a long-term,
meaningful bond with a compatible partner, rather than taking advantage
of opportunities for casual dating or sex (particularly if her career's
gratifying). Intuitive ability to discern whether
a man's capable of meeting her needs could be enhanced at this stage,
which saves both of you a lot of time (and grief). But
there's a question that begs to be asked here:
What do you think drives your
pursue someone who's not returning your interest??
Shari, what keeps a man from complimenting a woman he's involved
with, or demonstrating that he cares, or values her? It seems the
man I'm dating is attracted, excited by me and wants
me, but there's alot missing in terms of any thoughtfulness on his
part. I've gently expressed my desire for (small) gestures of appreciation/caring,
and have been very generous & patient in this relationship,
but I've begun to feel used, and that's a turn-off.
Assuming your guy does care (and why would you be with
someone who doesn't?) if he can't tell or show you how he feels
about you, he may be either ignorant or scared. Some (younger) men
don't know how to treat a woman if their social or romantic experience
is very limited, or they've never witnessed loving interactions
between their parents. Others (of any age) may have unhealed childhood
wounds, and need a "mommy"; this type of relationship
is not (inherently) reciprocal, so as long as you're
willing to give, they're happy to take. A few think that
bestowing compliments gives you too much power; on some
level, they're afraid that if they let you know you're beautiful
or special, it gives you the upper hand, and you might
treat them poorly--or think you can do better, and leave! This ridiculous
notion is bourne out of a deep sense of insecurity
and inferiority, and is totally opposite of how women
feel and function (which brings us back to the ignorance
element). You are entitled to feel appreciated and admired
by someone you're sleeping with. Determine if this man is trainable
to become more responsive to your feelings/needs, or find someone
more confident, and able to express himself.
my boyfriend (of 6 months) wants to have anal sex,
and I don't! I love sex, am fairly adventurous,
and I've been open to all his other requests, but this kind of thing
just doesn't do it for me. He insists I should be more "open
minded," so I've asked how he'd feel about
being penetrated this way. He's a total hypocrite of
course, 'cause there's no way he'd allow it! I've
repreatedly explained my reasons for not wanting
to do it, but he still keeps trying to go there when we're having
sex, which takes me out of the mood and makes me
mistrust him! His constant pestering is getting on my nerves, and
we've been arguing. How can I get him off my back (no pun intended)...!?
Well my dear, I think a lot of women have been wondering just
when and how the term "open minded"
became a euphemism for "must like anal sex"
(and isn't that a logistical contradiction?).
Sexual experimentation within an ongoing relationship can
help keep it exciting and fresh, but both
parties must feel at ease with trying something new, and agree that
either can pause or stop the activity if they experience
discomfort of any kind. We all have different pleasure, pain and
erogenous zones, and we're entitled to have these respected. It
seems your guy may have control issues, and (in
my mind) some questions beg to be asked: 1.
If anal sex is so important to him, why
did he wait until now to approach this topic with you,
rather than exploring it (verbally) at the onset of your relationship?
2. If you had given into this, what might he 'need'
from you next? 3. Why is your "boyfriend"
being persistently unresponsive to your
feelings and needs? Bottom line (pun intended!)
plenty of females find anal stimulation and intercourse extremely
arousing and pleasurable--and with any luck, they'll hook up with
partners who appreciate that. But nobody should be coerced/pressured
into doing anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.
As for your boyfriend's current fascination with 'rear-ending' you;
tell him to lay off, or you'll be tempted to suspend
his 'regular' parking privileges!
Hi Shari, I'm up against a really frustrating issue! Several
months ago I began seeing a man whom I like a great deal. In the
past few weeks, we decided to forego using condoms, because neither
of us wants to date others, and we're ready to be sexually exclusive.
Our most recent contact has felt even more intimate, intense and
wonderful than before, but I've been suffering with yeast
infections ever since! As soon as I recover (using over-the-counter
medication for a week) I get it all over again as soon as we make
love. I've never had this problem before, and I'm baffled by it
and very discouraged. My boyfriend isn't circumcised, and I'm wondering
if this has anything to do with my body's reaction. Am I allergic
to him? HELP!!! SL
Hi SL, thousands of women are yeast sensitive, and since your symptoms
began several months into this relationship with the only variable
being unprotected sex, you may be
one of them. There's a tremendous controversy surrounding this topic
(to circumcise or not to circumcise), but it seems nobody's
talking to women about health concerns
related to sex with males who've retained their foreskins! Any amount
of moisture in the form of perspiration and/or traces of urine trapped
between the penis and it's sheath (or prepuce) becomes
a breeding ground for microbial (yeast) growth. Early studies suggested
that women married to uncircumcised men had higher incidences
of cervical & uterine cancer from repeated
exposure to microbes and certain types of bacteria. Some women prefer
their men "natural" (or uncut) and have absolutely no
problems with yeast sensitivity. Others have confided
that unless their partner fastidiously washes himself with an anti-microbial
soap just prior to sex, they'll have a yeast infection
within a day or two after contact. Yeast cells multiply rapidly
in warm, moist, dark environments (like your vagina) and all it
takes is exposure to a few of them! Antibacterial soaps
destroy bacteria, but are not effective
against microbes (they're different organisms).
Talk with your gynecologist about this issue, and in the interim,
try having your boyfriend cleanse with an anti-microbial product
such as Summer's Eve Feminine Wash before intercourse
(or enjoy this together, as part of your foreplay). Once
you've completely cleared up your condition, use condoms for more
spontaneous contact, until you feel confident you've found
a way to 'circumvent' this problem. As a final
note; if any man you're sleeping with has recently taken
(oral) antibiotics, his semen can cause an imbalance in your vaginal
'flora' (healthy bacteria) and leave you vulnerable to yeast growth.
Shari, your insights on soy have changed my
life! I was eating tons of soy products; tofu, soy milk, etc. I
was dieting and lost weight, but had sexual difficulties,
and wondered if I had erectile dysfunction. I cannot take Viagra
because I see 'blue' for two days after. But when I quit soy, my
sex drive and performance returned to a good, normal level. Imagine
my surprise, to have a rocket in my pocket again! Do you think most
men have been alerted to the dangers of consuming
soy? Thanks again!
Dear Sir; I am delighted to learn that your sex
life has returned! Research has revealed that the plant or phyto-estrogens
in soy products can throw a male's testosterone levels way off balance,
and diminish his sex drive, motivation and concentration. Also,
when men ingest large amounts of soy, it contributes to a 'doughy'
rather than muscular body mass, and can present a number of health
risks, such as tooth loss! This happened to a vegan-vegetarian I
once knew; he frequently needed dental implants, but (sadly)
never related this problem to soy consumption. Unfortunately, his
ability to rise to the occasion was (also) affected. ADD/ADHD
can be aggrivated by this 'food' as well. A little soy
is fine on occasion, but a lot has been shown to be toxic
for men and women. Dr. Kaayla Daniel has done extensive
research into health risks related to soy consumption, and wrote
a book about it! Go to; www.TheWholeSoyStory.com
for more on "the dark side of America's favorite health
food," and sign up for Kaayla's newsletter.
Shari, I've been dating a great guy in his late fifties, and
I'm growing increasingly fond of him. We've recently started getting
physical as a result of feeling closer, but it seems he has difficulty
getting hard or maintaining an erection. I've begun
to question whether he finds me attractive enough. Intercourse has
always been my favorite part of lovemaking, so
this worries me a little. I think we have enough 'good stuff' to
(at least) contemplate a future together--but frankly, I'm afraid
to invest myself more deeply because of this issue. I imagine this
is a sensitive area for him, and I'm not sure how to approach discussing
it (or whether I should!) but the longer this goes on, the more
awkward it feels not to. "So near and yet
so far" pretty much sums this up, and it's troubling. Any suggestions
would be most appreciated.
There are many reasons for ED (erectile dysfunction) in a man this
age, and performance anxiety can be one of them
(impotency is frequently a state of mind). Do not
take this personally; if you weren't appealing to him, he wouldn't
be spending time with you. Men experience a decline in testosterone
as they age, and this impacts sexual spontaneity (this
can happen as early as one's mid-thirties). Understanding that your
man might be needing a bit more sensual foreplay (without
expectation to perform) can usually rectify this problem. Typically,
men get to their feelings through sex, and for
women it's the other way around. When a male bonds emotionally (before
sexually), bridging to physical closeness can be psychologically
challenging. The reasons for this are simple; you've already begun
to matter to him (and he's overly concerned with pleasing
you) or he's feeling emotionally vulnerable, which is a little scary
for him. You haven't mentioned health issues, but these can definitely
impact sexual performance. If your guy's taking blood pressure medication,
ED is a fairly common side effect. Doctors may be reluctant to prescribe
vasodilators; Viagra, Levitra, Cialis, etc., for treatment under
these circumstances (due to drug interactions) but careful medical
evaluation can mitigate potential harm. Penile injury or circulation
problems related to Diabetes, heart disease or other health concerns
can also inhibit erectile function. A vasodilator that's self-injected
locally (into the penis) prior to intercourse can circumvent
this issue~but while effective, this method is not readily accommodated
by most men. It's important he's examined by his internist and
a urologist to rule out medical issues. As a final note, if your
man consumes a lot of soy products, these can definitely
undermine male hormone balance and contribute to impotency. For
now, do your best to remove any pressure/expectation surrounding
intercourse by reassuring him this is not an immediate priority
(you're still getting acquainted, remember?). Play, touch, kiss,
talk, laugh and enjoy other aspects of lovemaking. Penetration can
be accomplished with other body parts or 'reasonable facsimiles'
purchased from a sex shop. With a little guidance, you can help
him learn how to satisfy your needs, while taking the pressure off
performance. Have this be a sensual time
for the two of you, and you may both be surprised at what
I noticed an attractive woman at the supermarket today and as
luck would have it, she turned up right behind me in the checkout
line. She seemed very open and friendly, but I couldn't tell if
she was interested or not. I was hard on myself driving home, because
I never know what to say or do in these kinds of situations, and
this probably has me missing out on romantic opportunities. Do you
have any tips for a guy like me? Speechless in L.A.
Dear Speechless, if you were from the east coast, it's
unlikely I'd be receiving this letter. Apparently, Los Angeles men
are reluctant to approach women, and the reasons for this are multi-layered,
but first things first: You need to know that the more beautiful
a woman is, the less she's
approached! While beauty can be intimidating, too many
men assume a female will resent the 'intrusion' or she's already
spoken for--but this kind of thinking will have you spending the
rest of your days alone in your cave. If you're attracted,
carry on a little banter or small talk (especially if she's
initiated an opening) and pay attention to her
eye contact and body language. Unless she's like a lot of women
(in L.A.) who've had to become aggressive in this mating
dance with men, she'll wait for you to initiate further
contact. Ask if you can phone her, and meet for coffee or cocktails
sometime very soon. If she's hesitant to give you her number, offer
yours--but most women these days have a business line or
voicemail they're comfortable sharing with you. Do not
wait a week before calling (so you can seem 'cool'),
because any woman with any brains and self-esteem will see right
through that, and you'll have already shot yourself in the foot!
Don't think beyond
coffee or cocktails; see how that goes, and decide if there's
enough mutual chemistry to set another
date. Sometimes (regardless of visual attraction) there's
not enough of a spark to ignite a flame,
and that's nobody's fault. Maybe there's room to explore
a friendship and maybe not, but you're only out the price of a couple
of Starbucks. This approach takes practice; just promise yourself
you won't let the next one get away so easy.
I've been seeing a woman I'm nuts about for roughly 7 months.
She's amazing; talented, smart, worldly, successful,
vivacious and great in bed. The trouble is, I get the feeling I'm
just a 'fling' for her, and there's really no future in this deal.
When I talk about wanting more time, attention, commitment and sense
of continuity in our relationship, she either changes the subject
or details how she thinks we're incompatible. My
bullshit barometer keeps telling me that no matter what I do or
how much I change, it's not gonna make a difference in my shot at
a future here. I don't know what to do, as for all intents and purposes,
I see her as the 'perfect' woman for me! Any suggestions? Boy Toy
Dear Boy Toy: When a man wants to share his heart
with a woman, he needs to pay particular attention to her capacity
for connection, compassion and humanity. He should
also look at her romantic history; what kind of relationships she's
chosen in the past, how long they've lasted, and their interpersonal
dynamics. Assess whether the two of you share similar goals
for this relationship--or are you trying to fit square pegs into
round holes? Your lady may be the most sensual/sexual
creature on the face of this earth, but if you can't get
near the soft parts behind
her breastbone, you'll be trapped in yearning
for something that's unattainable, and never feel you measure
up! If you have a high threshold for the feelings
this invokes, it's extremely likely you had parallel experiences
in childhood, and still carry those wounds. There's an old saying;
If you wanna know what you want, look at what you have.
Painful, negative experiences are easier to repeat than
positive ones, because on some level, they're familiar
to us (we already have that roadmap). If you're looking
to give your heart (along with the rest of you) find someone who
can treasure it, and return your interest.
Shari, what is it with men? I recently met
a guy I seemed to have a nice (mutual) connection with, and after
a couple of phone conversations we decided to meet. I was attracted,
but my intuition picked up on issues that made me seriously question
whether we had potential for a relationship. In response to this,
I thought there might be a chance we could just
be lovers. The upshot is, he called at virtually
the last minute to cancel our date, saying "something had come
up." I'd been looking forward to seeing him despite my reservations,
and suggested he call again when he wanted to see me. I haven't
heard from him, and it's been a couple of weeks. What do you make
of this? Am I just stupid about the opposite sex?
Dear Clueless, there are probably a zillion reasons this date wasn't
kept, and you could drive yourself crazy trying to figure
out what they are, but this won't serve you! One thing you should
definitely remember is that men are not looking
for women "friends." Sex
is what motivates males to pursue females, and this
will never change. If they sense you're uncertain
about them or the potential for sex, they'll cool down pretty fast.
I'm not saying this is a bad thing or that all
men are wired this way, but it's a pretty reliable rule of
thumb. Men get to their feelings through sex, and women
get to sex through their feelings. Females generally need
more emotional and cerebral foreplay, before they need
someone in their bed. Given your reservations, perhaps some kind
of protection was sent your way, because
(bottom line) this may not have been a healthy or congruent
fit for you. Try and trust this, and let yourself off the hook.
Maybe the next man you meet won't bring up caution flags
for you, and you'll have opportunity for a fuller relationship.
In the meantime, let me leave you with an extremely useful four
letter word: NEXT...!
feedback on a confusing situation, Shari. I felt a 'spark' with
a woman I met at a social function, and asked her out on a date.
During our first (arranged) meeting, her vibes were negative
from the minute she showed up, and I strongly sensed she didn't
want to be there. She explained her mood by saying she'd had a "stressful
day" at work--but as our evening wore on, I felt like I was
experiencing something akin to oral surgery! In short, it was a
lot of work trying to connect with her. Always
the gentleman, I gave her the benefit of the doubt (we all have
bad days!) but frankly, I wanted to leave within
the first few minutes, and (in retrospect) I wish I had! Can you
shed some light this, and how to avoid having it happen again? "Disappointed"
Dear Disappointed, I wish you'd left in the first few minutes too!
Humans are complex, and occasionally something simple (like poor
timing) can derail a potential connection. It's fine to cut someone
a little slack, but first dates shouldn't have to feel like
"work." Your note suggests the woman
you initially met, seemed very different than
the one who showed up for your date, and this is noteworthy! We
sometimes have fantasies & anticipations as we're heading into
a social function, and these can cause us to 'ramp up' for the party.
We might be a little inebriated shortly after arriving (notice how
everyone heads first to the bar?), which takes
the edge off anxiety and eases our inhibitions. This engages our
seductive natures, because alcohol (a social
lubricant) allows us to be more in our bodies than
our heads (hence, the number of unplanned pregnancies, STD's, etc.).
Some women and men have acquired
or strategies that are foundational to their sense of confidence/self-worth,
and they automatically revert to these defaults,
when meeting someone new. Sadly, this could be all they have to
bring to YOUR party, and (sober) there may not be much
else there. In the future, one or two phone conversations
before you meet should give you a better sense of a woman's interest,
and whether you have potential for developing something
more. Next time you find yourself in a situation like this,
listen to your gut! Graciously thank her for meeting with you, but
share your sense that this isn't "good timing" for
her. You may (or may not) invite her to call you, if/when
she'd like to try this again, but pay the check and take
your exit. If she objects to your leaving, follow your
intuition--but it's perfectly acceptable to let her know that this
moment has passed for you, and say "goodbye."
Can you give me some tips on getting my husband to pay more
attention to me when he gets home at night? It seems like all he
wants to do when he walks in from work, is sit in front of the TV
with a beer! He practically ignores me and our kids, and I feel
like he doesn't care about us. "Lonely"
Dear Lonely, I usually hear complaints from men
on the opposite side of this issue, so perhaps my 20-Minute
Marriage Miracle can help: Working men (and women) need
a little time to 'space out' when they get home. Try meeting
your husband at the door with a smile and a cold beer, turn on the
TV for him, and leave him alone for 15 - 30 minutes to discharge
his day and RELAX. Men stop at their local
bar instead of coming straight
home, because they need time to decompress
from high levels of stimulation and demands at work. Understand,
that while you're with the kids for 8+ hours and craving
adult interaction, he's basically putting out fires and
slaying dragons all day! About half a century ago, clever
wives 'freshened up' (remember this during your courtship?) and
greeted their husbands with chilled martinis when they returned
from the office; this went a long way toward keeping the romance
alive. His beverage doesn't have to contain alcohol, but gifting
him 'quiet time' is the most important element here. Your man
requires this period to regroup and regenerate himself, so he's
able to switch gears and be more loving with you! He'll
be grateful for this special consideration, and start
looking forward to coming home.
Shari, I have always been attracted to women older than
myself, but have trouble finding someone who is compatible with
me. It seems women are usually attracted to men older than themselves,
so the ladies I meet want a 'fling' but not a serious relationship.
This is fun of course but not exactly what I want. My neighbor is
a lady of 63 and I am 40. We see each other quite a lot - just go
out. It is fun being with her, but I worry about moving on to the
next level. We have come close, but both of us are a little nervous.Then
I worry a little about long term, what will happen when my partner
is 70, how will I feel then, and is it such a sensible idea? I think
I'm more worried about being neighbors than the age difference.
So my basic question is: should I settle for someone closer to my
age or someone I desire now? Thanks for responding - I am most grateful.
Dear R, first of all, you should never "settle"
when it comes to matters of the heart. Start by initiating honest
conversations with your friend to see what it will likely
mean to each of you if/when this
relationship is sexualized, and where each of you stands on the
notion of commitment. You should address how your expectations
of each other might change, once you go to bed. The fact that
you live very close could make for a sticky situation if either
of you becomes attracted to (and wants to date) someone else--and
what will happen to your friendship if this occurs? Open
dialogue can mitigate uncertainty and explore potential
for something more serious, before you
two bridge to a physical relationship. You'll be far more successful
at love (and sex) if you can enter into them honestly and consciously.
Your predicament suggests a pattern
of attraction that's repeatedly disappointing to you,
but may keep you safe from attaching.
In dating someone considerably older than yourself, you
have a built in "deal breaker" (or exit strategy) in place
before investing your time and feelings. This strategy may help
you avoid real closeness and it's called a 'payoff'
(regardless of whether the consequences are positive or
negative), as it supports your subconscious desires.
Living in the future can be a way to avoid intimacy and engagement
in the present! When your friend is 70 you'll be nearing 50, and
how does a 23 year age disparity become more crucial for you at
that juncture than it is now? Does
it invoke anxiety about loss of attraction, or fear of loss in general??
Younger women may desire marriage and/or children, and you
may not; older females could have fewer expectations,
and be satisfied with a relationship that offers only sex and companionship.
But the emotional, psychological and spiritual development that
women have (ideally) acquired in later years might not be matched
by you--which could be why they're not able to take you
more seriously. Finally, older women
seldom have a child or children at home, so there's
potential for you to receive the kind of focus, attention and/or
nurturance you may have longed for (but lacked) as a child from
your own mother. Any (or all) of these elements can factor into
your existing attraction strategy, and are worth exploring therapeutically
if/when you feel you're ready to love and be loved.
For women, on love
and sex: use extreme caution when bestowing qualities or
attributes to someone just because he makes you happy in
bed, 'cause no matter how you slice it, you
can't make a fruit salad out of a banana!
For men, on love and
sex: women like sex
as much as you do, and they're far more inclined to respect
and trust you if you're straight with 'em! If you're attracted
to someone and want to get physical, but you don't feel ready
for something more serious, say that
before you get to the bedroom! Women learn to distrust
(and sometimes, despise) men, when they feel they've been deceived