This week: the female pre-ejaculator- and how far you can take sex for vanity's sake.
Dear Aretha & Susie,
Here's the thing: I've realized I haven't figured out sex yet.
I've never had an orgasm. All I want to do is make my boyfriend happy, put him in blissy-eyed nirvana, and impress him with my tight body. I like it but it's vanity – I want to be a good lay for him. Sex from the female perspective bores me. I can't imagine physical pleasure that would be appealing for its own sake.
This has its downside. I secretly will my boyfriend to come as soon as possible so we can stop. If I don't feel pretty, I can't get aroused. I can't masturbate – after all, there's nobody to impress if I'm alone.
When I was growing up, I was a "brain" and boys didn't notice me. Now men do notice me- and I like it- but I'm ashamed how badly I've come to need their attention.
I'm sure some of this will go away over time (I'm 21 and I've only slept with one person) but I could use a little help. My boyfriend has actually asked me to enjoy his body more. He wants me to ask him to do things for me, but I just can't. I want to be wanted- terribly, fearfully- and I have no goddamn idea what I want myself.
M'aidez! I'm so tired of being sexually dependent.
Aretha: It's time to brain-wash yourself the other way around.
Here's the thing: Your boyfriend wants you to get off. Period! Men think it's AROUSING when women enjoy themselves in bed. It sounds like he's already been dropping you hints.
Susie: They're more than hints. Your BF is desperate. Did he write this letter for you?
Most lovers find it so difficult to ask for anything in bed, that if it rises to the level of a kind request, you can be sure he's been obsessing about it for hours, wondering how to break the ice.
Aretha: Have you told your boyfriend your feelings or is it a secret?
Susie: He'd find it enlightening to hear what you told us. Could you bring yourself to confide in him? Not in bed, but with your clothes on and all your wits about you.
This isn't going to disappear. Even your vanity is boring you. You're faced with deciding if this fellow is a treasure to cherish - or if you're moving onto the next "impressionable" young thing. Without your own pleasure, the superficial ego strokes are going to seem more and more paltry.
Aretha: You say that you can't find ANY physical pleasure that would be appealing, just for YOU.
What about... if your boyfriend gave you a massage? Or made you something delicious to eat?
Both of those things are also physical sensations that make you feel good, just like sex. Think of that the next time you're in bed with him. I know it can be hard to receive "the goods" when you're used to being the giver- so start small.
The next time you two are in bed, don't think, "And now… I am going to FORCE myself to HAVE AN ORGASM." Instead, ask your BF to give you a nice back rub or something before the sex even starts and you go into your "mode."
Let yourself be "treated," whether it's sexually, physically, or emotionally. In general, boyfriends LIKE to take care of their girlfriends and make them feel good, sexy, secure.
Susie: You've got one of those good ones in your bed right now.
I reviewed a book recently about a young woman's search for orgasm. Her disdain and cheeky humor about "not getting it" was all too familiar.
I wrote, "What does this lack of female orgasm mean? Is it like missing the Grand Tour of Europe - or the crosstown bus? Is it overrated?
"The young author got one lucid answer from an expert she queried, who's also a colleague of mine- Dr. Rae Larson.
"'People overvalue orgasm,' Larson told her. "They go looking for an orgasm instead of pleasure. Look for pleasure first; that will lead you to where you want to go.'"
I'm not going to twist your arm and tell you about masturbation, the clitoral body, and the wonders of sexual self-knowledge. You are obviously a well-read cookie.
Instead, find out what gives you a thrill. There is nothing boring about that. I don't care if it's pole-dancing, swimming in open water, bad porn, or jumping out of an airplane. You find out what makes your heart race, what makes you euphoric, what makes you involuntarily wet- and the orgasm will simply show up, a nervous system response to a well-lubricated limbic system.
Dear Aretha & Susie,
I have a frustrating sexual problem that masquerades as a blessing. I enjoy sex with my boyfriend of three years, and am able to orgasm every time. The problem is that I usually come in the first few minutes.
After this first orgasm, I just feel "done." It doesn't hurt to continue, but I lose interest in sex and my body seems to shut down to further stimulation. I've tried delaying my orgasm, but after penetration, there's only so long I can control myself without going down the path to orgasm.
While I can be perfectly happy with two-minute sex, my guy has stamina and wants to continue. He understands when I ask to stop- and he'll get off another way- but this mismatch in our timing makes it hard to stay connected during sex.
I'd also like to experience longer-lasting sex myself without a premature orgasm getting in the way. It's common to hear of men dealing with this problem, but as a woman, I don't know why I can't last during sex -or how come I can't keep going after my first orgasm.
What's the deal?
Aretha: Huh. Interesting.
I have random ideas of what could help… and a lot of questions!
After you come, are "done" for the hour, or are you "done" for the day? Do you notice that you come quicker or slower depending on how often you and your boyfriend have sex? Do you ever masturbate and come BEFORE you have partner sex?
Have you tried different positions? Maybe something different that you normally don't do would help you last longer. Have you tried putting a pack of ice on your vagina? (Just kidding).
Susie: The icepack would definitely do it! I love this question. Men and women are so similar- and we're usually so focused on minute differences, we miss the big picture.
Women who are familiar with their lover and know what they like, often find that coming fast is easy. Too easy. You're confronted with the fact that you, Miss Considerate, feel like pushing the dude off of you, wham-bam-thank-you-m'am. We can all be selfish piggies.
Like any guy facing this question, you have to ask yourself, "Do I give a darn?"
There is some self-interest involved… as Aretha said, you can tease out the foreplay, a little variety, and drive yourself delightfully crazy. Make yourself beg for it before you give in… this can lead to some fun scenarios.That's what most women do in this situation. Doing algebra or baseball stats in your head is a little more perverse.
Or perhaps you'd like to give yourself wiggle room on the other end. You might not feel like doing ANYTHING in the first five minutes after coming, but try doubling or tripling that. When you come again, it will probably be slower but it might be more intense.
You've been with this guy for three years. You've probably laughed about being a "premie," or talked about it seriously at times. Furthermore, he must SEE what he does that drives you over the edge. Maybe he likes it that way, if he's so quick to oblige.
I would ask him, knowing each other as you do, what have been the best times for him, when it "clicked," timing-wise. Maybe you'll be surprised to compare answers.
No matter what you come up with, don't forget to reserve the special occasions for you to fly off the handle and start snoring in post-orgasmic slumber. How could anyone deny you that, every once in a while? I stand with you, in premature sisterhood.
Susie and Aretha Update!:
Susie has a new book out, Bitten: Dark Erotic Stories.
She is clasping to her breast a review by Greta Christina that says: "Bitten is almost completely compelling. Like, "reading it raptly until 2 in the morning, then masturbating as quietly as I can because I don't want to wake my partner but won't be able to fall asleep with these stories in my head until I do"- compelling."
And Aretha? She just started her first semester at university and the remote mike shorted out on her during the extra-credit question period in a 750-student sex education class.
The question was: "Species-wide, what makes females "female" and males "male"? Is it...
a) that males have testes and females don't
b) that females lactate and males don't
c) that males possess the "xy" chromosome and females the "xx"
d) that males have small gametes and females have large gametes
e) that females prefer monogamy more than males
Aretha would like you to know that eight students picked (e).
HOWEVER! The first EIGHT Jez readers who answer this question correctly, (no cheating!) win an autographed copy of Bitten. Mail your answer (and your snail mail address so we can ship it) RIGHT NOW to: firstname.lastname@example.org.