Advice

Miss Information

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Have a question? Email erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.


Dear Miss Information,
I’m a divorced woman who’s enjoying her sudden sexual liberation. After years in a bad marriage, I think I’m entitled to have fun, so I do — regularly. I’ve also started seeing a shrink. Unfortunately, after one session she’s labeled me a sex addict. I don’t troll bars for sex, I don’t have one-night stands, and I’m happily honest about how “active” I am. I just have no interest in long-term relationships right now. I meet people from online dating sites, I get to know them, I have flings. Sometimes I see two or three guys at a time. I figure that as long as I have safe sex and don’t lie to anyone, I’m being responsible and ethical. What’s your take? — Seeking Acceptance



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Dear Seeking Acceptance,
    Even though they seem all authoritative with their framed degrees, suede elbow patches and boxes of Kleenex arranged just so, shrinks are people too, and sometimes they get it wrong. I used to go to one who couldn’t get over the fact that my parents gave me the (very) occasional swat on the ass as a kid. She kept throwing around terms like "primary abuser" and "unsafe home environment" when what was really bothering me was my relationship with my shitheel ex. I stopped seeing both and was immediately happier.
    The Sex Addicts Anonymous website (www.sexaa.org) defines sexual addiction as such:
    The essence of all addiction is the addicts’ experience of powerlessness over a compulsive behavior, resulting in their lives becoming unmanageable. The addict is out of control and experiences tremendous shame, pain and self-loathing . . . The unmanageability of addicts’ lives can be seen in the consequences they suffer: losing relationships, difficulties with work, arrests, financial troubles, a loss of interest in things not sexual, low self-esteem and despair.
    Judging from that alone, it sounds like your shrink is being a little extreme with her choice of labels. If you feel good about your encounters — and your friends and family haven’t echoed any of what your therapist has said (“everyone sees it but you” is a huge warning sign) — then tell your shrink to shove off, and go see someone new.



Dear Miss Information,
Four months ago, my boyfriend dumped me. I really loved him, and we had incredible sex — so incredible, in fact, that we continued to have it, post breakup, for three months. I hoped we would get back together. He’d say things like, “If I met another girl, I would have to teach her how to have sex. She wouldn’t be as good as you.” But about three weeks ago he stopped contacting me, and he’s now dating a friend of mine. I still love him, and even though I met a great guy a few days ago, everything about him reminds me of my ex. What am I to do? Is all hope lost with my ex? — Dumped for a Friend

Dear Dumped for a Friend,
    A fuck partner is one thing, a boyfriend is another. In your angst over your breakup, you seem to have lost sight of the difference between the two.
    Let’s review: A boyfriend is someone who wants to date you. A fuck partner is someone who wants to fuck you. A boyfriend may want to fuck you, but a fuck partner does not want to date you. Right now, your boyfriend has relegated you to fuck partner, and guess what? There’s not a damn thing you can do about it. Continuing to fuck him, or hanging around as a “friend,” will just waste your time and make you look pathetic as hell. The best way to let a wound close is to leave it the fuck alone. Distance. Time. Distraction. These are your new friends.

Dear Miss Information,
    My fiancĂ© and I recently discovered his love for wearing my G-string panties and my sexiest, silkiest clothing. We also use toys and bondage gear when we have sex. Occasionally I feel like I’m in competition with the things he wears and our toys. I feel like the focus of our sex life is all about his kinks and the satisfaction thereof.
    I guess I’m slightly jealous. I’ve communicated this to him, but I want to follow up with specific ideas. Can you help? I don’t want to pout, I want to play. — EM

Dear EM,
    Holy shit, you’re awesome. The line "Don’t Pout — Play!" should be embroidered on a clit-shaped pillow and entered into the permanent collection of the Smithsonian. That’s because it hits one of the major fundamentals of good sex — if you’re going to bitch; you’ve got to offer alternatives.
    Want some inspiration? Here’s where not to look: women’s magazines. Take it from someone who’s wasted more time than she’d care to admit on articles like "101 Ways to Hate Your Thighs While Giving a BJ." Here’s where you should look: Porn/smut/erotica/etc. But don’t just peruse it. Break out of your established routine. If you usually watch guy/girl, try watching girl/girl or guy/guy. Or girl/guy/guy. Invest in a membership to a high-quality pay site that features content by category, then make it your goal to explore them all. You may get a little disgusted from time to time but you may also turn yourself on to something new.
    Other ideas: Try swapping stories with some of your more open friends (hint: a wine tasting makes a perfect cover to get everyone wasted and loose-lipped). Sometimes the hottest stuff is happening right around you, and there’s nothing wrong with copping a few ideas. Also, think back to when you were younger and first started fucking around. What kind of stuff did you do back then? Have you stopped doing any of it? Anything you want to revisit?
    Now that I’ve given you a few ideas, I’ll turn you over to our readers. When’s the last time you discovered something new, something awesomely dirty and not at all "you"? How did it happen? Leave your suggestions for EM in Feedback.
 

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©2005 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com