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 recently broke up with a guy I had been dating. While I loved being with him, he just didn’t want to be exclusive, so I had to end it. Now I have fantasies of us getting back together. Whenever I masturbate, I think of him, and immediately after coming, I start sobbing. I know this can’t be normal. Can orgasms trigger extreme emotional distress? — Under Pressure



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Dear Under Pressure,
    Of course they can. Orgasms are all about release, and pent-up emotions are just as likely to spew forth as bodily fluids. The only difference is that you can’t wipe away ex-boyfriend angst with a tube sock.
    It’s probably not the healthiest thing in the world to fantasize about your ex and go all Sally Struthers afterward, but neither is it unusual. You’re going through a breakup and having trouble separating your sexuality from your emotions. This is what’s known as being a sentient human being. Very few people are able to leap right back into their normal jerkoff routine after a relationship ends. Jesus, I’ve been known to completely shutter-over my genitals for months at a time, so consider yourself lucky that you can get off at all.
    The best thing to do right now is relax and give yourself time to process what’s happening. When you’re masturbating, try working in some new sexual stimuli: magazines, books, websites, whatever. Even if they don’t turn you on as much as your ex, give them a quick look. It’s kind of like when your Mom would get you to try new foods by putting “just a little” on your plate. When the time comes, you’ll be ready for a bigger bite.



Dear Miss Information:
By all accounts, I’m an attractive, successful, well-rounded and ambitious guy in my mid-twenties. Here’s the problem: if I happen to lock eyeballs with someone who’s checking me out across the bar, I immediately look at the floor. After my moment of opportunity is missed, I invariably kick myself, but it never seems to change my knee-jerk nervous reaction. What can I do to break myself of this terrible habit before I shoegaze my twenties away? — Nervous Nelson

Dear NN,
    Word of advice from an experienced barfly and former recruiter: pickup lines are much like cover letters. People always agonize over what they’re going to say when the truth is that most people don’t even read them, and if your credentials are good it doesn’t fucking matter. The same goes for picking up girls. I think back on all the men I’ve met in bars, and the magic words that won me over were usually something like “Hi” or “How’s it going?” If the attraction is there, it’s there.
    Of course, you can’t have an opening line until you unglue your eyes from the floor, so here are a few tips:
    1. Practice. Talk to everyone, and look them in the eye. The more small interactions you have each day, the more talking to strangers will not seem like such a big deal.
    2. Embrace your shyness. Shyness is mysterious. Shyness is humble. Shyness is “I want to know more about that guy over there in the corner instead of this tool who won’t shut his mouth.” Start using it to your advantage.
    3. When you go out to pick up girls, go in a pack, preferably with guys who are already part of a happy couple. They can make the initial introduction, then you can move in for the kill. Also, don’t make a habit of going out with platonic female friends. Shyness + “Is she or isn’t she with him?” = bad scene.
    4. Having a little routine can help. I have a ritual I do right before public speaking. I listen to a certain Beastie Boys song and stand in front of the mirror saying "I am a hot tamale" over and over until I break down and laugh. The idea is to take some of the seriousness out of the situation. You’re hitting on chicks, NN, not saving gay baby whales. The world isn’t going to end if you go home alone.

Dear Miss Information,
My fiancée and I have an open relationship, and though we don’t go as far as attending swingers’ clubs, we’ve successfully met people for the occasional hookup or threesome. Recently, a job opportunity moved us halfway across the country, and now we can’t figure out how to meet willing partners. Our accents immediately signify we’re from somewhere else, and people always ask why we’ve moved. As soon as I say “My fiancée’s job,” I feel like I’m putting a sign on my forehead that says DO NOT TOUCH. How do we let people know we’re still open to having fun either individually or as a couple? — New in Town

Dear New in Town,
    Meeting new friends is hard enough as it is, let alone the type you can have over for an impromptu orgy and coffee cake. That’s why a lot of people in your situation keep their swinging and their friendships separate, the occasional spontaneous hookup notwithstanding.
    While it’s cool that things happened so organically in the past, you may need to take a more formal approach if you want to keep the action going in your new locale. I’m talking about online personals, swingers’ sites and classified ads.
    If the online thing isn’t for you, focus on making friends with cool, open-minded people who share similar outlooks on sex, religion and politics. Bide your time and gradually reveal your swinger personas as a little secret you’re sharing, not an explicit invitation. If your friends want more, they’ll let you know.
 

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©2005 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com