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 stopped seeing a guy who acts like a sex addict. He admits he has a problem. We were never exclusive, but we were together for two-and-a-half years and had a very real connection. On the other hand, I know he lies and plays women for sex. He says he has intimacy issues. Could there be any truth to this? I’m going crazy doubting my own instincts as I try to meet new people. — Bruised Flower



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Dear Bruised Flower,
    A sleazebag is a sleazebag, even if he’s self-aware. In fact, that almost makes it worse, since those in denial can at least feign ignorance.
    That you’ve stayed with him for such a long time speaks to your codependency as much as it does his skills as a cocksmith. I know it’s awesome when a man’s good in bed, but is it worth contracting an STD or getting knocked up by a deadbeat dad? Both are a possibility when you’re sleeping with someone who’s promiscuous and prone to fabrication.
    It sounds like you really love this guy, and I’m sorry. Most of us know what it’s like to love someone who’s deeply flawed. They may spend every day stinking drunk, but goddamn it, there’s something special about him or her that we can’t get anywhere else.
    But how’s this for a revelation: You can. Yep, I’m serious. You can find someone who makes you feel just as good, a guy who will both care for you and make fireworks come out of your crotch. And he won’t come with all that icky baggage.
    You’ve already taken a major step by terminating the relationship. What you want to do now is make the break a clean one — no booty calls, no phone calls, no nothing. Use the next few months to spend some time alone. Figure out why you have such a low self-opinion and see what you can do to fix it. Read Sylvia Plath. Take karate.
    As you venture back into the world of dating, remember that there are feelings and there are actions. This man may have felt love for you, but he was unable to act in a way that made it a reality. I can tell my landlord I “feel” like paying rent, but unless I hand over that check on the first of the month, my ass is on the curb next to Paris Hilton’s album. Perhaps this is a strategy you can adopt going forward. Good luck.



Dear Miss Information,
    My boyfriend and I lost our virginity to each other in high school, and we’ve never been with anyone else since. I’m starting to worry that he wants to see other people. He’s been flirting with other girls. We’re madly in love, and we always say we’re in this for the long run. Can two young people be together forever without experiencing anyone else? — I’m Hoping


Dear I’m Hoping,
    Happily married high-school sweethearts may be rare, but they do exist. Robert Smith and his wife Mary Poole have been sharing sweet nothings, as well as ample amounts of mascara, since age fourteen.
    As for your larger question of whether or not monogamy “works,” I’ll leave that for you and our readers to duke out in Feedback. My personal take is yes for some and no for others, a stance which leads me to believe I’d make an excellent politician. The one thing I can say with all certainty is that monogamy ain’t easy. It takes work to make it work.
    The fact that you’re looking for external validation is a sign that something is amiss. Playing compare-and-despair with other couples is a common avoidance behavior. What makes it so appealing is that it provides little shots of reassurance when we’re feeling hopeful about our relationships (“We don’t fight that much, not like Dana and Paul”), and added reinforcement when we want to break it off ("If Juanita and Ted can’t make it, there’s no hope for us.”) Either way, it allows us to put off dealing with ugly issues.
    Try to take an unbiased look at your boyfriend’s behavior. Is he really being more flirty, or have you just been feeling insecure? Maybe you’re feeling guilty about having these doubts, and your jealousy is a form of transference. I know it sounds backwards, but I’ve been in relationships where the less I liked the guy, the more possessive I got.
    Make a compromise with your man. You’ll get off his back if he’ll go a little more out of his way to make you feel like hot stuff. Don’t just say it. Agree to specific actions you can take as individuals and as a couple.

Dear Miss Information,
    My girlfriend was abused as a child and can’t orgasm during sex. Feeling good during intimacy is often a problem. She’s had fantasies of being with another woman, and I’ve been wondering if a sexual experience with a female (who she might consider less threatening) would help. I’d like to be there when it happens. What do you think of this idea? — Beau Geste

Dear Beau Geste,
    It’s noble of you want to help your girlfriend, but I don’t know if a threesome is what’s best for her right now. It’s a difficult act to pull off for even the healthiest of couples, let alone one in your particular situation.
    If I were in your position, I’d focus on doing everything I could to help her orgasm — or at least experience pleasure on a more consistent basis — when it’s just the two of you in bed. You can go the self-help route with books and tapes, or, if you have the money and inclination, seek out the services of a sex therapist. The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists has a nice directory on their site with lots of resources.
    When you and your lady feel good about where you are sexually, then you can consider the world of group sex. I know this long-term approach might sound calculated and boring, particularly if you’ve gotten yourself all worked up at the prospect of a three-way romp in the near future. But look at it this way: once you get your own house in order, you’ll be in a much better position for any experimentation to come.

 

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©2006 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com