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,
     When I’m with a woman, I work hard to make sure I’m on top of my game. I always give her ample time to orgasm. If she doesn’t climax, I feel guilty. Can you give me a length of time (no foreplay, coitus only) after which it’s appropriate to give up, so when she doesn’t come I can still keep my ego intact? — Time Bandit



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Dear Time Bandit,
     It’s great that you want to thrill the women you bed, but maybe you’re being a bit too Type A about it. Your use of the phrase "on top of my game" in a sexual context reminds me of the guy who shows up for office ping-pong in a sweatband, Oakleys and holding a monogrammed paddle. Kinsey says three-quarters of adult males blow their load in less than two minutes, but that was 1948. Recent surveys report it’s now closer to ten. I bet you’re feeling better already, aren’t you?
     More good news: Just because someone doesn’t orgasm doesn’t mean they weren’t enjoying the sex. Some of my fondest sexual memories are of quickies that involved no orgasm on my part at all. It was the vibe, the setting, the being fucked against the doorframe by my high school boyfriend as my parents slept upstairs. Good times.
     If I were you, I’d work on conjuring up the nerve to solicit feedback from my partners during sex. The way you’re going about it now is like taking a cross-country trip without a map. You know better than to whine "Are we there yet?" with your face between her legs, but otherwise you have no idea what’s going on. That’s understandable. The female orgasm is complex. Personally, I need three distinct types of stimulation happening simultaneously to push me over the brink, but no guy is going to be able to guess the precise combo on the first try. It’s much easier if I tell him.
     Some girls are shy about giving explicit verbal instructions (not me, I’m a fricking drill sergeant), so keep your eyes and ears peeled for other kinds of clues, like stiffened limbs and rapid breaths.
     Finally, know that just as bad as the two-pump chump is the guy who treats his girl’s orgasm like it’s a lifesaving mission to find her a kidney. If you’re trying your best and are sincerely interested in making a girl feel good, she’ll know and she’ll appreciate it. So save that guilt for something real, like those lapsed charity donations or the gummy worms you’re always pilfering from the bulk bin.



Dear Miss Information,
     I recently started dating someone. She’s thirty years old. When she’s with me, she’s orgasmic, enthusiastic about sex and seems totally comfortable with her body. I have no complaints. However, she did tell me that she’s never masturbated. Any thoughts as to why this would be? — Hand Offish


Dear Hand Offish,
     My friend Maria’s mom wouldn’t buy Maria male Barbie dolls, thinking them too risqué for her daughter. We had to create our own by hacking off Barbie’s hair with scissors and drawing on beards with a felt-tipped pen. Voila! Pre-Op Tranny Ken. Talk about messing with your child’s sexuality.
     If your girlfriend had a mom like Maria, that could explain part of it. It might also be the physical nature of the vagina itself. It’s not like that certain other sex organ that hangs between the legs, growing and shrinking like a science toy. It’s more subtle. Most girls start masturbating at a later age than boys and a small percentage never get around to auditioning the finger puppets at all.
     Then there are all those social myths that men are sex fiends and women prefer chocolate. Perhaps your girlfriend has taken some of this social conditioning more seriously than she should and feels embarrassed or repressed about her libido.
     You can certainly encourage her by giving her a vibrator, dildo or pulsating shower head (the latter is awesome for beginners). You can also work masturbation into your sexual repertoire in little ways that won’t scare off a newbie. Asking for a dildo show might be a bit much, but you can encourage her to grab her breasts or finger her clit while she’s riding you on top.
     If she’s resistant, I wouldn’t push it. Some people just don’t like to masturbate and that’s that. If you’re concerned she’s not masturbating because she’s repressing psychological issues, be patient. It’s a new relationship, and time will eventually provide that answer. If you want her to masturbate because you’re worried she’ll cheat on you when you’re not around, cool your jets. That’s a paranoid line of thinking, and one step closer to hiring a private detective and deploying a chastity belt. You can have sex with her, but you can’t have her sexuality. The decision to masturbate (or not) is hers alone.

Dear Miss Information,
     I graduated at the top of my MBA program but landed a mediocre job. The pay is comfortable, and there’s no stress, but I avoid dating because I think women will see me as an underachiever. I live in a town where status and its symbols are big. I know I care too much what people think, but I can’t lie, especially to dates. What can you tell me? — Dateless Bart Simpson

Dear Bart Simpson,
     Most people hate their jobs, so quit acting like you’re alone in this. You think my life is all fun and games? When I’m not writing for Nerve I freelance by writing those ads in magazines that look like fake articles. They’re called "advertorials," and they make me feel dirtier than a toilet seat on a Boeing 747. But you know what? They pay the bills, and it sounds like your job does as well. We’d all love to love our career, but sometimes it’s just a paycheck.
     If you truly believe your worth is in your wallet, that’s the kind the kind of woman you’re going to attract: shallow, insecure and just as caught up in the adult version of the popularity game as you. But if you start building your personal equity in other areas (did you notice I’m using business terms? Look out, Trump!), you’ll come to regard your job as one small part of your identity.
     When you’re on a first date and a woman wants to know about your job, tell her what you do, then move on to the next subject. The longer you talk about work, the likelier you are to let loose with the I-hate-my-job stories, and you don’t want to do that. She doesn’t have enough context, and might conclude that you’re unstable or difficult. Save that kind of bloodletting for the tenth date.
     Now get off your ass and start looking for alternate employment. The average person changes careers a dozen times. I used to work in human resources, for God’s sake. It’s never too late to reinvent yourself.

 


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©2006 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com