Miss Information

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Miss Information is off this week. She’ll be back next week with an all-new column. Meanwhile, check out this "Best Of" edition and visit her all new MySpace page for photos, blogs about high school angst, and more.

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


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,
     My boyfriend and I have been together seven months and engaged for almost as long. A couple days ago, I began having serious doubts about our relationship. The very thought of marriage gives me an anxiety attack. I spoke with him about it, and he says I’m still traumatized by my last relationship. I love him and don’t want to push him away, but that seems like the only way to stop the panic. Should I walk down the aisle or walk away? — Not Quite a Runaway Bride

Dear Not Quite a Runaway Bride,
     What you’re describing goes way beyond a normal premarital freakout. If I were you, I’d listen to my body. Your brain may be a web of psychological nuance, but your gut is a better communicator. Right now it’s crying, "Stop!" and hitting you over the head with an aluminum bat. It’s in your best interest to listen.
    I can’t tell you whether to call off the wedding, but I do think it would be a good idea to apply the brakes until you determine what’s making you want to flee the room (other than the thought of picking out a bridesmaid dress). You’re not pushing him away. You’re creating breathing room so you can get a more balanced perspective. Panic and rational thought have never been the best of friends.
    As much as possible, I want you to stop going to your fiancé for advice. I know it’s natural to turn to him for reassurance, but he can’t help with this one. Instead, pull out your childhood blankie (Febreze it first), find a therapist or talk to a friend. Your boyfriend loves you and is going to do and say everything in his power to keep the relationship going. While sweet and honorable, it doesn’t make him the most objective listener. The only voice that matters here is yours. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. I know way too many divorced couples who wish they had trusted their instincts before they got married.

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

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 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.  


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