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Miss Information: My sex drive is way higher than my girlfriend’s, and I don’t want to watch porn — what can I do?

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My sex drive is way higher than my girlfriend's, and I don't want to watch porn — what can I do?

Reform From Porn

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

Dear Miss Information,

I am currently in a relationship that is more fulfilling than I could have ever imagined. We are very much in love and are proving to be perfect partners. We have a good sex life, but I worry that I may be diluting it. I have always had a very high sex drive, and when I was single or in other relationships, I usually took care of it when the need arose. But now that I am in such an important relationship, I wonder if my instant gratification habit could lead to problems — especially if it leads her to allow for sex, but never be able to initiate, since I am always the one pushing. 

We talked about it, and she said that she feels the frequency of my pushing at times leads her to consent whether or not she really feels like it, and that makes it difficult for her to become excited about it. In other words, sex has become a bit one-sided, and after this talk I wanted to make a change.

So I have started making an effort to control my constant urges, but it has led to an increase in time spent with porn. This might not seem like a huge issue, but porn is not how I want to facilitate that need. And I don't want that version of sex — what I see on porn sites — ever to make the jump into our sex lives. By increasing the time spent in front of the computer, member in hand, am I decreasing my appreciation for what we have together and simply masking a larger problem? And to truly be able to control my urges so that our sex life is healthy for both of us, should I cut out the porn entirely and work on increased self-control? If so, how do I go about this when the porn is my current medium for restraint?

Reform From Porn

Dear Reform from Porn,

First, because I believe in issuing high-fives where high-fives are due, I want to say that it's great you're so sensitive to your girlfriend's experience in your shared sex life. You're absolutely right — as long as she feels like you're constantly horny and she's the gatekeeper of sexual activity, she's going to feel blasé at best and turned-off at worst. So nice work recognizing this and trying to coax her back to a position of power in your relationship. You're on a good track.

I commend you, too, for recognizing the effects porn is having on your relationship and/or mental state. Porn's a tricky thing. It's effective for facilitating the kind of beginning-middle-end trajectory of an easy orgasm, but, in bulk, it can really do a number on your expectations of sex and/or views of humanity. (Two Girls and Four Goats? 140,000 views?! Eesh.) I get that these are not images you want to carry with you, and I give you a lot of credit for taking steps to rectify that.

Unfortunately, breaking these patterns is going to be uncomfortable, just like breaking any other pattern. Think of it like a detox. If you want to reduce your dependence on porn, you can start by making it less available: remove it from your hard drive, stop going to your favorite sites, hide or throw out your DVDs. Give yourself different parameters for self-pleasure: you can jerk off all you want, say, as long as you do it "organically": i.e. based on imagination/memory/fantasy, rather than streaming recordings of strangers fucking. (This has the added benefit of greatly sharpening your imagination skills. I feel like there was a "Blues Clues" song about this, minus the masturbation.) While you're trying to re-train your patterns, consider working out more often. Yeah, yeah, it sounds like brush-off advice, but it's true: sexual energy is still energy, and you've got to burn it off somehow.

Also, I think you can allow for some gray area. Unless you feel like porn is an acute and immediate threat to your relationship, you can work on reducing your dependence on it without having to remove it all in one fell swoop. And you can lighten up on some of the pressure you're putting on yourself. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with occasional porn usage, nor is there anything wrong with your high sex drive. As long as you don't feel like the porn you watch is eating you away from the inside or preventing you from looking your girlfriend in the eye, you can probably find a healthy balance. Just feel it out. Discipline is the goal, not asceticism.

As for your girlfriend, I think you may be surprised what an aphrodisiac the words "it's up to you" are. Once you stop pushing her — and, uh, start spending sixteen hours a day at the gym — a kind of vacuum will form. I would not be at all surprised if she's thrilled by the chance to fill that void.

Dear Miss Information,

Here's my conundrum. I recently met this super-hot, amazing girl. We had an incredible weekend together recently, full of sex and goodness, but, not only does she live several thousand miles away, she also has a boyfriend. Whom she lives with. He knows all about our tryst and is fine with it. So fine, in fact, that she's coming to visit me in a few weeks on his dime. In the meantime, we've been emailing/chatting/texting/writing poems to each other and all types of gooey, romantic stuff that I adore.

I've been quite good at the impractical, long-distance, can't-go-anywhere type of relationship in the past, and I'm wondering if I should nip this in the bud before I really fall in love with her and end up devastating myself. The rational part of me says, "End it, it'll never go anywhere." And the romantic part of me says, "Just roll with it. Honor those feelings! She inspires you, blah de blah."

Is there a healthy way to approach a situation like this? Where I can still see and sleep with her occasionally while safeguarding my heart? I should also mention that I'm seeing other people as well, but she blew them all out of the water. Like I'd rather fantasize about her than date these real, albeit mediocre, people who live here and are single. It's that bad. I can't wait to see her again. Help?

Seeking Sane

Dear Seeking Sane,

Part of me is saddened by the phrase "where I can still see her and sleep with her while safeguarding my heart." Sex and relationships without any emotion are hollow, sad, and likely fictional. We should all be lucky enough to connect with another human being, no matter how tenuous or dangerous that connection feels. "Better to have loved and lost," etc. But the cynical majority of my brain — and its big boots — stomps the romantic believer, because the sad truth is that you do have to be careful where you invest your energy and affection.

Of course, you're well aware of this. Perhaps the real question is, will you be happy within the constraints of this particular relationship? And there are a lot of constraints. If you need to have your loves be present, accessible, and unfettered by other relationships, then perhaps this particular situation isn't for you. And that's fine. Conversely, if the logistics don't bug you, and if you just like the idea of having her there when you have her, and knowing she exists when you don't, then go for it. That's also fine.

As for the "when you don't have her" part: it's cool that she "blows these other girls [that you're dating] out of the water," but be careful about how much time you're spending on her when she's not around. Does writing her poetry and sending her dried flowers inspire you? Fantastic. Are you skipping your friend's birthday party to stay at home and write her emails? Less fantastic. If you're going to embark on a relationship like this, you need to keep investing energy in yourself and your own social life — including the possibility that a new, local girl will knock your socks off. Just be aware of balancing you-in-this-relationship vs. you-in-your-life.

Give it some thought, be honest with yourself, and, if you're ready, bask in the inspiration and great sex. If it ever starts causing more stress than pleasure, don't be afraid to admit it, close the file, and walk away with your fond memories intact.