Hello Doctor, I have been an avid reader of your blog for a few years and have finally mustered the courage to ask for advice. I really enjoy the laidback approach to answering some really serious matters, and the fact that you provide pictures of cute animals when things get really serious or disgusting. And of course the nerd culture references, especially anime references.
To start with thanks for all the work you do, the advice you give is always appreciated!
I would love to get your thoughts on something that’s been bothering me for awhile. I was a virgin through most of my 20’s, until I was in a long term relationship with a great woman. To my surprise, I actually ended up not only enjoying sex a lot, but also found out that I was pretty good at it. Throughout our relationship we had frequent, incredible, mutually satisfying sex. That relationship ended, and since then, every time I’ve been intimate with a woman it hasn’t gone well. I can tell they weren’t enjoying themselves as much, and to be honest, I wasn’t either. I don’t know if it’s that I’m dating the wrong people. I’ve found them all attractive and I felt like I had good chemistry and a good relationship with all them prior to getting into bed. Once we’re there, it wasn’t quite the same. It’s been ok for me, but never something that excited me to the level of that long term girlfriend, and I haven’t had an orgasm with any partner since her. I’m guessing my issues are more psychological than physical. I’m willing to say that it could just require more time to get comfortable and figure out what each other likes, but so far no one I’ve dated has been willing to stick around long enough to keep trying. Some of the women I’ve dated have even told me that because I couldn’t orgasm, it felt like I didn’t find them attractive. I will admit, it could just be nerves. I do have an anxiety disorder which can get in the way sometimes.
The thing in the back of my mind though is that prior to that long term relationship I often wondered if there was a chance I was somewhere on the asexual spectrum. I had a few relationships prior to that girlfriend. None of them lasted more than a few months, and were at best ok. I was definitely attracted to women, and curious about sex as part of a romantic relationship, but it wasn’t something I was actively seeking out. When I was with that long term girlfriend though, I craved sex with her pretty much non stop. Everyone I’ve dated for any length of time since then I thought I wanted to have sex with too, but maybe I was just trying to convince myself that’s what I wanted. I don’t think I’m a-romantic. I go on lots of dates, and generally have a good time. I’d say though that I only end up being attracted to someone maybe once a year, and never to the level of heart pounding excitement I had in that long term relationship. Those experiences have made me wonder again if I actually am on the asexual spectrum, and that woman was just an exception. Since that one relationship though, I now know what I’m missing out on, and I really want to have that kind of intimate relationship with someone again. I would appreciate any insight or tips for what I can do going forward.
FOMO(Fear Of Missing Orgasms)
Dear Dr. NerdLove,
This is a pretty minor problem compared to a lot of the ones that you deal with, but I’ve really valued your advice over the years, so I thought I’d send it in anyway.
I was very nervous and awkward as a teenager, but I have spent the last decade working actively on my social skills. I’m proud of how far I’ve come! I’ll always be a bit dorky, but I am able to have conversations with a wide range of people. I have an upbeat personality and really like getting to know people, but I am also a bit over accommodating.
This leads to a dating problem—I feel like I lead guys on. When I’m on a date I tend to smooth over any conversational rough spots, get enthusiastic about their interests, and actively listen to the things they want to rant about. If someone isn’t engaging with me and I have to carry the entire conversation, I can and will do that. I can tell that a lot of guys leave our dates feeling like they’ve really connected, only to be completely blindsided when I reject them. I feel like I’m the woman on the other side of every story about how “I thought it was going so well, I just don’t know what happened.” Rejection hurts, and it especially hurts when you didn’t see it coming. I’m sure all women experience this to some extent, but my I-Don’t-Want-To-Date-You conversations can get super messy and make me feel like the bad guy.
I’m not trying especially hard on dates and never promise anything–it’s my default conversational style that’s the issue. I really want people to have a good time, and don’t know how to do “lukewarm.” To a lesser extent this is also a problem in my friendships, as it’s become a pattern that other people get much more invested in me than I do in them. I think sometimes by trying to be nice in the short term I end up hurting people in the long term, and I feel awful about that.
Do you have any advice on dialing it back? Should I learn to let awkward silences hang and invest in a resting bitch face? I know that there’s got to be middle ground between “what I’m doing now” and “actively being mean” but for some reason I’m finding it hard to navigate. Or should I just accept that part of life is sometimes accidentally hurting the almost stranger that you are eating a giant plate of tacos with? I don’t want to close myself off to other people.
Thank you for your time!
Feeling Rotten About Unrequited Desires
Hi DNL! How do I stop feeling bad about lack of sex and not being able to get it? This has been an issue for me pre- and post-COVID. I’m a thirty-something heterosexual male who’s never identified as traditionally masculine, was a late bloomer in dating and never really found fulfillment in my twenties. I’ve learned a lot about myself since then and now know the types of people I click with the best, but the pandemic has put a huge wrench in my ability to seek what I look for even with all the education and “tools” for growth that people like you teach.
I’ve done my best to educate myself about toxic masculinity, I don’t give a shit about status or admiration from male peers (I’m just not interested in associating with heteronormative men, and my “male” friends are on the queer spectrum and don’t encourage unhealthy conversations about sex), I don’t watch porn, I make sure my masturbation habits are healthy and have a toy that I use for “maintenance”, and yet I’m still feeling miserable without being to share the experience with another human being. It’s the collection of emotions, senses, smell, touch, noises, and everything about it that I just can’t find from solo sex, VR, toys, porn, etc. Am I a sex addict or something? I feel broken about suffering from so much angst and depression about this, and my therapist isn’t really helpful in talking about this issue. I want to change therapists but there’s a severe lack of resources I can access and don’t even know where to begin with finding a therapist that understands male sexuality without shaming or giving platitudes.
My “love language” is physical and before the pandemic I had several people I could call cuddle buddies to help with skin hunger, but we are not sexual and the ones I am attracted to aren’t available or are not interested in me sexually. Due to the serious restrictions in my area, I can’t even find a person to create a “bubble” with until there’s a vaccine (which will be delayed in my area due to government fuck ups). Online apps have not been helpful for me either and I’ve done everything I can to take personal responsibility to improve my experience but it’s just an exercise in rejection and constant disappointment.
Things are really not looking well for economic recovery in my area and it feels like it will be years before things are back to “normal” with opportunities and etc. How can I survive a few more years of this?
Impending Basket Case
Doctor’s Note: This article was first published on October 31, 2016
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