Making Sex Better

Is Lousy Sex Better Than No Sex?

It depends on what you want from sex. If you mostly want an orgasm, lousy sex might do the trick. If you mostly want to have someone agreeing to have sex with you whether they really want to or not, lousy sex may be your best bet. If you mostly just want to see someone naked, or briefly feel a tit or some balls in your hand, lousy sex may be good enough. But most men and women want other stuff from sex. Maybe you do, too. For example, you may want to see your partner smile with pleasure. You…

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How To NOT Get An Erection

Sex therapy can be complicated. Fortunately, sometimes it isn’t. About three months ago my patient Sam finally started dating again after his wife left him last summer. After a few nondescript experiences, he met Yolanda, they hit it off, and a few weeks later he found himself in bed with her. Two days later he came in for his weekly session. Five minutes before it ended, he mentioned how he couldn’t “y’know” when he wanted to “y’know.” “Oh,” I said. “You didn’t get an erection when you wanted one?” Yes, that was it, poor guy. I knew he wasn’t taking…

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Arizona Outlaws Non-Existent Abortions

The Arizona legislature, to its eternal frustration, can’t simply make abortion illegal. Its phony “conservative” Republicans want to shrink “Big Government” just small enough to fit under people’s bedroom doors. But the state is still part of America, however much they—or we—might regret this. Arizona can, of course, make the experience of a simple abortion as miserable as possible for residents who have the nerve to pursue a legal medical procedure. And the state can throw a fit and just invent reasons that people can’t have abortions. One imagines them criminalizing abortions taking place on February 30; banning abortions if…

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The Couple Who Don’t Celebrate Valentine’s Day

I know this couple who don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. These happily married people—call them Nick and Nora— aren’t very romantic, either. They share money, so they don’t really “take” each other out. At their age they have most of the stuff they really want, so neither really wants a “gift;” besides, they can each shop for themselves way better than for each other. On top of that, they both dislike shopping. Nick and Nora laugh about not celebrating Valentine’s Day, sort of a private joke. What they do is treat each other well during the year. They go places, enjoy…

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Map of Non-Monogamy Makes It Clearer

The related topics of monogamy, affairs, and infidelity account for a large percentage of every sex therapist’s caseload. One common assumption—of both therapists and media alike—is that people are either behaving monogamously or not, and if they’re not, they’re being “unfaithful,” and the details aren’t especially relevant. That’s terribly disrespectful to sex; when people discuss other kinds of behavior, they gladly use lots of categories. Think, for example, of situations in which a person or couple: • Doesn’t have children; • Doesn’t have a job; • travels abroad; • loses weight; • manages joint finances In all of these situations,…

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Is There Such A Thing As Kinky Sex?

Last week I keynoted the annual conference of CARAS (Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities). I presented “Clinical, cultural, and personal narratives about alternative sexualities.” My goal was to examine the common ways people think about “alternative” (or “kinky”) sexuality—and how that affects everyone, no matter what kind of sex they’re into. The general attitude about kinky sex and its practitioners among the media, civic organizations, and medical-psychological professions is pretty negative. They accept or even promote horrible misinformation (“Perverts want to recruit teens into their lifestyle”). They use glamorous but bizarre cases to condemn ordinary choices (“S/M scene…

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