Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Q. My boyfriend only wants anal sex. I wouldn't mind but he doesn't even kiss or look at me during it. I hint at how I feel but he laughs it off. I worry he doesn't fancy me, or that he's secretly gay. Why is he this way?

A. Some men see anal sex as a symbolic act of masculine power; he could be getting off on that. He might prefer the tighter feel of the anus. He might be afraid of intimacy. And sure, he could be in the closet. But the 'why' that's bothering me is why you're still there. Sex should be mutual and intimate. When it is you feel respected, safe and cared for; selfish or abusive sex destroys self confidence. Make your needs clear so he won't feel he can get away with ignoring them.

Q. I'm used to relationships where sex every day is the norm. My new man's happy with once a week or less but it's not enough for me. Sex makes me feel attractive and safe. How can I make him see I need more without sounding insecure?

A. But you are feeling insecure. The truth is usually the best place to start. Sex might make you feel safe and wanted, but it's not the only ingredient in a successful relationship. Think about other activities that are physically intimate - massage, sharing a show, watching TV naked under a blanket together. Be creative - taking the pressure out of sex could restore the fun in it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Q. My boyfriend has to go really fast for ages to orgasm (up to an hour). I get so sore and bored. But the worst thing is his sweat drips onto me. He says sorry, and I know it's not his fault, but it's disgusting.

A. It's normal to sweat during exercise, and he seems to be using you as some kind of gym apparatus. I'm not surprised he's dripping over you. But why is he working so hard? He might realise how you feel and is putting himself under pressure to get it over with. Or he suffers from delayed ejaculation (the third most common sexual dysfunction in men). Usually the cause is psychological, such as fear of pregnancy or a strict religious upbringing. Some antidepressants can cause ejaculation problems too. Counselling might help but, in the meantime try to find less strenuous ways to have sex. Find positions where his dripping doesn't concern you. For example from behind can help his orgasm and he won't be dripping onto your face. And if you are on top of him none of his sweat will be dripping anywhere.

Q. My girlfriend says she likes oral sex, but when I'm down there she just lies still with her eyes shut. It freaks me out so I stop - then she says 'Thanks'. I'm confused.

A. I'm not surprised - she's not giving anything away. And for all you know she's actually having the time of her life and the only reason she hasn't reached orgasm yet is because you keep losing heart and giving up too soon. Or, she likes what you do to her but you haven't discovered the exact technique needed to take her from 'Mmmmm nice' to 'OH, YES!' Or, as you fear, your best efforts are only serving to lull her pleasantly into a mildly hypnotic state. The answer to each possibility is the same - you need feedback. Let her know that right now you feel like Robinson Crusoe, rowing in concentric circles around an unknown island, and neither of you is going anywhere without her help.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Q. I'm not sure why but I always go for guys who are attached - most often with girlfriends, but one was married. I don't want to hurt anyone, so I don't know what I'm attracted to attached men.

A. There are several reasons why you may be attracted to attached men. It may be that getting someone unavailable signifies a triumph of sorts, or even an ego boost - if he's willing to take a risk for you, you may see this as indicative of your worth. It could also be that you have such little faith in men that, rather than being on the receiving end of an adulterous relationship, you 'choose' it, so you feel like you have more control and are less likely to get hurt. It could also be that you're so comfortable not being in a serious relationship, you are purposely finding unavailable men so you don't have to face the option of being attached. But it could be that you just aren't thinking about the impact of your actions on the girlfriends - or yourself. It's vital to get to the bottom of why you're doing this. You can achieve the sense of control, safety or self-worth that you crave, without compromising your integrity. Why not be single and invest in yourself for a while? Address what you feel is lacking by starting a healthier relationship with yourself.

Q. I really love my boyfriend of one year, but I've begun to fancy another man I've known for several years. I've tried to stop thinking about him but I just can't. And he texts to say he thinks of me too. What should I do?

A. When a woman's imagination strays, it suggests something is not right between her and her partner. Sometimes, instead of facing the problem, she seeks an escape route - often a new guy or an ex. This is almost always a bad idea. The only way to discover how you feel is to do the brave thing - take time on your own, away from them both. Let your heart and your mind meet in private and hear what they're trying to tell you.

Q. I broke up with my boyfriend because I felt he wasn't good enough for me. Usually I go out with older men as I like someone I can learn from. But now it's over, I can't stop thinking about him, and the idea of him being with another woman bothers me. Should I give us another chance?

A. You can learn from someone older, but only if they happen to know more than you. Just being around longer doesn't make anyone more interesting or necessarily more experienced. You say this man isn't good enough for you, but I suspect you see yourself as a follower and not good enough to proceed in life without a leader. Learning together side by side with a partner can provide lifelong bonding and many happy surprises. So if he's willing, why not give it another try? You have nothing to lose.

Q. I'm 28 and was resigned to a single life until I met this guy a year ago through an Internet dating site. We live in different towns but we often meet and talk every day. I think I'm in love. But now he's planning to move to Chicago for work. I was upset but I told him to go for it - he's ambitious, although worried about leaving our relationship. Should I just stop seeing him now to avoid pain later on?

A. Technology brought you together and puts you in touch every day. Why not let it keep you connected? True, long-distance love is risky. But when does love not carry risks? Make no promises to each other and see how it goes. Meanwhile, apply yourself to our own job and other friends. That way, if you slip out of each other's lives altogether, yes, it will hurt, but no more than you can bear. By the way, Chicago is one gorgeous city! Why not plan to go there for your next holiday?

Q. I've been seeing a guy for four months. We agreed it would be casual sex and it was OK to see other people, but I've started to get jealous if he texts other girls. We hang out most days and are really good friends - I don't know what to do without ruining our friendship.

A. This isn't a friendship; it's a hot relationship. And it's getting hotter on your side. For many women, regular sex won't be casual; we can't always separate it from love. But love and sex make magic! You could tell him you're falling for him and risk him running scared. Or you could stop being on call for him. Let him miss you and chase you. If he doesn't? You'll find another guy for romance first with friendship to follow.

Q. I've met a man at college who I really like. We've been emailing, and he's opened up and told me he hates socialising with people who expect him to be funny all the time. I think he's insecure because he's short. He asked if he could see me at the weekend and I accepted, but then he didn't contact me. He hasn't been on the Internet since and now I'll have to see him in class. What happened?

A. He's lucky to have met someone like you - someone who's trying to understand him, rather than getting angry at being stood up. This is not to say all men who stand up dates deserve understanding; a lot of them are 'me first' thoughtless drips. But, from what you say, this guy may simply be insecure and self conscious. Chances are he panicked. It's worth seeing him to say it's a shame he couldn't make it last time. And this time you do the asking out; you set the time and place. I have a hunch he deserves a second chance. But only one more!

Q. My boyfriend of two years moved away and we broke up. We decided to stay in touch and I planned to move near him a some point so we could start again. Then I heard from friends that he was seeing someone else, so I got on with my life. When he found out I was also seeing someone else, he told me he wasn't see the girl I'd heard about. Now I've moved to the same city and I want him back, but he has a new girlfriend who he's moving in with. I'm confused about what he wants as we've spoken about our future together. People say they can tell he still loves me. He's everything I want in a man and my family thinks I've lost something good. Have I?

A. No!! You're confused about what he wants? I'm not! He wants it all. And he wants it all his own way. It sounds like he's not happy when you're with someone else, but it's OK for him to be with someone. What do you want? That's what really confuses you. Think about what you don't want - hopefully you don't want an immature boy who tells you one thing and does another. It's always a mistake to move cities for a man who isn't committed to you, so tell him you want him to commit or you will move back and that will be the end of it. Never mind what he wants or what your family and friends want for you. Find out what you want and go for it.