Dr J's Sex Facts

Fun sex facts and accurate information from a clinical sexologist for a hotter and more fulfilling sex life.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dr. J’s Top 10 of ‘08

“Gratitude is a twofold love -- love coming to visit us, and love running out to greet a welcome guest.”
Henry van Dyke, late 19th-early 20th century American author and educator

Alas, I’ve been neglecting you, dear readers, but I have a very good reason: Dr. J has been working her fingers to the bone, attending a scientific meeting in Puerto Rico. I know, I know: it’s a hard life, traveling all around the globe to spread the good word about sex. So trust me when I say that certainly wasn’t me hanging out by the hotel pool. I was hard at work the whole time. Honest.

Now I’m back and totally ready to have some holiday fun with a list of questions I like to call the Top 10 Women’s Concerns. That’s right. For the next few weeks, we’ll look at an assortment of concerns drawn from actual questions I’ve received from readers just like you. This particular Top 10 list represents the most common sexual concerns expressed by women. OK, because you’ve been such very good readers this year and have hardly ever misbehaved, after each and every question you’ll find my answer. Oh—and if you’re a really astute reader (that’s right, I mean you), you’ll no doubt notice that most of these questions share a common theme (did someone say “orgasms”?)

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Sex for One: Why Is It So Compelling?

I have a problem with masturbation. I do it often and have the desire to do it as well. I get this horrible guilt and feel ashamed and embarrassed and also worried that it will affect my sex life when I get older. I HAVE TO STOP! Why don’t I have enough self-control to stop it? I am also afraid that this will turn into some kind of addiction. My boyfriend knows someone who is sexually addicted, and he masturbates at least twice a day. What if it does get that bad? I mean, every kind of addiction has to start somewhere.

Dr J’s response:

It sounds like you’re afraid of your sexuality. However, sexual energy is powerful and demands expression. If guilt accompanies it, it becomes more compelling and attractive. You’re giving it even more power by obsessing about it.

Almost everyone feels insecure about masturbation—or self-pleasuring. We all want to know that what WE do is OK. From your note, it looks like you feel that it’s somehow harmful or wrong, yet there are no scientific data indicating that self-pleasuring is in any way harmful.

I’m here to tell you that whatever works for you is what works for you, so please stop worrying and enjoy your life. The fact that you’re trying to stop self-pleasuring and are finding it difficult should tell you that it’s part of who you are. Accept it as a wonderful gift that keeps on giving.

Here are some facts about self-pleasuring:

It’s the surest way to orgasm and the most effective way to learn about your own sexual response cycle, as well as the surest way for women to learn to orgasm.

Another advantage is self-knowledge: How can you show a partner what you like if you don’t know yourself?

Here’s the #1 reason for self-pleasuring: it’s fun!!!

Seriously, self-pleasuring is an integral part of your sexual being—for your whole life and not just when you don’t have a partner. People self-pleasure from birth to death, when they’re alone and when they’re partnered. Self pleasuring is just one of many options we have as sexual beings. It’s not better or worse than partner sex, just different—like steak is different from chicken.

Remember that all of our scientific data show that the people who take responsibility for their OWN pleasure have the best sex lives and rate themselves among the happiest about their sexuality.

Many of us have a deep sense of shame about our sexuality—either our overt sexual behavior, or the more primitive urges and images left over from childhood that we've never fully accepted. I think it’s this profound sense of shame that you feel you’d like to get rid of. I encourage you to read more about female sexuality and self-pleasuring. There are two books I recommend because they not only have important information, but they also contain lots of sharing by actual women about their own struggles to accept their sexual selves.

“For Yourself: The Fulfillment of Female Sexuality” by Lonnie Barbach, Ph.D.
“The Hite Report” by Shere Hite

Now please stop worrying about “addiction,” because you can’t become addicted to sex any more than you can become addicted to pizza. You might become dependent on pizza, for instance, but that’s not an addiction. Many times, things that feel out of our control are really just a symbol of our own internal shame. As I said, the more you worry and obsess, the more out of control you’ll feel. If you accept self-pleasuring as a part of your life, my guess is you’ll become more comfortable and eventually be able to integrate ALL of your sexual behavior into your life in a way that feels positive for you. If this doesn’t happen for you, and you continue to feel bad, you might find it helpful to see a counselor who is specifically trained to help you with sexual concerns.

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Well, I’m off to torture a turkey (no, this time I’m NOT talking about Maestro Jim). Please accept my best wishes for a happy, healthy and most pleasurable Thanksgiving.

What am I particularly thankful for this T-Day? Take a wild guess:
1) Rhymes with oh, mama!
2) Maestro Jim and #9 for all their inspiration and help with producing this blog; and, most importantly
3) you.

I expect to see each and every one of you back here next week for Women’s Concern #2: The Ever-Elusive Orgasm.

With Pleasure,

Dr. J

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