Christopher Ryan, co-author of Sex at Dawn, is stepping in for Dan Savage, who is on vacation. Chris will be writing the “Savage Love Letter of the Day” all this week. You can read more from Chris at his blog at Psychology Today, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Sex at Dawn has just been released in paperback.

Hey Dan,

I'm a 22-year-old straight guy, and a few months ago I entered into my first relationship since high school, and lost my virginity to her. I have no problems with the relationship: she's amazing, we get along great, we're both GGG, we're both very happy, and so on and so forth. The problem, though, is that I can't seem to have an orgasm from her, be it from vaginal sex, blowjob, handjob, whatever. It all feels quite good, but just doesn't build up to a climax. I can, however, maintain an erection, which means I have absurd endurance and we're typically fucking until she has 4+ orgasms, then I just finish by masturbating. She's always quite satisfied, so she's not bothered by my issue and is very willing to lend a helping hand and fondle my balls or whatever while I'm finishing myself off, and she often masturbates at the same time. I'm not upset with this arrangement, and I have awesome orgasms, but I'm still a little unsatisfied.

Read the rest of the question, and my response, after the jump...

I've always been able to come readily from masturbating (and this whole thing actually blindsided me because I was somewhat worried about coming too fast), so it's not a physical problem, and it seems obvious that it's some sort of anxiety about sex or relationships or something. I'm still rather new to sex, and don't always feel like I have any idea what I'm doing. We've been trying to practice regularly, of course, so I'll feel more comfortable and maybe my cock will figure out what's going on, but so far nothing's changed. We also thought that it might help if I masturbate 95% of the way to orgasm, then she takes over and finishes, but as soon as she takes over the potential orgasm just fades away. Do you have any advice on how I can break this mental wall?

Accidental Endurance Champion


Hi everybody. Before we get to my response, I'd like to just take a line or two to thank Dan for leaving the SLLOTD in my trembling, inexperienced hands this week. The best by-product of publishing Sex at Dawn was getting the chance to meet Dan, Terry, and DJ in person on my visit to Seattle last year. My apologies in advance to you unlucky five whose letters got chosen (great!) but fell into my basket instead of Dan's (damn!). I'd also like to apologize to those readers who get irritated every time Dan mentions our book. I get it: you don't understand why he plugs our book so generously. Seriously, I get it. I'm with you. I don't understand either, but Cacilda and I (and our publisher) sure are grateful!

Now on to AEC and his masturbatory conundrum.

I don't know AEC, but you don't sound like someone with a lot of anxiety around sex or relationships. Actually, you sound pretty easy-going and smart, even when writing about this "problem." Plus, you've got an "amazing," very happy (and satisfied) girlfriend who's more than willing to "fondle your balls or whatever" and an erection like the Energizer bunny. To most guys, it probably sounds like you're just this side of heaven.

But how to get you through those pearly gates?

If I'm right that your problem is not due to anxiety, what could it be? My hunch is that you've been spanking your monkey for what, six? seven? eight? or more years and have developed a particular technique. Whether it's playing guitar, painting landscapes, or, as in your case, "engaging in manual labor," one develops a style over time. Just like you can always tell when it's Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix, or Django Reinhardt playing a riff, you've come to associate orgasm with your own individual fingering, as it were. You've probably become dependent on certain physical cues you're not even conscious of—cues your girlfriend doesn't (or can't) replicate.

So here's what I'd suggest. First, take a long, hard look at your masturbatory style. Is your grip very tight? Are you maybe a bit rough in a way that a woman's body can't (and shouldn't) replicate? If so, you're going to have to gradually loosen/lighten up bit by bit to allow your Johnson to adjust to a softer, silkier, less familiar feel. If you're a natural right-hander, limit yourself to your left hand. Experiment with different techniques when you're alone and see what you can do without resorting to your tried-and-tested standard jerk-off style for a while. Assuming you and your girlfriend are using condoms (!), practice with a condom on (without resorting to your old style). Your dick and your hand have probably developed a tight relationship over the years, but it's time for Mr. Hand to back off and let someone else have the next dance. You've only been at it for a few months, so don't stress about it.