A: I think you did the right thing by endorsing your son's right to self-gratification and teaching him about contraception and safe sex. I disagree with you that only a parent can do this. Anyone who works with young people can. As for the "complications of heterosexual relationships," there can be a great many rewards in them, even if there is no sexual intercourse. These rewards can be found in same-sex relationships as well, but I guess you didn't want to get into that with an 11 year old, huh?
Q: I am in my mid-40s and for a combination of reasons (physical and mental) I am sexually inexperienced. I am planning on meeting people of both sexes who are single and age-appropriate. Hopefully, I have the social skills that will take things to the point of intimacy with someone, but I don't have a clue how to tell that someone about my "problem" at my age. Please don't suggest prostitutes; I tried that a couple times and it was just a joke. I know that I want and need sex badly and if I can't change my situation I might kill myself out of loneliness. I have seen a couple therapists but just didn't have the guts to tell them. Anything you might be able to offer on this matter will be greatly appreciated.
A: Aww, and your letter started out with such positive confidence, planning to meet people and getting to the point of intimacy, then it went downhill. Not telling a therapist that being sexually inexperienced was making you miserable to the point of suicide is like visiting the proctologist and refusing to remove your undies. No, I wouldn't recommend a prostitute. Using prostitutes is illegal, alas, and you never know how you'll be treated. Find a properly trained sexual surrogate partner approved by the International Professional Surrogates (members.aol.com/ipsa1/home.html) and work with her on everything from social skills to sexual skills. Now, as for telling a prospective partner. One, you don't have to if it presents such an obstacle. Two, you can do so before you even meet by running a personal ad in print or online which begins "Late bloomer seeks first time with … ." Third, if you reach the point of physical intimacy with someone, the occasion for the psychological intimacy may present itself and you will recognize it. Then, right along with the necessary discussion of birth control and disease prevention you can say "There is something I would like you to know." Then, just spit it right out.
Q: I have been dating this guy I met through the personals for approximately three years. At first it was great, but then I moved in with him. He wanted me to wash and recycle straws, rinse aluminum foil, and didn't want me to decorate or really unpack anything. He discussed all our business with his friends and told me I used too much soap and water in the shower. To make a long story short, I bought my own house and now he brings up marriage. I do not want to marry him. He's too unstable. I think he has many childhood issues and needs therapy. After all this drama, I have no desire to have sex with him. He treats me better when he isn't getting some on a regular basis — or at all. Now, he hasn't called me in a week. How can I end this with class?
A: By the time you read this the solution may have presented itself as a done deal. If not, if he does call simply say you see no point in continuing the relationship, wish him well, and neither initiate nor return any future overtures. Sounds like there is no friendship here to salvage. Isadora Alman is a licensed marriage counselor and a board-certified sexologist. You can reach her online at her Sexuality Forum (www.askisadora.com) or by writing to her care of this paper. Alas, she cannot answer questions
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