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The magic touch?

Q: I am very new to all of this sex stuff and I was wondering if you can help me. I am 18 and I have been going out with this guy, 21, for about three months. He can’t seem to give me manual orgasms. Otherwise we have fabulous chemistry and our relationship is great. I hate that I don't get that much pleasure out of our fun and it frustrates him to think that he is not satisfying me. What are we doing wrong and how can we change it? Is there something wrong with me? How is he meant to touch me to make me come?

A: There is a reason people are not equipped with instruction manuals. There is no One Right Way to touch or One Right Place to be touched. Each couple needs to discover much of what sex is about for themselves and only certain knowledge is transferable from person to person. Many woman know by previous masturbation history exactly what sort of touches will bring them to orgasm. If that's true for you, you can guide his hand, explain or demonstrate for him. If you don't yet know what will do it for you, the two of you will have the fun of experimenting. There will be sweet spots all over your body that will respond readily to kisses and caresses. Common ones are your neck, inside your elbows, the sides of your breasts and on or around the clitoris. Some women like direct stimulation there, some prefer touches or kisses around but not directly on the very sensitive head. If you both simply enjoy the discovery-making process rather than aim for the goal of orgasm you will have far more pleasure and he will have far less frustration.

Q: I am a married man and nine years ago fell deeply in love with a married female co-worker. It has been a year since we have had any physical involvement because she has chosen to move on, but the emotional part is so very heavy and hard for me to eliminate. I am asking for some recommendations concerning people to talk to who can help me through this. I have many, many issues and need help to move on and get beyond the state I am in. I have already tried a therapist through my health care provider but he was a bozo. Can you help? Give me some sort of direction? I know I torture myself but don't know how to move on.

A: Therapists are individuals and some, alas, are bozos. Some may be competent with certain types of problems or clients but just not a good match with you. Some, however, can be extremely helpful in getting you past those miserable stuck places like you describe. I can recommend two excellent books — Albert Ellis' How to Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything and Fensterheim and Baer's Making Life Right When it Feels all Wrong. It wouldn't hurt to give them a try, but since you say you have many issues, I'd sure make an appointment with another psychotherapist, preferably someone who works in the cognitive model (that is, what you tell yourself about what's happening that creates such misery rather than fosters healing).

Q: My lover is a drunk and can't get fully hard. With this situation, how can I make the best of it?

A: Leave him? Not because he doesn't present you with a steely rod, but for any of the multiple other problems that always go along with being involved with a drunk. Barring that, if he levels with his physician, he can probably get a prescription for Viagra which should solve the getting hard issue wonderfully well, while doing nothing at all for the multiple other problems. With or without Viagra, if penetrative sex is your preference there are always several fingers or a hand (called fisting or hand balling) or any number of silicone toys at your friendly neighborhood sex shop. A stiff penis is not a necessity for good sex — ask any lesbian — but a partner who is present and not off in the ozone is. Isadora Alman, author of Doing It: Real People Having Really Good Sex, is a board-certified sexologist and a California-licensed marriage-and-family therapist. Contact her at askisadora@aol.com. Her Sexuality Forum is at

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