Q: Mastering your Domain.  I’m not in a relationship right now, and casual encounters aren’t my thing, so I masturbate  about two to four times a week. It takes care of my physical needs, but it’s basically quick and boring. What could I do to make this  pastime more interesting until I find someone I want to be with?    —James

Dr. Linda: It’s no wonder your “same ol–same ol” is getting stale; would you want to eat the same thing for dinner every night?  Varying your technique will definitely boost the quality of your  solo experience. It will also make you a better lover.

For many men, all the acts of the play over in five minutes. Instead of the usual quick approach, begin Act I by slowly stroking your entire body. You’ll learn about other parts of your body  that are sensitive to sensual touch. Include your arms, chest, stomach, face, neck and inner thighs. You’ll also discover how much anticipation  adds to eroticism, a valuable lesson for guys.

For Act II, focus on your genital area, but don’t simply head for the head. Instead, stroke the entire length of your penis; see if you have particular sensitivity along the underside seam and at the frenulum– the inverted “v” that separates the shaft from the head.  Stroke your testicles. Check out the perineal area, which is behind your scrotal sac and in front of the anal opening

For Act III, ejaculation and orgasm, try “playing the edge.” With practice, you can become more finely attuned to the subtle changes in sensation that just precede ejaculation. Hang out there awhile. Use your new awareness and ability to your advantage with a new partner by knowing just when to change your speed or activity. Try squeezing your  muscle when you get close to climaxing as another way to prolong your sensations and delay ejaculation.

Extending some of your sessions to 30 minutes or so, trying new techniques and new positions avoids the single groove approach that could be tough to replicate with a partner. It’s also more interesting and fun!


Q: Understanding your girlfriend’s solo activities.   My girlfriend and I have been together about three years. We are sexually compatible for the most part, although we don’t have sex quite as often as we did at the beginning or as often as I’d like to.   One night during lovemaking, she offered to show me how she likes her clitoris stroked. I was fine with that until she also added “this is what I like to do when I’m masturbating.” I was suddenly turned off and hurt to find out that she gets herself off. I understand why guys do it, but I really don’t see why a girl would need to do that if she’s got a steady partner who’s ready, willing and able.  I told her I that if she’d stop doing that she’d want to have sex with me more often. She got pissed off, and the evening did not end well. A couple of days later everything was fine and the subject has not been mentioned again. But I do get upset whenever I think about it. Does this mean I’m not satisfying her?               —Worried

Dr. Linda: Once upon a time, not so long ago (less than 100 years), playing with yourself was tantamount to being a pervert. Remember those stories about growing hair on your palms or being mentally deranged? Some of those fervent tales even came from people in the medical field! And they applied to both sexes.

Times have changed. Today professional opinion about self-pleasuring has a decidedly Martha Stewart ring to it: It’s a good thing!  With puritanical restrictions significantly lifted this past century, many people of both sexes are motivated to include masturbation in their sexual repertoire.

Your girlfriend may find her solo activities help her fall asleep when you’re not around to enjoy post-coital cuddling. Maybe it eases her menstrual cramps. Or she enjoys you so much she likes repeating those experiences in fantasy.

If that sounds far fetched, consider one professional study done in the ’90s that revealed women who masturbated to orgasm had greater marital and sexual satisfaction than women who didn’t.  Unless your girlfriend  hinted at some compulsive friendship with her hand, she deserves praise rather than judgment for her willingness to show you what she likes, and for her ability to enjoy playing solo.


Q: Celebrity Sex Scandal (Almost!)      I am happily married and enjoy a remarkably good sex life with my wife. Recently she told me she sometimes fantasizes about being with Bradley Cooper. She then asked me who I’d like to be with. She was clearly disappointed when I said I didn’t really know, but the truth is that I sometimes fantasize about her and my best buddy all being together. (I have no interest in actually doing that). I’m afraid that if I tell her about this trio fantasy, she may think I’m bisexual. I’ve never had any desire to be with a man alone. Should I keep my mouth shut or would it bring us closer if I revealed the truth about this fantasy?     ––Al

Dr. Linda: With no crystal balls I can’t predict your wife’s reaction.  Unless you forgot to mention that your wife is Zoe Saldana or an equivalent, one big difference between your fantasy and your wife’s is that hers would never happen–yours could.

If you shared your fantasy, her focus is far more likely to be on whether to act on it than its bisexual overtones. More women than you suspect share your fantasy of two men, one woman.  Since you claim to have no interest in carrying out your fantasy, it may be safer to keep this one to yourself, lest she press for it. Another reason to refrain would be if this is your most intense fantasy. Sharing a fantasy sometimes makes it lose its erotic intensity.