question comes from a point of real frustration. I’m a 26-year-old
straight guy. Due to my being overweight, awkward, and generally
unable to attract women I’m actually interested in, I have
only been sexually intimate with prostitutes and women of
low caliber. I have never been able to sustain an erection
during intercourse. I’ve climaxed during oral sex or handjobs.
I’m not physically accustomed to getting off with anything
but my hand. Worst of all, the intense fear of impotence has
caused me to avoid sexual liaisons. When dating, I feel threatened
by the expectation of sex within the first few dates. Any
a gym and lose some weight. You’ll gain some confidence and
improve your health—and your circulation—which could help
in the keeping-the-dick-hard department. (I’m not telling
you that you have to transform yourself into a muscle god
to be happy or find love.) Seeing a doctor and getting your
hands on some Viagra couldn’t hurt, either. Vary your masturbatory
Stop sleeping with women unless you’re attracted to them on
some level, and recognize that holding the women who
will sleep with you in contempt is an expression of self-hatred
and knock it the fuck off. Since sex within the first few
dates makes you feel anxious, inform anyone you date that
you’re not up for having sex within the first few dates. And
the next time you find yourself in bed with someone or sense
that things are headed there, SOB, tell her that you’re really
only interested in oral and mutual masturbation—at least at
first—and that you generally take a long time to come. Then
you don’t have to stress out about failing to meet her expectations,
because she won’t be expecting anything other than what you’re
capable of delivering.
Finally, there are sex workers out there who will not only
get you off in exchange for your money, SOB, but will work
with you on improving your skills and building up your confidence.
You may have slept with one already without realizing it because
you so resented having to pay for it that you dismissed her
as a cheap whore to protect your ego. Dumb mistake.
I’m a heterosexual male. I’ve never been in a long-term
relationship. I’ve never been in a short-term relationship.
I’ve never been in a relationship. Four make-out sessions
in my youth and paid sex with cheap street prostitutes is
all the physical intimacy I’ve ever known. And sometime before
the end of this year, I’ll be turning 45. I have no explanation
for how I fucked up something this important this badly for
this long, but here are my best clues:
1. Deep down, I don’t think I’ve ever really believed women
could possibly find me attractive.
2. For me, being rejected and/or humiliated after approaching
someone is an almost paralyzing fear.
3. My professional/career/financial situation is only slightly
better than my romantic/sexual situation: I’m always either
barely getting by or in some crisis where staying non-homeless
is my only priority.
I want to understand what the fuck is wrong with me and why
I’m staring at a lifetime of totally unfulfilled romantic
and sexual hopes and dreams. The last thing I need right now
is some Pollyanna bullshit. I want brutal honesty.
Lifelong Onanist Needs Explanations
people are alone all their lives because they’re too damaged
or too terrified or too terrifying, ALONE, and some people
are alone all their lives because they are simply, as the
cliché goes, unlucky in love. It sounds like you suffer from
social and sexual anxieties—damaged and terrified—and
could benefit from seeing a shrink. You say you’re barely
getting by, ALONE, but if you’re spending money on cigarettes
or booze or pot or all three, well, you might want to prioritize
your mental health over those nonessentials.
Now here’s the usual line of Pollyanna crap that we advice
professionals are supposed to squart out for people like you:
There’s someone out there for everyone, kiddo, hang in there!
But that’s a lie, ALONE, and you know it and I know it and
everyone who’s ever said that knows it. If it were true, then
. . . no one would be alone all his life. Unfortunately,
I can’t just tell you to accept that you’re going to be alone
all your life because we can’t know for sure that you were
one of those people—one of those people destined to
be alone all his life—until your life ends. So here’s
what you need to do between now and death: Keep a roof over
your head, put food on your table, get some help with your
emotional problems, and take your pleasures where you can.
Do things you enjoy—alone, if you must—and you might meet
someone along the way.
And finally, ALONE, if the only intimacy available to you
is paid sex with cheap street prostitutes—or, as they prefer
to be called, “conveniently located and economically priced
sex workers”—that’s better than nothing. Remember: Sex workers
are part of the solution for you, if not an entirely satisfactory
solution, so have a little gratitude and treat them with respect.
I’m a 60-year-old white male, securely retired from
a successful professional career. I own a nice home that’s
paid for. I ought to be happy, right? There’s just one catch:
I’m still a virgin.
Growing up, I suffered the outcast status to which class brains
are routinely assigned. So I fell behind socially. Then I
went to an elite, all-male university and fell even further
behind. The sexual revolution passed me by. So I retreated
into my career. I never learned how to date. I considered
paying for sex, but I decided that was the equivalent of admitting
that I was a failed human being. Now I spend my days consumed
with loneliness, resentment of the past, and a constant longing
for a hint of intimacy. Longevity is a family trait, and I
expect to live into my 90s. Is there any plausible way to
salvage something from this mess?
The Parade, I Want To Get On
got a big advantage over ALONE, STPIWTGO, in that you’re financially
secure. That’s something that many women look for in men—women
are sex objects, men are success objects, blah blah blah—and
you could leverage your professional success to your personal
advantage. You wouldn’t be the first man who was paying for
sex but, since he was careful to launder the money through
a relationship, wouldn’t have to admit to “paying for sex.”
So, STPIWTGO, why not sell the house, move to a retirement
community where single women outnumber the men, wear nice
clothes, and drive a nice car?
But first: See a doctor. Reading your letter, I wondered if
you don’t suffer from an undiagnosed case of mild-to-moderate
autism. There’s no cure, but a diagnosis might make you feel
like less of a failure, STPIWTGO, and it could give you a
better idea of the obstacles you need to overcome to make
a personal and romantic connection with a woman between now
and death. And I know you’re opposed to “paying for it” in
the traditional sense—no conveniently located and economically
priced sex workers for you—but you also might want to consider
seeing a shrink who can refer you to a sexual surrogate. Then
your insurer will pay for it, STPIWTGO, not you.
a new Savage Love podcast every Tuesday at www.thestranger.com/savage.