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LoveFAQ is a weekly advice column for geeks, by geeks about love, life and maxing out your romance meter. Got questions for LoveFAQs? Send them to advice@escapistmag.com.

Dear Love FAQ,

For years now I have been avoiding sex and any chance of a relationship, because I suffer from premature ejaculation. It has become a major problem for me, as I have encountered many girls over the last few years that I really like, but I don’t want to even attempt to initiate anything with them because of this problem. I have no idea if there is anything I can do about it, or if I’m screwed for life.

Any help or direction you could send me in would be most appreciated.

Sincerely,
The Fastest Calamity Cannon in the West

Dear Fastest,

Don’t worry. You’re not screwed for life – well, at least, not in the bad way. But hiding from sex and real intimacy isn’t helping. In fact, it’s turning you into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Boys get their rocks off quickly when they’re young. (And, actually, so do a lot of girls.) It’s normal. That’s because, duh, sex feels good. Very good. So good, in fact, that you must learn to desensitize yourself to the sensations, so that you can really savor the experience and not get overwhelmed in a jumble of incoherent sensations. That only comes with practice.

So the best way to overcome premature ejaculation? Have orgasms. Lots of them.

First, talk to your doctor to rule out any undiagnosed medical conditions that may be contributing to your problem. Even if you’re clean, your doc might know certain drugs or therapies that can help.

But you can also take the problem into your own hands. Literally.

Next time you’re masturbating, try this: Bring yourself really close to orgasm, and then just – stop. Don’t finish. Just take a breather. Go wash some dishes, do your taxes, recite Elvish battle poetry, whatever. Distract yourself for as long as it takes to come down from the brink and back to a state where you’re aroused, but not uncontrollably so. Now do it again. And again. See how long you can go without finishing yourself. Make it a challenge. Make it a game.

This is a common method used to treat premature ejaculation; you’re essentially training yourself to better recognize and manage the sensations leading up to orgasm. You can even try it with a partner; as soon as you feel yourself getting close, stop thrusting (or even withdraw, if you need to) and refocus your energies on kissing, fondling, Elvish battle poetry, whatever. The strategy isn’t a cure-all, of course. But it is a good first step.

Speaking of partners, the next time you do have one, hold off on intercourse for a bit and focus on other activities: foreplay, oral sex, toys, etc. Concentrate on her pleasure, and make sure she gets off first, which if nothing else puts less pressure on you to last when it’s finally penetration-time.

What’s more, try to think of your own orgasm not as the finish line but a stepping stone. That way, if you come too quickly, you don’t feel like you’re letting anyone down, and you don’t feel the need to stop. (Who knows: After focusing on her needs for a bit, you might even find you have another one in you.)

Finally – and most importantly – you must communicate with your partner. Let her know about your problem and your desire to overcome it. I’m not saying your quick-draw should be first-date dinner conversation. But most women, if the guy’s right, don’t mind a little extra work in the sack – especially if it means more attention for them.

Bottom line is, if you’re shutting yourself off from real intimacy, or even the chance of real intimacy, you’ll never get over your hang-ups. It’s only by confronting your fears that you can fix them-and, of course, get laid.

Dear Love FAQ,

I’ve been married now for over a year. I love my husband and he’s great. Lately though, I have begun to have romantic feelings for my best friend. I’ve known him forever, he gets me in a very different way and I know in the past he has had feelings for me.

I have told my husband about this. He accepts it and just asks that I don’t act on it, which I have not. How can I stop having these feelings without hurting anyone else I care about?

Thanks,
The Elfroot is Greener on the Other Side

Dear Elfroot,

You’re married, not dead. There’s nothing wrong with crushes, and it’s totally normal to get a little hinkydink in your pants now and then for someone who isn’t your husband – especially someone as easy to fantasize about as your long-term bestie. You might as well accept that it will happen, and stop beating yourself up over it.

But, as your husband pointed out, feeling is entirely separate from action.

Even when you were single, you didn’t act on every sexual attraction or emotional connection you felt, right? You picked your battles and saved your mana for the guys that really mattered.

Well, now your husband matters. Look at or fantasize about other men as much as you want. But don’t touch. You made a promise. Keep it.

There’s this misconception that once you put on the poofy dress and stutter through some vows, that’s it. You’re done. Achievement Unlocked. No more effort required.

But commitment is a choice, one you make every single day. And some days that choice is harder than others. Some days, of course, it’s easier. But it’s always your decision, always a product of your own agency.

Commitment would be easier if we could somehow just not look, but then it wouldn’t be a choice anymore, would it? It would be inertia, you coasting along the path of least resistance forever. It’s those alternatives, and your rejection of them, that gives your commitment meaning.

Marriage isn’t the Hotel California. You can leave any time you want. But you choose not to. And in the end, that’s all that really matters.

Disclaimer: LoveFAQ is written by Lara Crigger, who is by no means a trained psychiatrist or therapist or even a middle school guidance counselor – just a smart gal who wants to help out her fellow geek. LoveFAQ is meant for entertainment purposes only, so don’t take it as a substitute for professional advice. If you have real problems, consult your physician.

Got a burning question (or a question about burning) for LoveFAQ? Send your emails to advice@escapistmag.com. All submissions are confidential and anonymous.

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