"Ask Dr. Tracy"

2/22/98 Advice Column


Dear Dr. Tracy,

I know you've devoted some space in your Love Library to "spicing up one's sex life," but I have a question that doesn't seem to be addressed. My boyfriend and I are in our mid-twenties and have a terrific sex life. We know what turns each other on and we enjoy talking about our desires and making them reality. On the topic of masturbation, however, we differ considerably. He views masturbation as something people do in the absence of a lover--a "replacement" for a partner, basically. I, however, view masturbation as a healthy life-long experience to be enjoyed regardless of one's relationship status.

He knows I masturbate, but since we don't live together he views it is something I do to "tide me over" until our next encounter. I foresee a long life of pleasuring myself, however, and would like for him to view it as positively as I do. Further, I'd love for us to reach a point where we can watch each other masturbate and both truly enjoy it; I've made a few abortive attempts, and he dodges my earnest comments and requests that he masturbate for me. I am also worried he will discover how regularly I masturbate, and will misconstrue that to mean he is somehow not pleasing me enough.

What, if anything, can we do to help each other explore and share this basic activity?

Dear Masturbator,

What can I tell you... The typical male thinks masturbation is a lonely and solitary experience because they've been doing it that way for ages -- as a substitute for a woman. You will have to teach him about the pleasures of masturbating together.

There's no reason for him to know how regularly you masturbate -- unless for some reason you are driven to tell him. He'll find out eventually. In the meantime, masturbate and enjoy. But don't demand that he masturbate with you if he really doesn't want to.

Masturbation is a sort of you do your thing, and I'll do mine, and if by chance we meet, it's delicious. Perhaps if you desensitize him to the idea by masturbating while you talk to him on the phone and getting him to have phone sex -- masturbating at a distance first -- then he'll eventually be able to do it in person. But if he can't, so what. That doesn't mean you can't masturbate all you want, just don't rub his face in it :) if it makes him uncomfortable.

Have fun,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I know this might sound unusual, but I'm a woman who has a problem with men paying for everything on dates. When they do, I feel like I'm a "moocher" or obligated to them in some way. I always try to pay my share. Afterall, it's not fair for the man to pay for everything when I make a good salary. If my date pays for dinner, I at least want to pay for the movie afterwards. If we've going to an expensive concert, I want to pay for my ticket, etc.

I have encountered reluctance and annoyance from the men I've dated, but it's just something inbred inside of me. I know I've confused one or two into thinking I just want to be friends when it's really just the opposite. I do want a romantic relationship, but I also want to retain my independence and pay my own way. Any ideas on how to express this to dates without them giving them the wrong idea? I imagine saying something "short and sweet" would be the best way to get this message across.

Dear Miss Independence,

I understand how you feel about not wanting to feel obligated, but you're ruining a guy's chance to make a romantic gesture. After all, a guy likes to feel like Mr. Big Bucks, Mr. Generous, Mr. Expansive. You'll ruin it if you don't let him show off that way.

Let the guy pay for an evening and then reciprocate by inviting him somewhere next time, letting him know it'll be your treat. If it's a first date, go for something cheap like coffee and a donut or whatever, so he doesn't feel like he's bought you and you don't feel like you're obligated.

Let him treat you first. Then tell him it was wonderful -- even if it was just so-so. Then reciprocate. Don't divide. It's a doomed strategy. Couples who try to split everything evenly wind up splitting up. So don't try to be an accountant.

Of course all of this has to do with power and we all know that whoever pays has the power, so I don't blame you for feeling uneasy in giving away so much power. However, to have a romantic relationship, you can't always be in control, so you can't have it both ways -- romance and being in control. No wonder the guys are confused.

Just be a mensch and treat the guy once in a while. Treat by cooking or whatever to show you want to reciprocate, but don't start out with a guy making a speech about how you want financial or other equality. Show your intentions by your actions, not by making a power play or a rights issue out of it.

Try it my way; it works,

Dr. Tracy

Dear Dr. Tracy,

i have been going out with my boyfriend for almost 5 months..the first couple months were great and now everything i do is wrong he yells at me all the time....he is very controlling and lets me do NOTHING with any of my friends and just yesterday he hit me with a playstation controller and left a huge goosegg! i know the way he treats me is wrong but i can not break up with him i love him......is there anyway i can change him???



Dear Confused,

What's to be confused about? This jerk hits you in the head with a playstation controller and leaves a big goose-egg, he yells at you all the time, controls you and doesn't want you to see your friends!! Are you nuts?

So the beginning was great. Of course it was or you wouldn't still be there. But when a relationship goes downhill this badly this fast, it's time to get out. He's only going to get worse. What are you waiting for, a concussion?

No, you can't change him. He can only change himself. If he'd join a support group for men who can't control their anger, he might have a chance. But it doesn't sound like he will, so you'd better give him up. If you don't, I guarantee you he'll hurt you again and hurt you worse. You've already made a big mistake by staying with him after he hit you. Now he figures he can hit you again. After all, he got away with it last time. The same with telling you not to see your friends. Who let him do that? You! You're playing victim and you've found a victimizer. Run for your life.

You can't have a life with a man who acts this way. Give him up while you only have 5 months invested. Don't wait years. Read "When to Get Out" in my Library; I list violence as the number 1 reason to get out.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Submitting a Question to this column

Dr. Tracy regrets that it is simply impossible for her to answer all of the hundreds of questions submitted to this column each week. However, she does read every question, and tries to select the three which are of the most general interest to the visitors here.

Dr. Tracy says, "Is your question urgent? Many of the most beseeching, desperate messages I get are not answered in this column because the answer is just a couple of clicks away in my Love Library. Have you tried my Love Library? I know that nobody goes to libraries anymore, but check this one out -- it's so easily searchable that it's fun and easy to use!"

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(Featured art from cover of Letting Go, by Zev Wanderer and Tracy Cabot, published by "Bitan" Publishers, Tel-Aviv, Israel)
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