It is getting harder for me to cum. Help?

Q : Dear Silkenvoice: As I’ve gotten older my sexual needs have become more and more specific. I can only cum if the circumstances are just-so (I have a fetish). I can rarely cum when my wife and I have sex and she is taking it personally. Is there something wrong with me? What can I do? –Paul. PS: I love your voice. Do you do custom stories?

A : Paul, I don’t think there is anything wrong with you. If you ever listen to Dan Savage, he cautions against what he calls the “death grip” during masturbation. He speaks to the vanilla community for the most part, but his words are applicable to practitioners of kinky/fetish sexuality as well. What does be mean by “death grip” masturbation? Finding what works and never deviating from it. Males discover at rather young ages that if they touch themselves in a certain way, it feels really, really good and then they cum. And having found that path to the ultimate superfeeling, they rarely try anything else. Do that for decades and it becomes more and more likely that you’ll “need” that specific stimulation to cum. Women also fall into the same trap. We find a certain way of touching ourselves or a specific kind of vibrator or dildo that finally makes it possible for us to climax and then we stick to it, repeating as necessary, ad nauseum.

You say you are a fetishist, which means that some inanimate object (a shoe, a hairbrush, panties, etc) is sexually charged for you in ways that it is not for others. Often, this is tied to a childhood experience — like you were sitting under the kitchen table touching yourself and your mother walked in wearing a certain kind of shoe that was forever cemented in your memory. Maybe she even caught you touching yourself and shamed you. Turned you over her knee and pulled your pants down and spanked you with her hairbrush — which felt good because her soft skirt rubbed up against your naughty bits. These sorts of occurrences are usually the genesis of fetishes. This doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you, either. It was simply your first naughty “zing” experience and you’ve built more and more elaborate fantasies over it in order to keep that “naughty zing” feeling going.

So, assuming that you are healthy, ie that you aren’t a diabetic with neuropathy or taking medication that interferes with arousal or blood-flow, there isn’t anything wrong with you. When, as you’ve said in your case, you can only achieve orgasm if the circumstances are just-so, and that bothers you or your partner, well, then I would say that you have a problem rather than that there is something wrong. If, for example, you can’t cum unless you are on your knees masturbating imagining a woman in a black latex catsuit whipping your cock with a crop, well, likely this is because you’ve spent years fine-tuning this fantasy. I would be surprised if it wasn’t getting harder and harder for you to climax or that you are having to imagine more and more extreme things in order to get off. If this is indeed the case, change is in order.

First, I’d like to remind you that sex isn’t necessarily about climaxing. Most women get this, because many of us cannot achieve orgasm during intercourse. If most women don’t cum during sex (or even masturbation), you might be thinking “why bother?” The answer is simple: we do it because it feels good.

Second, let go of your death grip and get back in touch with your body. Empty your mind — don’t entertain your normal fantasies, don’t look at your usual porn. If you absolutely must engage your mind, locate erotic stories in text or audio formats in a completely different genre than your usual. Change hands. Close your eyes. Explore your body. Touch those places you never touch. Tease your nipples. Twiddle with the shaft-skin, especially the frenulum just underneath the head of your cock. On many men it can be as sensitive as a woman’s clit but most never know they’ve got such an amazing pleasure point there. Play with your balls — roll them around, tug on the skin. Press behind and underneath your balls until you feel it deep inside, where your prostate is. Try toys for men, like the Aneros or the Fleshlight. I recommend them often and none of the men I know who’ve tried them have any regrets, except perhaps that they didn’t try them sooner.

Third, when you find a new method of stimulation that you can come from, repeat it a couple of times to make sure you’ve got it down, and move on. Keep trying to discover new ways to make yourself come. Think of it as a scavenger hunt with your body as the map and each new way of coming as buried treasure just waiting to be discovered.

And four, invite your partner to participate. Men are used to doing a lot of work to make a woman cum, what with all the finger and tongue action, the toys, the positions, the faster, the slower, the right-there-don’t-stop etc. Ask your wife for the same courtesy. Invite her to help you explore your body and discover new erogenous zones that will give you the same zing you felt when you first discovered what sexual pleasure was.

If none of the above works for you, try finding a sex therapist or sex coach — a sexological bodyworker, for example — or a local group focused on exploring tantric sex. The important thing is to recognize that your habitual way of masturbating now has control of your sexuality and to commit to doing whatever it takes to reclaim that control.

And lastly, Paul, thank you for the compliment on my voice. I do, indeed, record custom audio stories, guided masturbation sessions, and more. Email me if you want more information.