Dr. Carol Queen on Self LoveImage via HBO's Girls

Q: What if I no longer like masturbation and cannot stand touching myself? I have explored and experienced solo sex. I am perfect at masturbation. I can give myself an orgasm every single time. But I would rather have someone else touch me. The thought of masturbation depresses me and I no longer desire solo sex. Even if there is a great fantasy involved, I just do not feel the desire to touch myself the way I did when I first discovered how to give myself an orgasm. I practiced for a long time and I figured out my favorite methods, but these days masturbation causes more frustration than not doing it at all.
–Lost That Lovin’ Feeling

A: It sounds to me as though you have wound up the experience (and even the thought of) sexual arousal and orgasm with your desire for partnered pleasure. An idea of love and ongoing relationship may be part of this—for many people it is, while for others, the fantasy is more like Erica Jong’s “zipless fuck,” a perfect person showing up just when you want them. In any case, your interest in erotic sensation seems to be tussling with your desire for another human to share that with you. If masturbating causes you frustration and you’re fine without that outlet, there’s no rule that says you must play solo. It may be time for you to look around for sex partners, if not the love of your life. There are many reasons the perfect person doesn’t show up when you want them, of course, and it might be worth sorting out your goals regarding this issue.

I think you would benefit from checking in with a therapist about this. Your feelings as you express them are especially strong; most people, even if they’re dissatisfied with masturbation, would not say that they “cannot stand touching themselves.” I hope you know that stepping into a relationship with another person, even just for the duration of a zipless fuck, means that you do a dance with your own expectations. If your expectations lie more in the realm of fantasy, sexual or otherwise, real-world relating can be just as frustrating as the solo sex you don’t want to be having. Seeing a therapist lets you get a tune-up on those dreams of love and sex that can develop in the vacuum of your fantasy life, and gets you ready to appreciate the real deal.

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Carol Queen’s latest book (written with Shar Rednour) is The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone

Dr Carol QueenIllustration by Marcellus Hall

This originally appeared in the April/May print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today

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