It's all very simple, isn't it?

So after my little post about "Sex Advice in 20 Words or Less" I went and checked out Dr. Sari Locker to see how she's able to offer these 20 fabulous words of wisdom. Turns out, she's really good at giving short and sweet sex advice. Her website is littered with it. She has an impressive bio - she has a Ph. D. in psychology and a Masters in Human Sexuality Education. So the woman is clearly well-educated. Better educated than I am, it's true. It seems that her advice overall is okay. But it's so short! Perhaps this is a flaw of mine, not hers. When I answer questions from people, my answers are usually very long and include all kinds of options and possibilities - as I recognize that sexuality is so very individual. I think it makes me thorough but perhaps it just makes me long-winded.

However, after perusing her advice columns and reading a lot of responses to a lot of questions, it seems to me that short and sweet is not necessarily good. What is left out of her answers may actually be important than what is there.

Here are two examples that really had me wondering.

"Q.If I use a vibrator all the time, will it make sex less enjoyable for me?

Dr. Locker. Yes and no. If a woman relies on a vibrator in order to orgasm every time, then she may not be able to orgasm any other way… (ellipses hers, not mine)because her body gets so used to the electric stimulation. Will this make sex less enjoyable for you? Well, no, if you and your partner don’t mind that you’ll have to use the vibrator every time you want to orgasm when you are intimate. But if you want to be able to orgasm while you with your partner, without having to use a vibrator, then you would most likely need to entirely stop using the vibrator in order to get over it, and re-sensitive your body to your hand (or his hand, or rubbing on his body, or oral sex) in order to orgasm. By the way: There are some toys that the man can wear (like a “vibrating ring”) and that also provide stimulation for the woman, so you can use a vibrator with your partner in a more discreet way."

Essentially, what she's saying is true, but there's so much more to it than this. Firstly, there's a hidden bias behind her answer that I don't think is fair. The use of the 'rely' and later 'having to use a vibrator' makes it sound like using a toy is a secondary, less desirable form of sex play. It's a major bias that a lot of people have and it's just not really true. If you like the vibrator, why in the hell can't you use it without feeling like you're 'relying on it'? It's not so much that you have to use it but that you want to. Secondly, Dr. Locker doesn't try to clarify the meaning of 'use a vibrator all the time'. Does this mean that she uses it some of the time, most of the time, or every time she has sex? Does this apply only to solo play or does it apply to partner play too? Does she even have a vibrator or is she just wondering whether she should get one because she's worried it will have a negative impact on her sex life? If she doesn't have one yet, she should most certainly go for it and see if she likes the sensation and how she can incorporate it into her sex life. (there is also an assumption that this is a woman, which is not expressly stated in the question and an assumption that her partner is a man, which is also not stated in the question but I will go along with that assumption just to make this easier) If she is using the vibartor only during solo play, she'll probably find, as many women do, that sex with someone else is so vastly different than sex with one's self that it's good with or without the vibe. Women are such lovely and amazing creatures that we can respond to all kinds of different types of stimulation and can, indeed, orgasm through many of them. 'Habituation' (a word I stole from Carol Queen) to the feel of a vibrator can happen but it usually only happens when the person masturbates a lot in exactly the same way with the same toy. It just means that the body and brain have gotten so used to that type of stimulation that they both have a hard time connecting other types of stimulation to the path that leads to orgasm. This happens to men who masturbate a lot in exactly the same way, but you rarely hear anybody tell a man that he's addicted to his hand. The solution, if that actually happens, is to switch up your play - that could mean using a vibe sometimes and not others, it could mean using different types of toys in different ways, it could mean using the same vibe in a different position with different speeds or settings. It's not that you will get conditioned to vibration in general and not be able to do without it.

And lastly, for some women strong sensation on the clitoris is necessary for an orgasm and fingers, tongues and other body parts might just not be able to provide that strong sensation. So if that's what she really needs, what's wrong with using something that makes that happen? It's not a lesser form of sex, it's a superior form because it feels better and leads to better orgasms. Sometimes what's necessary is not 'learning not to rely on the vibe' but rather learning not to believe a nonsensical bias that playing with toys is an unnatural or lesser form of sex.

Here's one more that got me a little riled:
"Q My penis is small. Please tell me what sex positions can make my girlfriend feel tighter during sex.

Dr. Locker: If you feel like you’ve pulled your Miata into the center of a three-car garage, there are things you can do to make those walls close in around you. First, a drier vagina feels tighter. Many post-menopausal women naturally lubricate less, but if your girlfriend is younger and lubricates well, then there are other things you can do. You can enter her before she is fully lubricated (if she's okay with this idea). Or use a non-lubricated condom to increase dryness and tightness. Also, there are certain times of the month when a woman is naturally lubricating less, so have your woman take note of these and alert you." She goes on to talk about positions that help in this situation.

What she does not tell this man here is that penetration without lubrication is, at best, uncomfortable and at worst, painful and dangerous, for a woman. Not only does the friction hurt but as a woman gets aroused, her vagina widens and lengthens, making it easier for her to accept the penetration. Without that, it can hurt quite a bit. The absence of that widening and lengthening might be more pleasurable for him but it won't be for her. Lack of lubrication during sex can also cause abrasion which can lead to an uncomfortable itchy feeling and can actually provide opportunities for bacteria and viruses to get into the body. So really, her suggestion here is not particularly great for the woman. Her advice on positions is probably a much better option. He could also try things that make his penis feel a bit larger and more sensitive like a constriction ring. She could work on her kegel exercises which may give her more muscular control to be able to actively tighten around him more. There are a lot of better options than the first thing she went to here. It's something a person could definitely do, but again, the short and sweet does not outline the problems with going with this solution.

So I'm not able to give sex advice in 20 words or less except when the questions is "I've never had a vibrator should I get one". The answer is yes!

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