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DEAR ANDREA: I've convinced my girlfriend to masturbate for me before, during, and after sex. She knows it makes sex even hotter for both of us. But she is masturbating while she thinks I'm asleep. She tries to keep herself quiet while doing this. I will admit I'm aroused to hear her masturbate and want to jump on her, but I'm afraid to ask why all the secret fingering? I fear she'll stop doing it. She's done that before. She does get off while having sex because I ask her all the time, and, well, she squirts during sex. If she is masturbating for the sensation, I'm with that. Why can't she wake me up and include me? But if she is masturbating about the cable guy after she thinks I'm asleep, then I will invest my time elsewhere. Why all the secrets?

Dear Watch:

Good grief, why not all the secrets? Those are her fingers, you know, and that's her coochie. Surely she has the right to access it without asking your permission? It isn't that she "can't" include you; it's that she doesn't want to. She wants to have sex with you, she wants to masturbate for you, and she wants to get herself off, in private, when she thinks you're asleep. What part of "I thought you were asleep" don't you understand?

You may think I'm being a little harsh, but given your crack about the cable guy, you can see why I might be cross with you. You can also see why your girlfriend (who seems quite satisfied with you, by the way) might wish to keep one little non-you-centered pleasure to herself. It is perfectly normal for a healthy young woman to fantasize about the cable guy (although I keep thinking Cable Guy = Jim Carrey, and that does not work for me at all). It's also fairly common, I suppose, for the young woman's boyfriend to be so jealous of her harmless self-indulgence that he considers sending her packing. Common, and dumb as rocks. You'd be losing a good thing and hurting a good person for no good reason at all. Get a grip.

Partnered sex is complicated. All those body parts, plus two sets of expectations to meet and two sets of feelings to manage. Most likely, she simply enjoys having a moment to herself once the complicated part is over. There's also the possible explanation that you really don't want to hear, the one about her not actually having orgasms while you're awake. Granted, this probably isn't the case, but it is a possibility, no matter how many times you ask her. I'm not harshing on you this time; I'm just telling you it could happen. Whichever way, the present order of things seems to work, and you're both having fun, so you may as well leave it alone unless, or until, she suggests otherwise.

Dear Andrea:

My girlfriend likes to watch me masturbate on occasion. She gets really hot when I ejaculate a lot of semen with good velocity and distance. However, more often than not it comes out more slowly and doesn't go far. Are there any techniques for improving my distance and volume of ejaculation?
Aiming to Please

Dear Aim:

Practice, practice, practice. Actually, that won't help. I just like saying it.

Have you noticed any pattern to the "more often than not"? For the vast majority of men, it's as simple as the less often you do it, the bigger the splash. Within reason. The body makes seminal fluid around the clock, and if it doesn't get used, it will get reabsorbed. If your tank is topped off, though, you're gonna go farther. Let's say you're hoping to put on a show on Friday. Abstain on Thursday. No guarantees, but it'll probably help. Many exercise fiends contend, as well, that well-toned pubococcygeal (PC) muscles will give you greater control. Maybe yes, maybe no (I've never seen any proof), but it certainly couldn't hurt.

Those differences are fairly slight, though. The biggest difference, sadly, isn't between Thursday and Friday but between you and that other guy. There are Human Firehose guys, and there are regular guys. The former get jobs in porn films. The latter write me letters. It's a law of nature.

You can reach Andrea at alt.sex.column, Bay Guardian, 520 Hampshire St., S.F., CA 94110; andrea@altsexcolumn.com; or www.sfbg.com/asc.