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Is It Too Late To Let Go of My Shyness?

Question via Tumblr: Hello, My name is Dave. I’m 50 years old l’m and still a virgin. I’ve been overweight since puberty and underwent extreme mental and emotional abuse all through school because of it. In short, I was treated like crap. People I went to school with were very arrogant. I was raised by an anti social, over protective mother. I suffered extreme shyness until really only the last few years. I was never able to have any kind of life and now I think I’m too old to try to start one now. Am I past help.

Hi Dave, nice to “meet” you. Thanks for being patience in waiting for a response, I wanted to make sure I could give it the attention you deserve. It sounds like you’ve experienced some tough shit in your life, and it will probably take you some time to sort through it and grow past it. Childhood stuff is tough because we’re still forming our ideas about who we are, and if we see negativity reflected back to us, we assume that we’re somehow defective ourselves – as opposed to seeing others behavior or your environment as fucked up. What you experienced as a young child was particularly formative, because I’ve read that until the age of 7 or so, kids are ego-centric, meaning they think everything that happens in their life is in some way because of them. As adults we can understand others motivations and actions but as kids we think everything was our fault. And if those things never get resolved in us, we’ll continue to go through life as if its shit because we don’t deserve any better.

The fact that you wrote to me shows that you know its not too late to change your life. You’re only too old if you believe you are. I think a lot of people your age would say they are, even though they still have half their lives left!

You might be surprised to know, I’ve struggled with shyness and social anxiety most my life. As a child, I can’t remember NOT feeling that way. At age 4, my parents took me to a psychiatrist because I wouldn’t talk to anyone except my family & a couple close friends. He diagnosed me with ‘selective mutism,’ which meant I would only talk to select people, though (of course) I wouldn’t talk to him either so he couldn’t really help beyond that. Kids in school would make fun of me and ask me if I knew how to talk, which was humiliating, and funny enough my attitude-ridden ‘YES!’ were some of the few words they ever heard from me. My mom (who is also pretty shy) read me this book called Its Okay to Be Shy to try and help, though the way I felt was absolutely was NOT okay. It was horribly painful and made dread school and every day social situations. Of course, I couldn’t tell anyone that because I was so shy, so I remained in my shell. Anytime I had to talk to someone, my mind would run rampant with how stupid I am, how there must be something wrong with me. I would be so frozen I literally had nothing to say most of the time.

Coming out of that has taken time, patience, numerous therapists, books, writing, personal development seminars, spiritual exploration, and honestly, experiences on illicit substances that shifted my perspective on myself and the world (I’d say this was one of the most important things, all the other work grew from and supported these experiences). I still have difficulty communicating, I still get frustrated, anxious and frozen – but in time I’ve created new patterns of behavior and learned to deal with my emotions enough that comfort zone has gotten much bigger. Most people I meet would never guess I used to be so shy.

Change isn’t linear, in my experience it happens in steps. You’ll make some progress, then plateau. And when that happens, you’ll probably go all “poor me, my life sucks, I’m a loser [or whatever your personal insult of choice is], nothing will ever change.” But take enough steps and eventually you’ll come to accept the plateaus as important as the progress. Its when you take stock, see how things have changed, and whatever needs to be dealt with next will come up.

If you’re a reader, I’d suggest the book Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. It comes from a Buddhist perspective, but you don’t need to be into Buddhism to appreciate it. Its written in plain English and is very easy to digest. I’m reading it right now.

Otherwise, a therapist would be most people’s first stop. Try one. Or two. Or three. Try a few out and see whether you click with them. There are so many different approaches to therapy and some will work better for you than others, and depending on what issues are most pertinent at the moment.

Basically you’re embarking on a journey to explore yourself, learn that you’re an awesome person, and how to share your awesomeness with others (and appreciate others’ awesomeness in your life). The more you can approach it as a game, an exploration, the chance to learn something new and fun and interesting about yourself and life more broadly – the better the trip will be and the more likely you’ll learn to live life on your own terms.

I hope this helps :)

Edited: November 4th, 2014

My Sexual Secrets: How I Discovered I Have “Sexual Anorexia”

When I said I was nervous about posting something the other day, this podcast is what I was referring to.

My work may often require nudity, but being honest feels even more naked.

Because secrets secrets are no fun, secrets secrets hurt someone. Yeah. ME. And probably most people I’ve been in a relationship with. Sorry guys. & gals. It wasn’t you. It really WAS me.

Am I being vague enough?

I guess I should come out and say it, so at least you’ll know what the topic of this podcast is really about. I’ve recently discovered what was REALLY behind my motivation to research sexuality and work in the porn industry to explore this corner of the universe.

Sexual anorexia. Apparently, its a thing. You’ve heard of sex addiction – this is the flip side. The anorexic to the overeater. Denial, avoidance and overcontrol vs. out of control indulgence.

I’ve been reading this book and discussing it in therapy. It 100% describes my very confusing and painful sexual history. And while I’ve made a lot of progress since I even started this blog in 2011, sex can still be very difficult at times. What astounds me most is that I’ve been working in the field of sexuality in one form or another for almost 10 years now. And I’ve only just heard of this.

I thought I was crazy. I’ve never heard of anyone having the same sexual issues as me. If I read one more sex advice article for women that says to stimulate the clitoris during sex or buy a vibrator or communicate with my partner, I might punch someone in the face. Um. I’ve tried that. Thanks.

Though may put on an act of confidence, beneath it all I’ve still felt there was something wrong with me. Which seemed logical since 90% of what various “sex experts” have suggested hasn’t worked on me. If everyone else seems so happy, the problem must be me, right? Why after all this effort, is sex sometimes REALLY difficult for me? Why, when I want it most, does my body shut off and barely respond? Why is asking for what I want sometimes so terrifying its easier for me to pour myself into work that isn’t even necessary, just to avoid dealing with it?

Why have I felt like the cursed skeleton-pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean, unable to enjoy my physical body?

“…the drink would not satisfy, food turned to ash in our mouths, and all the pleasurable company in the world could not slake our lust…” – Captain Barbossa

Only mine has not been a curse of greed. More a curse of denial, that I did all to myself.

So this is my story. Hope listening to it helps you in some way. If you’d like to share any part of your own sexual struggles, feel free to email me here. I promise I’ll respond.

Subscribe in iTunes!

Edited: February 21st, 2014

Yep, I’m an Exhibitionist

I was the shy kid.

So shy, my classmates would ask me if I knew how to talk. One of the few things they’d hear me say: YES. With as much of an attitude I could muster at the time.

My early masturbation experiences were anxiety provoking. My room was right next to my parents’ and I slept with my bedroom door open. Starting around age 9, I’d masturbate before I went to sleep. Of course, I didn’t call it masturbation… it was just this thing I discovered. It felt good and helped me fall asleep.

But I was always nervous my parents would walk by. I’d hear creaks on the steps and freeze – if I didn’t move, they’d never know.

In middle and high school, I experienced what seemed like overwhelming sexual feelings. I felt like I had to hide it. Nobody else seemed to have these feelings – none of my friends ever talked about it – so I thought I was the only one. I knew people liked sex, but what I felt was so… MUCH. If everyone felt what I did, they’d clearly be talking about it – that was my logic.

I developed a generalized paranoia about being watched. I imagined what it’d be like if there were hidden cameras in every room of my parents’ house. I wondered if God could see my every move, and whether I was doing things I wasn’t supposed to. I was raised as a secular Jew, not religious, but God seemed this being that could know my dirty little secrets. Even if I didn’t tell anyone else. I’d go about my daily business watching myself as if my life were a movie – trying to catch myself revealing too much. I was already shy but became even more internal.

I started being sexual with others around age 14. Shortly after I went on antidepressants. That put a damper on things, though not completely. Having what I saw as weird perverted fantasies heightened my shame. I’d go through periods of trying not to masturbate – if I didn’t indulge it, maybe it’d go away. It always came back.

With guys I often felt frozen. I’d just go along with whatever they wanted, far too anxious to say what I wanted. At that point, I was so disassociated from my sexuality that I didn’t usually know what I wanted anyway. Much of it felt blah. Over time I started resenting the guys who’d get so much pleasure from my body, while I laid there sometimes just waiting for it to be over. Not to say it was always bad, but good sex just “happened.” I never knew how to make it happen, so I’d wait hoping the next time would be what I wanted. Maybe a 1/3 or 1/4 shot.

But what was always exciting was sex in random places. I was usually more bold than the guys I dated. Public sex was one of the few acts I’d initiate. Giving a boyfriend a handjob in class (not to orgasm, of course), fucking in my car in the parking garage, in music practice rooms or offices at school…

Physically, it was still hit or miss (mostly miss). But having sex where I wasn’t supposed to was exciting. I felt alive. The anxiety of being caught was intertwined with my arousal.

So in retrospect, its no surprise that porn appeals to me. As I become more comfortable with my own sexuality, I’m moving away from “performing” what’s requested to simply “doing.” Or “being.” Capturing on film my and my co-stars’ authentic responses. The situations may be contrived, I see it as roleplaying. But our reactions are becoming more and more real.

After webcamming for several months in the typical way girls do – one-on-one private shows for paying customers – I got absolutely sick of it. Not only am I not really into other men, the situation was too forced. I’m not going to have a really enjoyable orgasm in 5 or 10 or 15 minutes, unless I’m sporadically horny in my everyday life. I didn’t like the pressure of someone telling me what they wanted to see. I just wanted to be me.

Tonight was my first voyeur webcam show. Of many more to come, which will soon be free to members of my website. I simply set up my webcam and went about my own business. I was aware the cam was on and felt a small surge of anxiety with being seen – similar to fucking Terry in a swinger’s club. Only I’m alone. Just me. Doing me. Literally.

Being seen doing things I once felt deeply ashamed for feels liberating. Intellectually, I know masturbation is fine, there are no right or wrong fantasies, and any way someone enjoys touching themselves is okay so long as they don’t harm another living being. Yet my sexual response is still tied to anxiety – as if in such a high level of anxiety is a space of calm.

I believe my exhibitionism is similar to people who enjoy extreme sports. Terry, for instance, used to race cars and still likes driving really really fast when no one’s around. He describes the feeling as so intense he has no choice but to be present. To watch his every move, knowing that losing control could mean losing life.

Granted, I won’t die from being watched having sex. But as a kid the fear felt like I would. That response is deeply embedded. But its no longer a problem. Its an opportunity for me to display authentic sexuality to people who are accustomed to seeing over-stylized performances in much of mainstream porn. Or just as bad, romantic movies.

I believe if we saw “real” sex in whatever form it comes, we’d all be better lovers. Myself included. I learn a ton from the women I fuck. If I never entered the adult industry, I’d have no idea just how different every person’s sexuality is. Performing fetish videos and experiencing sexuality with my co-stars has helped me become comfortable with my own weirdness. Which sometimes can be pretty “normal.”

And thus, I’m ready to “come out” with it in a much bigger way. There will always be fantasies I keep to myself, acts I share with Terry I won’t do on camera. I still need a space of privacy and intimacy. But I choose to put a portion of my sexuality in the open, not only because I enjoy it but to show others there are more options for expressing ourselves than we’ve been taught. That the way women get off is diverse, even within ONE woman. That sex IS not anything in particular except that which feels good.

I didn’t choose exhibitionism, but I wouldn’t change it. I’m thankful for my sexuality. And I’m thankful for this lifestyle.

Edited: February 6th, 2013

Female Orgasm Anxiety

A great question about female orgasm from a “new” lesbian, that applies to women of any sexual orientation.

A letter to Dr. Betty Dodson:

Hmmm where to start. Purge. After years of very bad sex with men – quick and fulfilling for one, I discovered my clitoris (with your help) and that I really like girls. I’m very proficient at sex for one, but that’s quick also. Now I have a lovely girl in my life I find the attention and pressure to orgasm too much.

She’s happy, she loves me, and we have lovely times together but I can’t orgasm. She says I need to learn to slow down. I try not to think too much and just enjoy but I can’t help thinking she’s getting bored. I’m ruining this beautiful thing because being the centre of attention freaks me out.

- V

Dear V,

Sounds like you’re suffering from a case of “pleasure anxiety.” Listen to what your GF said about “slowing down.” All heterosexual women struggle with the issue of taking too much time so you need to understand the problem. Straight sex is still based on the male model of sexual arousal. For the most part, men can get turned on quickly and climax easily (often too fast for us) so many women have been conditioned to “hurry up” during partner sex but that rarely results in a full satisfying orgasm.

I suggest the two of you share masturbation together. That way you can both observe the technique you each use for your orgasms. If she’s not “doing you” and you have control of your clitoris, once you have an orgasm in front of her the problem might simply go away. So stop being such a “drama queen” and understand that she enjoys being with and pleasuring you.

Dr. Betty

Masturbating together is great for couples of any sexual orientation – it can be sexy to watch your partner do themselves plus you’ll learn what they enjoy.

Edited: November 12th, 2012