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How Do I Get Out of My Self-Stimulation Rut? 

Dear Athena,

I've always masturbated in the same position (even as a young girl). I've tried getting a vibrator, masturbating in other positions, using running water and soliciting advice from my women friends. Nothing gets me off the way my hands in that one position do. Problem is, I have only come half a dozen times since I've been sexually active. I'm afraid that my one-position masturbation has affected my ability to experience pleasure in other positions, with other methods of stimulation, etc. I've tried approximating it during sex, but it's not the same. How would you suggest I get out of this self-created rut?

Signed,

Masturbation Rut

Dear M.R.,

In this advice business, I've heard from a great many folks who struggle to find their orgasm. Believe it or not, you're one of the lucky ones! This conundrum has two sides: On the one hand (pun intended), you've learned to manually get down with your bad self, with stellar results. On the other hand, you can't get psyched about it. Big-time bummer. Let's get some perspective on this.

First, reaching orgasm is spectacular, but it isn't the be-all and end-all of sex. Sex is about intimacy and connection, pleasure and discovery — the process more than the product, you see. The more you obsess over achieving an orgasm, the less likely it is to happen. And it's not as much fun! So stop worrying about how you're going to get there, and enjoy the journey.

If you've convinced yourself that you can't orgasm in any other position, your body will believe you. After all, the mind is the first stop on the road to O town. When you think, This position doesn't feel as good, this is never going to work, your body tenses up and rejects any new information. You need a new script. Something like, Oh, this is different. This is exciting! Let's explore what happens when we do this...

Next time you're getting frisky with a partner, try a new position. Once he or she gets close to getting off, switch to your go-to position. Keep trying that for a while and then, one day, don't switch and see what happens.

You could also take the opposite approach: Start in your comfort zone and then, just as you or your partner is about to come, change positions and see what happens then.

Inviting your partner to explore options together will make it an inclusive experience, rather than putting everything in your, er, hands. Of course, you could also experiment with these same maneuvers all by yourself.

Here's another option to try: Masturbate with your partner. You might have fun, and it would show you both that intimacy isn't just about an orgasm through sexual intercourse.

Be open to new adventures, and you will become increasingly comfortable with all kinds of positions. Here's to a titillating future!

Yours,

Athena

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