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Friends with benefits

Should a lonely woman find a sex pal? What do you do if your lover is a joker in bed? And why won't the gusher gush? Sexploration answers your queries.
Duane Hoffmann / MSNBC
/ Source: contributor

Should a lonely woman find a sex pal? What do you do if your lover is a joker in bed? And why won't the gusher gush? Sexploration answers your queries. Have an intimate question? To e-mail us, click here.

Q: I am an attractive, professional 40-year-old woman who hasn't had sex in five years. I miss it. But the men I meet lie about marital status, sexual orientation or living arrangements.

My girlfriends suggest finding a “friend with benefits.” Although it isn't the relationship I’ve been searching for, something sounds better than nothing. I do know a man who has been “living with someone for a long time” but claims he isn't married. He could be bisexual. He has been kind and helpful to me. Now I am torn, but I need to stop this intense loneliness.

A: I think you need a refresher course on the concept of “friends with benefits.” You’re supposed to be “friends.” I mean better friends than “claims he isn’t married” and “could be bisexual.” You’re pretty clueless about this guy.

But suppose you have another promising applicant for the job. Should you hire him?

Sex buddydom is delicate. It can work, but as an old girlfriend of mine used to say, “Once the clitoris gets involved, the heart follows.”

What sounds all zipless and easy, isn’t always. Sometimes people shake hands on the deal, shag profusely and supposedly non-commitally, and yet wind up in tears the first time their buddy says, “Can’t come over tonight, I’ve got a date.”

On the other hand, sometimes it works. But if you do it, spend more time vetting your sex buddy than you would an employee. Go in with your eyes open, and don’t let your pal obscure the view of Mr. Right who will, no doubt, show up eventually.

Q: What do you do if your partner feels the need to act or say something funny during sex?

A: You mean like recite the Monty Python “Dead Parrot” sketch? Or like the friend who twisted his girlfriend’s nipples like radio dials and sang Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana”? She slapped him.

If you think what your partner did is funny, laugh. If he (or she) is always playing the comedian, and that bugs you, tell your lover to save some material for the Friar’s Club roast.

But remember, sex doesn’t have to be all hot and sweaty and intense every time. Sometimes it’s fun to be goofy.

Q: My boyfriend, who is in his late 40s, has never had an orgasm when we’ve been together. This includes both intercourse and oral sex. He claims he’s enjoying himself, but I feel like a complete failure. I have asked him what he would like me to do differently, but he always just says “it's fine.” Help! Why won't the gusher gush?

A: Repeat this three times: “I am not a failure.”

I’ll wait...

Now, it is possible he is “fine” and has no complaints. It is also possible that he has a complaint, but not about you, and he’d rather not talk about it.

He could have a condition called anorgasmia or anejeculation that prevents him from climaxing. These can be caused by age, something organically haywire, something mental, drugs like antidepressants, or even alcohol. A urologist or a psychologist specializing in sexual therapy can help.

Brian Alexander, a California-based freelance writer and contributing editor for Glamour magazine, is working on a new book about sex for Harmony, an imprint of Crown Publishing.

Sexploration appears every other Thursday.