How Do I Move Past the Idea of Sex as Currency?

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Betty Dodson

Dear Dr Betty,

Let me start off my saying how much your website has helped me learn more about my body and my sexuality, your help has been invaluable.

I've always been a sexual person. As a child I was always the one suggesting playing doctor, or even the more daring "I'll show you mine if you show me yours". I always figured I would start having sex relatively young, however the opportunity never really arose and when it finally did something always went wrong.

So now I'm 19, very self-sexual and have only rather limited experience, including mutual masturbation and oral sex with both guys and girls(which I am rather proud to say I have received more than given!)

So anyway the problem is this, I'm yet to have penetrative sex with a man, and I really, really want to. I feel like I'm not ready to wait until I'm in a committed relationship because that doesn't seem to be in my immediate future, however being raised on the idea that sex was to be shared only by people in love I can't seem to get over the idea that sleeping with a man I am somehow giving over a part of myself/sacrificing something and risking my sense of self-worth.

I know I shouldn't feel this way, my sexuality is mine and mine alone, but it's hard to distance myself from my mother's attitude that relationships with men are a constant power struggle (She and my father divorced when I was young and it's left her with a permanent distrust of men).

How do I move past the idea of sex as currency so that I can enjoy my sexuality with another person without feeling like its a massive emotional sacrifice? I'm scared that a fear of regret is going to make it impossible for me to ever enjoy full penetrative sex (since society holds that particular act as so much more valuable than other forms of sex)!

Thanks Dr Betty,


Dear B,

Don't discount your mother's experience altogether. The battle between the sexes continues and I see no immediate end in sight. The problem with heterosexuality is that we are still using the "male model of sexual response" that simply does NOT work for women. So few of us can orgasm from a short period of vaginal thrusting with an erect penis, the pro-creative model that is acceptable for our lame society. Meanwhile women can get pregnant w/o having any pleasure and end up with an unwanted pregnancy. So be sure to have your birth control in place before you investigate penis/vagina sex.

Before exploring penetration sex, I recommend you first penetrate your own vagina and tune into your pelvic floor muscle. Since most women do not orgasm from this kind of sex, you should view it as a gift to any boy or man who will most likely get his pleasure from it by ejaculating. When it's not equal pleasure, I often feel we could charge for giving men so much fun. Meanwhile we still don't equal pay for equal work even for single mothers raising a child.

While I do agree that sex is best shared by two people who like each other (I'm still not sure what "love" is all about) and at 19 and self-sexual, just don't expect to have an orgasm when it does happen unless you ARE really crazy about the boy and by some miracle he knows what he's doing. I'm hoping you might have included some form of penetration during your masturbation sessions. So proceed with caution and birth control.

Dr. Betty

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