Q:I’m in an exclusive relationship. Would it be considered cheating if I paid to watch a camgirl when my girlfriend isn’t around? Essentially, I see it as being the same as watching porn by myself—and that’s definitely not cheating, in my opinion. But I’ve heard differing opinions when it comes to interacting with camgirls.—E.C., Chandler, Arizona
A:If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me “Is X considered cheating?” in the digital era, I’d be J.K. Rowling rich.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter what you think “in your opinion.” It’s her opinion that counts. If you feel you need to hide your desire for something you do when she’s not around, that’s a strong sign she won’t be cool with it. What’s considered “cheating” should always be defined by the couple, not by the individuals, so you need to discuss this with your partner. Camgirls differ from porn in many respects, but mainly, the level of interaction and intimacy, especially if you pay for a private performance, is different from that of adult videos. In terms of the access you get when you buy a private show, the camgirl experience can feel more like being in a strip club. For many women, that’s not okay, but some are cool with it. It all depends on the boundaries you set together. If you haven’t had the talk, I suggest you get to communicating. And finally, know that camboys have their own thriving industry, so if you spend time with a camgirl, permit your girlfriend the same freedom.
I’ve been dating someone long-distance for almost a year. He lives in Chicago; I live in Los Angeles, and we see each other about twice a month. He recently made the decision to move to L.A. “for us,” as he puts it. Now the conversation has shifted toward whether we should live together when he arrives or each have our own place while he acclimates to a new city. I think he should rent a one-bedroom that I can move into down the road; he wants to live together right away. Thoughts?—S.M., Los Angeles, California
Whether you realize it or not, your answer is in your question. You already know what you want to do, and my thought is that you need to honor that instinct and insist on living separately when he first arrives so he can establish his own life in L.A. Otherwise you may end up feeling suffocated or realize you aren’t ready for the responsibility and restrictions of cohabiting with someone who’s fresh off the boat and suddenly dependent on you. To go from seeing each other twice a month to living together is a pretty drastic change. You’re right to want to see how the relationship progresses once you’re both in the same town. Sometimes, a long-distance arrangement is the perfect solution for those of us who, because of our work, are too busy to devote the proper attention to a full-time partner but still want intimacy and love.
Your boyfriend also needs to make sure his decision isn’t all about you and that he has other interests to pursue in L.A. in the unfortunate event that things don’t work out. Putting that kind of pressure on a relationship is almost always a recipe for resentment and hurt. It generally doesn’t end well when someone makes a huge life change—like moving from one city to another—“for us” instead of “for me,” because the person making the change comes with expectations that are often too lofty for his or her significant other to live up to. I’ve lived in L.A. for a decade, and nine times out of 10, when someone moves here for a partner, it ends in disaster. (Apologies for the ice-cold dose of reality.) I suggest you have a heart-to-heart. Hopefully he’ll understand that you’re also only trying to do what’s best “for us” in the long run.
I recently started taking Zoloft and have noticed a huge decline in my libido, which my doctor warned is a side effect for new users. The last time I had sex, I couldn’t finish. Afterward, I was conflicted about saving myself from embarrassment by telling her the truth—thereby admitting to someone I don’t know very well that I’ve been depressed—or just passing it off as nerves. If it happens again, should I tell my sex partner the truth or just swallow my pride?—J.R., Akron, Ohio
If it happens again with a stranger, just swallow your pride. You aren’t obligated to tell every one-night stand that you’re on antidepressants. If it happens again with the same woman, however, tell her the truth. Personally, I’d rather know your “nerves” are due to SSRI-induced erectile dysfunction as opposed to free-floating performance anxiety. Women worry about pleasing their man just as much as men should worry about pleasing a woman. If you can’t finish, most women will wonder if it’s because of them. (I know I would.) But if I’m aware you’re on Zoloft, I won’t take it personally.
I have a phobia of body hair, both on my partners and on myself, that has made dating difficult. Most women will remove all their body hair once our relationship starts. But I need to remove all of mine below my neck, and the women I’ve dated find this weird. Have you ever met another guy like me? Is it wrong to expect a woman to understand my preference?—C.H., Peachtree City, Georgia
To answer your first question: No, I’ve never met a man with that phobia. I wish. They’ve all been hairy motherfuckers. It sounds like chaetophobia (fear of hair) to me, but I’m not licensed to diagnose you; it’s above my pay grade. My suggestion is to see a therapist who can help you get to the root of your phobia. You can’t expect a woman to understand something you don’t comprehend yourself. The better you can articulate the reasons for your preference, the more likely you’ll be able to find a woman who will empathize.
When it comes to sex, a lot of women say they want an experienced lover. But what constitutes an experienced lover, and how can I become one if women won’t give me a shot?—L.S., Seattle, Washington
Ah yes, an age-old catch-22. There’s no way to learn how to drive a car other than by driving a car. An experienced lover could be someone who has driven a lot of cars in varying conditions or someone who has driven one car they know really well. But first you have to get that permit, right? The key to becoming an experienced lover is finding a woman you trust and with whom you can explore the boundaries of your sexuality—and hers.
First things first: Be realistic. Are you pursuing the right women, or are you fixating on ones who are out of your league? Are you attracted to narcissistic attention whores and ignoring sweet women who show interest in you? I’m not saying abandon your standards, but when you’re in the recon phase of the sexual wilderness, flirting with different shapes, sizes and colors of women who aren’t necessarily your type can render a lot of valuable information about the opposite sex.
Second, stop acting like a victim. You aren’t doing yourself any favors by thinking you’re an amateur. Chemistry is what attracts a woman, but confidence is what keeps her attention. So fake it till you make it, baby, and educate yourself on female anatomy and psychology. Many adult sex shops offer classes loaded with tips and tricks for becoming a fantastic lover. You don’t even need a partner to attend.
If revisiting sex ed is too intimidating, the internet can help. For example, the website OMGYes.com has turned vaginal stimulation into a game. YouTube has given a young generation of “sexperts” a platform for video tutorials on everything from online dating to cunnilingus to BDSM. Knowledge is power. Just as you should read up on the rules of the road before getting behind the wheel, learning some how-tos will give you an advantage many men don’t have.
Finally, most women aren’t looking for a porn star in bed. I know a lot of men who have plenty of notches on their belt but are selfish assholes who suck in the sack. We’re looking for a man who’s interested in what makes us tick. There’s no magic formula that works on every woman. Instead, we’re attracted to those determined to find the perfect combination of licking and flicking that makes our clit swell and our eyes roll to the back of our heads, the man who can make us orgasm because he knows our bodies intimately. And that, my friend, requires no experience—just attentiveness and curiosity.
Questions? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.