Hot in Cleveland


Dear Dharma,

I find you to be fair and well spoken, which is why I love reading your advice. However, I thought I had myself together and could never picture myself writing in… until now.

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for about 4 months now. He’s the first real boyfriend I’ve had in years, and finally someone that I just genuinely like and can’t help but see potential for an unknown length of time together.

He’s wonderful – tall, dark, handsome, sweet, caring, funny, resourceful, resilient… a real Prince Charming. However, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. He has some very real insecurities (just a part of who he is) that stem a lot from his past. We could delve into why forever but let’s skip ahead.

One place we have some issues that gnaw on his self-esteem/insecurities is in the bedroom. Don’t get me wrong, the sex is great, he’s a “perfect fit” and I am really happy – but I haven’t reached orgasm yet with him. He turns me on, but I’m just not someone who can reach the mighty heavens very easily.

I have told him not to worry, that it will happen eventually. I am constantly engaged and enjoying every minute.  I think he was finally beginning to be more comfortable at the prospect that it’s really me and not him to blame for my lack of screaming orgasms… and then this weekend happened.

We had a stressful week and when we finally got to see each other, we just wanted to have some drinks and talk. We flirted and got kind of handsy. I’m usually the instigator so it was very hot that he was so involved. He had a few beers and I managed to mostly drink 2 bottles of wine to myself.  One thing led to another and we found ourselves in the bedroom where he proceeded to go “downtown”. A rare treat and incredibly hot… But I had 2 bottles of wine and was now in a very cozy bed….yep, you guessed it – I passed out.

At some point he realized my lack of participation was due to the impromptu catching of zzz’s and he stopped. I woke a couple hours later and he filled me in on what happened. I felt awful, but he was being so good about it that I just went along with making dinner and eventually we moved back into the bedroom for a great sexcapade session.

However, in the morning he couldn’t help make some comments and I know this has done nothing but damage an already fragile ego. I have assured him that it was the booze and not him, but he commented how my lack of orgasm-capability also has “nothing to do with him” and pointed out that he is the common denominator.

My question – how do I repair this?! And how do I do it without it feeling contrived and lame? I need him to know how incredibly lucky I feel to have him, both in and out of the bedroom.

The Inconvenient Napper

Dear Napper,

Well…!  That’s all kinds of awkward, isn’t it now.

While you gave me a whole lot of information, there are some things you don’t make mention of – like, has this been a recurring issue for you in previous relationships?  Is this something you’ve ever asked a doctor about, just to make sure there’s nothing medically going on?  And do his insecurities only manifest around sex, or do they affect other parts of the relationship?

I can’t assume the answers for any of those questions, so I’ll just try and address the issue at hand, so to speak.

It’s interesting, isn’t it, that your boyfriend has brilliantly deduced that he is the common denominator in this situation, that he’s to blame and is more than ready to get all Eeyore about it.

Are you also not the common denominator?

I recognize you say he has a fragile ego and some ‘very real insecurities’ (don’t we all?) so that’s probably why he has wholeheartedly declared himself the victim here.  This results in him dismissing your involvement, and gives him a great big cross to carry.  I’m concerned you’ll start to find that an unattractive feature as time goes by.

So where to start – I guess with the immediate, as I’m sensing he’s going to have a hard time getting over this last little incident.

I think your honesty and candidness will go a long way in not sounding contrived and lame.  If you say exactly what you said to me about how lucky you feel to have him in your life in the most genuine tone you have without sounding all ‘please believe me!’, you’ll get his attention.  Tell him all the things that are fantastic and all the things that work.

Tell him you feel like an ass for what happened the other night, and the best thing that came from the whole thing is that you’ve learned that maybe two bottles of wine are one bottle too many?  Keep it light and humble, and then move into why it is he’s decided he’s the common denominator when you in fact own that title as well.

He needs to be open to solutions.  Victims seldom are, so you need to move him out of that zone as quickly as possible.

It sounds like his insecurities combined with your slow build is going to be a bit of a mountain to climb without some outside assistance.  Do you think he would be open to going to a counsellor?  Are you open to that?  I really think it could do you both a world of good…

The fact that you are only 4 months into this, when things are supposed to be all sunshine and rainbows, is a bit of a red flag.  However, I do think the relationship has enough positives to get off the ground… if you can just get this problem licked.


p.s. As a true Hot in Cleveland fan, I recognize the dialogue immediately!

Melanie: So, Elka, when are you going to make it official?

Elka: Oh, that’s over. We started having problems.

Melanie: What happened?

Elka: Well, we got along fine but… he wouldn’t go downtown. If you know what I mean.

 [Melanie, Joy and Victoria are stunned]

 Elka: What! I mean there are so many good restaurants and, and shops downtown.


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  • ShrinkingViolet says:

    he totally needs to be part of the solution and not add to the problem with a victim attitude. It soumds like he would be open to that, and going to a counselor could help alot. I’ve used them many times over the years and it just helps clear your head and get you onto a better path.

    • Dharma says:

      It does sound like counselling would be a really good step for both of them, and that there are lots of positives worth saving in the relationship.

      Thanks for your comment!

  • A man says:

    So, I agree with everything Dharma said, but there’s way too much information missing.

    What does ‘a long time’ mean? An hour of intercourse? Or 6 months of a relationship to feel comfortable/relaxed enough to climax?

    Are you able to make yourself climax? If so, have you TOLD HIM HOW? Saying it takes you a long time isn’t helpful if you (like about 75% of women at least) don’t climax from intercourse alone. Maybe there needs to be another form of stimulation – if he doesn’t know what makes you climax, he can’t adjust anything he’s doing. If it’s just a matter of more minutes, there are condoms that will help him last longer.

    You have to be very clear on what has worked in the past, or what works when you’re working on yourself.

    I can tell you, as a man, that he wants to please you (if he doesn’t, dump his ass) but you have to tell him what pleases you if he isn’t doing it already.

    You may be worried that saying you need a vibrator added to the bedroom playtime in order to get off will hurt his ego, but that’s just something he has to deal with – it’s not about him, it’s about making it the best it can be for you both. Making you climax should (in my humble opinion) be more important to him than being solely responsible for said climax – a toy doesn’t make him less of a man, but not doing everything he can to get you there would make him an inconsiderate lover.

Whether you agree with Dharma or think she missed the mark on this one, leave a Comment!

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